There are lots of interesting walks and places to visit in and around Challacombe. A reasonably short walk from the middle of Challacombe to Barton Town, takes in a ford with a footbridge; a packhorse bridge; a beech forest; ancient meadows and the Holy Trinity Church, that still retains some of its C13th tower and an early stone font. The lime plaster on the tower is unusual and stunningly white. Near the church are some earthwork remains of former houses and an impressive banked road, which now leads nowhere. Further afield you can walk up to Shoulsbry Castle or visit the highest part of the parish known as The Chains, at 480 metres above sea level. The great Mesolithic ridgeway across Exmoor, thought to be part of the only continuous ridgeway from England to Cornwall, runs along the top of The Chains, passing numerous groups of Neolithic stone sets and Bronze Age barrows. A short drive will give access to many more wonderful walks of varying lengths. Plenty of maps and books to help you choose where to walk can be found in our farmhouse, including the Exmoor Moorland Archaeology Walks Series, all of which are within easy reach from Challacombe.
If you are doing LEJOG we can be enroute and we are happy to transfer luggage for you. As we are only a small B&B we do not have a drying room as such but we have log fires, central heating and a rayburn in our kitchen so are happy to help you dry any wet clothes. There is also a covered porch for your walking boots/wellingtons and coats.
Places to visit
Exmoor National Park was designated Europe’s first International Dark Sky Reserve in Autumn 2011 by the Dark Sky Association. Having lived here a while now one can see why; the low levels of light pollution mean that all that is beautiful about our night skies is just a step away outside our door.
Apart from walking our area is excellent for cycling, golfing, fishing, horse riding and shooting. There are two local hunts, Devon and Somerset Staghounds and the Exmoor Foxhounds, should you wish to partake or watch their ‘meets’ can be found online. There is also a Shoot based in the village.
From Challacombe by car you can easily get to the north and east coastlines of North Devon, the rest of Devon and Cornwall and Dartmoor but of course our beloved Exmoor is also right there for you to explore. Some of our favourite places in and around Exmoor include:
Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway
Valley of the Rocks
Watersmeet House and walks nearby
Woody Bay Railway Station
And don’t forget Dunster by Candlelight on the first weekend in December and the annual Heritage Exmoor Pony Festival
And in case we still haven’t talked you into coming to stay with us herewith some more facts about Exmoor to persuade you:
The Exmoor shoreline is the most remote in England. Due to the height and steepness of the cliffs there are 6 miles of coastline completely inaccessible and landing a small boat in some places is really difficult
Exmoor has the most extensive broadleaved coastal woods in Britain some of which reach the shore
Exmoor has the highest coastline on the British mainland reaching a height of 314 metres at Culbone Hill
Exmoor has the highest and lowest tides in Europe
There are species of plant endemic to Exmoor. Eg. Two species of whitebeam and a lichen
The longest trail in England and Wales, the South west coast path starts at Minehead
The Heath Fritillary butterfly, which is extremely rare is found on Exmoor
The Exmoor Pony is rarer than the Giant Panda
Coastal waterfalls are common on Exmoor
Beech trees grow at a higher altitude on Exmoor than anywhere else in Britain.
Local facilities & amenities
For a small rural UK community, Challacombe has excellent local amenities. A traditional award winning pub, The Black Venus Inn, serves very good home- made food, fine wines and real ales. There is also a shop with a Post Office and local Information Point. The shop stocks a variety of guide books, snacks, groceries and alcohol and serves cream teas in the garden.
Holy Trinity Church, at Barton Town services on the second Sunday in the month at 11.15am and fourth Sunday at 6.30pm and also at the Methodist Chapel in the village at 6.30pm on the first Sunday in the month.
The Black Venus Inn in the village is within walking distance, about 10 minutes on the way there and 20 minutes coming back. Within 30 minutes drive you will find a plethora of eating places to suit all palates and budgets. Kentisbury Grange with a restaurant run by Michael Caines is 10 minutes drive away and there is even a Fish and Chip van in neighbouring Bratton Fleming from 4.30 to 7.30pm on a Friday night.