Exmoor Gate Lodges
  Things to do
 

The self catering cottages at Whipcott Water are a perfect base for a holiday in this part of the West Country, being in a good central location with easy access to the many attractions and varied landscapes.

 

Exmoor itself provides opportunities for many outdoor activities, including horse riding, cycling, fishing, sailing and other watersports.

 

With their excellent central location on the Somerset and Devon borders, the self catering cottages at Whipcott Water are a perfect base for a holiday in this part of the West Country, having easy access to the many attractions and varied landscapes this area has to offer. From historical houses, classic gardens, interesting visitor attractions, and of course the stunning scenery of both coast and countryside, guests will find a wealth of things to see and do. Exmoor National Park provides opportunities for many different outdoor activities such as walking, horse riding, cycling, fishing, sailing and other watersports.

Walking

The varied landscapes of Exmoor are wonderful places to explore on foot, and with over 700 miles of footpaths and bridleways it is easy to follow a map or guidebook, whether you like to walk for miles across the wild heather moorland, or just to enjoy a gentle stroll beside a stream in a valley. Exmoor National Park authority runs a series of guided walks throughout the season, many with a wildlife or historical theme. Details about these walks and other information can be found at www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk

The South West Coast Path runs from Minehead on the Somerset coast, to Poole in Dorset. From the self catering holiday cottages at Whipcott Water you can walk sections of the spectacular rugged coast of North Devon, and also enjoy the more gentle sections of the south coast, with its wide sandy beaches and sweeping views, as both coastlines are within easy driving distance.

For more information, see www.nationaltrail.co.uk/southwestcoastpath

Horse riding

Exmoor has some of the best riding country in England. You can ride for miles across the moor and through wooded valleys without ever having to go on a road. There are several riding stable in the area, catering for all abilities from complete beginners to experienced riders. For more information about riding in the area go to www.equinetourism.co.uk

Fishing

There are many rivers, lakes and ponds in this area which provide the keen fisherman with opportunities to fish for different species. There are also several fisheries nearby where you can go fly fishing and coarse fishing. On the coast there is excellent sea fishing, and you can hire a boat for a sea fishing trip from many of the seaside towns and villages. Wimbleball Lake is a large scenic lake on Exmoor, and here you can follow the waymarked walks through the woods and meadows surrounding the lake or go fishing, sailing, canoeing or windsurfing. Go to www.swlakestrust.org.uk for more information.

Shopping

Whipcott Water is within easy reach of several towns with good shopping centres. Taunton, Tiverton, and Wellington are all close by, with Exeter just a short drive down the motorway. Clarkes Village at Street in Somerset has 90 stores with up to 60% off retail prices, restaurants, cafes and a children’s play area.

Places to visit

Historical Houses

The National Trust owns several interesting properties in the area, many with beautiful gardens. Knightshayes Court near Tiverton and Killerton near Exeter are both fascinating country houses with lovely gardens and grounds to explore. Dunster Castle near Minehead is an impressive castle on top of a wooded hill, with sub-tropical gardens, 17 th century stables, and a working water mill. The castle overlooks the medieval village of Dunster, with its many interesting buildings and quaint little shops, restaurants and tea rooms. Holnicote Estate near Porlock is also owned by the National Trust. This is a really special part of Exmoor, with ancient woodlands at Horner leading up to the viewpoint at Webbers Post, where there is a circular walk suitable for wheelchair users with spectacular views across heather moorland to the sweep of Porlock Bay, and up to Dunkery Beacon, the highest point in Somerset.

Classic Gardens

If you enjoy wandering around beautiful gardens, you will be delighted to find many different gardens to explore in this area, from large formal gardens and parks to smaller, lesser known gardens and speciality plant nurseries and garden centres. Cothay Manor near Wellington is a plantsman’s paradise, with many garden rooms set off a 200yd yew walk. There is also a cottage garden, a bog garden, courtyards and a river walk surrounding this small medieval manor house. Bicton Park Botanical Gardens in Devon has over 60 acres to enjoy, including an Italian garden, many rare and beautiful species, an arboretum, palm house, tropical house, and much more! There are also all weather play areas, a countryside museum, woodland railway, restaurant, gift shop and garden centre. For more information on gardens in Devon and Somerset, visit www.visitclassicgardens.co.uk and www.gardengourmets.co.uk

West Somerset Steam Railway

Running between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead, the West Somerset Steam Railway takes you on a leisurely journey through the Somerset countryside and coast, taking in the sights and sounds of the golden age of rail travel. The line passes ten beautifully restored stations as it wanders by the Quantock Hills, with views of Exmoor in the distance, and Wales across the sea from the coast. See www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk

Wildlife and Animal Parks

The wildlife park at Cricket St Thomas near Chard is within easy driving distance and is a wonderful day out for all the family. ( www.wild.org.uk ) There is also Tropiquaria animals and adventure at Washford, near Minehead, where you can stroke a snake or handle a tarantula, and the children can play for hours in the adventure fort! (www.tropiquaria.co.uk)

Grand Western Canal

Visitors staying at Whipcott Water Cottages have direct access to the canal, and can enjoy a walk along the towpath, perhaps catching a glimpse of a kingfisher, dragonfly or even an otter! From 2007 we hope to have small boats for hire to guests, for trips along the length of the canal, and there will also be private moorings available. From Tiverton you can take a trip on one of the last remaining horse-drawn barges. This takes you from Tiverton Wharf up the canal to East Manley, where you have the opportunity to take a short walk to see the only aqueduct on the Grand Western Canal, before the leisurely journey back to Tiverton. For more information see www.horseboat.co.uk

There are many other visitor attractions too numerous to mention, including mysterious caves, cider farms, a miniature pony centre, model villages and railways, family fun parks, museums, boat trips, and much much more! Whatever the weather, you will always find something interesting and fun to do in this part of the West Country.