See Exmoor by boat and by coach in one trip

THE stunning scenery and teeming wildlife of the rugged and remote Exmoor coast can now be seen from land and sea – going up by boat and back in a coach in one trip thanks to a unique partnership between two North Devon tour operators. The season is far f

THE stunning scenery and teeming wildlife of the rugged and remote Exmoor coast can now be seen from land and sea - going up by boat and back in a coach in one trip thanks to a unique partnership between two North Devon tour operators.

The season is far from over for Ocean Blue Charter, which offers wildlife and coastal cruises from Ilfracombe and has teamed up with Mark Booker of Mark's Mini Coaches to offer the best of both worlds in one never-to-be-forgotten trip, available throughout September and October for locals and visitors alike.

Climb aboard the Ocean Blue at Ilfracombe Harbour and during a two hour voyage to Lynmouth experience the awesome "Hidden Edge" of Exmoor, which can only been seen from the sea.

After two hours ashore at Lynmouth, climb aboard one of Mark's executive coaches for the return leg along the picturesque coast road to Ilfracombe.

The next trips are this coming Tuesday (September 1) and Wednesday (Sept 2)

The dramatic sheer cliffs of Exmoor rear hundreds of feet into the air, their foam wracked foundations the grief of many a sailor, but are also a haven for a spectacular array of wildlife.

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The early autumn, when the sea is at its warmest, is an excellent time to spot seals, porpoise and dolphins, as well as the rare sunfish and hundreds of sea birds from gulls cormorants and kittiwakes to gannets and oyster catchers, while the lonely cry of the peregrine falcon is heard overhead as it hunts the cliff edges.

An apparently permanent but little known Exmoor colony of Atlantic grey seals means there is a high chance of spotting these delightful marine mammals.

"Seen from the sea, this hidden edge of Exmoor is striking, with its autumn hues and 800 foot high cliffs, which are the highest in England," said Ocean Blue skipper Alan Kift, who has more than 20 years of experience along the coastline.

"The heather of the cliffs is now a deep purple and the effect is breathtaking. People always stand in awe and tell us what a fantastic experience it has been - they say they had not realised the North Devon coast was so beautiful."

The journey back to Ilfracombe aboard one of Mark Booker's coaches is no less inspiring, along a winding narrow road through stunning scenery that can hold its own against any in the British Isles.

The majestic Valley of the Rocks is one of the wonders of North Devon and always draws a gasp of awe from any first time visitor.

Then the coach will follow the coast road, where wild deer are often seen, through the seclusion of Woody Bay and on to the picturesque Hunters Inn before heading homeward.

In the meantime another group of 12 will have enjoyed the experience in the opposite direction and be boarding the Ocean Blue ready to make their own sea journey of discovery back along the coast to Ilfracombe.

Mark and Alan met by chance, but after chatting realised the potential of boat and coach sightseeing operators joining forces, enabling them to promote the special beauty of North Devon and their respective to twice as many people in one unique trip.

The full package costs �25 and is available, weather permitting, on September 1, 2,15, 16, 29 and 30 plus October 1, 2, 12, 13, 14, 28 and 29. Coach pick up is from Ilfracombe Bus Station and Ocean Blue is boarded at the entrance to the pier. Booking is essential on (01271) 864763 or 07969 1984298.

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