Exmoor’s Hoar Oak Cottage

(For hiking routes in Exmoor, browse our Coleridge Way walking itineraries).

Exmoor is perhaps one of the lesser-known destinations for walking holidays in the UK, but with its steep valleys, wild moorlands and outstanding coastline it is not a walking destination to be missed.

Hoar Oak Cottage sits snugly on the side of the river valley, just above Hoar Oak Water. Once a bustling shepherds’ cottage, Hoar Oak is now the type of ruin that an imaginative visitor might feel they could live in. The just-intact windows frame views that give a hint of past pastoral activity and each empty doorway leads on to another intriguing room. It is certainly a place to stop for a while and contemplate.

A walk to Hoar Oak Cottage requires a map and a compass but it is worth the navigational effort and would be a welcome addition to any walking holiday in England. On the way, take in Cheriton Ridge with its fine views and peaty moorland. Eyes should remain peeled as one advantage of walking holidays on Exmoor is the opportunity to spot deer.

Hoaroak Water itself is a modest but beautiful river. It bubbles over rocks and forms pools as it flows down the valley. With steeply active sections further up and grassy riverside plateaux lower down, it too offers possibilities for contemplation and even, at points, a bit of wild swimming.

When booking any of our walks in England, one important location consideration is the possibility of planning variety into walking days. In one day’s walking on Exmoor, it is possible to stride along peaty ridges, wander up babbling streams and dream of flying off vertiginous cliff paths. Exmoor has the ability to surprise and entertain and coming across Hoar Oak Cottage is certainly the type of surprise that will ensure the memory-making ability of any walking holiday.

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