From the southern flank of Creech Hill, the view extends from Alfred’s Tower in Wiltshire to the east and Cranborne Chase in Dorset to the south, to the Brendon Hills and Devon border 40 miles west. Much of Somerset is visible in between. This new walk takes full advantage of the view but avoids the steep climbs of most routes up the Hill.
About half the route is on quiet public roads, with one short section on a busier stretch of the B3081. Take care. In June 2022 part of the route was impassable because of overgrowing vegetation. This is not a reason to omit it: we need to keep our public rights of way. However not everyone wants to go walking with a machete, so we have suggested two alternative routes.
As this is a new walk, we’d particularly welcome feedback in the comments section below.
6 miles (9.5 km), 212 m of ascent, two hours twenty minutes to three hours, moderate.
Start at Station Road car park
Turn right on leaving the car park, then swing right opposite the Church to cross the river, cross the road and follow Patwell Street as it winds uphill. At the junction with the High Street, go straight ahead up narrow Coombe Street and take the first road left into Higher Backway. Just before the second car park on the right, 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. Go through the gate and turn left onto the B3081. Cross the road and turn left. Almost immediately turn off the road to and over a field gate or (broken) stile on the right. Go up the faint footpath through the field to reach what must be Bruton’s oldest stile near the top right-hand corner of the field. Once over the stile pass through the garden on a clearly marked route, and then turn left onto Coombe Hill.
Follow the quiet road for just over a kilometre, winding down through trees to cross Coombe Brook at Whaddon, then up Snakelake Hill through more trees. Ignore the bridleway on the left where the trees end and the road starts to level. Shortly after, reach a gate on the left with a well-hidden waymark. Consider which of the two alternative routes below you wish to take.
The blocked route
Through the gate the footpath runs parallel to the left-hand boundary hedge to reach a stile in the far left-hand corner. Go over the stile and immediately over another stile on the right. [The following section was impassable on 29 June 2022]. Follow the footpath along the top edge of the wood till it emerges between hedges, finally reaching a gate next to Upper Greenscombe Farm. [From here the route is passable]. Once through the gate follow the drive past several houses and stables to emerge on Copplesbury Lane. Turn left.
Alternative a: easy but dull
Continue along the road to Hedgestocks crossroads and turn left into Copplesbury Lane. Continue past several gates to reach the drive from Higher Greenscombe.
Alternative b: longer, steeper, but more interesting
Through the gate the footpath runs parallel to the left-hand boundary hedge to reach a stile in the far left-hand corner. Once over the stile the path drops very steeply (take care) then more gently down towards Greenscombe Farm and its stables (still under construction). On reaching the track (a bridleway) turn right, following it through various building works 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 left.
Follow Copplesbury Lane past the Spargrove turn on the right to reach the junction with the B3081. Turn left (effectively straight on). This section of road is wide, with good visibility, but there is quite a bit of fast traffic. Take great care. Follow the road for about 200 m past drives on the right to reach a bridleway gate on the right. Go through the gate. The section through the next field is hard to navigate, firstly because the bridleway almost doubles back on itself, and secondly because it is sometimes completely obscured by cultivation. Pay close attention to the directions.
Turn right onto the farm track and follow it gently uphill towards a thick coniferous wood (if the track is obscured by cultivation head gently uphill straight towards the left-hand edge of the wood). Pause about half-way through the field and look at the field-edge on the left. Note the point where the hedge becomes more like a wood as it runs uphill. There is a hidden bridleway gate at this point, to which the route later doubles back.
Continue along the farm track to but not through a gate. Instead turn right round as if about to retrace your steps. Ignore the sign, which is misleading. Head (at about 2.00 o’clock) directly and almost level across the field towards the lower end of the woods on the field boundary which is now to the right. Shortly before reaching the edge of the field the bridleway gate becomes visible.
Go through the gate, and along the top edge of the field just below the wood. It can be muddy here in winter. Go through a further gate and head very slightly to the right (towards a clear notch in the slope ahead). There are excellent views to the left and ahead. The bridleway swings to the right as views open ahead to the west. Eventually a gate becomes visible in the far right-hand corner of the field, next to the wood. Drop down to the gate.
Go through the gate and continue along the right-hand edge of the field to a further gate. Once through this gate the bridleway becomes clear, dropping down a delightful hollow lane through the wood. In late April this wood is carpeted with bluebells. In late autumn it is carpeted with pheasants reared for the nearby shoot.
At the bottom of the bridleway turn left in front of a house along a very quiet country lane. Views open again to the west. The lane doglegs and heads gently downhill to reach a junction. At the junction go half-left into the farmyard, leaving the yard through a gate at the right-hand side and into a small field. Take the footpath diagonally across the field and over a stile to reach a junction of farm tracks.
Take the track (a restricted byway) almost straight ahead (NOT sharp left). Turn right just before a field gate, where the track ends. The track becomes a path, doglegs again, narrowing with bushes then trees on either side to become an enclosed green lane (Huish Lane). After a steep and often muddy downhill stretch the lane reaches and crosses Coombe Brook at a footbridge at Ladywells. Keep straight on to reach Tolbury Lane.
Turn left up the lane, then right at the crossroads at the top. Go down St Catherines Hill to the High Street at the bottom, turning left to return to the car park by the outgoing route.
Explore Somerset map references
Public roads to Tolbury Mill, WN 5/6 to Coombe Hill. Public road to Snakelake Hill, SM 15/18, SM 15/17, SM 15/16 to Copplesbury Lane. South west to B3081 then south west to SM 13/2. SM 13/3 then south east on public road. WN 5/41 then WN 5/63 to Tolbury Lane. Return to start on public roads.