Lynmouth is a coastal village in Devon, on the northern edge of Exmoor. It is situated where the West Lyn and East Lyn Rivers reach the sea, at the bottom of a seven hundred feet gorge below Lynton. Lynton and Lynmouth are connected by the Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway. This was opened in 1890. When cars could not cope with the one in four gradient hill to Lynton, the Cliff Railway managed to transport vehicles. The two cable cars operate on a counterbalance system, powered by water piped from the West Lyn River. There is a seven hundred tank of water beneath the descending car. Thomas Gainsborough, the 18th century portrait and landscape painter, who spent his honeymoon in Lynmouth, described it as, “the most delightful place for a landscape painter this country can boast”. Victorian tourists referred to the villages of Lynmouth and Lynton as, “Little Switzerland”.

Lynmouth suffered a disastrous flood in August 1952. As a result, thirty four people died, one hundred buildings were destroyed or seriously damaged, together with twenty eight of the thirty one bridges. After the disaster, the village was rebuilt and the river was diverted around the village. Middleham, a small group of houses on the bank of the East Lyn River, was destroyed but never rebuilt. A memorial garden marks the spot. The flood was caused by a storm of tropical intensity, which deposited nine inches of rain within twenty four hours on an already waterlogged Exmoor. A huge wave of water, boulders and trees swept down through the village. There is a memorial hall on the seafront towards the harbour, containing photographs, newspaper reports and a model village, showing how it looked before the flood. A prominent feature at the end of Lynmouth Quay, is the Rhenish Tower. It was built in the 1850s by General Rawdon, to store salt water to supply his house with sea baths. It is an imitation of those on the River Rhine. It was reconstructed in 1954, after the 1952 flood disaster.

Lynton and Lynmouth owe a great deal to Sir George Newnes, the publisher who loved the villages and lived in a mansion, Hollerday House, on Hollerday Hill, above Lynton. It was destroyed in a fire in 1913. He was prominent in financing and creating the Cliff Railway and in 1895, was involved in building a narrow gauge railway between Lynton and Barnstaple. Unfortunately, the line closed in 1935, but enthusiasts formed the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway Trust Limited and have managed to open the line between Woody Bay and Killington Lane Halt, approximately one mile apart. The Trust plans to restore and extend the line further.

Where in England is Lynmouth, Exmoor, Devon?

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