How to spot history in your OS map
Mary-Ann Ochota, OS GetOutside Champion & author of Hidden Histories: A Spotter’s Guide to the British Landscape reveals some of the most common archaeological clues you’ll spot on an OS map.
Discover some of the best long walks on offer in Exmoor National Park
If you want to blow away the cobwebs and spend a pleasant day walking in the countryside, Exmoor National Park has the perfect blend of both countryside and coastline, with splendid views, rocky headlands, woods, wild moorland and hilly outposts. It’s everything you could want from a day between Somerset and Devon exploring the great outdoors.
For people of general ability, a steady day’s walk will cover between 7 and 10 miles. The best map to have is the Ordnance Survey Explorer OL9, which will give you all the information you need about walking trails.
Here are some of our favourite long walks in Exmoor:
This walk covers 10 miles and is a circular route from Challacombe to the Chains in the North West of Exmoor. Chains Barrow is the highest point in the Chains at 487 Metres (1,599 feet). During the walk, you’ll see the source of the River Barle and pass the reservoir at Pinkery Pond. There are a number of ancient monuments including the 1742 gravestone, the burial mound and (with a short detour) the ancient Longstone.
There’s some moderate hills to climb and walking boots are recommended. If you only want to cover six miles, start your walk at Goat Hill.
This is an 8 mile walk which is mainly flat. There are a couple of fairly steep hills, but most walkers should be able to climb them without a problem. This route is circular, starting and finishing in Malmesmead. You’ll pass over moorland, follow the banks of Badgeworthy Water and experience some spectacular views.
Before you end the walk back at Malmesmead, you’ll pass Cloud Farm which sells cream teas, perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up.
Another steady walk with only one hill. The walk is under 8 miles, starting and finishing in Simonsbath. You’ll be walking along the Barle riverbank and coming into moorland. As well as the beautiful views, you’ll also pass an Iron Age Fort and an old Copper Mine. If you reach the Royal Oak Pub in time for lunch, treat yourself to something tasty and have a rest before you continue back up to Simonbath.
This is a little more challenging as it is fairly hilly and it’s a 9 mile walk. You start off at Coombe Park, in the National Trust Car Park and follow the route down to Watersmeet. There you have a climb up to Countisbury, where there is a church. Walking along the South West Coast Pass will give you wonderful views along the coast and over to Wales.
When you reach Lynmouth Harbour there are plenty of things to see, including the National Park Visitors Centre, the Limekilns and the Cliff Railway. Continuing your walk will take you to the Valley of the Rocks and then down towards Lynbridge and on to Coombe Park.