Barle Valley

  •  South of Simonsbath - © William Mackesy
  • South of Simonsbath - © William Mackesy
  • Barle valley south of Simonsbath - © William Mackesy
  • Above Barle valley south of Simonsbath - © William Mackesy
  • Old hedge near Simonsbath - © William Mackesy
  • Barle valley south of Simonsbath - © William Mackesy
  • Huge beech spread, near Simonsbath - © William Mackesy
  • Old hedge south of Simonsbath - © William Mackesy

Key information: Barle Valley

  • Two stretches of one of Britain’s prettiest rivers, meandering through meadows and woods below steep, high banks with moorland or small, traditional fields high above.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating86.5
  • Beauty31
  • Natural interest14.5
  • Human interest11
  • Charisma31
  • Negative points1
  • Total rating86.5
  • Note: Negs: Crowds in some areas

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Variable
  • Maximum Altitude: N/A
  • Level of Difficulty: Straightforward
Old hedge near Simonsbath - © William Mackesy


Exmoor is a unique landscape, in world as well as British terms– as well as often meltingly pretty. Highish and flattish grass and heather (and bracken) moorland is riven with deep wooded valleys. 

The Barle valley roughly divides Exmoor, running north to south from Simonsbath to Dulverton and on into the lowlands. It is consistently one of Exmoor’s most beautiful places, and surely one of Britain’s prettiest rivers. Between Simonsbath and Withypool is a most beautiful and charming stretch of landscape, as its active stream meanders its way along its narrowish and in places wild valley, through meadows below often heathery hillsides. The path winds along the hillsides just above the valley floor, before climbing to some high, open moorland with huge skies, then descending a ravishing ridge, through classic little Exmoor fields, to the middle of Withypool. Pass below the steep hill which still shows the remains of the ancient Cow Castle settlement.

The ravishing valley below Withypool, which laughs its way through beech woods and meadows, past the famous prehistoric Tarr Steps, where it crosses the river to climb and traverse to Hawkridge, whence it drops along a lovely ridge back to the river and wends its way down, eventually, to Dulverton. A gorgeous but (the first half, particularly) well-known walk, so you won't be alone.

These are both stretches of the Two Moors Way 

You can use the footpath network to make circuits from either end if you need to get back to a car.

This is time well spent.

For detailed practical information and photos, see our EXMOOR page.

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Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Barle valley south of Simonsbath - © William Mackesy

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

Above Barle valley south of Simonsbath - © William Mackesy...

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