Walkers’ holiday and Freedom break 2019

This year our group walking holiday was at the HF Holnicote House on Exmoor. The house and estate of several hundred acres is owned by the National Trust and set in beautiful surroundings, including the chocolate box thatched cottages of Selworthy Village. Forty six of us enjoyed a four day break. Each day the walkers were offered 3 different walks, ranging from 7 to 12 miles. The first day we walked from the house towards the coast, some of us having lunch on the beach, while others climbed to Selworthy Beacon. We all had good views of the Welsh coast and on the return leg had the opportunity to stop at the tea shop in Selworthy village.

Group photo at Holnicote.  Click on the image to view full size

The second day we were picked up by coach and enjoyed the driver’s skill negotiating Porlock Hill before we were dropped at the Devon/Somerset border. The 3 groups took different routes through Doone Valley and moors to Watersmeet, where we were picked up again. The 3rd day we were picked up by coach again and dropped off in different places to walk back to Holnicote House, through beautiful countryside. The weather was glorious throughout. 

Janet Clews, Holiday Organiser

The National Trust Holnicote Estate

Holnicote House, pronounced Honeycote, is the centre of the National Trust estate, begun in 1493. Paul, one of the group leaders delighted in telling us how many times the house had burned down, thus making sure everyone listened carefully to the fire regulations.  The medieval house was rebuilt in the 17th century, and again in 1705 when the Blackford family bought the estate. A fire destroyed the Blackford mansion house in 1779, but it was rebuilt as a hunting lodge by the Acland family.  

The Aclands were heavily involved in stag hunting on Exmoor, and the Holnicote estate was closely linked to the hunt until the early 21st century when the National Trust took the controversial step of banning the hunt. The Acland’s manor burned down in 1851, and it was once more rebuilt. The lodge became a children’s  home, and later a hotel. 

The Holnicote estate combines beautiful countryside with dramatic coastline and picture-perfect villages. Each day was accompanied by sunshine and brilliant blue skies.  The picturesque village of Selworthy could not have looked better as seen in this photograph.  For those enjoying the freedom break, there was much to see and do.  If you can cope with the winding roads and steep inclines, Exmoor has some magnificent views.  The beautiful medieval village of Dunster with its impressive castle and grounds is only a couple of miles from Selworthy. Coleridge’s Cottage, RHS Rosemoor and Minehead were also enjoyed by the non – walkers.

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