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The Trudoxhill Stroll

PUBLISHED: 17:09 22 August 2016 | UPDATED: 17:10 22 August 2016

The final field before the Inn

The final field before the Inn

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Simone Stanbrook takes her sense of adventure and spare socks on this walk through ancient woodland

Mysterious ruin tucked away in the woodsMysterious ruin tucked away in the woods

Just outside the village of Trudoxhill lies the delightfully-named Postlebury Wood, an ancient place first documented in the 12th century. This lovely mixed woodland is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, being renowned for its wild flowers. The area is privately owned so it’s important to keep to the footpath. Outside the woodland the walk enjoys far-reaching views, so choose a clear day. There’s also an intriguing ruin plus a very welcoming inn to sample before or after the walk (or both).In contrast to our usually-civilised walks, some of the footpaths on this route have not been well-maintained (the necessary authorities have been informed), so muster your sense of adventure, pack a compass or phone app plus a spare pair of socks – and be prepared to get dirty like we did! It’s a lovely route!

Route:

1. Just across the road from the inn is a large millennium stone, installed in June 2000, beneath which lies a time capsule. Walk away from the inn along the lane signposted for Witham, passing this stone and continuing for 150m to a footpath on the right by a fingerpost.

Cross the stile and bear left through the field on the trodden path to another stile on the far side. Cross the next stile, following the direction of its yellow footpath arrow diagonally left up towards the top left field corner. Up here you find another stile, just in from the corner. This deposits you on a surfaced track. Go diagonally left across this to another stile with a broken fingerpost, leading into a field. Walk through the field beside the right-hand hedge.

In the corner cross another stile and continue as before beside the hedge, enjoying views to the left. The substantial buildings of well-named Belle View Farm can be seen ahead to the left.

2. At the end of the field peer through the hedge ahead to spot an appealing shepherd’s hut. On the right is a gap through the hedge with two yellow arrows. Follow the direction of the one pointing obliquely right, passing through the gap and bearing diagonally right for just 20m, through another gap, then immediately left, to follow the hedge on your left. You are now heading uphill towards the trees of Postlebury Wood.

Field paths near the end of the walkField paths near the end of the walk

At the top of the field a tumbledown gate leads enticingly into the wood. Negotiate this and follow the clear path beyond, straight through the woodland. This is a beautiful place, often dripping with birdsong.

After nearly 400m the footpath reaches a broad crossing forestry track where a two-way fingerpost directs straight ahead, unerringly through the woodland. Beyond here the path begins to rise; occasional yellow arrows reassure.

3. About 500m from the crossing track, as you approach the end of the wood, you find a stile in the fence on the left. Here the signage for our onward route was lacking. In its absence the best option is to turn right at the stile (don’t cross it) staying within the woodland and walking away from the stile at 180 degrees, through the trees at the periphery of the wood. You emerge into a field about 30m from the stile. Turn right, walking uphill (north-west) along the edge of the field, now with Postelbury Wood immediately to your right.

Within 200m the trees to your right end. Keep ahead, an old tree-topped boundary to your right. At the end of the field pass through the scrubby boundary and continue through the next field, boundary still on the right. At the end of this field, negotiate the ditch and another scrubby boundary, then keep going beyond it in the same direction, the path rising gently.

4. Within 100m swing right to approach an intriguing ruin tucked under the trees – soon joining a broad track. At the end of the building is a two-way fingerpost. At the time of writing nothing on this post indicated the footpath heading north – unhelpful as this is the one you need. Keep ahead on the track heading north away from the ruin. We spotted roe deer along this stretch.

Just over 100m from the ruin the woodland to your right ends. Keep on the track as it bends slightly left to approach a mast. Beneath the mast pass through (or over) wide metal gates and continue on the track to a kissing gate in 100m. Stay with the track after this, the distant hum of traffic ahead of you on an unseen road.

5. In 200m you meet a broad and possibly muddy cross-ways where the main track heads left to Cloford Common Farm. Keep straight ahead at this crossing, passing through double wooden gates with an obliterated yellow arrow to enter a field. Walk through the field following the left boundary.

6. At the end of the field, in the left corner, a track leads out of the field under trees. This is your way but when we were there the ditch in front of the track was hard to cross, so we retraced our steps a few metres to nip through the gate into the adjacent field, then followed its fence beside the enclosed track we should have been on until we found a point at which we could access it (the council has been advised and I’m sure they’ll put it right; if you arrive before they have it requires a bit of intrepidity).

Once on the track keep ahead under the trees, jumping the muddy sections and, 300m from the start of the track, arriving at a stile with several arrows. Cross this and turn right, following another track that in 100m reaches two stiles in quick succession, the first badly beaten up, the second one in a better state and bearing a badge proclaiming its installation by the Mendip Ramblers.

7. Beyond this enter the field and keep ahead, following the line of the right-hand boundary through a large field. At the end a stile (or gap) leads into a more enclosed grassy area. Keep ahead for a few metres, then bear right for about 20m to enter a field, swinging immediately left again to continue in the same direction as before, boundary over to the left. A pleasant stretch of walking.

At the far side of the field cross the stile then keep ahead through the next field, still in the same direction. Go through the farm gate at the end and walk straight across the next field looking out for telephone wires that cross the field on poles before you reach its end. Just before the wires go right through a gateway in the boundary, then bear left across the corner of the next field to a stile beside a wooden fence and some sheds about 120m away.

Cross the stile and plank bridge then follow the narrow path towards red lamp posts. Bear left beyond them to reach a track then go left along it, passing a rather tumbledown greenhouse followed by smart houses. This is West End Lane, which reaches the road opposite the prettily-converted St. Lawrence Church.

8. Cross the road to join the footpath opposite, walking obliquely right across the field towards houses. In 160m you pass on your right the end of a once-longer hedge with a huge tree stump, from here bear right towards a red-roofed building with adjacent metal kissing gate. This leads to a narrow path that soon reaches the lane, handily next to the White Hart Inn. Refreshments await.

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