174 Route 22. SIMONSBATH. From Ilfracombe
about >/2 M-, an(i tnen follow a footpath which runs along the stream. A
stream descending from the right into the Badgeworthy Water after about
V* M:. more is said to be that which suggested the 'Waterslide' in Mr.
Blackmore's well-known novel. Readers of 'Lorna Doone' will he disap¬
pointed if they expect to find a close resemblance between the descriptions
of the book and the actual facts of nature. The 'Waterslide' is a very
mild edition of the one up which little John Ridd struggled so painfully
and the *Doone Valley itself, instead of being defended by a 'fence of
sheer rock' and approached by 'three rough arches, jagged, black, and
terrible', is enclosed by rounded though somewhat bleak moorland hills.
The home of the Doones is a side-valley opening to the right about >/j M.
beyond the Waterslide; and remains of the foundations of their huts
may be observed on each side of the mound which divides it into two
branches. Towards the close of the 17th cent, this valley was the strong¬
hold of the Doones, a band of outlaws, who lived here, like a Highland
clan on the Lowland borders, by levying black-mail on the country round.
The tradition of their terrible strength and cruelty is said to linger still
in the neighbourhood; particularly the story of their fiendish cruelty in
wantonly murdering a sleeping infant, an act which finally roused the
country to exterminate the entire nest of vipers. But see 'Lorna Doone'.
By the direct road-route via, Countisbury (comp. p. 175), Millslade,
and Malmsmead, the Doone Valley is 8V2 M. from Lynmouth, and walkers
may make it 1 M. shorter by passing direct from Millslade over the moor
to Badgeworthy (see p. 173). We may now return by any of the routes
above indicated; or we may farther vary the route by following the road
from Rockford (p. 173) to Oh M.) Brendon Church and P/< M.) Ilford
Bridges, near Combe Park Gate. We are here about 2V2 M. from Lynton
or Lynmouth. The road straight on leads to Lyn Bridge (p. 171) and Lyn¬
ton; that to the right descends by the Combe Park Water to a point
above the Watersmeet (p. 173) and so to Lynmouth. Summerhouse Hill
may be included by a digression from either road (guide-posts). — Walkers,
who wish to see some of the wildest parts of Exmoor, may proceed to
the W. over the hill between the Badgeworthy valley and the (3'/2 M.)
Chalk Water valley and descend (left) along the latter stream to (i'/t M.)
Oareford (p. 175), which is 2 M. by road (via Oare) from Malmsmead.
2. To Simonsbath, 10 M. For this excursion, which takes us into
the heart of Exmoor, we may start from 'either Lynton or Lynmouth.
From the former we proceed by Lyn Bridge to (2L/2 M.) Ilford Bridges
(see above), while from the latter we reach the same point by the road
by which we began our walk to Watersmeet. From Ilford Bridges we
follow the road leading due 8. (to the E. the road to Brendon, see above),
and after V2 M. turn to the left, passing Bridge Ball. We next ('/< M.)
turn to the right, beyond the gate of Brendon Parsonage, and thence
follow the road which leads to the S., straight across Exmoor (see below),
to (61/2 M.) Simonsbath. The Forest proper is entered at (272 M.) the
so-called Two Gates (now one only), where we pass into Somerset. To
the left is the head of the Doone Valley (see above); to the right rise Chap¬
man Barrows (1570 ft.) and Exe Head Hill. About l'/4 M. farther on we
cross the Exe. — 2'/2 M. Simonsbath (Rufus Inn), on the Barle, is named
from a pool a little higher up, which tradition connects with Sigismund,
the dragon-slayer. From Simonsbath we go on (S.E.) by the Tor Steps to
(16 M.) Dulverton (see p. 134) or (due S.) to (10 M.) South Molton (p. 134).
The return-route to Lynmouth may be varied by proceeding to the E.
to (4V2 M.) Exford (p. 175) and thence to the N. to (5 M.) the White Stones
(p. 175; 10 M. from Lynmouth).
Other excursions which no visitor to Lynton-Lynmouth should fail
to make are those to the (IV2 M.) Valley of Rocks, (1 M.) Lee, and (4 M.)
Heddon's Mouth, and to (7 M.) Glenthorne by the cliff-path (see p. 176).
These should be preferred to the Simonsbath route. Short walks may
be taken to (2 M.) Countisbury via. the Tors, to Hollerdy Hill, at the E.
end of the North Walk (p. 172), to Sillery Sands (p. 175), etc.