Narrow steep-sided valleys with fast flowing streams and rivers, rolling hilltops, Alfred’s Tower, Hauser & Wirth Somerset art gallery
|Length||25.1 km (15.7 mi), of which 10.6 km (6.6 mi) on tarmac or concrete. Cumulative ascent/descent: 472m. For a longer or a shorter walk, see below Walk Options.|
|Toughness||8 out of 10 Time: 6 ½ hours walking time. For the whole outing, including trains, sights and meals, allow at least 12 hours.|
|Maps||OS Landranger Map: 183 (Yeovil & Frome) OS Explorer Map: 142 (Shepton Mallet & Mendip Hills East)|
This excursion is centred on the remote Somerset town of Bruton, with its honey-coloured stone-built cottages, a large dovecote on a mound overlooking the townscape and a fine selection of lunch and tea options. It leads through a scenic South Somerset landscape of narrow steep-sided valleys and coombes with some fast flowing streams and rivers, with the route dipping in and out of the Brue, Alham and Pitt valleys. From the rolling hilltops you get some far views across to the range forming the boundary with Wiltshire and Dorset, with the local landmark Alfred’s Tower, a folly, on top of it. The route leads close to the renowned art gallery Hauser & Wirth Somerset, and a short version of the walk leaves enough time for an extended visit to it and/or its fascinating bar and restaurant. The recommended lunch stop on the main walk is a very fine country inn in Batcombe.A start from Castle Cary (with faster and more frequent trains) adds about 50 minutes of walking.
|Travel||Bruton and Castle Cary Stations are stops on the Heart of Wessex line from Bristol to Weymouth. Trains on the London Paddington to Taunton Great Western Main Line also serve Castle Cary (journey time from 84 minutes), but do not normally stop at Bruton. There is also a limited direct service to London Waterloo. From London a change is therefore usually necessary to Bruton, either in Bath Spa or in Westbury, journey time from 111 minutes.
Saturday Walkers’ Club: Bruton and Castle Cary are outside the Network Southeast Railcard zone. Off-Peak returns for morning departures can be prohibitively expensive. Advance tickets are usually the better option. Take the earliest train you can.
As a Figure-of-Eight walk, you can walk the two loops in reverse order.
|Lunch and Tea||
The Three Horseshoes Inn Batcombe, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, BA4 6HE (01749 850 359). The Horseshoes is located 8.9 km/5.5 mi into the walk. Open 11.00-15.00 and 18.00-23.00 Tue-Fri (also summer Mondays), 11.00-23.00 Sat and 12.00-18.00 Sun. Food served 12.00-14.30 and 18.00-21.00 Tue-Sat (also summer Mondays) and 12.00-14.30 Sun.
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Out (not a train station)
Back (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk