Guide to Simonsbath on Exmoor in West Somerset

The tiny village of Simonsbath stands on the junction in the centre of Exmoor where the East-West, Exford to Challacombe road crosses the  North-South, Lynton to South Molton road.
There are a number of residential properties scattered along the lanes running away from the junction.  There is a church called St. Lukes (built by the Knights-see below), two hotels and Boeveys Tea Rooms.
There are a number of great walks from Simonsbath, notably down the River Barle which passes the southern edge of the village.
There is also a lovely short woodland walk featuring all sorts of animals and birds carved from rough fallen timber by Mike Leach, who is a National Park Ranger.  Children will have great fun hunting them down.

History of Simonsbath

Simonsbath is the village where the Exmoor as we know it today, really began.
John Knight made his home here after acquiring the Kings Allotment - a farm that James Boevey had made in part of the Royal Forest - in 1818 for the sum of 50,000.  Knight was the son of a wealthy Shropshire iron-master and had already farmed successfully in Worcestershire.  He thought he could convert the Royal Forest into decent agricultural land to help feed the nation.  
It was he who built most of the large farms in the central section of the moor.  He, and later his son Frederick, drained or burned and enclosed large areas of the moor and built 22 miles of metalled access roads connecting Simonsbath to the outside world.  He built a 29 mile wall around his estate, much of which still survives.  
He is responsible for the seven acre lake high up on the Chains known as Pinkworthy Pond (pronounced Pinkery).  The Pond is held back by a dam across the path of the infant River Barle which was built by gangs of Irish labourers.  His reasons for building this 30 foot deep 'reservoir' are still unclear and it remains an enigma.
Nature beat him in the end - and his dream was never realised.  The iron pan covering much of the moor limits drainage so much, that proper arable agriculture will probably never be possible.

Accommodation in Simonsbath

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Simonsbath House Hotel
Simonsbath House Hotel

Accommodation in Simonsbath

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Simonsbath House Hotel
Hotel plus 3 self catering holiday cottages
Overlooking the Barle Valley, in the heart of Exmoor, this 350 year old country house hotel offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy a relaxing break enjoy our excellent cuisine, relax by the fire and then retire to your comfortable four-poster bed. Guided walking holidays, Fishing and Golfing breaks also available.