Withypool is a bronze age settlement and a stone circle can still be seen at the top of Withypool Hill. It was also mentioned in the Domesday Book where it is listed as Widepolle which comes from the old English 'Withig Pol' meaning the Willow Tree Pool and willows still grow along the banks of the River Barle which runs through the village. The six arch bridge crossing the river dates back about a century replacing an ancient packhorse bridge. Landacre Bridge, about two miles upstream, is a medieval five arch stone bridge.
The Royal Oak pub can lay claim to some literary connections with RD Blackmore having written parts of Lorna Doone from there and a former owner, Maxwell Knight, was the inspiration for 'M' in Ian Fleming's James Bond novels. It is also where General Eisenhower stayed when planning the D-Day landings.
Withypool has a shop and post office. The Tea Rooms serve snacks, meals and lovely cakes. The Royal Oak pub also serves meals.
Places To Visit
There is much to see and do on Exmoor.
Tarr Steps is a beautiful spot and is home to the longest clapper bridge of its kind in Britain and is a lovely walk along the river from Withypool.
Dunkery Beacon is worth a visit. It is the highest point on Exmoor with views over the moor and the Bristol Channel.
Dulverton is about 15 minutes drive and is close to where the Rivers Exe and Barle meet.
Dunster is a medieval village dominated since the late 11th century by its castle and boasting over 200 listed buildings.
The seaside towns of Lynton & Lynmouth also make a great day out and are linked by the famous cliff railway. There are also some lovely coastal walks from here. A popular walk is to the Valley of the Rocks with great scenery and a flock of wild goats!
Beaches - Woolacombe & Croyde Bay are about 45 minutes drive and are beautiful sandy beaches, popular with surfers. Woolacombe is also dog friendly throughout the year in designated areas. NB many beaches do not permit dogs from April to September. Minehead is about 30 minutes drive.
Whatever the weather, Exmoor has a rugged beauty and there is much to explore in its wooded valleys and on the open moor. It is home to red deer, Exmoor ponies, otters and bats. Here are some of the best ways to see it:
Walking - bring your walking boots and, if you have one, your dog and explore the beautiful moorland! There are many fabulous walks awaiting you. The Two Moors Way passes through Withypool.
Cycling - on road or off, Exmoor is a very popular place for cyclists of all levels.
Riding - nothing beats exploring the moor on horseback.
Watersports - Wimbleball Lake offers various watersports.
Wildlife - There are several companies running safaris on Exmoor for viewing the local wildlife.
Exmoor Owl & Hawk Centre
Exmoor Pony Centre
West Somerset Railway
Quince Honey Farm