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Details

  • Start: Burgundy Chapel Combe car park (TA24 5SG), grid ref SS948476
  • End: Burgundy Chapel Combe car park (TA24 5SG), grid ref SS948476
  • Country: England
  • County: Somerset
  • Type: Country
  • Nearest pub:
  • Ordnance Survey: OS Explorer OL9
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Description

Get a spring in your step with this challenging and rewarding walk high above the sea on the South West Coast Path. It passes through three combes, especially pretty in springtime when bluebells and blossom are out, writes Ruth Luckhurst

Get a spring in your step with this challenging and rewarding walk high above the sea on the South West Coast Path. It passes through three combes, especially pretty in springtime when bluebells and blossom are out, writes Ruth Luckhurst



Distance: 6 miles (10 km) Time: 3 hours Exertion: Adventurous



POINTS OF INTEREST


Dartford warblers and nightjars amongst the western gorse and bristle bent heath on North Hill above the car park, plants found only in the West Country



Selworthy Beacon, the highest point on this part of the coast at 310 metres, gives spectacular views inland to Dunkery Beacon and across the Bristol Channel



Views from Bossington Hill over Porlock Marshes and the vast, flat area of Porlock Vale



Bossington Hill is also a favourite for kite-flyers and birds of prey. You will often see buzzards, peregrine falcons and kestrels wheeling above it



The area is a haven for wildlife, with its saltmarshes, woodland, fertile farmland and heathland



BOOTS ON? LET'S GO!



1 From the car park walk westwards for a few yards to pick up the bridleway heading north-west towards the coast. Turn left onto the Coast Path and a short while later take the path to the right, signposted as the Coast Path rugged alternative. This will take you through a gate, from where waymarkers will direct you down into Grexy Combe. As is the way with combes on this part of the Coast Path (and elsewhere too), no sooner have you dropped a hundred metres than you have to climb the same height out again: its all very good for the fitness levels!


2 To your left as the Coast Path curves around the top of the hill above Grexy Combe is Furzebury Brake, although it is not visible from here and there is no public access to it. This is a late prehistoric oval enclosure thought to be an Iron Age hillfort. To the north-east, flint tools have been found dating back to the Bronze Age (around 2000 BC). Nearby there are also traces of a medieval field system.


3 A little further along, again to the left and off the path, is the deserted settlement of East Myne, now a collection of ruined buildings but at one time a farm. This is thought to be medieval too, and there was a water meadow, a little way uphill from the farm, which made use of flooding from the spring above to fertilise the land during winter months. As you approach Western Brockholes, you come across clumps of bluebells and other wild flowers beneath banks of blazing gorse and thorn bushes bedecked in vivid green leaves and tumbling white blossom.


4 Rounding the corner, you descend gradually into Henners Combe and then pull gently up the other side and out towards the coast again. Moments later you repeat the whole process in East Combe, and then the path stays high and doubles back on itself above Bossington Hill. Eastern and Western Brockholes are thought to be the quarries used for the construction of the field boundary banks along the hillside here, and possibly the buildings at East and West Myne.


5 There is a track heading uphill and southwards out of East Combe, if you feel the need for a shortcut after all your exertions; otherwise carry on around the coast. Ignore the path leading down towards Hurlstone Point, staying on your path as it turns and heads roughly south-east. Ignore the two further paths to the right shortly afterwards, and another, and stay with the Coast Path as it makes its way towards Selworthy Beacon.


6 At the top of Bossington Hill, above Lynch Combe, two further tracks lead off to your right and should be ignored. Just after this, the track from East Combe joins your path as you reach the top of the hill and turn slightly eastwards to the junction of paths to the west of Selworthy Beacon. (Note that the bridleway shown on OS maps as heading south-west here doesnt exist on the ground).


7 Follow the Coast Path as it heads back towards Minehead, below Selworthy Beacon. You'll be pleased to know, after all your exertions, that its downhill all the way from here! The track joining from your left here was built for tank training in the Second World War. Carry straight on along the Coast Path. Ignoring the tracks to your right, stay on the Coast Path and turn right to go back to the car park.

INFORMATION



Start: Burgundy Chapel Combe car park (TA24 5SG), grid ref SS948476
Map: OS Explorer OL9



Terrain: Tracks and footpaths, some of them narrow and exposed, with steep ascents and descents (this is the signed rugged alternative path)



Refreshments: In Minehead, or the tearoom at Selworthy Green



Public transport: This walk is several miles away from a bus stop



Information: Minehead TIC 01643 702624



The South West Coast Path National Trail provides 630 miles of stunning coastal walking from Minehead on the edge of Exmoor National Park to the shores of Poole Harbour. There are hundreds of short circular and linear routes that can be searched by distance, interest and level of difficulty; download short circular walks and linear routes at www.southwestcoastpath.com

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