AUGUST 2021 UPDATE: THIS ROUTE IS CURRENTLY OBSTRUCTED ON THE RETURN ROUTE FROM SOUTH BREWHAM. IT IS POSSIBLE TO WALK AS FAR AS SOUTH BREWHAM (POINT 5), BUT YOU WILL NEED TO RETURN BY THE OUTGOING OR AN ALTERNATIVE ROUTE.
This longer walk visits the attractive and deeply rural village of South Brewham. It has excellent views of Alfred’s Tower and the Stourhead ridge. On footpaths and minor roads, it has no long climbs. Cows and sheep abound for most of the year: a point for dog-walkers to note, as are two non dog-friendly stiles. Much of the route runs over grazing land with no discernible path on the ground, so close attention needs to be paid to the instructions and the map. For this reason it cannot be considered a beginner’s walk, and is graded moderate.
7 miles (11 km), 2 hours 35 minutes to 3 hours 20 minutes, moderate. Last checked March 2021.
Start at Station Road Car Park
On leaving the car park turn left. Cross the road just before the railway bridge, pass under it, and take the path up a few steps and through a gate on the right. Walk along the path next to the Abbey Ponds, continue through two gates and the Community Garden to a gate on far left. Cross the road (fast moving traffic) to a further gate and turn right through the Hauser and Wirth car park to a stile on the far side of the car park entrance.
Go over the stile and walk to the top of the field, taking time to admire the view of Bruton behind you with Creech Hill on the skyline. Go through the gate (or over the stile or cattle grid) into the woods. Follow the track and bear left to a gate and cattle grid. Turn right and walk along the field edge until you see a gate ahead on the far side.
Go through the gate and continue straight across the next field, bearing very slightly left (NOT the more obvious track slightly to the right towards houses, or a track half left to a gate) to a stile, a narrow bridge and a further stile.
Continue in the same direction along a fenced path across the next field, over a stile, into patch of wood, across a wet ditch and over (or round) a further stile. Turn left and follow the woodland hedge through this and a further field. At the corner of the woodland, turn left over the stile. Head across the field and uphill to the left of the large new house (not yet on the OS Map in 2021). Find a stile in the top left corner of the field. Go over the stile into woods. The path bears right, through a door in a fence, a further door, then along a drive to a road (Hardway).
Turn left along the road. After a short distance turn left into the drive with a sign marked Horseley (opposite some cottages). Go through metal gates and continue up the drive. Turn right on the waymarked path just before a stone wall. [The waymarked path is permissive, and not the right of way shown on the OS Map. It is more interesting than the right of way, and no longer, so it is the recommended route].
Follow the path through trees and over a non-dog friendly stile (spaniels and smaller can wriggle under, larger dogs either jump or get lifted) into a field. Bearing slightly left head out into the field, moving steadily away from the woods on the right. Reaching a gentle brow, spot and head for a gate ahead (to the right of a field gate). Go through this and a further gate. [Here the route rejoins the right of way on the OS Map]. There is a fine view of Alfred’s Tower. Keep the hedge to your left and at its sharp (second) corner bear slightly left downhill to a gate in the bottom left corner of the field. The gate leads into a gully with a footbridge over a stream and a further gate.
Go straight ahead steeply uphill and over a stile (ignoring the concrete farm track). Go diagonally left across the field, heading slightly to the left of farm buildings on the skyline. Find a stile, plank bridge and second stile in the hedgerow which comes into view ahead (the stile is 30 metres or so to the left of the concrete track). After crossing the stiles maintain this direction to a further stile, then bear right to reach a gate into a lane, turn right along the lane, then right at the next junction to the road.
At the road, turn left into South Brewham. An interesting point here is the two barns on staddle stones, one of which is now used as a duck house beside the attractive pond (note that the area round the pond is private land). Walk along the road for about four hundred metres until the road drops steeply downhill and swings to the right. Take the track in front you, just before the village hall and almost immediately turn left through a metal gate. Head straight across the field going slightly uphill to the far end of a line of trees on the left. Go through a gate (NOT through the prominent gap in the hedge further downhill to the right) and keep straight ahead with the hedge on your left to another gate and plank bridge. Continue straight on (still with a hedge on your left). At the end of the hedge go through field gates and past the end of the hedge immediately ahead to your right.
Now head slightly right, towards a water-trough with the wooded summit of Creech Hill directly behind it in the distance. (There are numerous temporary fences hereabouts which will need to be ducked under). Cross a track at the water-trough and continue diagonally downhill in exactly the same direction, to a plank bridge and stile hidden in the hedge in the bottom corner of the field.
Once over the stile, Colinshays Manor is obvious across the field on the right. Continue in the same direction as previously, with the woodland to the left, to reach a stile, plank bridge and stile in the far-left corner of the field. Continue in the same direction downhill to another stile and through a spinney. After a further stile turn right over the river bridge. Turn left and diagonally uphill towards the railway line then parallel to the line to reach a (non-dog friendly: small dogs can wriggle under adjacent gate, larger need to jump or get lifted) stile. Cross the stile to reach a track servicing the flood prevention dam to the left (constructed after Bruton was flooded in 1982).
Go straight on parallel to the railway. Turn right under the railway, go through the gate on the left and follow the path with the river below to your left, over a wide bridge, then with the river to the right to eventually reach a stile in the far corner of the meadow.
Turn right and follow the path by the river crossing two minor bridges until reaching a bridge with a gate and then a lane. Turn left to follow the permissive path through a gate to the station. Turn right along the platform, leave the station, and go down Station Approach then right into Station Road to return to the car park.
Explore Somerset route numbers
Public road and permissive path to Hauser and Wirth car park. WN5/15 then WN4/39 to Hardway. East along Hardway to WN4/16a, permissive path near Horsley Farm, rejoining WN4/16a to South Brewham. North along road to WN4/18. WN4/18 to its junction with WN4/17. WN4/17, WN5/12, WN5/9 to Darkey Lane. Permissive path to Bruton Station then public road back to car park.