Watersmeet House: A romantic undertaking

Exmoor winters can be harsh, but stunning © Karen Birch

Exmoor winters can be harsh, but stunning

Watersmeet House was designed and built in 1832 as a fishing lodge and romantic retreat by the Reverend Walter Halliday, who was lord of the manor at Glenthorne near Countisbury.

Halliday was a disciple of the romantic poets Coleridge, Wordsworth, Southey and Shelley, who were all drawn to Lynmouth's unspoilt and dramatic scenery, which they likened to that of the Alps.

When he built Watersmeet he had a plaque inscribed with lines from a Watersmeet poem. To find it look up when you go through the front door.

Halliday died in 1872, followed by his wife in 1886. In 1901 the new leasees started serving teas to passers-by - a tradition which continues to this very day.

The Watersmeet Valley, some 340 acres including Watersmeet House, was gifted to the National Trust in 1934 by the Lynmouth & Lynton District Association, which raised £8,500 to enable the purchase of the land, securing its future for generations to come.