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Wheddon Cross by Ian Rob, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Wheddon Cross

The Moorland village of Wheddon Cross, and its adjoining sister hamlet of Cutcombe (Cuda’s Valley), occupies a spot on the Coleridge Way that has been a traveller’s resting point for centuries. This is officially the highest village in Exmoor National Park at nearly 1000 ft, and you are very aware of the looming horizon of Dunkery Beacon and Exmoor’s highest point, which looks down on you wherever you are in the village, whilst below runs the deeply wooded Avill Valley. It is this landscape that is said to have provided the line in the hymn “All things bright and beautiful" -   "The purple headed mountain, the river running by."

Its location owes much to the turnpike that was built here in the 1820’s on a high-level route for travellers, and those driving livestock between Dunster and Taunton and in fact a cattle market still operates to this day. The church here suggests a much older history dating back to the Norman Conquest and is listed in the Doomsday Book (1086). Today the village has a different feel to those on the rest of the walk, much more an isolated moorland crossroads, open and spacious, as opposed to the usual tightly packed hidden valley hamlets.  It provides several excellent options for the weary Coleridge Way walker with one large coaching inn and two guest houses, one of which can also provide evening meals and cream teas if booked in advance (though we doubt you will need the moorland hairdresser at this point). The village has an excellent shop with and ATM and Post Office.

A restful stop before the climb onto Exmoor, though in the early Spring you will find the nearby Avill Valley (which the Coleridge Way travels through) hosts thousands of visitors who come to see its famous Snowdrop Valley - when hidden wooded riverbanks just below the moor come alive with literally carpets of the white snowdrop.

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