This longer walk visits Batcombe Bottom and Batcombe itself, before returning via Moor Lane and Henley Grove Farm. In late 2022 (or perhaps early 2023) the Three Horshoes should reopen as a pleasant stop-off. Some great views and deeply rural countryside. (Also, in winter, mud, in summer, cows).
7.3 miles, 12 km, 260 m of ascent, moderate. Two and a half hours to three hours 15 minutes.
Directions (as below)
Start at Station Road car park
Turn right on leaving the car park, swing right across the river, cross the road and go up Patwell Street. At the junction cross the High Street and continue up the narrow pavement of Coombe Street, taking the first left into Higher Backway. Just before the second small car park turn right through bollards. Go straight ahead, into and through the small Tolbury Mill estate, and leave the houses up a steep and sometimes muddy footpath. On reaching the wood, the path swings right then left again, climbing to reach an open field at a kissing gate. Take the right hand of the two faint paths crossing the field, heading just to the right of an electricity pole. The path runs down to another kissing gate hidden in the bottom right-hand corner of the field.
Turn left onto the B3081 and follow for 200 m (ignoring a stile to the right). Take great care here: although there is not much traffic the road is narrow with blind corners. Go through a gate to the right onto a bridleway (signed Snakelake and Milton Clevedon) and continue on an obvious route with a fence immediately to your right then between two lines of trees. The next stretch can be unpleasantly muddy. Go through a gate, down through a wood and another gate (often open) to a gate into a field at the bottom. After heavy rain the patch of field just beyond the gate can be awash.
Once through the gate take the left-hand enclosed bridleway, follow it as it turns sharp left and leads to the Greenscombe Farm drive. Turn right up the drive, swing right in front of the farm, pass farm buildings on the left (this area is a construction site in early 2022) and continue up the floor of a broad grassy valley. Swing right just in front of Higher Greenscombe Farm to a gate, go through it and onto the drive, pass buildings on the left and reach the road at Copplesbury Lane.
Turn right then left on reaching the road junction. (Take care. These roads are quiet with good visibility, but motorists will not expect walkers). After houses on the left turn left down the steep drive to Batcombe Vale Farm. Great views open up to the north and west. On the approach to the farm ignore a gate and stile on the right and continue down the drive almost to the farm. Cut right at the brown Batcombe Vale Farm sign through a few small trees to an obvious gate and stile in the hedge.
Once over the stile head straight out across the field, towards a large modern farmhouse on the far side of the valley. The field drops away towards the river. Ignore the gate and ruined stile on left and look out for a new metal gate on the right. Go through it, cross a small bridge, through a second gate and pick up a well-walked path towards Batcombe by turning right. Continue through a kissing gate, a small wood, cross the river, go through a further gate into a field and along the riverbank. At the end of the field head right to a further bridge and gate, then diagonally right across the next field, through a gate and onto the road at Crows Hill.
Cross the road, go through a gate, then head diagonally left uphill to a kissing gate in the top left corner of the field. Once through the gate continue along the top of the field, ignoring a private stile on the left to reach a kissing gate hidden in the far-left corner of the field. Go through the gate and along a narrow-walled footpath, which leads under a house and emerges in Batcombe.
Turn right and follow the road to reach the Church. Turn right at the road junction (left for the pub, closed at least until September 2022) and steeply downhill. At the bottom take the second lane on the left: Moor Lane. The lane leads very gently uphill past old orchards through a delightful valley. Where the lane turns sharp right go straight ahead either over a gate or over a stile to the right of the gate (this area is often very overgrown and unpromising). Once past the gate continue up a muddy track (more of a streambed) to reach a stile on the right.
Before going over the stile spot the position of the next stile, which is just visible at the top of the hill ahead. Head directly and steeply uphill (there is no path) to find the stile. Once over the stile take the clear path across the next field, through a gate and straight on. The right-hand field margin joins the path. Hares frequent this field. Reach Copplesbury Lane at a dilapidated gate and turn right.
Go down the lane. Traffic is sparse, but often fast, so take care. After a house on the right turn left down the drive to Henley Grove Farm. The public right of way runs straight through this large busy dairy farm. Watch out for large tractors and other manoeuvring vehicles. The farmer is very respectful of walkers. Respect his workplace in turn, following the correct route, keeping dogs on a lead and children under control. Pass between two cottages, turn right in front of the barns, and continue through the farm passing several barns on the left and one on the right to reach a gate.
Once through the gate scramble slightly left down the bank to two stiles and a plank leading over the ditch on the left. Follow the fence down the right-hand side of the field (there is no path). Go over a stile and small bridge in the corner of the field and into a delightful small wood, where the path becomes clear again.
Emerge on to the road and turn right up Snakelake Hill. Near the top of the hill, where the trees end, take a bridleway to the left. The way runs directly across the field to the ‘Beware Rabbits’ gate. Follow the fenced-in bridleway beyond the gate and downhill to rejoin the outgoing route.
Explore Somerset map references
Public roads to Tolbury Mill, WN 5/6, B3081 NW, WN 5/64, SM 15/15, SM 15/16. Copplesbury Lane E to Hedgestocks, then N on public road to SM 2/13. SM 2/14 to Batcombe. E on public road, S on Vineys Hill and Moor Lane. SM 2/20 then Copplesbury Lane W to SM 15/20. SM 15/19 to Snakelake Hill, NW to SM 15/21. Rejoins outgoing route.