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Tuesday, April 20, 2010
L ynmouth nestles at the foot of imposing cliffs, some 500 feet below Lynton. This area offers some of the steepest hills and twistiest roads the county has to offer.
Most people still remember Lynton and Lynmouth for the flood disaster which occurred in the summer of 1952. More than 30 people lost their lives when the river was transformed into a raging torrent by heavy storms on Exmoor.
Many properties were destroyed and lives were changed for ever. But such a disaster cannot happen again. River beds have now been widened, Lynmouth has been rebuilt and the twin villages have regained their picturesque composure.
Linking the villages is the famous Cliff Railway, which is run on water power! A ride both up and down is not to be missed. The views are absolutely spectacular and this attraction now has a restaurant facility.
The Victorians named the area Little Switzerland and publisher Sir John Newnes, who had a home hereabouts, built the Swiss-style Lynton Town Hall.
Lynmouth has a pretty harbour which attracts visitors like a magnet and there are plenty of shops for browsers, along with other facilities. Lynmouth Harbour Memorial Hall has a model of the village as it was before the tragic flood of 1952, along with a display of memorabilia and photographs.
You can also try your hand at brass rubbing in a hobbycraft centre, watch a model railway, take a boat trip from the harbour, and visit the Lyn and Exmoor Museum which boasts its own ghost!
If you fancy something a bit different for a family day out, why not take a ride on the award-winning Lynton and Barnstaple Railway nearly 1,000 feet up on Exmoor with stunning views down the valley to the sea.
The railway was constructed to the unusually narrow gauge of only 1ft 111/2 inches, with engines and carriages specially built for it to an equally human scale. The line was opened in 1898 to transport holidaymakers to Lynton and Lynmouth, where Exmoor meets the sea, but was forced to close by the rise of motor transport in 1935.
In 2004, however, a short section of line was re-opened from Woody Bay Station on the A39 three miles southwest of Lynton. The station itself has been beautifully restored to all its 1930s charm and now houses a well-stocked gift shop and caf as well as a ticket office, with free parking.
Trains currently run for a mile to Killington Lane Halt on the edge of the village of Parracombe.
For times of services pick up a timetable or visit the railways website at: www.lynton-rail.co.uk
You will be made most welcome.