LEJOG Day 11 Barnstaple to Exford 20.50 miles. Cumulative 188.29 miles

Another breezy night but slightly warmer. The day remains windy with sunny spells.

After a couple of short, flat days along the Tarka Trail it’s back to work today, as we climb up onto Exmoor. Our route is initially along lanes and a climb takes us to Stoke Rivers, despite the name we didn’t see a river. After passing the village of Brayford we cross the Exmoor National Park Boundary.

Soon after we leave lanes behind us to join the Macmillan Way West (MMW). We will be using the MMW for the next nine days, hopping off occasionally to reach our accommodation.

A few long steep climbs with some amazing views behind us to Dartmoor and the North Devon coast as far as Hartland Point. We climb nearly 3200 feet by the end of the day.

In contrast to Dartmoor, Exmoor is less rugged and the livestock are fenced to save them wandering into the road, it has some beautiful landscapes with wild moorland and steep valleys.

We crossed the Devon/Somerset border and dropped down to Simonsbath, across the valley we spot a large herd of stags. A couple of ‘deer spotters’ further down the road point out several hundred deer on a distant hillside. Apparently, it’s very unusual to spot them this low down the moors at this time of year.

After Simonsbath we are on the home stretch, as we near the campsite we have a much closer encounter with some stags very close to the path we are taking. They run off when they spot us.

Camping tonight is at Westermill Farm, where Lynn makes another new friend.

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