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  • Bryan Cath

Combe Martin Car-Free Day Out

Looking down Combe Martin valley
Looking down Combe Martin valley

A great car-free day out around Combe Martin, taking in the town and the surrounding countryside on foot. Or you can take the bus to local villages and attractions along the bus route.


¨ The beach and rock pools

¨ Combe Martin Museum

¨ Pack o’ Cards

¨ 15th Century Church of St Peter Ad Vincula

¨ Combe Martin Wildlife Park

¨ Combe Martin Visitor Centre

¨ Scenic walks along the South West Coast Path

¨ Bus ride to Ilfracombe or Lynton and bus back

¨ Bus rides or drives to local attractions

Walk around Combe Martin

Combe Martin is a good example of early ribbon development. The village nestles in a long steep-sided valley in which the main road follows the lowest level with the houses clustering close by. Because of this one of its claims-to-fame is that the village has the longest High Street in the UK.

The village has a sheltered beach which used to be a harbour but is now enjoyed by locals and holiday-makers. Excellent rock pools can be found during low tide along the raised walkway to the right of the beach. The village is on the western edge of the Exmoor National Park and many excellent walks start from here, either along the South West Coast Path, or inland along the valleys that radiate from the coastline.

By the main car park above the beach, you will find the information centre and Combe Martin Museum. Walking inland along the main road one passes the shops and continuing on one reaches the unusual Pack o’ Cards, a Grade II Ancient Monument with 4 floors, 13 doors and fireplaces on each floor and the building is 52 feet square. Carrying on along the main road one reaches the impressive church of St Peter Ad Vincula. One of the largest churches in North Devon with a 99 feet high tower and impressive rood screen, demonstrates the wealth of the village in the 15th Century. High quality lead silver was mined on the north-eastern slopes of the valley, the strip-field system grew strawberries, and the town had an active harbour exporting wool, silver, hemp and strawberries and importing lime, coal and timber.

At the top end of the village is the popular Combe Martin Wildlife Park with full-sized animated dinosaurs, animals, a train ride and much more for a full day of fun.

Bus outings

Take the 300 from Combe Martin at 0940 or 1255 to Lynmouth. We recommend you check bus times at the Combe Martin Information Centre or at Traveline,

Go to Parracombe on the 300 bus for a 8.9 mile, 5.5 hour walk back to Combe Martin along the South West Coast Path.

Go to Ilfracombe on the 30 or 301, return buses about every half hour.


Watermouth Castle, about 2 miles from Combe Martin on the A399 towards Ilfracombe and on the 30 and 301 bus routes.

Ilfracombe Aquarium, about 6 miles from Combe Martin on the A399 to Ilfracombe. Situated on the harbour, discover the life of underwater inhabitants from high on Exmoor to the sea and Lundy.

Lynton to Barnstaple Railway, Woody Bay, about 10 miles from Combe Martin on the A399 and A39 towards Lynton. A narrow-gauge railway used to run from Barnstaple to Lynton from 1898 till 1935. This attraction has rebuilt a section of line from the original Woody Bay Station with steam trains in this beautiful part of Exmoor.

Arlington Court (NT) is about 6.5 miles from Combe Martin on the A399 to Easter Close Cross, then the B3229 to Kentisbury Ford to go ahead on the A39 before turning left to Arlington Court. Home of the Chichester family with a house, carriage collection, lake and grounds.

Other Car-Free Days Out in this series

¨ Dunster

¨ Lynmouth

¨ Dulverton

¨ Porlock

¨ Exford

¨ Minehead

Tourist Information

Combe Martin Tourist Information Point, Cross Street, Combe Martin. 01271 883319

Public Transport

For up-to-date information please contact Traveline on


Timetables for public transport are correct at the time of going to press, but may be subject to change over the lifetime of this blog. We recommend that you check the current bus timetables and opening times of attractions and eating places before travelling.


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