Family Walking Adventure at Selworthy
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Hills & moorland
Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we use yellow for easy, orange for medium and red for hard. Challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.
Lying in the heart of a 12,500 acre estate in the Exmoor National Park, Holnicote House has extensive grounds and an outdoor heated pool, making an ideal location for our guided family walking holidays. Highlights include spotting red deer and ponies from the top of Selworthy Beacon, and taking the cliff railway up from Lynmouth to Lynton and the Valley of Rocks.
As a historic National Trust property, Holnicote House is full of charm and character. Located on the extensive Holnicote Estate, at the foot of Exmoor, it is well suited to a relaxing holiday.
Holnicote House has 32 newly refurbished bedrooms. Some are located in the main house, with others in the thatched cottages, called Butlers and Guns, in the grounds.
Choose your room
• Check-in from 2:30pm
• Comfortable accommodation
• En-suite bathroom with bath or shower
• Tea and coffee-making facilities
• Single room are available at no extra charge
• Check-in from 1:30pm
• Enjoy extra space or exceptional views
• Toweling robe, complimentary slippers
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Available from an extra £10 per person per night
• Check-in from 2:30pm
• 3 or 4 beds
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk or occasional beds for children
|• Excellent boot and drying rooms
• Two lounges
• Dining rooms
|• Free WiFi available in some public rooms
• Range of board games and books
• Heated outdoor swimming pool (open May to September
|• Croquet lawn|
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
- Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued
- Mobile phone reception is generally good from the main building
- Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
- Information can be provided in large print
- Staff have received disability awareness training
- Special diets can be catered for. Specialist food can be obtained with prior notice
- Fridge for medication can be supplied
Our family holidays offer the choice of up to 4 guided walks each day – you can choose an Easier Walk one day and switch to a Harder Walk the next. Our routes range from short strolls that are ideal for little legs, to longer alks that will appeal to active teenagers.
Selworthy village and first taste of the coast
Family Walk: We begin our holiday with a visit to Allerford, with its ancient packhorse bridge. We visit the Exmoor Hawk and Owl Centre at Lynch to see the owls. Woodland paths then take us to the chocolate box village of Selworthy (ice cream!) before returning to Holnicote House. Nearly 4 miles (6.5km) with 500 feet (150m) of ascent.
Easier Walk: We walk out to the old coastguard station at Hurlstone Point on this circular walk from Holnicote House, with breathtaking views from the cliff top. We see an ancient packhorse bridge at Allerford and follow woodland paths to the National Trust’s Selworthy village, with time to explore. 6 miles (9.5km) with 800 feet (240m) of ascent.
Medium Walk: Leaving Holnicote House, we take an old packhorse track to the village of Selworthy with its thatched cottage and the white church. From there we climb to the top of Selworthy Beacon, high above the Bristol Channel. We go back down through the woods to Holnicote House. 7 miles (11km) with 1,100 feet (330m) of ascent.
Harder Walk: A hilltop walk with fine views. We climb up through the woods onto Bossington Hill, before taking a meandering path onto North Hill and Selworthy Beacon itself. Dropping steeply to the village of Selworthy, we can visit the church or enjoy an ice cream and tea. 10 miles (16 km) with 1,300 feet (390m) of ascent.
Lynmouth and Watersmeet
Family Walk: Starting from Lynmouth, we ride up the cliff on the amazing water powered funicular railway to Lynton, then walk the Crinoline Path to the Valley of Rocks, with its fascinating huge rock formations which draw visitors from all over. We might see the mountain goats grazing on the crags. We walk back to Lynton, and down into Lynmouth, with its tea shops and ice cream. 3 miles (5km) with 400 feet (120m) of ascent.
Easier Walk: First we visit Oare Church, famous for its wedding scene in the book Lorna Doone. We follow the Oare Water to Malmsmead, before joining the East Lyn River on its tumbling journey to the National Trust centre at Watersmeet. 6 miles (9.5km) with 500 feet (150m) of ascent.
Medium Walk: We start high up at County Gate, after the infamous drive west up Porlock Hill. Walking down to the pretty hamlet of Malmsmead, we then follow Badgworthy Water up “the Doone Valley” to the site of an abandoned medieval village. Crossing the wild moorland we end with the descent to the East Lyn River and Watersmeet. 9 miles (14.5km) with 900 feet (270m) of ascent.
Harder Walk: We follow the route of the Medium Walk as far as the medieval village. From there we cross the high moor before joining the Two Moors Way, approaching Watersmeet with good views of the Hoaroak Water as it tumbles down through rocky crevices. 11 miles (17.5km) with 900 feet (270m) of ascent.
Dunster Castle, the beach and a railway ride
Family Walk: Starting from Watchet, with its pretty harbour, we walk the West Somerset Coast Path to Blue Anchor Bay. There are good views across to Wales, and the walk ends with a train ride to Minehead. Nearly 4 miles (6.5km) with 300 feet (90m) of ascent.
Easier Walk: A circular walk from and back to Dunster. We walk through the deer park to Withycombe Hill Gate where we may see some deer. We return by fields and woodland to Dunster. Just over 5 miles (8km) with 800 feet (240m) of ascent.
Medium Walk: We walk to Selworthy village, before a gradual ascent onto Wootton Common. From Grabbist Hill we get good views across to Minehead, the Bristol Channel all the way to south Wales. Down through the woods and we are in Dunster with its castle and stunning village. 7 miles (11km) with 1,100 feet (330m) of ascent.
Harder Walk: Walking from Holnicote House, we go via the pretty village of Luccombe up to Webber’s Post. A good path with great views follows, gently descending to Wootton Courtenay. A stiff climb brings us onto Wootton Common and eventually into Dunster. 9 miles (14.5km) with 1,300 feet (390m) of ascent.
From the high cliffs at Barna Barrow Down to Lynmouth
Family Walk: Starting high on the cliffs at Barna Barrow, we descend through woodland to Watersmeet with its National Trust tea room and shop. We follow the East Lyn River into Lynmouth. 3 miles (5km) with 100 feet (30m) of ascent.
Easier Walk: We walk via fields over Countisbury Common to join the South West Coast Path. We can visit Foreland Point with its disused lighthouse before ascending Butter Hill, and the highest cliffs in England. Following the coast path, we descend to Lynmouth. 6 miles (9.5km) with 700 feet (210m) of ascent.
Medium Walk: After following the route of the Family Walk down to Watersmeet, our route then takes us onto the Two Moors Way, high above Lynmouth. We walk through the Valley of Rocks, returning on the coast path with good sea views, and possibly goats as well. 8 miles (13km) with 1,100 feet (330m) of ascent.
Harder Walk: From Barna Barrow and the cliffs of Butter Hill, we follow the spectacular coast path into Lynmouth. Ascending to Lynton, we follow the coast path to the fascinating Valley of Rocks and Lee Abbey. A second ascent takes us onto South Cleave with fantastic views and then, after crossing the West Lyn River, we descend to Lynmouth. 10 miles (16km) with 1,600 feet (480m) of ascent.
Local villages or Dunkery Beacon
Family Walk: We walk via local estate roads and lanes to the pretty village of Luccombe then on to Horner with its tea gardens. West Luccombe has an old packhorse bridge. We return to Holnicote House after visiting Piles Mill, an old 17th century corn mill, with plenty of time for a last swim. 4 miles (6.5km) with 400 feet (120m) of ascent.
Easier Walk: After visiting Horner, we climb Horner Hill to Webber’s Post (a great view point). A short stretch on a level path follows, before dropping to the National Trust village of Luccombe, with its interesting church. Lanes and estate roads bring us back to Holnicote House. 6 miles (9.5km) with 600 feet (180m) of ascent.
Medium Walk: Starting from Wheddon Cross, we walk to the highest point on Exmoor – Dunkery Beacon. Hopefully we’ll be able to see all the way to Dartmoor! Then it’s downhill nearly all the way. We return via Horner (good tea gardens and ice cream!). 9 miles (14.5km) with 800 feet (240m) of ascent.
Harder Walk: The longest walk of the week from Exford to the top of Dunkery Beacon, but well worth the challenge! The descent takes us via the smallest and remotest church on the moor at Stoke Pero. Our final route to Holnicote House (via the tea gardens at Horner) might cross the stream at least 5 times. 12 miles (19km) with 1,100 ft (330m) of ascent.
Family friendly: KIDS GO FREE if booked by 31 December 2016. After this date children under 11 go FREE and children up to 17 get a 50% discount
- Family-friendly walks: we've selected the best walks for families with shorter distances and plenty of interest along the routes. The shorter walks usually allow plenty of time for activities, or enjoying the pool and grounds at Holnicote House
- Adventure: each day choose from up to 4 different guided walks, with opportunities for longer walks on Exmoor or along the coast
- Activity leader: back at Holnicote House, our activity leader will organise games and activities which could include rounders, treasure hunts or crafts
- Peace of mind: only families can book on our dedicated Family holidays - the kids get the run of the Country House in a safe environment
- Free day: on our 7 night holidays, enjoy a day without walks to get out and make the most of the nearby family-friendly attractions
Terrain and transport: Family and Easier Walks have gentle gradients. Medium Walks are on undulating paths. Harder Walks follow undulating paths with steeper sections.
On some days the walks start or finish at Holnicote House; on other days we use hired transport at the start and/or end of the walks. The cost of all transport to and from the walks is included in the price of your holiday.
Activities at Holnicote House: Before dinner the activity leaders will run an activity suitable for the younger children. After a sociable evening meal you could join in an evening activity created specifically for all the family or use the Country House facilities.
Your leaders will inform you about the choice of walks for the next day and answer any questions you may have. After a sociable evening meal you could join in an evening activity created specifically for all the family or use the Country House facilities.
See our Family Adventure Guide for more information about our holidays and accommodation.
During your stay at Holnicote House you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest, either in your free time, or on your journey to and from Selworthy:
Less than a mile from Holnicote House is Selworthy village. At first glance the thatched cottages seem typical of many ancient settlements in this area. However, Selworthy is not as old as it looks, having been rebuilt in 1828 by Sir Thomas Acland. Sir Thomas was a philanthropist and designed the 'model' village himself to provide housing for the aged and infirm of the estate. He used traditional designs and materials to create a deliberately old-fashioned village.
West Somerset Railway
Travel on Britain’s longest steam railway from Minehead to Bishops Lydyard. Now lovingly restored by volunteers, the line recreates a classic Great Western Railway branch line with steam trains operating daily from April to October. Minehead station is 10 minutes' drive from Selworthy, or can be reached on the number 300 bus. www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk
An historic castle transformed into a comfortable stately home for the Luttrell family. Some highlights include the 'modern' 1950s kitchen and the snooker room. Dunster Castle sits in extensive gardens, complete with its working watermill. The adjacent town of Dunster is full of character and also well worth a visit. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunster-castle
Lynton & Lynmouth
The quaint Victorian town of Lynton sits high on a hill, overlooking the coast and Lynmouth harbour. The two settlements are connected by the historic cliff railway. The short walk from Lynton to the Valley of Rocks is highly recommended.
The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) and his wife Sara lived in the village of Nether Stowey, about 45 minutes' drive from Selworthy, from 1796 to 1799. In 1909 it was acquired by the National Trust, and later restored and opened to the public. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/coleridge-cottage
Hestercombe Gardens, around an hour's drive away near Taunton, were constructed in three periods - a landscape garden from the 1750s, a Victorian terrace and shrubbery from the 1870s, and Edwardian gardens of 1904-1908 designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll. www.hestercombe.com
Arlington Court, about an hour's drive away near Barnstaple is a fine Regency house set in an extensive estate. The grounds include a formal Victorian garden whilst the stables house the National Trust’s carriage collection of over fifty horse-drawn vehicles. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/arlington-court
Travel to Selworthy
Our address is: Holnicote House, Selworthy, Minehead, Somerset TA24 8TJ
The nearest railway station is at Taunton. For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).
The 29 mile journey from Taunton railway station takes approximately 50 minutes. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £57 per taxi. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. taxi company will arrange shared taxis wherever possible. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Holnicote House Manager.
The number 28 bus operates between Taunton station and Minehead. At Minehead change for the number 10 bus that will take you to the Selworthy turn (which is at the end of Holnicote House drive). A 2 minute walk along the drive will bring you to the house. Alternatively pre-book a taxi from Minehead; the 4½ mile journey will cost you approx £10 from our recommended taxi provider. For bus times see www.traveline.info
From Bridgewater take the A39 though the southern outskirts of Minehead towards Porlock. Holnicote House is on the left about 4½ miles out of Minehead, and about ¾ mile after the signpost to Luccombe (do not follow the signs to Selworthy). After the Selworthy Village sign look out for our sign 500 yards further on, on the left. Free car parking is available in the grounds.
Travelling from Overseas
For most guests, travelling to London Heathrow airport is the most convenient option.
From Heathrow first take the train to London Paddington station. From here there are direct trains to Taunton. Its a relatively straightforward journey - allow 2½ hours. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
From Taunton you can travel on to Selworthy by bus or taxi (see above).
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Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
Prices are per person
- All child prices are based on sharing with an adult. Children not sharing an adult's room will be subject to a £50 surcharge per child per stay. A single room charge of £5 per child per night will be made where applicable.