A short walk in and outside the town, to the hills immediately to the north and south with views back over the town. Visits the woods above Coombe Brook, the duckpond, Jubilee Park and the Dovecote. Road, track, paved and unpaved footpaths, with two short climbs and some mud in wet weather. Dogs must be kept on a lead in Jubilee Park, and there are often cattle around the Dovecote. 2 miles (3.5 km), 60 m of ascent. About 50 to 60 minutes. Easy.
Starting at Bruton Community Office
Cross the road and walk east (with the traffic). Take the first turning left up Coombe Street, taking care on its narrow pavement, then left again into Higher Backway. After the first small car park on the right (but before the second larger car park) turn right through some wooden bollards into Cheeks Lane.
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. (Dog walkers note that very occasionally there are sheep in this field). After going through the gate look back for a view of the Church, with Alfred’s Tower on the skyline in the distance. Take a few steps to the side to view the Dovecote. You will be there in 30 minutes or so.
Take the right hand of the two feint 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. Just a few steps further turn left into the drive of On the Brook.
Turn left again immediately, into the woods, then immediately fork right downhill. The path swings left through the coppiced bottom margin of the wood. It can get muddy here. Eventually reach houses, almost hidden behind vegetation to the left. Take a narrow path but clear path to the right (if you get to the road you have missed it). The path runs steeply downhill between stone walls and can be slippy in wet weather.
At the bottom turn left along Huish Lane (a good track) and follow it to reach Tolbury Lane. Turn right downhill, then along the side of the ford.
At the far end of the ford go straight ahead on the tarmac path. The former mill-leat runs to the left. The path crosses a footbridge (over part of the flood prevention scheme), continues past the duckpond and drops down between stone walls to reach the High Street.
Cross the road and go down Mill Lane opposite. The road turns sharp left and becomes Lower Backway. After a house on the right turn right to follow Riverside Walk. Cross a footbridge, turn left uphill at the junction of paths and go up the wooden steps to reach Plox. Cross the road (taking care as traffic on the one-way system often crests the brow of the hill to the left rather too fast).
Go up Godminster Lane opposite, and over the railway. Turn left to enter Jubilee Park (dogs on leads please). Head diagonally across the playing field towards the trees to your right, then on to and over one of the several stiles into the Dovecote field (alternatively there is a gate well to the left near the multi-use games area).
Scramble up to the Dovecote (the slope is less steep from the small car park). Once up the hill go around the town side of the Dovecote and stop to admire the view.
Continue through the rather rickety gate ahead and follow the path along the top of the ridge, with views of Bruton to your left. Turn right where the fence turns right [a further fence is to be built here at some time in late 2020/21: if it has been, go through the gate and turn right]. To your left are the Abbey Fishponds, an ancient monument, now more of a marsh than ponds. This section can be muddy. At the end of the ponds swing right and back down the far side to reach the gate at the bottom. [This section, also muddy in winter, is to be given an all-weather surface in 2020/21]. Go through the gate and onto Station Road.
Go downhill under the railway bridge, cross the road (no pavement at this point) and continue down Station Road. The road swings left along the River Brue. Opposite the Church turn right across Church Bridge. Cross the road at the Bridge, then turn left across a small green, under an arch and onto Riverside Walk, which leads to Lower Backway.
On reaching Lower Backway take any of the three Bartons (narrow alleys) back up to the High Street and the Community Office. (The route on the map takes Chapel Barton, which is the third).