Lynton is linked to its twin, Lynmouth, by the most celebrated railway in Devon, the Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway (tel. 01598/753486; www.cliffrailwaylynton.co.uk). The century-old train uses no electricity and no power. Instead, the railway covers the differences in distance and altitude by means of a complicated network of cables and pulleys, allowing cars to travel up and down the face of the rocky cliff. The length of the track is 259m (862 ft.) with a gradient of 2.5cm (1 in.), which gives it a vertical height of approximately 150m (500 ft.). The two passenger cars are linked together with two steel cables, and the operation of the lift is on the counterbalance system, which is simply explained as a pair of scales where one side, when weighted by a water ballast, pulls the other up. The train carries about 40 passengers at a time for £2.85 adults, £1.85 children, each a round-trip ticket. Trains depart daily from March to October, at 2- to 5-minute intervals, from 10am to 5pm. In peak summer season, trains often run until 8 or 9pm. From November to February, the line is shut down.
For hikers, the area abounds in trails, the most dramatic being west along North Walk, a 1.6km (1-mile) trail leading to the Valley of the Rocks, a grouping of rugged rock formations rising from a grass-covered valley to peaks of bare sandstone and shale, said to have been carved during the Ice Age by the harsh winds from the Bristol Channel. Locals have given names to many of these rocks, including "the Devil's Cheesewring." The centerpiece of the formation is Castle Rock, known for its resident herd of wild goats.
To learn more about the best hikes in the area, go to the tourist office and pick up a copy of a bulletin, Walking in North Devon, outlining the best walks in North Devon with the most varied scenery. Over the years we have taken most of these walks, our favorite being the Lyn Gorge, stretching for 8km (5 miles). This walk begins at the Hillsford Bridge on the A39 south of Lynmouth. Details of all these walks can be downloaded at www.devon-holiday.co.uk/walks.html.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.