PIONEER: Ada Lovelace along with Charles Babbage helped develop the idea for a forerunner to the computer on her Porlock estate

IT will soon be possible to walk in the footsteps of 19th century computer pioneer Ada Lovelace when visiting Exmoor National Park, as work kicks off this month to restore and reveal parts of the historic carriage routes, viewpoints and other features that formed part of her former Porlock estate.

It is while walking the terraces of these once ornate gardens Ada and the famous mathematician Charles Babbage were reputed to have come up with the principles behind the 'Difference Engine' - a forerunner to the computer.

The National Park Authority now plans to restore parts of the old carriage ways and other surviving features in Culbone wood, granting walkers on the South West Coast Path a taste of the sense of awe that must have been felt upon emerging from historic tunnels into breath-taking views out to sea, framed by groves of giant redwoods and firs.

A guided walk from Porlock Weir to Culbone delving into the history of Ada Lovelace and her mysterious former estate at Ashley Combe takes place on Wednesday. September 18 as part of the Exmoor Historic Buildings Festival.

Graeme McVittie, Exmoor senior woodland officer, said: "Woodland walks planted with native and exotic species to maximise dramatic effect, long mysterious tunnels set to build anticipation ahead of awe-inspiring views and the remnants of meandering old carriageways, are all part of this estate's forgotten legacy."

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