The short walk from Spargrove to Mill Lane through Batcombe Bottom along the River Alham is one of the most pleasant in the area (and equally pleasant in reverse). Batcombe itself is an attractive village, with refreshments at the Three Horseshoes.
There are several walking routes from Bruton to Batcombe. It is possible, and quickest, to walk the whole way along the road. This is normally quiet, but the steep section down Portway Hill at the Batcombe end is narrow with blind corners. It has nowhere to step aside from traffic and cannot be recommended. (The shortest route from Bruton to Spargrove is route B below).
Rather than present one walk, four different routes are described, to give a range of possible walks. The routes are summarised below and directions for each can be downloaded. Other possible routes which can be seen on the map can be tried. They have not been selected either because they involve steeper climbs, or because they are less visually interesting. Avoid walking on the B3081 over Creech Hill. It is narrow, bendy and has few verges. There is not much traffic but locals who know the road often drive it too fast and will not be expecting pedestrians. Stretches of it are not safe for walkers.
All these walks use the same map. Download map.
Batcombe via Beware Rabbits and Hedgestocks (Route A)
This is the most direct route to Batcombe (other than following the road the whole way). It follows the Batcombe Road in its middle section over Hedgestocks crossroads, but here there is good visibility and a wide verge. The route is mostly easy to follow, but somewhat harder in reverse, with sharper climbs. One section can be unpleasantly muddy. 3.5 miles (5 km) each way. About 75 to 90 minutes and 150 m of ascent Bruton to Batcombe, five minutes quicker with 100 m of ascent on return.
Spargrove via Greenscombe and Carrot Hill (Route B)
This direct route to Spargrove runs through lovely country at Greenscombe, where there is a short steep climb (see picture). It is easy to follow. Returning this way there is a long and steady 1 km climb from the lowest point on the route at Spargrove to the highest, at an average gradient of 1:10. However the climb is up a very quiet lane, and it is well shaded, which may be helpful in summer. There are wonderful views dropping down into Greenscombe. Easy to follow, particularly from Spargrove to Bruton. One section may be unpleasantly muddy. 3 miles (4.5 km) each way. 140 m of ascent and about 65 to 85 minutes either way.
Spargrove via Lamyatt and Milton Clevedon (Route C)
This long route avoids any steep climb by skirting round the western side of Creech Hill. It visits the pleasant villages of Lamyatt and Milton Clevedon with views to the more open countryside to the northwest. Parts of the route are more tricky to follow, and some gates are overgrown and have to be scrambled over, and for this reason it is classified as moderate. It can also be used as a return route, with only one significant climb out of Lamyatt. Just under 4 miles (6 km), 140 m of ascent and about 80 to 100 minutes.
Batcombe via Moor Lane (Route D)
This long deeply rural route passes through lovely woodland just below Henley Grove Farm. Walking down Moor Lane just outside Batcombe it passes through a landscape from another era. Parts of it are tricky to follow, and there are short steep climbs in both directions. It is equally suitable as a return route. Just under 4 miles (6 km), 180 m of ascent Bruton to Batcombe, about 85 to 105 minutes. Return route 130 m of ascent, about 80 to 100 minutes. Moderate.
Batcombe to Spargrove and return
Some ascent returning to Batcombe, easy. About 25 to 30 minutes each way.
This lovely, easy walk passes through numerous meadows along the banks of the river Alham in Batcombe Bottom. It is well-signed, easy to follow, and popular with Batcombe dog-walkers.
Download directions (both ways)