8 of Somerset’s countryside pub walks
PUBLISHED: 16:18 26 September 2016 | UPDATED: 16:18 26 September 2016
Somerset boasts a hugely diverse landscape to explore: from stunning coastline, charming countryside and plenty of landmarks to marvel at. There’s nothing quite like a ramble to soak in the beauty of the region and a stop off at the pub to reward yourselves afterwards! We bring you 8 of the best pub walks in the area
This 1.8 mile ramble through secluded woodland, stretches of Heathland and the rolling greenery of Woodland Hill is ideal for a short stroll in the countryside. Starting your journey in the Woodlands Hill car park, enter the hill straight up into the forest until you find yourself out onto the open Heathland with views across to Holford Combe, with Longstone Hill in the distance. From this path you’re treated to wonderful views of the Somerset Levels, Mendip hills, Bristol Channel and the Brecon Beacons in South Wales on a clear day. Keep you eye out for a hidden stone seat ideally positioned to soak in the views stretched out in front of you.
On the route back, continue straight along the path into Shervage wood, with some potential sightings of grazing red deer on the descent. A short drive from the Woodland Hill car park is The Babbling Brook Inn, an award winning 16th century inn with rustic character and a friendly welcome. Why not treat yourself to one of their Rock Grill dishes – a range of produce displayed on a slab of heated volcanic rock including a whole gooey Camembert perfect for sharing.
The Broomfield Hill walk encompasses plenty of beautiful views to soak in. Stunning panoramic views of the Quantocks can be admired as you take the route through a secret garden, romantic meadows, ancient woodland and arable farmland. This 6.5 mile ramble begins at the Fyne Court courtyard. For those who have the time to, seize the opportunity to explore the National Trust managed Fyne Court with its wild garden, boathouse and intriguing history. Follow the purple route along a path heading towards the Duck Pool farm buildings which lead towards Broomfield Hill where you’ll stumble across the Travellers Rest pub, a charming country spot with plenty of local ales and ciders if you fancy a tipple. You’ll follow a path leading straight up to Cothlestone Hill. On reaching the top, keep the clump of beech trees (Seven Sisters) on your left before heading towards the Ivyton farm buildings, and a little further past, you’ll find yourself on a road leading back to Fyne Court and the courtyard you started your journey at.
A ten minute drive away, The Rising Sun Inn is the ideal place to relax and refuel. With a warm welcome in the heart of the Quantocks, find yourself a cosy corner and browse the menu brimming with dishes such as sizzling steaks on stones, the risotto of the day and tasty homemade rolls for a lighter bite.
If a walk along pretty coastline is your bag, the five mile trek from Minehead to Dunster is ideal. The beach at Minehead is a long, scenic sand beach, extremely popular with families in the summer. Starting at Somerset Steam Railway station, carrying on along the promenade passing Somerwest World holiday camp and following signs to Dunster beach, the entrance into Dunster Beach Chalets will be in front. Making your way through until you reach an enclosed area, you’ll find yourself next to the Old Manor House on a country lane. Follow the lane past Dunster station on the left until you reach the village of Dunster.
While in Dunster, the stunning Dunster Castle is a must-visit. Sat upon a wooded hill, the ancient castle and comfortable country home boasts spectacular views toward the Bristol Channel, the Quantock hills and up to the moors of Exmoor. After your walk why not unwind in Dunster’s Stag Head Inn on West Street? There’s plenty of dishes to quell your hunger including the wholesome Pot Roast Chicken ‘Like Nan Used to Make’.
Whilst in Glastonbury, a walk up to the summit of Glastonbury Tor is a must. Starting the 2.5 mile route from the town centre, begin opposite the Tourist Information Centre, west of the high street and stroll through the streets of Glastonbury before reaching the signed footpath to the summit of the Tor. The iconic landmark, a 15th-century tower known as being one of the most spiritual sites in the country, is not only architecture to be marvelled at but also boasts outstanding views of the patchwork fields of the Somerset Levels and gorgeous Mendip Hills in the north. On the way back, follow the same route or alternatively continue north-east off the Tor and return by lanes and footpaths back to the centre of Glastonbury.
While in the town, Glastonbury Abbey is a fascinating site. Soak in the rich history of the abbey by visiting the burial place of King Arthur and wander through the grounds of 36 acres of beautiful parkland. The town is also full of pubs and restaurants for the weary rambler to relax in. The Who’d a Thought Itis a charming spot to enjoy classic English cuisine. Sit back and enjoy a meal with exposed bricked walls, an eclectic mix of pictures and interesting artefacts surrounding you.
A slightly shorter stroll of one mile, this ramble allows walkers to soak in the beautiful aesthetic of Blagdon Lake, within the valley of the Mendip Hills. At the northern point of the large lake, there’s a lovely footpath running along the lake’s shore and through the nearby wood. On open days you can also visit the Discovery Wood, abundant with wildlife, where you might spot roe deer, badgers, foxes and otters. The Blagdon Pumping Station and Visitor Centre is also nearby, housed in glorious buildings surrounded by scenic gardens, with science and environment exhibits and hands-on displays for visitors to enjoy.
Visit The New Inn based in the charming village for incomparable panoramic views over Blagdon Lake. Try and find a spot in the Inn’s pretty pub garden or in the colder months, enjoy a local ale or cider, in front of the roaring log fire.
The circular walk beginning at Porlock Weir and travelling through the picturesque hamlet of Bossington is roughly 6 miles. Start the walk from Porlock High Street and walk in the direction of Minehead. Turn right at a sign labelled Bossington, continue along the hedgerow towards Bossington, the 17th century National Trust hamlet in the parish village of Selworthy, ideal to explore for those who love picture-perfect cottages.
While in Porlock Weir, pay a visit to The Bottom Ship. On a sunny day, make yourself comfortable on a picnic table out front and peruse the menu full of delicious homemade pub classics. The peaceful hamlet, once a busy port, still sees plenty of yachts and fishing boats moored at the harbour which can be seen when dining al fresco.
The landscape of Exmoor is truly mesmeric; with miles of rolling greenery, woodland and stretching heathland just waiting to be explored. Enjoy this circular walk that follows a section of the Coleridge Way and climbs to Exmoor’s highest point offering magnificent views across Somerset.
In the nearby village of Wooton Courtenay, The Coleridge Restaurant at Dunkery Beacon Hotel can be found. Expect a vast choice of delicious dishes perfect to reward yourself after the walk. Early risers can sample the brunch menu with a traditional English breakfast or the divine “Lumberjack Stack” with bacon, fried egg and a drizzle of maple syrup on a breakfast muffin.
The famous Cheddar Gorge, at almost 400ft deep and 3 miles long, is a ramble where stunning views are guaranteed. This exhilarating four mile circular walk begins at a track called Cufic Lane, which is off The Cliffs, opposite the National Trust Information Centre. Follow a National Trust omega sign and a gate leading up to a steep path inclining uphill, this part of the trip will be the most strenuous. Mountain goats line the cliffs of the Gorge and can be easily spotted grazing as you stroll up. Making your way along the path, don’t take the route marked to Draycott, instead follow the path until you see a very tall gate and enter the land owned by Cheddar Gorge. When at the highest point of the Gorge, soak in the stunning views of the route you’ve just taken and the winding roads that snake along below you. Follow the path leading downwards which eventually arrives at Lippiat Lane and then right onto the high street.
After embracing the beauty of the Gorge, rest your feet at The Bath Arms, nestled in the heart of Cheddar. Unwind in the relaxed bar area with an extensive menu of quick bites, pub favourites and more filling evening dishes available to enjoy.