Lynton and Lynmouth

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W. I. Lincoln Adams photographed the landscape around the two villages in the summer of 1909. He compared the drive through the Valley of Rocks and along the cliff road with the Axenstrasse over Lake Lucerne, considering the Devon drive "the more wonderful, both as an engineering feat in road-building, and in the grandeur and sublimity of the scenery".[1]

Lynton and Lynmouth, also known as Little Switzerland, is the scenic landscape in and around the villages of Lynton and Lynmouth in Devon, which resembles the landscapes of Switzerland. It includes the surrounding coast and countryside: Valley of Rocks, Watersmeet and Heddon Valley. The resemblance was popularised by the Romantic Movement poets Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley and Southey:[2][3][4]

From the Summerhouse Hill between the two is a prospect most magnificent - on either hand, combes and river; before, the beautiful little village, which, I am assured by one who is familiar with Switzerland, resembles a Swiss village".[5]

Southey had traveled to Lynton in 1799, journeying along the Exmoor coast via Porlock, and staying at one of Lynton's Inns. The poet's praise of Lynton and Lynmouth was used in publicity as the "English Switzerland" for the developing tourism industry, while his likening of the area to Switzerland sparked off a fashion for building in a Swiss style.[6][7]

Lynton and Lynmouth were discovered in the early 1800s when the Napoleonic Wars closed the Continent to travelers; unable to make their Grand Tour of Europe due to the conflict, visitors to Lynton and Lynmouth found the area evocative of their earlier sojourns in the Alps en route to Italy.[8][9][10]

The twin villages of Lynton and Lynmouth are situated on the heritage coast of Exmoor National Park in North Devon. Lynton stands above the harbour village of Lynmouth nestling beneath the cliffs to which it is connected by the water-powered funicular railway, Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway.

In 1952 it was the scene of the devastating Lynmouth flood when overnight over 100 buildings and 28 bridges were destroyed, 35 people died with a further 420 made homeless.

The Lynton and Lynmouth area is now often referred to as the 'Walking Capital of Exmoor':[11][failed verification] "No wonder then, that the area is known as 'the walking capital of Exmoor!'"[12][unreliable source?] The South West Coast Path and Tarka Trail pass through, while the Two Moors Way, Samaritans Way South West and the Coleridge Way all finish there. The twin villages are also the centre for the 21 Mile Drive figure of eight scenic route around Little Switzerland.

The civil parish was formerly called "Lynton"[13] but was renamed to "Lynton and Lynmouth".[14]


  1. ^ Adams, Washington Irving Lincoln (1910), "In the Land of the Doones", Photographing in Old England, New York: Baker & Taylor, pp. 37–38
  2. ^ Hunt, Tristam (7 April 2010). "A Real Cliffhanger". In Bryson, Bill (ed.). Icons of England. Transworld. pp. 154–. ISBN 978-1-4090-9566-8.
  3. ^ "Literary Links". Exmoor National Park.
  4. ^ "Lynton". Devon Guide (website advertisting holidays).
  5. ^ Southey, C. C. "Robert Southey to John May, August 1799"". The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey. p. 22. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  6. ^ "Robert Southey". Exmoor National Park. Exmoor National Park. 27 April 2015. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  7. ^ "Lynton and Lynmouth". Devon Online: The Original Online Guide to Holidays in Devon (website advertising holidays). Archived from the original on 12 November 2015.
  8. ^ Travis, J. F. (1995). An Illustrated History of Lynton and Lynmouth, 1770-1914. Breedon Books. p. 14. ISBN 1-85983-023-4.
  9. ^ Butler, Richard; Suntiku, Wantanee (2013). Tourism and War. ISBN 9781136263095. ... at the end of the nineteenth century, Grand Tour travel for the British was effectively halted by the Napoleonic Wars, as traversing Europe to get to Italy proved dangerous if not impossible ...
  10. ^ Andrews, Robert (2013). "The Birth Of Tourism". The Rough Guide to Devon & Cornwall. ISBN 9781409364863.
  11. ^ "Welcome to Lynton & Lynmouth". Lynton & Lynmouth Walkers.
  12. ^ North Devon & Exmoor Walking Festival 2015: the UK's most scenic walking festival (promotional leaflet). 2015. p. 10.
  13. ^ "Lynton AP/CP". A Vision of Britain through Time. Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  14. ^ "Devon". Local Government Boundary Commission for England. Retrieved 25 October 2020.

Further reading[edit]

  • Travis, J. F. (1997). Lynton and Lynmouth, Glimpses of the Past. Breedon Books. ISBN 1-85983-086-2.

Coordinates: 51°13′44″N 3°49′59″W / 51.229°N 3.833°W / 51.229; -3.833