There are plenty of spectacular attractions in Exmoor National Park, but the Valley of Rocks walk might be the best. Located a small distance from the village of Lynton, the Valley of Rocks is a spectacular natural phenomenon that is ideal for people wanting to see epic coastal views and adrenaline-seekers who want to summit the highest rocks in the area.
What is the Valley of Rocks?
The Valley of Rocks is a dry valley in Exmoor National Park, filled with unusual rock formations. These boulders and outcrops are some of the oldest rocks in north Devon. General consensus is that it was formed by a previous tributary of the East Lyn River, which now meets the sea at Lynmouth, and has been around since the last Ice Age.
Where is the Valley of Rocks?
The Valley of Rocks is located just west of Lynton, in Exmoor National Park. To get there, it’s best to get directions to Lynton – which is along the coastal road if you are coming from elsewhere in Exmoor National Park, or up various a roads if you are coming from another place in Devon – and from there, follow signs to Valley of Rocks.
We parked here, although this isn’t the closest car park to the Valley of Rocks – that would be here (Google map locations). There are public toilets at the nearest car park.
How long is the Valley of Rocks Walk?
The circular walk from Lynton, around the Valley of Rocks and back to Lynton is 2.9 miles, or 4.7 kilometres. It’s another 0.6 miles – just under 1 km – to get to Lynmouth, down a very steep, zig-zag road.
How difficult is the walk?
Climbing up the rocks is quite a challenge, but the actual walk towards the town is relatively easy and can be completed by people of varying levels of fitness.
What will I see on the Valley of Rocks Hike?
Plenty of rocks, unsurprisingly! It’s an epic view from the top of the highest point – you’ll see the whole coastline and the interior of the national park. You’ll also get to marvel at these unusual rock formations. Also, look out for the valley of rocks goats. These cheeky creatures graze around the area and somehow manage to climb up and down the near-vertical cliffs. Don’t try and follow them, but look out for them and enjoy them from afar!
Precautions to take
The Valley of Rocks is a walk that’s enjoyed by all, and for most, it is safe and fun. However, you will be hiking along a cliff edge, and climbing up jagged peaks, so there is obviously some risk here…
Be very careful when you are at the top of any of the peaks. I did a boat trip from Ilfracombe to Lynmouth before visiting the rocks, and the guide told us that a couple of years ago, an 11 year old boy fell from the highest peak to the beach below, some 200 feet.
Miraculously, he was ok, and he hasn’t had any life-changing injuries. But as we saw the drop, that did indeed feel like a miracle, and it was a sobering reminder of how dangerous the coastline can be.
Wear sturdy shoes and don’t get close to any edges, don’t step on any unstable rock and stay on the marked paths.
Keep an eye out for the weather – fog can close in quickly here, and visibility can be hindered. It’s not a good idea to visit Valley of Rocks if it’s raining heavily, although you are only one kilometre from Lynton.
What you will need for the hike
The Valley of Rocks walk is quite short and can be completed within an hour – although you might need two if you want to stop, take some photos, and marvel at the view! This means that you won’t need too much, but think about taking:
- A great camera or at least a smartphone capable of taking good photos!
- Sturdy shoes for the walk
- Sun cream if it is hot – there isn’t much shade
- Plenty of water
If you are camping in Exmoor, check out my camping list for ideas of what to pack.
Places to eat near the Valley of Rocks
Once you’ve seen the rocks, you’ll probably be wanting something to eat! There are a few options in nearby Lynton and Lynmouth. We ate at the Pavilion Restaurant in Lynmouth, and the Esplanade Fish and Chips restaurant next door was very popular.
Lynton has a range of different restaurants from international cuisines, including Nartnapa Thai Cuisine (if you’ve had enough of British pub food!) and The Oak Room which serves up delicious tapas.
I hope that this guide has proved useful for planning your Valley of Rocks hike. It’s a beautiful spot in north Devon, perhaps the most striking in Exmoor, and I highly recommend visiting when you Go South West!