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Abtot Logo. Encounter Walking Holidays member number 5357


A superb location with a stunning entrance from the Barle River and Tarr Steps to a village rightly called the capital of Exmoor. Whitewashed stone cottages huddle around the central Royal Oak Inn a haven for walkers, hunters and pilgrims over the ages.


Withypool itself, whilst small, is full of character, its impressive six arch bridge spanning the all-important river crossing of the Barle. Here you will find a local store and lovely tea room.


The Royal Oak is a sprawling inn with bags of history - its locals proud of their hunting past in Exmoor Forest and the walls are covered with an array of trophies and heads of a wide range of local wildlife. It’s a superb place to spend the night with roaring fires, dark corners, rambling passages and plenty of hunting tales.


R D Blackmore wrote parts of the classic tale ‘Lorna Doone’ whilst staying here in the 1860’s and during the Second World War General Eisenhower planned much of the D Day Landings here, basing himself here whilst the American Forces were training on the coast nearby at Woolacombe.


The village is listed in the Domesday book, then a settlement looked after by three foresters with the middle earth type names of Dodo, Almer and Godric.  Later these duties were taken on by none other than Geoffrey Chaucer who was the Head Forester of the Royal Forest - North Petherton district.


He was granted an annual pension of twenty pounds by Richard II in 1394 for his duties and spent time here continuing work on his famous Canterbury Tales.


For those wanting an evening leg stretch nearby, Withypool Hill at 1300 ft is a good climb, with superb views off the summit towards the coastline and with a bit of searching you can locate a Bronze Age Stone Circle on its southern flanks.

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