Exmoor Gate Lodges
    Things to do
  Guests staying at Exmoor Gate Lodges will find a wide variety of things to see and do, from a gentle walk to a full day's hiking, historical houses and classic gardens to visit, interesting visitor attractions including a steam train journey, mysterious caves, a cider farm, and a wealth of picturesque villages to explore.  

Exmoor itself provides opportunities for many outdoor activities, including horse riding, cycling, fishing, sailing and other watersports.

Walking

The varied landscapes of Exmoor are wonderful places to explore on foot, and with over 700 miles of footpaths and bridleways it is easy to follow a map or guidebook, whether you like to walk for miles across the wild heather moorland, or just to enjoy a gentle walk beside a stream in a valley, watching the wildlife. Exmoor National Park authority runs a series of guided walks throughout the season, many with a wildlife or historical theme. Details about these walks and other information can be found at www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk.

The South West Coast Path runs from Minehead, on the Somerset coast, to Poole in Dorset. From Exmoor Gate Lodges you can walk sections of the rugged North Devon coast, and the gentler South Devon coastline, with its sandy beaches and sweeping views, as both coastlines are within easy driving distance.

Horse riding

Exmoor has some of the best riding country in England. You can ride for miles across the moor and through the valleys without ever having to go on a road. There are several riding stables in the area, catering for all abilities, from complete beginners to experienced riders. For more information about riding in the area go to www.equinetourism.co.uk

Fishing

There are many rivers, lakes and ponds in this area which provide the keen fisherman with opportunities to fish for different species. There are also several fisheries nearby where you can go fly fishing and coarse fishing. On the coast there is excellent sea fishing, and you can hire a boat for a sea fishing trip from Watchet, Minehead or Porlock Weir. The scenic Wimbleball Lake is close to Exmoor Gate. This large lake is surrounded by meadows and woodland, where you can follow the waymarked walks around the lake, go fishing, or go sailing, canoeing or windsurfing. For more information about Wimbleball Lake, go to www.swlakestrust.org.uk

Shopping

Exmoor Gate is within easy reach of several towns with good shopping centres. Taunton, Tiverton, and Wellington are all close by, with Exeter just a short drive down the motorway. Clarkes Village at Street in Somerset has 90 stores with up to 60% off retail prices, restaurants, cafes and a children’s play area.

Places to visit

Historical Houses

The National Trust owns several interesting properties in the area, many with beautiful gardens. Dunster Castle near Minehead is an impressive castle on top of a wooded hill, with sub-tropical terraced gardens, 17th century stables, and a working water mill. Killerton and Knightshayes Court are both large country houses with lovely gardens in Devon. In Somerset there is Montacute House near Yeovil, Barrington Court near Ilminster, and Lytes Cary Manor, near Charlton Mackrell. Holnicote Estate near Porlock is also owned by the National Trust. This is a really special part of Exmoor, with ancient woodlands at Horner, and the picturesque villages of Selworthy, Bossington, and Allerford with its quaint packhorse bridge.

Classic Gardens

If you enjoy wandering around beautiful gardens, you will be delighted to find many different gardens to explore in this area, from large formal gardens and parks to smaller, lesser known gardens and speciality plant nurseries and garden centres. Cothay Manor, close to Exmoor Gate, is a plantsman’s paradise, with many garden rooms set off a 200yd yew walk. There is also a cottage garden, a bog garden, courtyards and a river walk surrounding this small medieval manor house. Bicton Park Botanical Gardens in Devon has over 60 acres to enjoy, including an Italian garden, many rare and beautiful species, an arboretum, palm house, tropical house, and much more! There are also all weather play areas, a countryside museum, woodland railway, restaurant, gift shop and garden centre. For more information on gardens in Somerset and Devon, visit www.visitclassicgardens.co.uk, and www.gardengourmets.co.uk

West Somerset Steam Railway

Running between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead, the West Somerset Steam Railway takes you on a leisurely journey through the countryside and along the coast, taking in the sights and sounds of the golden age of rail travel. The line passes ten beautifully restored stations as it wanders by the Quantock Hills, with views of Exmoor in the distance, and Wales across the sea from the Somerset coast.
See www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk

Wildlife and Animal Parks

The wildlife park at Cricket St. Thomas near Chard is within easy driving distance and is a wonderful day out for all the family. Go to www.wild.org.uk for more information. Closer at hand is Tropiquaria animals and adventure at Washford, near Minehead (www.tropiquaria.co.uk), where you can stroke a snake or handle a tarantula, and the children can play for hours in the adventure fort!

Other Attractions

The mysterious caves at Wookey Hole and Cheddar are well worth a visit. Cheddar has a spectacular gorge as well as the famous caves, and you can try some real Cheddar cheese! Wookey Hole (www.wookey.co.uk) near Wells in Somerset has some of Britain’s most spectacular caves, and many other attractions for all the family whatever the weather.

Sheppy’s Cider Farm and Museum is a short distance away from Exmoor Gate Lodges. Here you can sample some Somerset cider and learn how it is made. See www.sheppyscider.com

Bishops Lydeard Mill features a working water wheel, village trades, a tea room and lovely gardens. The mill and mill house have a Grade 2 listing as places of historic interest, and proceeds from this project are donated to five different charities. See www.bishopslydeardmill.co.uk

For something a bit different, you can take a trip on a horse-drawn barge on the Grand Western Canal from Tiverton in Devon. This will take you on a magical 2 ½ hour journey along the canal during which you will hear some tales and history of the canal, and experience the peace and tranquillity of travelling by horse-drawn barge. For more information see www.horseboat.co.uk