The history of Lynton and Lynmouth is steeped in stories of pirates and smugglers. The rugged coastline and numerous coves around the coast afforded plenty of opportunity for smugglers to run brandy and wine from France and tobacco, tea, salt and soap from Ireland. Travel to Lynton & Lynmouth in the early part of the nineteenth century was made very difficult by the lack of proper roads, this meant that only the most intrepid of travellers made the difficult journey, but also meant that the smugglers could ply their trade with little fear of being caught.
One of the most famous residents of Lynton was Sir George Newnes, the founder of
the magazine "Tit-Bits". In 1892 he began work on a magnificent residence on top
of Hollerday Hill. Other famous visitors include the poet Shelly who stayed for
several months with his bride and named the area "Little Switzerland" .
Wordsworth and Coleridge also found the area inspiring and it is said that
Coleridge was inspired to write "The Ancient Mariner" after viewing Lynmouth
The 450 ft high cliff which separates Lynton from Lynmouth meant that all goods from the harbour were carried up the steep gradient by pony and donkey. As tourism began to grow a better way to connect the two towns was proposed by an anonymous writer to the Lynton and Lynmouth Recorder. In 1890 the Cliff Railway was officially opened. Driven by water the unique railway runs up the 1 to 13/4 steep cliff affording magnificent views as it goes. There has never been an accident in the railways history.
North Devon offers a wealth of activities for the more adventurous holidaymaker. Exmoor National Park is the perfect location for horse riding, climbing or walking through the moorland landscape spotting the abundant wildlife. With 10 golf courses in the county, the golfer is spoilt for choice. This list includes the Royal North Devon Golf Club, which is the oldest golf course in the country. The North Devon coastline offers spectacular fishing, as well as being one of the major surf centers in the country, ideal for both experienced and first time surfers. If you enjoy adventure on your holiday, North Devon is the place to be.