New for 2020

Exmoor Heritage Railway Walks

10684_0056 Holnicote House - Exterior
Duration: 4 nights
Type: Walks with a theme
from £595pp £570pp

Somerset and Devon are blessed with a network of beautifully restored railways which transport us back to a time almost unrecognisable from the current maelstrom of modern life. This is still a (medium paced, with hills now and again!) walking holiday but what better way to enjoy the glorious seaside and moorland views both on foot and from a lovingly restored carriage?

Holiday Highlights

  • Discover this stunning countryside through a handpicked selection of superb walks and train journeys
  • Experience the railways brought to life on the guided walks
  • Enjoy journeys on the full length of the West Somerset Railway, and on the Lynton and Barnstaple line
  • Delve into rail history at the Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust museum

What’s included

  • Great value: all prices include Full Board en-suite accommodation, a full programme of walks with all transport to and from the walks, a canal boat ride, plus evening activities.
  • Great walking: historic villages, seaside towns plus the essence of Exmoor National Park where the moors meet the sea.
  • Accommodation: our Country House is equipped with all the essentials – a welcoming and relaxing lounge and dining area, a drying room for your boots and kit, and comfortable en-suite rooms.

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

You're welcome to check-in to your room from 2:30 p.m. onwards (upgraded rooms from 1 p.m.) Please join us for afternoon tea.


Distance: 8 miles (13km)
Ascent: 500ft (150m)

From the ancient village of Dunster we head for Dunster Station and follow the SW Coast Path through Blue Anchor towards Watchet. A disused trackbed of the West Somerset Mineral Railway leads us to the Washford Station. After a mooch in the museum, we’ll travel to Minehead on the West Somerset Railway.


Distance: 6 miles (9.5km)
Ascent: 1000ft (305m)

Today we’ll head West into Devon where we’ll enjoy a ride on the Cliff Railway, take the “Crinoline Path” with the hope of superb views across the Bristol Channel, walk through wooded valleys and across a Common before finishing our walk at Woody Bay station, home to the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway.


Distance: 6.3 miles (10km)
Ascent: 430ft (135m)

Our final walk starts at Sampford Brett, an attractive village near Williton. We walk South East along the valley and visit Stogumber Station, then on to Crowcombe Heathfield, from where we catch a train to Bishop’s Lydeard (terminus of the West Somerset Railway). We hope to have a little time to look around before finishing our holiday with a train journey over the full 22 miles of the line to Minehead.


Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home. 


Holnicote House

Lying near the attractive village of Selworthy, in the heart of the Exmoor National Park, historic Holnicote House stands within a series of peaceful gardens with spreading lawns. Once the centrepiece of an extensive 12,500 acre estate, the charming and characterful house was gifted to the National Trust in 1944. Since then it has been reimagined as a walkers’ retreat, with wonderful access to the countryside. As well as 32 delightful bedrooms, there are two comfortable lounges and a sociable bar. The landscaped gardens are still part of the wider Holnicote Estate and provide a wonderful area to wander. Outside the house, explore wild Exmoor, walk in the Quantocks, climb Dunkery Beacon and stroll on the Somerset Coast Path with the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, drop in Dunster Castle, ride a Victorian cliff railway and watch for wildlife including the majestic red stags.

Rooms

Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in one of the main building’s bright, beautifully presented rooms or in the thatched cottages in the grounds, called Butlers and Guns respectively. With 32 bedrooms, Holnicote House has plenty of space and there’s a range of Good, Better and Best Rooms to choose from: best rooms are on the first floor and decorated in keeping with the National Trust estate, with plenty of space and great views over the back garden, reaching out across Crawter Hill and Dunkery Hill, Somerset and Exmoor’s highest point. Ask for numbers 1, 4 or 9 to feel suitably special.

All ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ and ‘Best’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress, larger television, enhanced toiletries and a fluffy bathrobe & slippers – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-20 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply.

Facilities

Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, attractive garden, outdoor swimming pool, multi-purpose activity room, lounge, library and board games to borrow

After a day walking on Exmoor or exploring the heath and moorland, come back to the house and its specially tailored walkers’ facilities. Relax by sitting in the pretty gardens or challenge a fellow guest to a game of croquet. Take a dip in the large heated outdoor pool. For something less strenuous, snag a comfy chair in one of the cosy lounges, borrow a book, join a game of cards or scour the countryside through the large telescope. Head to the bar before dinner for a drink and a chance to catch up with your companions, best enjoyed by the windows overlooking the estate.

Food & Drink

As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Lunch is a chance to stock up on our famous picnic snacks. Food at Holnicote House is hearty and has a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Once a week the wood panelled dining room with its giant fireplace hosts a Local Food Night, when, over a sociable evening, you might try classic Porlock oysters or Priddy Oggies, a local pasty of chicken, bacon and cheese. Mains might include Exmoor venison or Bellbrook valley trout, while you could cap it all with a Somerset apple cake, dressed with cream.

Accessibility

For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865

10684_0056 Holnicote House - Exterior

Getting to Holnicote House

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

What to Bring

Essential Equipment

To enjoy walking/hiking comfortably and safely, footwear, clothing and equipment needs to be suitable for the conditions. Safety is our priority and Britain is famous for its changeable weather, so our advice is to come prepared for all eventualities.

  • Footwear with a good grip on the sole (e.g.Vibram sole) is the key to avoiding accidents
  • Walking/hiking boots providing ankle support and good grip are recommended (ideally worn in), and specialist walking socks to avoid blisters
  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed, are better than a single layer (include spares)
  • Fabrics (lightweight and fast drying) designed for the outdoors are recommended
  • Waterproof jacket and waterproof over trousers
  • Warm hat and gloves. Gaiters are an optional but useful extra
  • Denim jeans and capes are not suitable on any walks
  • Rucksack with a waterproof liner
  • Thermos flask for hot drink
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre)
  • Spare high-energy food such as a chocolate bar
  • Small torch
  • First aid kit – your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication or blister kits (such as Compeed)

Optional Equipment

  • Walking poles are useful, particularly for descents
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun cream
  • Camera

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability and prices are subject to change.
Non-member associate fee: £10 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Version Price Status Trip Notes Book
2020
19 May - 23 May Version 1 (runs 2020) £595 £570 Save £25 Per Person Book Now
Duration:
4 nights
Type:
Walks with a theme

4 nights from £595pp £570pp

New for 2020

...or call 020 3974 8865

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