The cliffs also posed problems for the growing tourist industry. From the mid 1820's holiday makers began to arrive at Lynmouth on paddle steamers from Bristol, Swansea and other Bristol Channel ports ...but a daunting hill faced those who decided to walk up to Lynton. Ponies and donkeys could be hired at 6d a time, but the steep gradients severely tested the unfortunate animals. Other tourists travelled up Lynmouth hill in carriages, but the horses that pulled them had a very short working life.
FACT: The invention of the Cliff Railway help to alleviate the suffering of the pack horses, donkeys & ponies previously used to transport tourists & goods up Lynmouth Hill.
It was in December 1881 that a novel solution to the problem was first given a public airing. The Lynton & Lynmouth Recorder received a letter, signed only with the non-de-plum Pro Bono Publico, proposing:
A tramway between the two towns to be worked by a stationary engine at Lynton, the motive power being taken from the river Lyn, put in tanks on rolling carriages and these let down the tramway under proper control. The weight of the water going down would, with the application of simple machinery, bring up anything that might be desired from Lynmouth