This map plots the settings and references in Lorna Doone

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Exmoor, England

Much of Lorna Doone is set in the villages and wild open places of Exmoor.

 

Exmoor Map
Public DomainExmoor Map

 

Exmoor spans the English counties of Somerset and Devon, from the Brendon Hills in the east to Combe Martin in the West.   Key towns and villages mentioned in the novel include Tiverton (where John attends school), Oare (the village closest to Plover's Barrows Farm, near Lynton), Dulverton (where Reuben and Ruth Huckaback live), and Porlock, from which John's father was returning when he was killed by the Doones. Tom Faggus is from North Molton.

Robbers Bridge, Doone Valley
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeRobbers Bridge, Doone Valley - Credit: Roger Gittins

John Ridd’s family farm, Plover’s Barrows, is located within the parish of Oare. It lies near Badgworthy Water, where it runs into the Lynn.  This places the farm near Malmsmead, close to the border between Devon and Somerset. 

Standing Stone above Badgworthy Water, Doone Valley
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeStanding Stone above Badgworthy Water, Doone Valley - Credit: Thor Beverley

Exmoor is characterised by wild heather moorland, ancient oak forest and dramatic coastlines.  Between Porlock and The Foreland, the forests reach all the way to the coastline.  Towering cliffs drop away to the sea far below, and the coast is made up of rocky headlands, ravines and waterfalls.

The Doones live in a remote and largely inaccessible valley, the Doone Glen.  The valley is about half a mile across, and surrounded by sheer black cliffs.  The cliffs are broken by two narrow clefts.  One of these is the Doone-gate, with a portcullis of rock above it, which is closely guarded by the Doones at all times.  The other is a tiny chasm created by the river, where the Badgworthy drops into the valley in a great waterfall, and tumbles into a swirling black pool below.  The Badgworthy river runs through the centre of the valley, and the area is green and beautiful.

While there is no exact equivalent of the fictional Doone Glen on Exmoor, the valley through which the Badgworthy flows has come to be known as Doone Valley, after the novel.

Exmoor's moors and glens are grazed by sheep and Devon cattle.  Wild Exmoor ponies roam freely on the moors, and red deer frequent the hillsides.

Exmoor was proclaimed a national park in 1954.

 

Exmoor ponies
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeExmoor ponies - Credit: Mark Robinson