Castle Cary Circular via Camelot walk

Along the fringes of the Somerset Levels over some fine viewpoints to three magnificent hills, one maybe the mythical Camelot of King Arthur fame

Cadbury Castle/Camelot, from The Beacon SWC 392 - Castle Cary Circular via Camelot

Cadbury Castle/Camelot, from The Beacon

SWC 392 - Castle Cary Circular via Camelot

22-Sep-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Market House, Castle Cary SWC 392 - Castle Cary Circular via Camelot

Market House, Castle Cary

SWC 392 - Castle Cary Circular via Camelot

22-Sep-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Charwell Field and Corton and Parrock Hills, from SW corner of Cadbury Castle/Camelot SWC 392 - Castle Cary Circular via Camelot

Charwell Field and Corton and Parrock Hills, from SW corner of Cadbury Castle/Camelot

SWC 392 - Castle Cary Circular via Camelot

22-Sep-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Windsor Lodge of Compton Castle, Compton Pauncefoot SWC 392 - Castle Cary Circular via Camelot

Windsor Lodge of Compton Castle, Compton Pauncefoot

SWC 392 - Castle Cary Circular via Camelot

22-Sep-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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View up High Street along Market House, Castle Cary SWC 392 - Castle Cary Circular via Camelot

View up High Street along Market House, Castle Cary

SWC 392 - Castle Cary Circular via Camelot

08-Sep-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Undercroft of Market House, Castle Cary SWC 392 - Castle Cary Circular via Camelot

Undercroft of Market House, Castle Cary

SWC 392 - Castle Cary Circular via Camelot

08-Sep-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Curious Cows, near Castle Cary SWC 392 - Castle Cary Circular via Camelot

Curious Cows, near Castle Cary

SWC 392 - Castle Cary Circular via Camelot

08-Sep-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Length

30.3 km (18.8 mi), with 602m ascent/descent. For a shorter walk see below Walk Options.

Toughness

8 out of 10, with 7 hours walking time. For the whole outing, including trains, sights and meals, allow at least 11 hours.

Walk Notes

This is a route along the fringes of the Somerset Levels over some fine viewpoints to three magnificent hills, one of which may well be the site of the mythical Camelot of King Arthur fame.

You rise from the station up a hillock and through quiet residential streets to the centre of the charming market town of Castle Cary with many of its buildings built in the honey-coloured Cary stone, including the stunning Market House. Climb out of the modern-day town past the site of the medieval castle (only earthworks remain) to the top of Lodge Hill with its panoramic views across the Somerset Levels to Glastonbury Tor and the Mendip Hills, and inland towards the wooded boundary ridge with Wiltshire. Visible ahead already are the three hills at the far end of the walk route: Cadbury Hill, Parrock Hill and The Beacon/Corton Hill, each different in shape and appearance. You continue through a scenic dry green valley and along an ancient holloway, then through pastures in the shallow Cam River valley to lunch in North or South Cadbury, from where it’s only a short while to Cadbury Hill, the ‘likeliest contender’ for King Arthur's legendary court at Camelot.
Apart from being a stunning Bronze and Iron Age hillfort site, it also offers some very fine views across bucolic valleys to the other hills of the route. Steep ascents are needed for Parrock Hill and The Beacon/ Corton Hill, but the rewards are more fine views, back to Cadbury Hill and on to the Dorset coastal ranges. The return route passes some remains of a large WWII airfield and crosses the very large Sigwells plateau-with-views, before re-crossing the Cam River valley and approaching Castle Cary from a different angle.

Walk Options

Bus Line 1 (Yeovil – Shepton Mallet)connects South and North Cadbury, as well as Castle Cary’s Town Centre to the Railway Station. The bus runs Mon-Fri hourly in the morning from the station, but only once late lunch and once late afternoon to Castle Cary Station. On Saturday, there is only one bus in the morning, but it has more convenient times in the afternoon/evening than on weekdays.
Bus Line 667 (Street – Wincanton) links Castle Cary’s Town Centre to Bruton (and its station), early evening Mon-Fri.
Cut out the out-and-back up to and around the plateau of the Cadbury Castle hillfort site. Cut 1.8 km and 80m ascent.
Outbound and Return Route are never far from each other, so there are numerous ways to cut out some of the route, using footpaths or roads. An example would be Compton Road, between the lunch pub in South Cadbury and Compton Pauncefoot village:
· walk it after lunch, either without or with first going up to Cadbury Castle, to pick up the return route in Compton Pauncefoot at the double asterisk **);
· walk the route as described to Compton Pauncefoot (20.2 km/12.6 mi with 450m ascent), and turn left along Compton Road back to the pub in South Cadbury and wait for a bus (Line 1, as above).
A Shortcut in the afternoon leads along the valley between Sigwells Plateau and Parrock Hill, thus avoiding the steep ascent up onto and subsequent very steep descent down from Parrock Hill, as well as the steep ascent of The Beacon/Corton Hill, climbing up to Sigwells at a gentler gradient. Cut 2.5 km and 40m ascent.

Maps

OS Explorer: 142 (Shepton Mallet & Mendip Hills East) & 129 (Yeovil & Sherborne)
OS Landranger: 183 (Yeovil & Frome)

Travel

Castle Cary Station, map reference ST 635 335, is 39 km south of Bristol and 172 km south west of Charing Cross. It lies 46m above sea level and in South Somerset. It is on the Reading to Taunton and the Bristol to Weymouth (Heart of Wessex) lines, with a train from London roughly every hour (two-hourly on Sundays). Journey time from 82 minutes.

Saturday Walkers’ Club: Castle Cary is outside the Network Southeast Railcard zone. Off-Peak returns for morning departures can be prohibitively expensive. Advance tickets are usually the better option. Take a train no later than 09.30.

Lunch

The Catash Inn Cary Road, North Cadbury, Somerset, BA22 7DH (01963 441 531). The Catash is located 80m off route, 8.4 km/5.2 mi into the walk.
Chapel Cross Coffee Rooms Chapel Cross, South Cadbury, Somerset, BA22 7ET (01963 440 501). The Coffee Rooms are located 9.7 km/6.0 mi into the walk. Located in the former Chapel of South Cadbury, believed to have been a stop-off point for pilgrims en route to Glastonbury, and with its mobile unit serving from an old horsebox (annually based at Glastonbury Festival).
The Camelot Inn Chapel Road, South Cadbury, Somerset, BA22 7EX (01963 441 685). The Camelot is located 10.4 km/6.5 mi into the walk.

Tea

The Horsepond Inn The Triangle, Castle Cary, Somerset, BA7 7BD (01963 361 313). The Horsepond is located 1.8 km from the end of the walk. This pub is currently closed and for sale.
The White Hart 4 Fore Street, Castle Cary, Somerset, BA7 7BQ (01963 350 077). The White Hart is located 1.7 km from the end of the walk.
Somerset Wine Co. and Enoteca Market Place, Castle Cary, Somerset, BA7 7AL (01963 548 228). The Enoteca is located 1.5 km from the end of the walk.
The George Hotel Market Place, Castle Cary, Somerset, BA7 7AH (01963 350 761). The George is located 1.5 km from the end of the walk.
Plus several other options in Castle Cary, mentioned in the directions.

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Version

Jul-22 Thomas G

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Walk Directions  

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