Bruton Circular via Stourhead walk

Through quiet South Somerset pastures and across a wooded ridge past Alfred's Tower folly and through the beautifully landscaped Stourhead Estate

Palladian Bridge and Pantheon across Garden Lake, Stourton (Stourhead Estate) SWC Walk 342 - Bruton Circular (via Stourhead)

Palladian Bridge and Pantheon across Garden Lake, Stourton (Stourhead Estate)

SWC Walk 342 - Bruton Circular (via Stourhead)

11-Jun-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Alfred's Tower, front view SWC Walk 342 - Bruton Circular (via Stourhead)

Alfred's Tower, front view

SWC Walk 342 - Bruton Circular (via Stourhead)

11-Jun-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

swcwalks swcwalk342 walkicon 48079194531

The Iron Bridge, Stourhead Estate SWC Walk 342 - Bruton Circular (via Stourhead)

The Iron Bridge, Stourhead Estate

SWC Walk 342 - Bruton Circular (via Stourhead)

11-Jun-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

swcwalks swcwalk342 walkicon 48079224673

Bristol Cross, Palladian Bridge and Pantheon across Garden Lake, Stourton (Stourhead Estate) SWC Walk 342 - Bruton Circular (via Stourhead)

Bristol Cross, Palladian Bridge and Pantheon across Garden Lake, Stourton (Stourhead Estate)

SWC Walk 342 - Bruton Circular (via Stourhead)

11-Jun-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

swcwalks swcwalk342 walkicon 48079291907

Stourhead House, Stourton SWC Walk 342 - Bruton Circular (via Stourhead)

Stourhead House, Stourton

SWC Walk 342 - Bruton Circular (via Stourhead)

11-Jun-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

swcwalks swcwalk342 walkicon 48079290137

The Obelisk, Stourhead Estate SWC Walk 342 - Bruton Circular (via Stourhead)

The Obelisk, Stourhead Estate

SWC Walk 342 - Bruton Circular (via Stourhead)

11-Jun-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

swcwalks swcwalk342 walkicon 48079187491

Bruton Dovecote on Pillow Mound SWC Walk 342 - Bruton Circular (via Stourhead) [Dovecote and Town Loop]

Bruton Dovecote on Pillow Mound

SWC Walk 342 - Bruton Circular (via Stourhead) [Dovecote and Town Loop]

11-Jun-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

swcwalks swcwalk342 walkicon 48079285237

Length

22.7 km (14.1 mi), with 490m ascent/descent. For a longer walk see below Walk Options.

Toughness

6 out of 10, with 5 ½ hours walking time. For the whole outing, including trains, sights and meals, allow at least 11 hours.

Walk Notes

This excursion is centred on the small 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 tea options. It leads along the vigorous River Brue and through bucolic pastures up to the wooded range forming the boundary between Wiltshire and Somerset, with the dominant local landmark Alfred’s Tower, a folly, on top of it. From there you drop down through enchanting woods to the heart of the Stourhead Estate at the source of the River Stour, with its breath-taking 18th century landscaped garden with lakeside walks, grottoes and classical temples (National Trust, ticketed entry, although large parts of the garden and most notable buildings are visible from the walk route).
After lunch at the estate pub or an NT restaurant you circle back past the large Palladian mansion with views, then through a U-shaped grassy valley (by the source of the river Stour) and up through hanging woods to continue high above the Brue Valley with fine far views across the South Somerset landscape.
Towards the end the route passes the renowned art gallery Hauser & Wirth Somerset with its fascinating bar and restaurant and an optional loop routes up to Bruton’s dovecote and through town.

A start from Castle Cary (with faster and more frequent trains) adds about an hour of walking.

Walk Options

An out-and-back to the Bronze Age Bell Barrow site Jack’s Castle adds 550m.
A loop through the wooded Park Hill via its Iron Age hillfort site adds 900m.
A loop at the end up to Bruton’s dovecote and through town past most tea places adds 1.5 km.
An alternative start from Castle Cary (one stop further from London along the same line, but with more frequent – and often much faster – train services) adds 5.0 km/3.1 mi and 88m ascent/descent. For a detailed description see SWC 284 Bruton Circular or from Castle Cary.

Maps

OS Explorer: 142 (Shepton Mallet & Mendip Hills East)
OS Landranger: 183 (Yeovil & Frome)

Travel

Bruton Station, map reference ST 687 347, is 45 km west of Salisbury, 31 km south of Bath and 168 km south west of Charing Cross. It lies 72m above sea level and in South Somerset. Bruton Station is a stop on the Heart of Wessex line from Bristol to Weymouth. There is also a limited direct service from/to London Waterloo. For the fastest connection from London a change is therefore usually necessary, either in Bath Spa, Westbury or Castle Cary, journey time from 117 minutes.

Saturday Walkers’ Club: Bruton is outside the Network Southeast Railcard zone. Off-Peak returns for morning departures can be expensive. Advance tickets are usually the better option.

Lunch

The Old Red Lion North Brewham, Bruton, Somerset, BA10 0JL (01749 850 287). The Old Red Lion is located 950m off route, 5.0 km/3.1 mi into the walk.
The Spread Eagle Inn Church Lawn, The Stourhead Estate, Stourton, Warminster, Wiltshire, BA12 6QE (01747 840 587). The Spread Eagle is located 11.0 km/6.8 mi into the walk.
The Stourhead Estate Restaurant The Stourhead Estate, Stourton, Warminster, Wiltshire, BA12 6QD (01747 841 152). The Restaurant is located 150m off route, 11.4 km/7.1 mi into the walk.

Tea (on or just off route)

The Bull Inn Hardway, Kingsettle Hill, Bruton, Somerset, BA10 0LN (01749 812 200). The Bull Inn is owned by Hauser & Wirth and managed by the team behind the Roth Bar & Grill. It is located 1.0 km off route, 4.5 km from the end of the walk. This pub is currently closed.
Roth Bar & Grill Hauser & Wirth Somerset, Durslade Farm, Dropping Lane, Bruton, Somerset, BA10 0NL (01749 814 700). The Roth Bar & Grill is located 730m from the end of the walk. It is named after one of the more than 60 artists Hauser & Wirth are representing: Swissman Dieter Roth, and decorated with numerous art works along its walls and off its ceiling. It includes a site-specific bar created by Björn and Oddur Roth, the son and grandson of Dieter Roth. On weekends a booking is recommended.
The Godminster Farm Shop Station Road, Bruton, Somerset, BA10 0EH (01749 813 733). The farm shop is just off route before turning up to the station and sells beautifully packaged, vintage organic Cheddar, handmade Brie, gourmet crackers, tangy chutney, infused vodka spirit & more, as well as serving hot drinks.

Tea (on a loop through town)

The Bruton Castle 45 High Street, Bruton, Somerset, BA10 0AW (01749 812 104). This pub is currently closed.
Matt’s Kitchen 51 High Street, Bruton, Somerset, BA10 0AW (01749 812 027). Open for dinner only: Thu, Fri and Sat. BYO with £3 corkage.
Hive Bruton 95 High Street, Bruton, Somerset, BA10 0AR (01749 937 420).
The Sun Inn 33 High Street, Bruton, Somerset, BA10 0AH (01749 813 493). With a full Persian Menu in the evenings.
At the Chapel High Street, Bruton, Somerset, BA10 0AE (01749 814 070). The Chapel is a Grade II listed former chapel, and the restaurant puts a Mediterranean touch to British food.
The Old Pharmacy 3 High Street, Bruton, Somerset, BA10 0AB (01749 813 111). A wine bar and deli.
Osip 1 High Street, Bruton, Somerset, BA10 0AB (01749 813 322). A farm-to-table restaurant. Tends to be fully booked weeks ahead.
The Godminster Farm Shop As above.

Stay

Accomodation at Stourhead:
The Spread Eagle Inn (see above).
Stourhead Holiday Cottage and Stourhead B&B

For details check: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stourhead/features/stay-with-us-at-stourhead

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Version

Nov-21 Thomas G

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Walk Directions  

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This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk