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07 May 2020
The Doone Valley, Somerset (more correctly the Badgworthy Water region of Exmoor) is the centrepiece of an 1869 novel, Lorna Doone: A romance of Exmoor, which has since become synonymous with the area. The author, RD Blackmore, tells the story of the 17th-century Ridd family and their ongoing battle with the outlaw Doone clan in the isolated Doone Valley. Love enters the tale when Lorna Doone and John Ridd fall in love, which leads to a series of bloody encounters between the two families.
Blackmore described his work as a romantic novel, intertwining both historical events and real geographical locations to create an enduring tale that has since been the subject of several films.
"And through the dewy meadow’s breast, fringed with shade, but touched on one side with the sun-smile, ran the crystal water, curving in its brightness like diverted hope". RD Blackmore — Lorna Doone: A romance of Exmoor
While in the valley, the Lorna Doone walk is the best way to immerse yourself into this landscape of windswept moors, picturesque stream and literary history. The 8.7-mile circular walk (allow five hours) starts at the beautiful Robber’s Bridge and takes you across open moorland towards South Common before descending through the Badgworthy River Valley to Oare Church. While some parts of the walk can be a little challenging, with muddy paths and some steep ascents and descents, it’s worth every minute.
For more on Somerset's incredible history and heritage go to our interactive E Book.
No.25 Somerset Fascinating Facts The Doone Valley is the centrepiece of an 1869 novel, Lorna Doone.