Egypt has the Valley of the Kings - Devon has the Valley of the Rocks...
Lynton is buried deep on the Devon coast and although in miles it isn't that far, it takes an age to get to whichever way you go. The village is quaint with loads of tea and gift shops and a hand made candlemaker. You really don't want to know how much I managed to spend in there!
One unscheduled return trip to the car to drop off armfuls of candles and we were at last ready to set out for the valley.
Lynton ( at the top of the cliff) is connected to Lynmouth ( at the bottom of the cliff ) by a Victorian water powered lift. It would be a steep climb otherwise.
Today our path took us midway between the two on the South West coast path. Health and Safety be damned. The path wends its way along the edge of the cliff with steep drops down and not a safety rail in sight. There are a few conveniently situated benches along it - just right to sit and eat a warm pasty ( I almost said Cornish pasty then!). There were gulls and choughs circling below us and fabulous views of the Welsh coast merging into the mist - almost a mythical landscape.
It's a pleasant easy walk along the path and the first rock formation was "Ragged Jack". A group of Druids dancing and making merry on the sabbath were turned to stone by the devil!
This is Castle rock - easy to see how it got its name. No prizes for guessing what came next - yes a trek to the top. A trek? Well more of a scramble really in places but it was well worth it.
Fabulous views from the top. The loose rocks on top of the mound are stacked and fallen at amazing angles.
Some of them look quite unstable and others show the effects of their falls and weathering. This one was split neatly in two as if hit with a giant axe.
Opposite the Castle is the Devil's Cheese Ring ( he was obviously busy in the Lyn valley!). This is said to be the site of the cave of Mother Meldrum in R D Blackmore's famous novel Lorna Doone.
There is however no sign of a cave now other than a few stacked boulders - yes we did climb up to it to check!
And here is Mother Meldrum herself - the White Lady. She forms part of the Castle rock and is helpfully signed from the path so you don't miss her.
We decided to continue along the coastal path for a while, past Lee Abbey and spent a few minutes walking on the beach before heading back up on to the cliffs and circling back. This was hard work. Every time we gained some height it was promptly lost on the next down hill section only for the path to go back up again almost immediately....
Once we got past the Valley of the Rocks it became very quiet and we didn't see any other walkers at all - other than these locals who didn't seem too pleased to see us and couldn't get away fast enough!