An easy 3-mile (5 km) walk avoiding roads where possible to The Montague Inn. Some muddy patches and several stiles of varying quality, some of which can be overgrown in summer months. Follow the directions closely: there’s one or two spots where it’s easy to go astray. (Photo by permission of Stuart Anderton).
3 miles (5 km) each way, easy.
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. Pass Sexey’s Hospital on your right, then turn left and go over a footbridge over the Brue. Keep the river on your right until you reach the main road. Turn left and pass under the railway bridge. As the main road veers right, cross Park Road and proceed up Lusty Gardens (the narrow lane between the houses).
Pass through a farm gate, ignore the stile and first gate on the left and proceed until you reach a kissing gate on the left. Follow the clear path across two fields until you reach a kissing gate onto a farm track. Turn left and follow the track through New Barn Farm until you 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 left, continue straight on onto a green track (signposted). When you reach a farm gate, take the gate to the right of it. Shortly go through a further gate and turn left. Cross the field keeping the fence to your 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 the Grade 2* listed Godminster Manor on your left; parts of the building date form the 14th century but it was substantially rebuilt in the 1920s after a fire.
In the corner of the field cross a fenced farm track through two farm gates. (As of December 2021 one of these gates is in poor repair and you may have to climb over the low wooden fence). Keep the hedge and small patch of wood to your left and climb to the stile (also in poor repair) at the top of the field. From here there are views down to Lower Shepton and St Peter’s Church with Bratton Seymour on the hill behind.
The next field is regularly cropped and no path directly across is maintained. Should this be the case, turn left and follow the field edge to the corner, and use the farm gate to join a track heading downhill. (Otherwise cross the field diagonally slightly left until you reach another gate onto the track further down).
Take the double stile on the left of the track into a field and turn right following the field edge until you reach a gate. In the next field cross towards the cottage roof; the stile out of the field is in front of it. This stile can be very overgrown in summer and is also in poor repair.
Turn right onto Redlynch Road, then immediately left downhill by the side of the cottage. Proceed under the old Somerset & Dorset railway bridge until you reach a T junction. Turn right. Take the second of two signed footpaths on the left, marked towards High Shepton, through a farm gate.
Keep to the right of the field along a clear path, through a gap in the hedge (there’s a disused stile hidden in the corner) into the next field, which becomes an orchard. At the end of the field turn right over a brook and through a field gate. Follow the left-hand edge of a more established orchard. Pass a pond on your right (ignore the stile into the area surrounding the pond) and through a gate. Cross a small field, often with sheep, and through a gate onto the road. Turn right and The Montague Inn is on your right.
The Montague Inn is open Tuesday – Saturday 12pm – 3pm and 6pm to 11pm, Sunday 12pm – 2.30pm. For food, booking is recommended: 01749 813213. https://themontagueinn.co.uk/ (Details last checked December 2021)