This walk, created by Pauline Wills and Angela Coldman in summer 2022, ambles through rural landscapes to the south of Bruton, visiting pretty Pitcombe Church. Cows and sheep, two short steep descents make this a moderate but not a challenging walk. Close attention to the directions is needed in some places.
There is a steep and slipply short descent above Gants Mill on the return route. In wet weather and when the ground is really muddy unless very sure-footed consider diverting along Sunny Lane from Cole (not described but obvious on the map).
5 miles (8 km), about two to two and a half hours, moderate. Last checked December 2023.
Start at Station Road Car Park
Turn right out of the car park, swing right onto Church Bridge, cross the road and bridge, and turn left along the Riverside Walk. Continue along Lower Backway, following the road as it turns sharp right to become Mill Lane, then turn left onto the High Street. Follow the left-hand side of the road, crossing the river and then Plox, and pass under the railway bridge. As the main road veers right, cross Park Road and go up Lusty Gardens (the narrow lane between the houses).
Pass through a farm gate, ignore the stile and first gate on the left and continue to go through a kissing gate on the left. Follow the clear path to the right across two fields to a kissing gate onto a farm track. Turn left and follow the track through New Barn Farm to reach Godminster Lane.
Turn right and follow the road as it makes a sharp left turn. Go through the farm gate (often open) and when the metalled track veers slightly left, continue straight on a green track (waymarked) and pass through another gate (also often open). At the next farm gate, take the footpath to the right through a small section of wood. Shortly go through a gate and turn slightly left. [From this point the route is permissive rather than following the precise line of the right of way]. Cross the field keeping the fence to the left. The bottom of this field can be very muddy even in dry weather so be prepared to skirt around the worst of it. Pass Godminster Manor on the left.
In the far-left corner of the field go through a gate and turn right along a track. The track passes through a hedge and gate [at which point it re-joins the right of way]. Continue gently downhill to another gate. After going through the gate turn left across the field, heading at right angles to the fence behind and passing to the left of a water trough. Find a pedestrian gate some metres to the left of a field gate. Taking great care cross the busy A359 to a kissing gate directly opposite. Pick a way down the very steep slope towards the obvious gate and house beneath. Go through the gate then two more gates beside the house, onto the lane and straight up the lane immediately opposite heading for the church. (If exploring the church note that there is a convenient WC.).
Turn right in front of the wall to the churchyard, through two kissing gates then a further gate. Follow the footpath to two further gates and out onto Pitcombe Hill. Turn right downhill towards Pitcombe, past a farmyard on the left, and just before the bridge turn left up Lancombe Lane.
Take a narrow footpath (waymarked) on the right after ‘Ravens Cottage’ and just before ‘Alders’ on the right. Go through a gate and pass between the properties to a further gate. Go diagonally left across the field to a gate in the far-left corner, then continue with the fence to the left to reach a further kissing gate in a wooded hedge. A few metres after the gate go into the field on the right and continue in the same direction with the fence immediately to the left. At the far-left end of the field go over a very high stile into a small wood. Drop steeply down through the trees to a road visible below.
Turn right and follow the road across the River Pitt into the hamlet of Cole. [At this point decide whether to take the route described here, which has a short steep descent which can be very slippy in the wet, or to take the obvious but boring return route along Sunny Lane]. Turn left then immediately right into the private lane leading to Colestile (also known as Cole Style). The lane crosses the Brue by a narrow bridge. The landowners have established a permissive path through the field in front of Colestile which is more direct, easier to follow and altogether better than the ‘official’ route. Follow it if open, by turning right through the gate immediately after the bridge. Continue through the field with the River Brue to the right. [If the permissive route is closed walk up the drive to the house and take the stile into the field on the right]. The field narrows as the river and railway line gradually converge. Go under the railway.
Go through the gate and straight on up the hill ahead past a fine oak tree. The bridleway becomes indistinct. Scramble straight ahead up the steep muddy bank then turn right to go through a gate. The bridleway continues high above the River Brue then drops very steeply down towards Gants Mill. This section can be slippy in the wet, with a significant drop to the right, so take great care here. Go through a gate and follow the bridleway through a second gate, a small wood, and a further gate into the grounds of Mill on the Brue Outdoor Activity Centre. Pass beneath the house, turn left up to a gate then right down the drive to reach the main road at West End. Return by the outgoing route.
Explore Somerset map references
Public roads to Lusty Gardens and WN 5/30. WN 5/28 SE then SW on Godminster Lane. WN 22/18 then permissive section W of Godminter Manor to join WN 22/17 . WN 22/9 to Pitcombe Church then WN 22/7 to Pitcombe Hill. NE on Pitcombe Hill then W on Lancombe Lane and continue on WN 22/7. Public road NE into Cole, then Wyke Lane and WN 22/2 with short permissive section. Continue N then E on WN 22/2 and WN 5/48 to public road at West End and return to start on public roads.