Rockvale House is well placed to act as a base to visit much of North Devon.
Many interesting tourist attractions are just a short journey away, either by car or bus (bus services operate from Lynton to Minehead and Barnstaple) or you can leave your car in Rockvale House’s private carpark whilst you explore the locality around Lynton and Lynmouth on foot.
The twin towns of Lynton and Lynmouth
Lynton and Lynmouth are jointly called ‘Little Switzerland’, you will probably see why when you look up at Lynton from Lynmouth, it is quite spectacular. Though their town centres are less than a kilometre apart Lynton towers 200m above Lynmouth.
Find out more at visitlyntonandlynmouth.com
Though small, Lynton is set in one of the prettiest parts of the Devon countryside. The town centre is a 2 minute walk from Rockvale House and caters for most requirements, there are Restaurants and Tea Rooms, a Post Office, Tourist Information Centre, Craft Centre and even a Cinema.
The Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway
The easiest way to travel between Lynton and Lynmouth is via the Cliff Railway which regularly runs up and down the cliffs from Lynton at the top to Lynmouth at the bottom.
This railway is a tourist attraction in its own right being a very early example of environmentally friendly engineering, built in 1888 it is entirely powered by water.
Find out more at cliffrailwaylynton.co.uk
The Valley of Rocks
The Valley of Rocks is an extremely picturesque area just to the west of Lynton, a very pleasant place to walk. The unique rock formations either side of the valley which give it its name are truly spectacular.
The valley runs towards the sea, but ends 100m above it and from here you have excellent views across the Bristol Channel to Wales, hills rise either side to 200m and 250m.
The area is much favoured by the infamous wild goats of Lynton, of which there are over 100, and a small group of Exmoor ponies, around 5, all male.
The paths are well made and easy to walk, with conveniently spaced seats on which to rest and take in the views.
How to get there
The Valley of Rocks can be reached from Rockvale House as a 20 minute walk, a short car ride (there is a car park and Tea Room) or by walking the scenic route along the North Coast Path, a very pleasant hours walk with sea views over to Wales on a clear day.
The Bristol Channel coast and the countryside of Exmoor.
In the immediate vicinity of Lynton there is both beautiful countryside and spectacular sea views.
You have to go to Lynmouth to access the coast directly but in many ways the views are better from the higher vantage points offered by the land around Lynton.
From the top of Hollerday Hill, just above Rockvale House there are panoramic views of the coast around Lynmouth and beyond. Although the beach at Lynmouth is stony, more traditional sandy beaches can be found at Ilfracombe and Woolacombe which are around 40 minutes away by car.
Lynton is situated in the Exmoor National Park which stretches from the sea over the moorland to the south.
This beautiful area is home to the Exmoor ponies and goats. The goats at times used to take shelter in Rockvale House’s car park and in the streets and gardens of Lynton. They have featured on television and even have their own page on Facebook. They are more closely managed now though and generally stick to the Valley of the Rocks itself.
The History of Lynton and Lynmouth
Though Lynton and Lynmouth are much older, their modern story starts in Victorian times when the towns sprang to prominence as tourist attractions.
Hollerday House and Sir George Newnes
Rockvale House sits mid way up Hollerday Hill, the site of the ruins of Hollerday House. Built in the late 19th century by Sir George Newnes (1851-1910) who financed the building of a great part of Lynton, including the Town Hall, the Cliff Railway and the Lynton to Barnstaple railway.
There is no longer anything left of the house as it was destroyed by fire in 1913 before being finally demolished in the 1950s. The grounds are now overrun with the wood that once surrounded it. This area is a tranquil place to walk or picnic; if you are very lucky you may see one of the deer that inhabit the area.
The water powered Cliff Railway is a major tourist attraction that from February to October regularly transfers people between Lynton and Lynmouth.
In Victorian times, the tourist arrived by train on the Lynton and Barnstaple railway. This narrow gauge railway is now closed, however a trust has been set up with the aim of reopening the 19 mile line. A small 2 mile stretch of the line is already open and some refurbished and rebuilt original engines and carriages regularly take passengers from Woody Bay to Killington Lane Halt.
More information is available on the Lynton and Barnstaple railway website.
Iron Age Fort
The top of Hollerday Hill is believed to be the location of an Iron Age fort. Although there is nothing to be seen of the fort now, there is a very good view of the surrounding area, especially looking down over the Valley of Rocks.