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Abtot Logo. Encounter Walking Holidays member number 5357

Combe Martin

Combe Martin offers spectacular scenery, dominated by the Hangman Cliffs (Great Hangman and Little Hangman), marking where Exmoor meets the sea.  Great Hangman is England’s highest cliff face with a height of 820ft.  On the eastern ridge as you arrive you can still see the tunnels and wheelhouse from the days of silver mining, and Coombe Martin silver features in the Crown Jewels themselves! The industry was so important in the Middle Ages that the wars of Edward III and Henry IV were funded on the towns industry.

A welcome haven after a long days walk from Lynmouth, Combe Martin is made up of a pretty horseshoe cove and beach surrounded by undulating pastures to the rear and dominating coastal hills on either side. The village itself clings to a single meandering road that twists over two miles inland from the sea, and it even holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s longest street party. There is a tradition of carnival and celebration, and the town celebrates the annual ritual of ‘the hunting of the Earl of Rone’ over the Spring Bank Holiday featuring the ‘obby ‘oss, a Fool, ‘Grenadiers’, dancers and music, with the revellers all in festival dress. This procession was banned in 1837 for drunken behaviour, but is the tradition is now once more enjoyed by the town, with some modifications including an alcohol free Wheelbarrow Race!

With its pretty harbour and award winning beach Combe Martin need not offer the walker much more though there is an active Village Museum and the architecturally bizarre Pack of Cards Inn is worth a visit -  built from past gambling winnings and now a hotel with its 52 stairs and 52 windows arranged in four storeys which, like a house of cards, decrease in size at each level.

On a practical level then Combe Martin has a number of pubs offering food, drink and hospitality after a day’s walk while you take in the atmosphere of this village set deep in a fertile valley and surrounded by a designated Area of Outstanding Beauty.

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