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Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

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Taken from Devonshire by J. Sydney Curtis - published in 1896:

"Lynton and Lynmouth constitute together an epitome of the poetry in Devonshire. Hidden away on the northwest, twenty miles from Barnstaple, South Molton or Ilfracombe, and only to be reached by coach drive through a country full of romantic beauty, they present a scene, or rather a panorama of scenes when arrived at, beside which all others we have passed through, all beautiful though they may be, seem tame and ordinary.

Lynton lies in the lap of a mountain, its terraces clasped within its slopes, overlooking the cool green wooded valleys of the twin Lynn streams at their blending, and shielded from cold winds on one side by Countisbury Hill. The uplands of Exmoor fall abruptly here into the Bristol Channel, in slopes almost vertical, and in height reaching many hundreds of feet.

Lynton is perched near the top of one of these slopes, and Lynmouth at its foot, at the mouth of the blended streams; the valleys of the two, by reason of their steepness and being rock-strewn, displaying huge cataracts of water after torrential rains, and causing the woods to resound the deep diapason of their roar. Add to Lynmouth its quaint little port and pier, and the picture is complete.


Lynton and Lynmouth 1896

A general view of Lynton and Lynmouth in 1896


Southey's description of Lynmouth adds a zest to our enjoyment of the place. "The finest spot," says the poet, "except Cintra and the Arribada that I ever saw. Two rivers join at Lynmouth. You probably know the hill-streams of Devonshire; each of these flows down a combe, rolling down over over huge stones like a long waterfall; immediately at their juncture they enter the sea, and the rivers and the sea make but one sound of uproar. Of these combes, the one is richly wooded - the other runs between two high, bare stony hills. From the hill between the two is a prospect most magnificent; on wither hand combes, and the river before the little village - the beautiful little village. This alone would constitute a view beautiful enough to repay the weariness of a long journey; but to complete it there is the blue and boundless sea, for the faint and feeble line of the Welsh coast is only to seen on the right hand if the day be perfectly clear."

All the streams in this neighbourhood that find their rise on Exmoor are full of trout and grayling, especially the Lyns, and the angler may enjoy his peaceful sport amid scenery constantly changing and always charming.

Around these two Devon gems, places of beauty are thickly studded. Lyndale, Watersmeet, Lyn Cliff, Brendon Valley, the gorge of the East Lyn, the valley of the Rocks, Lee Abbey, and a host of sweet spots besides, may well lure the laziest lounger in Lynton or Lynmouth to make an effort in walking; and their reward will certainly be great.

There is nothing special to remark about the villages themselves. Their combined populations barely reach above 2000 and we combine them because they are connected by zigzag paths on the hill side and also by one of the largest and steepest automatic "lifts" in the country. Each has its church (the register of that at Lynton dating back to 1591) but neither edifice requires comment; there are also Wesleyan and Congregational chapels. For visitors there are excellent hotels and boarding houses, and a deep stillness at the busiest time of the year which quite takes by surprise strangers who have known only the larger and more pretentious places. There is no need to dress three times a day here, and the Bond Street swell or loud Yankee belle would find themselves very much alone. Lynton and Lynmouth are rich in the music of nature, and very little afflicted by the brazen instruments of Teutonic bands."



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