Somerset walk - Barrington Court

PUBLISHED: 00:00 15 April 2020

Arresting views from the footpath towards the mellow stone mansion of Barrington Court

Arresting views from the footpath towards the mellow stone mansion of Barrington Court

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Take a farmland walk in the environs of Barrington Court, with SIMONE STANBROOK-BYRNE

The public footpath passes an orchard outside Barrington Court’s walled garden; there are huge and very colourful flower bordersThe public footpath passes an orchard outside Barrington Court’s walled garden; there are huge and very colourful flower borders

A former stately home, the beautiful mellow-coloured Tudor mansion that is Barrington Court was once occupied by the Lyle family (of Tate & Lyle fame). In the custodianship of the National Trust, in recent years it has been used as one of the locations for the BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall.

This walk explores the countryside around the mansion and follows public paths across the estate. It offers enticing glimpses which may tempt you to investigate more; the paths used for this walk do not incur a cost but if you decide to venture deeper into the grounds or house, there is a charge for non-members. (nationaltrust.org.uk/barrington-court).

Note: If you are a National Trust member, please show your card at Visitor Reception – it enables them to claim from central funds.

People-watchingPeople-watching

THE ROUTE

1. At the time of writing Barrington Court was in the process of relocating its car park, so the easiest starting point is where the drive to Barrington Court leaves the road at the east end of Barrington Village. Follow the drive as it bends about and as it makes its final sharp left turn, heading towards Visitor Reception, look for the metal footpath gate ahead, at the bend, beside a bigger gate, giving pedestrian access into the cricket pitch. Go through, and walk through the cricket field with a ditch and orchard to the left; the mansion’s chimneys are visible and you are heading for trees 80m away.

At the trees look for the tucked-away path, next to a wooden bench, that ducks beneath the trees and leads to a metal kissing gate in about 30m. Go through and continue ahead through tree-studded parkland: a gorgeous view of the mansion is to your left.

2. The path passes an old footbridge on the left. Just before you reach the end of this large ‘parkland’ field go left on a short track to a yellow-arrowed, metal footpath-field-gate combo. Beyond this turn immediately right (muddy!), walking beside the right-hand hedge. Ignore a footpath going right in 25m and keep ahead.

At the end of the field go through a gate with a yellow latch. Walk ahead for a couple of metres then veer left through a gap, to continue in the same direction as before with the fence on your right. You soon pass a gas pipeline marker on your right.

At the end of the field pass through into the next, cross a track and continue as before, still beside the right-hand hedge; Lake Farm is visible ahead.

3. Just before the end of the field, beyond another gas pole and as the right-hand boundary starts to curve left, look for a potentially slippery footbridge on the right, leading to a kissing gate. From here cross the field aiming for a gate in the far fence, situated to the right of a red-brick building adjacent to the farmhouse.

Go through the gate (more mud) and walk ahead to join the surfaced drive. Turn right, away from the farm, and follow the drive: fields to your right, barns to the left. Bend left with the drive and in a further 150m, by a new house, bend right.

4. In another 100m take the signed restricted byway on the left. This is Barrington Broadway.Follow it for just over one mile, an easy, if rutted, stretch of walking.

In 400m the track reaches anarea with a variety of wonky fingerposts. Cross the little wooden footbridge and keep ahead along Barrington Broadway towards Westport, ignoring any paths off.

The way continues unerringly; if you are walking in autumn the ground is studded with a wonderful variety of mushrooms.

Almost 600m from the bridge, ignore footpaths to right and left. The Broadway suddenly becomes even broader and in just over 100m from this point another stout gate on the left guards the entrance to Thong Lane.

Continue on the Broadway for another 570m; you begin to hear traffic and see buildings on the edge of Westport. Before you reach the road, when you reach an orchard on the left, look for a yellow-arrowed footpath gate.

5. Leave the Broadway through this gate, walking through a very long field, following the right-hand hedge for almost 300m until you reach a large black trough, just after a gate on the right. At this point, the hedge starts to bend to the right and from here the footpath veers left, now crossing the field to far left corner, 130m away.

In the corner leave the field via the stile and plank bridge. In the next field follow the left-hand hedge as it bends left to reach another stile. Cross this, swiftly followed by another, then turn immediately left and follow the fence to reach a gate at the end of the field, leading out to Lawnmoor Lane.

6. Turn right on the lane to find a footpath gate on the left in 60m. Go through and walk diagonally across the field to the far left corner, to find a wooden gate onto a narrow path. This swiftly leads to a footbridge going left; cross it and note the yellow arrow on the right at the end of the bridge, directing diagonally right across the next field.

Follow its direction across the field towards the right corner. Here cross two stiles in quick succession, to arrive in a long narrow field. Turn right and walk down the middle of the field, passing another gas pole, to reach the end boundary. Ignore a footpath going right near the corner and cross the stile in the end boundary, continuing through the next field beside the right-hand hedge.

7. At the end of this field a stile beside a gate leads onto a track. Follow this for 40m and just before the hard surface starts go left along a leafy path. Follow this for just over 200m, ignoring a left-hand footpath half way along, to reach narrow Gibb’s Lane, beside a corrugated barn.

Turn left on Gibb’s Lane and in just under 100m look for the well-concealed footpath up steps on the right. Go through the kissing gate, then walk through the field following the right hedge, heading towards tall poplar trees. When we were here this field margin was full of wild flowers including aromatic pineapple weed. Delicious.

At the end of the field turn right along a short stretch of track. Turn left along the road, still heading for the poplars. Ignore a footpath right in 80m and continue for another 100m to another right-hand path, up a flight of steps beneath the poplars.

At the end of the path pass through a metal kissing gate and continue ahead keepin in the same direction to another fingerpost. Keep head here, still on the public footpath, with an orchard to your right and the moated walled garden to your left. At the end of the orchard cross the wooden footbridge and you are once more in the cricket field. Turn right and you soon reach the gate back onto the drive of Barrington Court. u

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Map: Route straddles two OS maps: Explorer 128 Taunton & Blackdown Hills / Explorer 129 Yeovil and Sherborne: 1: 25 000.

Parking: Barrington Court NT(charge for non-members).

Start point: The main drive to Barrington Court, shown on some maps as Water Lane. Grid ref: ST396181. Nearby postcode: TA19 0NQ.

Distance: 4 miles/ 6.5km.

Terrain: Field paths/ tracks, sometimes VERY muddy; rough underfoot, don’t skid in cow pats. Very little lane walking.

Exertion: Easy walking, though at times rutted.

Dog friendly: Animals grazing and several stiles to negotiate.

Refreshment: Barrington Court tea rooms only accessible if you’ve paid to go in. However, there’s a good takeaway near visitor reception, accessible to all. Plus Barrington Boar Inn, Barrington village, TA19 0JB (01460 259281).

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