Countisbury figure-of-eight walk

Walking trail

An interesting walk that crosses a variety of landscapes, including the rare opportunity to walk along the bottom of a deep Devon combe without having to wade through a river. The walk goes through a large sessile oak woodland noted for its beauty, traverses an ancient linhay and passes alongside one of the most important Iron Age forts in Devon. There are panoramic views reaching from the Bristol Channel, across the East Lyn Valley and over to the high parts of Exmoor above Brendon.

Wooded valleys of Watersmeet


Map route for Countisbury figure-of-eight walk


National Trust car park at Countisbury, grid ref SS747496


Walk out of the National Trust car park at Countisbury to the main road and turn right. Please be aware of traffic as this is a public road. Walk down the hill in the direction of Lynmouth, with the inn on your left and a row of cottages to your right. Countisbury is thought to mean 'camp on the headland' and comes from the spectacular Iron Age fort on Wind Hill about half a mile west of the Blue Ball Inn.


Cross the road at the end of the row of cottages and take the signposted National Trust Centenary path. Follow this to the right, signposted 'Lynmouth, Watersmeet', through the metal gate and across the field to a wooden gate. Go through the gate and walk a few paces down to the fingerpost that signs Footpath Lynmouth 2 miles, 'Winstons Footpath Watersmeet and 'Countisbury Off Road Path.' Turn right here, towards Lynmouth, where it skirts around the small dew pond supported by a dry stone ditch. From here there's a panaromic view down Chiselcombe.


Approximately 90yd (80m) along you'll come to another fingerpost signed 'Countisbury' to the right and 'Lynmouth' to the left. Take the grassy path to your left that skirts high along the north-west side of Chiselcombe. As you walk, look over to your left to the sweeping views across the East Lyn Valley and to the grassy swathe of another Iron Age earthworks, Myrtleberry North, in the distance. In autumn, bright yellow gorse flowers colour this section of the walk and on a sunny day fill the air with their coconut fragrance. You can also see a wide variety of fungi here - on trees, in the grass and on the stems of the gorse. Please do not touch or pick any as many species are poisonous.


Go through the wooden gate. To your left is a large area of sessile oaks called Westerwood that stretches along this side of the valley all the way to the outskirts of Lynmouth. The trunks and boughs of many of the trees are covered in lichen and moss, testament to the fact that Devon has some of the cleanest air in the British Isles. Take a close look at the dry stone ditch to your right as you walk along - home to a wide variety of small plants, providing an important habitat for insects. As the woodlands open out you can, for a short while, look up to your right towards the base of the Iron Age fort of Wind Hill.

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At the next fingerpost, take the fork to the left signposted 'Lynmouth 1 1/4 via Arnold's Linhay', and follow this path as it winds its way down the side of the valley to the river. Keep a keen eye out for wildlife in the woods; if you are very fortunate you may see roe deer, easily identified by their white tails. This wood is also a haven for birdlife and even in winter you'll hear birdsong competing with the rush of the East Lyn River as it makes its way to the sea. In the autumn and winter when they are stripped of foliage, you can see the wonderful shapes made by the oaks in Westerwood as their boughs have twisted and curled in their search for light.

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As you walk through the wood look for a fingerpost on your right - it's where the path you're walking on reaches a T-junction, but it's easy to miss. At this fingerpost turn sharp left off Arnold's Linhay, which continues on to Lynmouth, and take the path signposted 'Watersmeet-Rockford'. You're now walking upstream with the East Lyn River on your right.


Where the path forks there's a fingerpost signed 'Watersmeet Riverside Walk' to the right and 'Watersmeet Woodland Walk' to the left. Turn left and follow the path as it meanders its way along the side of the valley.


At the next 3-finger signpost, that has Chiselcombe written on its vertical post, turn left, signed 'Footpath Countisbury 1/2 mile.' (You can choose to follow the path straight on at this point, signed 'Watersmeet 1/2 mile', and have one of our famous cream teas in our tea shop - please check the website for opening times. You can then retrace your steps to this point and carry on with your walk).


After a short climb, go through the wooden gate and stay on the grassy trail as it winds its way up the bottom of this steep-sided valley called Chiselcombe. During the last Ice Age the summer thawing of the top layer of permafrost resulted in a slow flow of loose rock and soil downslope, clearly visible as the large areas of scree on both sides of the path.

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At the head of the valley you'll return to the fingerpost mentioned in point 2 of this walk. At this fingerpost turn to your right along the path signed 'Winstons Footpath Watersmeet. This path is named after Winston Singleton who was Warden of Watersmeet for 34 years and built the path in the 1970s. As this path climbs and follows the contours around the hillside there are panoramic views stretching from the Bristol Channel, across to Wind Hill and Myrtleberry North hill forts and over to Brendon Common to the east.


Follow the path, through a gate and down some steps into another area of oak woodland. When you come to the 4-finger signpost turn left, signed 'Countisbury ½ mile'. Follow the wide grassy path through the gorse, up into the field on Trilly Ridge. There are spectacular 360 degree views from the waymark post along the path.


Walk across the field to the top right corner to a signpost showing 'Countisbury'. Go through the field gate and walk straight along the green track back towards Countisbury, through a couple more gates until you reach the main road. Please be careful here and watch out for traffic. Turn left and walk a short distance back to the car park. We hope that you enjoyed this walk.

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National Trust car park at Countisbury, grid ref SS747496

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Countisbury figure-of-eight walk


This figure-of-eight walk follows footpaths and grassy tracks across hilly terrain. There are a some long inclines but only one short section is steep. There are also steps along this trail. Parts of this walk may be muddy and slippery in the wet so please ensure you wear suitable footwear for this walk. Dogs welcome; please keep on lead if there is livestock in surrounding fields. No litter bins along the trail so please take back with you. Thank you.

Countisbury figure-of-eight walk

Contact us

Telephone: 01598 753348
Countisbury figure-of-eight walk

How to get here

Countisbury, North Devon
By train

Barnstaple 20 miles (32km); Minehead 15.7 miles (25km)

By road

National Trust car park at Countisbury 2.7 miles (4.5km) out of Lynmouth or 15.7 miles (25km) from Minehead on A39, opposite Blue Ball Inn. Postcode for Sat Nav: EX35 6NE

By foot

Access via the South West Coast Path

By bus

Service 39, Minehead to Lynmouth, alight Blue Ball Inn, Countisbury

By bicycle

National Cycle Network Regional Route 51 passes near the property. See Sustrans.

Countisbury figure-of-eight walk

Facilities and access

  • Dogs welcome