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


This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Date Option Post # Weather
Sat, 16-Jul-22 Saturday Walk - Castle Cary Circular (via Camelot) [Somerset Trip] [New Walk] 17 very warm day often with a breeze
Length: 30.3 km (18.8 mi) [shorter walks possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 602m
Net Walking Time: 7 ¼ hours
Toughness: 8 out of 10
Take the Weymouth train from Westbury (09.29), Frome (09.38) or Bruton (09.50), arrives Castle Cary 09.54.
From London, take the 08.35 Paignton train from Paddington (09.02 Reading), arrives Castle Cary 10.16, and chase the group.
Return trains to Bruton: 17.14, 18.34, 19.32, 21.24.
Return trains to Frome/Westbury: 17.14, 18.34, 19.32, 20.05 (change Westbury for Frome), 20.52, 21.24.
Return trains to London: 17.14, 17.28, 18.46 (direct), 20.05 (direct), 20.52, 21.24.
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 14.35 and 18.20 from South Cadbury back to CC (3 mins later from North Cadbury), and at 18.32 from CC down to the Station.
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 through pastures 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.
Lunch: The Catash Inn in North Cadbury (8.4 km/5.2 m, open all day ); Chapel Cross Coffee Rooms in Chapel Cross (9.7 km/6.0 m); The Camelot Inn in South Cadbury (10.4 km/6.5 mi, food to 14.30, then bar snacks).
Tea: plenty of choice in Castle Cary (see webpage or pdf for details).
For summary, route map, height profile, photos, walk directions and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.392
  • 16-Jul-22

    6 Bruton and surrounds based folk met at the station (1 had departed back to London the night before), but off a 15 mins delayed train. Knowing that, 10 of the Castle Cary based folk had moved on by the time we passed through town (which is 1.5 km from the station up a hill). We eventually met up in North Cadbury, where the CC group frequented the Catash Inn for refreshments. Us station starters didn't bother with that and marched on. We all got to South Cadbury at the same time and all but a few stopped for lunch at the Camelot Inn. Picnickers joined for drinks. 1 other CC based walker had taken the bus out to Cadbury and was already returning from Parrock Hill. She and 1 other took the 14.35 bus back.

    Everyone else went up Cadbury Hill. Afterwards 4 took the road shortcut across to Compton Pauncefoot and walked the rest of the route. 2 walked the proper shortcut, cutting out the coming two hills. 9 walked Parrock Hill and then The Beacon/Corten Hill. Of those, 2 then walked the road shortcut from Compton Pauncefoot back to the Camelot Inn and then took the 18.20 bus back. The other 7 walked the route back to CC, arriving just after 18.30 hours. Only 2 of those were Bruton and surrounds folk though and have walked the full 30k. Congrats!

    Judging by the amount of photos taken, punters liked the route. Quite a bit.

    Overgrown paths? No real problems. Views? Very good: Mendips, Quantocks, Alfred's Tower, Glastonbury Tor, the Dorset coastal ridges. Group cohesion: pretty good. Lunch pub: pretty good. Some tired legs at the end, but everyone in good spirit, as far as I can tell.

    Temperatures topped out at 26 degrees late afternoon, mostly with a breeze, making for a pleasant walking weather.

    17 on a very warm day often with a breeze .

  • 17-Jul-22

    Special mention must go to the walker staying at The Old Red Lion in Brewham, who added the approx. 5.5 km each way walk to/from Bruton Station to the 27.8 km version of the CC Circular walk to his tally!