This excellent medium-length walk brings very varied scenery, the best view of Bruton, and great views from near the top of Creech Hill. It is mostly on footpaths and bridleways, with one very short stretch along the B3081 where great care needs to be taken. Expect cows in summer and mud, pheasants and partridge in autumn and winter.
Much of the second half of the walk runs through land used for a shoot. This part of the route has been described in detail. Please don’t wander off it. A slightly longer alternative route is available if a shoot is taking place (you will be able to hear it!).
5 miles (8 km), 220 metres of ascent. 2 hours to 2 hours 25 minutes. Moderate.
[Photograph courtesy of Stuart Anderton]
Start at Station Road Car Park
From the car park turn right along the road with St. Mary’s Church on your left. On reaching Church Bridge cross the river and the road to reach a town map on the left, which will guide you along the Riverside Walk. Don’t miss a left turn off Lower Backway opposite Sexeys Hospital (before a house called Heybrook on the left). Turn right at the end of the Riverside Walk towards the filling station, cross the zebra crossing and turn left just past the Chinese Takeaway into Trendle Lane (before the road junction).
The lane climbs and becomes a footpath. Pass the back of the Mill on the Brue Outdoor Activity centre on your left, go through a gate, and continue straight on for about 250m to find a stile well-hidden in the hedge on the right [if the hedge on the left ends you have gone too far].
Go over the stile and half-right across the corner of the field to a further stile. Once over the stile pause to admire an exceptional view of Bruton. Turn left, and head slightly away from the hedge towards the wooded summit of Creech Hill on the skyline. As you approach the field edge, find and follow a rough farm track running downhill to the right. The track becomes more distinct (and much muddier), swings left through trees and drops down towards Brick Hill Farm below.
Take a stile over the fence on the right to cut across the field on a waymarked permissive path, leaving the field at another stile in its bottom left-hand corner. Taking care of fast-moving traffic cross Wyke Road and go into the field directly opposite.
Take the signed footpath slightly left across the field to a stile, and straight across the next field to a stile in the hedge about 25m left of a prominent barn. Turn left into Huish Lane (a restricted byway) to reach a junction with metal gates to the right. Go over the way-marked stile on the right and follow an indistinct footpath diagonally across the field, through a metal gate at the opposite corner, into a small farmyard. Turn left through the farmyard to a small crossroads. [To avoid cows in the field, instead take the permissive track to the right of the stile, pass barns on the left then turn left along the side of the barn to reach the crossroads.]
Take the uphill right turn and continue along the narrow road until reaching a house on a sharp left-hand bend.
Turn right on the signed bridleway and follow it uphill through woods (with bluebells in spring) to a gate. Go through the gate and follow the left-hand field margin to a further gate.
From here the bridleway may be indistinct. Rather than going directly ahead uphill (as directed by the fingerpost) head uphill and slightly right away from the trees towards a slight saddle. Pause to admire the view, which in clear weather extends from Cranborne Chase to the south, via the Blackdown Hills, Exmoor and the Quantocks to the west. Then contour round the hillside at roughly the same level to find a gate at the bottom of the wood which becomes visible ahead.
Once through the gate follow the left-hand wood margin to yet another gate. The bridleway through the next field may be obvious or completely invisible depending on cultivation. Fortunately, the fingerpost points in exactly the right direction, slightly left towards a small coniferous wood. Just before the wood turn very sharp right (almost back on yourself, and well to the right of Alfred’s Tower on the distant skyline). Head down to the bottom right corner of the field, where a gate leads out onto the B3081. [If there is a shoot taking place consider taking the alternative route below].
Turn right. Stay on the right-hand side of the road and take great care: the road is wide and quiet with reasonable visibility, but traffic is fast, there is limited verge, and motorists will not expect walkers. Pass a junction on a left-hand bend. Continue down the road to a kissing gate next to a field gate shortly after a second left-hand bend.
Once through the gate head slightly left across the field, heading for the right-hand end of a line of trees ahead. Go through a gate. The next gate is only about 25m away directly across the next field, but the route may be completely obscured by crops.
Once through this gate the route again becomes more obvious. The footpath drops steeply downhill diagonally (towards Coombe Farm below) to a gate in the bottom left-hand corner of the field.
Turn left along the obvious track. The track swings right in front of Coombe Farm. Cross Coombe Brook by a double-gated bridge at the far end of the building. Go up the left-hand field margin, through two gates with an enclosed stretch of path, turn sharp left onto the drive to Coombe Farm and turn right up the drive to the B3081. Turn right and almost immediately… [go to 6 below].
5 (alternative route, if there’s a shoot)
Taking care of fast-moving but occasional traffic, go straight across and through the gate opposite, and continue along the fenced bridleway. This turns hard left and heads very steeply downhill to the bottom of the valley, across a stream and straight up to a gate and metalled drive. Turn right down the drive to a waymarked gate on the left. Go through the gate and follow the fenced bridleway. [DO NOT continue on the drive. There is no public right of way beyond the bridleway, and the drive leads onto a dangerous section of the B3081].
On reaching a hedge ahead the bridleway turns right downhill to reach a gate into woods at the bottom of the field. (This and the following sections of the route may be very muddy). Go through the gate onto an enclosed track. Follow this through trees, two further gates, and a field, to a gate onto the B3081. Turn left and follow the road carefully – there’s no pavement or verge – until a drive on the right (to “On the Brook”). Just beyond the drive…
…go through a gate on the right. Head diagonally left uphill along an indistinct footpath (following the line of the telegraph poles) to reach a gate, then continue downhill through a second gate, through a small estate, to reach a road (Higher Backway). Turn left and at the end of the road turn right (Coombe Street). Go downhill on a very narrow pavement to the junction. Turn left (into Quaperlake Street) and continue on the same side of the road till opposite an alleyway (Grove Alley). Cross here and follow the alley to reach Church Bridge and re-join the outgoing route.