Valley of the Rocks

Mention ‘train’ to most children and their eyes light up. What about a train that goes up and down a hill, using just water as power…?!
Valley of the Rocks

It took us all the length of the journey to Lynmouth to be able to pronounce the correct word for this type of railway (funicular) and to brace ourselves for the brake smoking, seat clenching drive down down down to sea level amongst wooded valleys. Beautiful though, once you arrive!

When faced with the reverse walk immediately back up the sheer cliff overlooking the rocky harbour beach, or a return ride on the ‘train’, even I jumped at the latter. We scrambled on literally a moment before 50 odd group of foreign students arrived. Phew! Eomer clung to my hand and stayed virtually glued sat by my side while Ramona and Phil teetered on the ‘balcony’ gazing at the spectacular view and waving at the opposite carriage as it descended past us; walkers waved from the bridges which crossed the track ever few meters as the path wove its way up the cliff via a hundred hair pin bends.

Arriving at Lynton, the village at the top, there are two coastal paths leading to another fine North Devon spectacle – The Valley of the Rocks. We chose the higher route, ambling through the trees until popping out virtually on the cliff edge! Ramona didn’t bat and eyelid so I bravely pretended there wasn’t a 2 mile drop to rocky seas just a metre to my side, clasped Ramona’s hand (a little too tightly), and on we trotted.

valley of rocks

The Valley of the Rocks itself has lots of draws : climbing is an obvious one, coastal walks and scenery are another. But don’t forget cricket! Nestled below the “caves of the rock trolls” (Eomer) and “Dollgaldeugh” (Ramona’s Hobbit interpretation of the area) is a perfectly manicured cricket pitch. Wild, long horned goat often are the only audience or players. Ramona was fascinated by these and tried creeping ever closer – no match for these nimble hooved climbers though! We stashed snacks in Olli Octopus rucksack (which everyone always remarks on and both children LOVE!) so found a chair with a view out of the wind for picnic time.

A climb, potter and return journey down the train back to Lynmouth meant there was only one final way to truly finish our adventure. Ice cream. I don’t know about your families, but mine will eat this outside whatever the weather, all year round. Happy days

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About the Author

Ruth Lively-Masters

Ruth Lively-Masters

About Me & Mine

Having lived in N. Devon for the last 12 years, we recently moved across to the other side of the world and now live in New Zealand on the North Island. Our adventurous family includes my husband Phil and 2 small cheeky children: Ramona 8½ and Eomer 5½. I have a wonderful day job as Lead teacher in the sensory unit of an SEN school and spend as much time as possible outside, exploring nature and environments both on our doorstep and further afield.

Favourite place in the world:

Hmm, that's really tough! I loved the west coast forests of British Columbia in Canada, such a humbling, incredible place - tall trees right down to the big ocean waves. There's a whole lot of other places I'd love to explore though...moving to New Zealand has opened up a whole world of new adventures and we’re slowly finding new favourites to add to the list.

Sea, mountains and forests in any combination please!

Favourite things to do outdoors:

Again, lots of favourites. Definitely a mix between walking, cycling, surfing, camping and exploring, combined with taking time to notice detail of a place, hear the sounds and absorb the changes over time and seasons. Active and quiet times are both invigorating for different reasons.

Comments (3)

  • Fiona Moore

    Fiona Moore

    04 November 2014 at 19:36 | #

    It looks lovely, although the walk (and associated drop off) would be a challenge for my nerves!

    We love the old water powered cliff lifts - there is a gorgeous one in Folkestone in Kent too.


  • Monika Strell

    Monika Strell

    05 November 2014 at 17:23 | #

    Went up with the Furnicular many years ago when I lived in the Southwest and just told Corwin about it the other day. Hope to get back there sometime soon


  • Joanne


    08 November 2014 at 12:05 | #

    The funicular is always a must whenever we visit scarborough, although it doesn't sound as impressive (or long) as the one in Lynmouth!


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