Walking The Coleridge Way, Somerset
Luggage Transfers cover the full Coleridge Way route. Established in 2009, we move over 36,000 bags each year for visitors walking and cycling throughout the South West.
Below, you’ll find more information about the route, a popular itinerary for The Coleridge Way, as well as a link to our walker friendly accommodation for the entire route.
An opportunity to walk in the steps of the famous Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, author of such poems as The Rime of The Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan. This epic landscape gave inspiration not only to his prose, but that of his friends Dorothy and William Wordsworth who both travelled here to stay with Coleridge. This trail extends from North Somerset, through both the Quantock and Brendon Hills onwards to Exmoor National Park. Be inspired by the same views, open landscapes and welcoming villages and towns. The route suggested below is at a relaxed pace allowing for further exploration of the area if you wish. Days can be lengthened to suit.
Popular walking itinerary on the Coleridge Way
Your adventure starts rightfully at Coleridge Cottage, now owned by The National Trust and certainly worth a visit before setting out to follow in the owner and poet Coleridge. A day of ruined castles, open heath and gorse land interspersed with woods and trackways lays ahead. Traversing the Quantocks and Brendon Hills today brings breath-taking views as well as a walk-through history.
Exmoor National Park is your companion today as you intersperse the walk with trips up and down the Brendon Hills. Forest trails cut swathes through the conifers into avenues of oak and sycamore. This is an Exmoor away from the tourist traps with peace and seclusion as your spoils for the day.
High climbs are the order of the day, starting with the trail up through the Dunster Forest, the next up to the middle Brendon Hills. Of course, you higher you walk the more you are offered great views across the Trail. Lype Hill is the next challenge to await you, at the summit you realise that this place has been inhabited since the Neolithic and Bronze Ages as the burial mounds attest. This is a vantage point which has been looked across for millennia, a clear day gives you a vista as far as Dartmoor to the South, Exmoor to your West and the sea to your North. Thankfully after this epic climb the last part of the day is downhill through farmland and trackways.
The most challenging day of the route awaits, Exmoor National Park and Dunkery Beacon. This route is one of steep sided forests, valleys and moorland streams where the wildness of the park is open to you. Dunkery Beacon can be climbed if you wish but many prefer to circle its base across the moorlands instead. The views of the Vale of Porlock hove into sight as does the sea. Villages begin to re-appear on the map and you finally reach Porlock. Coleridge’s greatest unfinished work Kubla Khan is honoured here with ‘a person from Porlock’ interrupting your reverie at the art installation as he did Coleridge.
Leaving behind the low-lying town of Porlock you climb up through Worthy Wood to join the tyrackway to Ash Farm, the actual site of Coleridges intrusion by the postman. Had this not happened who knows how Kubla Khan would have been laid into the fabric of English poetry. The route joins forces with the South West Coast Path for a short while, before turning inland again to take you to another literary great… Doone Country. Based on true(ish) events of a bride shot dead on her wedding day and the tales of lawlessness amongst the wilds created by R D Blackmore. The hamlet of Oare houses the church of St Mary the Virgin standing as a reminder to the sorry tale, its solitude and quietness partnering the story now written over 300 years ago. The trail follows the River Oare to a memorial to Blackmore himself. Rise above County Gate and the border into Devon before dropping down the valley to journey’s end in Brendon.
The last day and a short one through forest filled valleys, the river gathers pace as it races to meet the sea. There are pools of calm and tranquility which may allow you to dip your toes into the River Oare. The aptly named village of Rock is a chance to stop for refreshments once you have crossed the suspension bridge across the river. Watersmeet is where the rivers from the moors merge before reaching the sea. Stop awhile and partake of a cream tea at the lodge, look above the doorway to read Wordworths prose. The route in Lynmouth offer you two options here. The Coleridge gorge route or detour up onto the Two Moors Way to travel along the gorge ridge over the area the poets named ‘Little Switzerland’. Take the time to travel to the end of the trail just outside of town or use the unique and quirky funicular railway to the Valley of Rocks. The formations found here, and the tales attached to them gave further inspiration to the Romantics. Reach the end of the Coleridge Way at the “Poets Shelter” and we are sure you will find yours too.