Summerhouse Hill was named after the ‘summer house’ built there by the Rector of Lynmouth about 1820. It was a small stone-built hut built on the very edge of the cliff above Oxen Tor for the purpose of sitting and admiring the view. It lasted for about forty years. One story is that it was pulled down because of the disapproval by the Rector of the habits of ‘courting’ couples there at night. Another story is that it, or at least its remains, were pushed over the cliff as a prank by a group of drunken college students during their summer holiday at Lynmouth.
The hill was the site of the world’s first pumped storage scheme for electricity generation. Lynmouth was the second settlement in Britain to have electricity, powered by a hydro-electric station on the East Lyn, completed in 1890. As demand grew, a reservoir was built on Summerhouse Hill about 1899. This was filled from East Lyn, 762ft below, via a jet pump powered by the same river. At times of high demand or low river flow the water was dropped by pipeline to power turbines at the station below. This continued in use until the power station was destroyed by the 1952 flood.
Summerhouse hill is part of the Doone Run which is one of the most enduring runs in the renaissance of running in the UK. Glorious views can be found here over 750ft above sea level up on Summerhouse Hill looking over Lynton and Lynmouth.
To the right you can see an old image from what looks to be a similar position to the one taken by us.