The Doone Valley from Malmsmead

A Brendon and Countisbury walk posted on 04/07/16 by Walking Britain. Update : 11/10/16

Starting from Malmsmead, this walk in the Exmoor National Park includes sections in Devon and Somerset. The main focus of the route is areas associated with the Lorna Doone novels. However expect much more with valley and moorland walking in this excellent Exmoor walk.

Technical sheet
Calculated time Calculated time: 3h55[?]
Distance Distance : 7.18mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 807ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 804ft
Highest point Highest point : 1280ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 751ft
Average Difficulty : Average
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Brendon and Countisbury
Starting point Starting point : N 51.216209° / W 3.731724°
Download : GPX track


(D)Starting from the village car park (Grid ref. SS791478) walk to the road junction in the village centre and turn left for Oare. Cross Badgworthy Water and follow the lane for approximately 300 metres and turn left onto the signed footpath. This crosses Oare Water by footbridge with the onward route a right turn to head south-east. This path continues alongside the river to join a lane. Turn right, re-cross Oare Water and continue up to the road junction. Oare church is opposite and is worth a visit.

(1)After visiting the church exit the churchyard and turn right along the lane and almost immediately right again onto a bridleway, which climbs gently. At the first junction fork right alongside a small wood. The path/track contours around the hillside before descending to Cloud Farm.

(2)Cross Badgworthy Water and turn left (upstream) to follow a clear track. This leads without any need for further directions to the site of a Medieval village (Grid ref. 792444), which is a short way west of the river. Unfortunately there are few obvious remains in this pleasant spot, which nevertheless makes an ideal place for a rest and refreshments.

(3)Heading northwest along a clear bridleway the route climbs gently onto the moors to reach a gate (Grid ref. 781452). Go through the gate and continue along the bridleway with good views of the open moors. Crossing the northern flank of Withycombe Ridge the route descends to Lankcombe Ford.

(4)Cross this and bear right to pick up a clear track heading just north of east. Stay on this as it contours around the east side of Malmsmead Hill to reach Easter Lane (Grid ref. 781473). Note - this track is not shown on the OS maps. A more direct route leaves the route described at grid ref. 777460). Reaching Easter Lane, turn right and after a kilometre you arrive back in Malmsmead.(A)

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. mi 0 - Malmsmead village car park
1 : mi 0.93 - alt. mi 0.93 - Oare Church
2 : mi 1.84 - alt. mi 1.84 - Cloud Farm
3 : mi 3.41 - alt. mi 3.41 - Medieval village
4 : mi 5.06 - alt. mi 5.06 - Lankcombe Ford
D/A : mi 7.18 - alt. mi 7.18 - Malmsmead village car park

Useful Information

Lorna Doone was a fictional character created by R.D. Blackmore using the landscape of this area as a basis for the novel. The walk starts in the pleasant village of Malmsmead and continues to Oare Church before heading up the valley containing Badgworthy Water to finish with a walk across the moors.

Click here to see how to reach the starting point.

Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

See map and elevation chart

Opinions and comments


Number of opinions : 1
Description quality : 4.00/4
Routemap quality : 4.00/4
Walk interest : 4.00/4
Global average : 4.00/4

on Mon 30 Oct 2017 09:35:32 CET : Re: The Doone Valley from Malmsmead

Date of walk : 11/10/17
Description quality : Very good
Routemap quality : Very good
Walk interest : Very good

We walked this on a dry October day and really enjoyed the variety of farmland, wooded riverside and moorland - and always useful to have a cafe/pub at the finish!
There was one section of bridleway after Oare church though that was extremely chewed up by cattle and horses and very muddy and difficult to walk through - so just be prepared for this.

See the full discussion on this walk to find out more.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.