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Abtot Logo. Encounter Walking Holidays member number 5357


The village of Simonsbath emerges from the mid moor and forest plantations and for the walker offers the promise of respite in its two hotels and welcome tea rooms. 


The writer Daniel Defoe was clearly in need of such help 300 years ago when he referred to the land around Simonsbath as a “filthy barren ground”, clearly nothing like his Robinson Crusoe’s paradise island, but then there was little here at that time, as the village you see today was created in the 19th century by the Knight Family.


Simonsbath was the heart of The Royal Forest of Exmoor in medieval times and north of here rises the River Exe. The village itself sits on the infant River Barle and for those stopping overnight provides some fine short woodlands walks enhanced by wood carvings from Mike Leach the National Park Ranger here.


Simons bridge is still here (Simon said in legend to have been a great hunter and Robin Hood type figure who resided at Symonsburrow), the triple arched medieval bridge still standing over the rushing river. 


The Exmoor Forest Inn is the obvious choice for a break or an overnight stay proving good accommodation and food in this remotest of spots.


In days long gone by, the William Rufus Inn was the lair of the infamous Exmoor Highwayman Tom Faggus. The tale goes that the men of the law tried to entrap Faggus in the Inn, but Faggus whistled for his strawberry mare Winnie who leapt through the window and kicked all those trying to capture her master, leaving Faggus to leap up onto the mares back and escape over the moor. We suggest a more sedate start to your crossing of Exmoor after a good breakfast at the ‘Forest.’


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