This longer walk (an update of Walks Around Bruton series 1 no. 5) visits the hamlets of Wyke Champflower, Hadspen and Pitcombe. Great views, a varied landscape, and quite a few ups and downs. Expect mud in winter, and cattle in summer. 7 miles (11 km), 2 hrs 25 mins to 3 hours 15 mins. Moderate.
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 the left turn along Lower Backway opposite Sexeys Hospital (almshouses and chapel), (before a house called Heybrook on the left). Cross the river and stay close to it until coming out on a main road. Turn right towards the filling station, cross the zebra crossing, turn right and then left into Trendle Lane (just before the road junction).
The lane climbs through trees and bushes and becomes a footpath. Pass above the back of Mill on the Brue Outdoor Activity centre on the left and go through a gate. Eventually reach a stile at the top of the hill. Climb over and be rewarded by a great view of Glastonbury Tor and the Somerset Levels to the west and Creech Hill to the north.
Continue in the same direction heading slightly downhill parallel to the fence on the right and to the left of Wyke Cheese factory and farm in the distance. Down the slope cross another stile and then two more stiles either side of a concrete farm track. Bear slightly left to cross another stile and continue downhill towards a hedge to the right of Wyke Champflower church, Manor, and farm buildings to reach a stile leading out onto a road.
Turn left along the road and follow this for approximately 1¼ miles, first dropping down to cross the River Brue and the Great Western Railway and then climbing steadily to the top of the ridge ahead, the road bending first right and then, near the top, to the left. On a right-hand corner, pass a signed footpath up steps on your left (Leland Trail). Ignore this and almost immediately afterwards take the third gate onto a bridleway between hedges, signed Hadspen ¾ mile.
The track leads quickly into a field through a non-electric fence. [This short section is actually a permissive path as it does not follow exactly the path shown on the OS map]. Once in the field follow the hedge on the left, going fairly steeply down into Knapp Hollow. (Please ignore the horses, which will then largely ignore you.) Continue to the bottom of the field, through a gate into the next field, and eventually find a gate on the left into the woods. A short path leads to a track, which can be very muddy. The track leaves the wood and bends sharp right to cross the valley and climb to a road.
Turn right and walk into Hadspen, passing houses on the left. After a postbox in the wall and a further house reach an unsigned metaled lane on the left. (If you reach the road junction you have gone too far).Turn left up the lane (Nettlecombe Hill) between the house and Hadspen Village Hall. The lane begins to climb steeply through trees past a house on the left. It gets even steeper as the metaling turns to cobbling. Eventually it levels off and turns into a narrow track between (overgrown) hedges. Pause by the gate on the left as you cross a new concrete track (not shown on the OS map) to admire the views to the north to the Mendip Hills. Cross the concrete track and continue to a T junction of tracks.
Go through the gate directly opposite and into the field. Head slightly right, cross the field to the gate opposite (next to a small barn). Go through the gate and turn left onto the track. Go down the track and, after about 200 metres, go through a kissing gate on the right, beside a field gate, and into the field. (The gate area can get very muddy in wet weather).
Head slightly away from the track and hedge on the left (aim just right of Alfred’s Tower on the skyline) towards a notch in the field which opens into a small valley as you get closer. Drop down heading slightly right into this valley and head towards a gate which becomes visible in the hedge opposite. There is a walkers’ gate in the main gate. Climb through this and out onto the track. Turn left down the track through a gate to the delightful Pitcombe Church. (There is an excellent toilet tucked into the north-eastern corner of the church, which has outside access and is often open.)
Continue down the road past the church and across the River Pitt to a T junction. Go straight across through a gate, leaving a house on your left to go through two more gates (either side of the old Somerset & Dorset railway line). Bearing slightly left climb the steep hill to a clear gate at the top. Turn back to admire the view before going through the gate and out onto the A359. Cross the road, taking great care, and go over the stile opposite.
Bearing slightly left cross the field heading for a gap in the hedges in the far corner. (This area can get very muddy). Go through the gate and turn right onto a good but muddy farm track. [Ignore an old waymark on the gate on your left].
Continue up the farm track, with great views on your right, until it crosses a hedge, with gates on either side. Go through the left-hand gate (with ancient waymark) and follow the hedge for about 30m to find a hidden stile (with waymarks). [This section of the route is not the right of way shown on the OS Map, which is currently obstructed].
Go over the stile and straight across the field, heading for Godminster Manor just visible through the trees ahead. As you approach the Manor bear left to cross the dip in the field and head for a gate in the top right-hand corner. Go through the right-hand gate into a small wood, then a kissing gate to reach a track. Turn left and follow the track which joins a lane just after a house on the right.
Turn left along the lane. Continue to a sharp right-hand bend with two cottages on your right. Shortly, further down the lane, turn left over a cattle grid by New Barn Farm (fingerpost), enjoying the views to your right of the Dovecote and hills to the east of Bruton. Continue along the track through the farmyard onto a concrete track to a kissing gate hidden in the hedge on the right. (If you reach a gate into an open field you have gone too far.) Go through two fields, keeping a hedge on your left in the first and continuing in the same direction across the second, to another kissing gate out onto a lane with grass down the centre. Turn right. Follow the lane downhill through a small wood then a gate and houses to emerge on Cole Road (A359).
Turn right, immediately cross a minor road and go under the railway bridge, then turn right up three steps to a footpath which runs between the backs of houses and the railway line. Turn left when the path emerges on the road, then right at the road junction, crossing the road where safe to do so. Pass the attractive old buildings and abbey wall of King’s School. At the T junction continue straight on with St Mary’s Church on the right to return to Station Road Car Park.
Explore Somerset rights of way references
Public roads to West End. WN 5/31, WN 5/33 to Wyke Road. Wyke Road SW. WN 22/11 to public road. Public road south, then Nettlecombe Hill. WN 22/9 to Pitcombe Hill then WN 22/9 onwards to Mill Lane. WN 22/17 (with short permissive diversion) then WN22/18 to Godminster Lane. WN 5/28 then WN 5/30 to Lusty Gardens. North on Cole Road then WN 5/62 and return to start by public roads.