No sooner than we arrived home from our Settle trip I am off again. This time I am heading back to Minehead for a few days walking on Exmoor with Crosby. Lynnie has declined joining me, I am not sure if it is the prospect of walking on the moor in December or the fact I have started a cold and she thinks it a good idea to keep well away from me.
I have become a frequent winter visitor to the Caravan and Motorhome Club site in Minehead. It is perfectly placed for easy access to walking routes and being just on the edge of the town makes it easy to get supplies. The layout of the site means it never feels busy and with easy access it ticks all the boxes for a solo trip. By the time I set up yesterday it was well into the afternoon but there was sufficient light for Crosby and I to stretch our legs by wandering down to the harbour.
Today’s walk is from the site and will be a variation of a walk I have done a few times. On leaving the site I turn left and walk uphill along the pavement besides the A39, Hopcott Road. On reaching the Hopcott I turn left to follow the narrow tarmac lane as it heads steadily uphill passing Higher Hopcott and reaching woodland.
I ignore footpaths leading off from the road until I reach an information board for Dunster Woods.
Now I take the path to the right of the information board on the route of the Macmillan Way West heading uphill. I ignore a path on the right soon after leaving the car park and then where the Macmillan Way meets a crossing of tracks I continue straight on, staying on the route of the long distance path. The path now goes around the head of Long Combe, this is a cracking spot with stunning Beech trees lining the path.
Leaving the trees the path continues through a section of open land with dead bracken and gorse.
On reaching a junction of tracks I turn right still on the route of the Macmillan Way West heading towards Tivington across the top of Hopcott Common. At a fork in the track I go left to keep with the Macmillan Way West. There are good views from here back along the coastline towards Blue Anchor.
I continue to head west to reach another crossing of paths. Here the Macmillan Way turns left towards Wootton Courtney, however, I keep going straight ahead soon reaching an Ordnance Survey trig point tucked to the left of the track on a high bank. This trig on Periton Hill is one I have bagged a number of times.
At the next crossing of footpaths I continue straight on.
At the next junction of paths I follow the way-marker towards Headon Cross and soon pass a National Trust plaque and enter Holnicote Estate. Within a short distance the track forks and I go right continuing towards Headon Cross with the path leading through the attractive woodland of Tivington Common.
The sun is out and there is a clear sky. Ideal conditions for a walk in December. The path I am on initially descends gradually, but as I near Headon Cross there is a short steep descent to reach a minor road. Turning right on the road I reach Headon Cross and go straight over to take another minor road opposite. This climbs steadily, as the road sweeps to the right I continue straight on along a track towards East Lynch.
Approaching East Lynch farm I take a footpath on the right that runs behind a fine old barn. I stay on the wide grassy track as it passes farm cottages, ignoring a footpath on the left and continuing uphill.
I reach a minor road at Deans Cross and turn left following the road downhill into Selworthy where I stop on one of the many benches in the churchyard and admire the view whilst I have my lunch.
Resuming my walk I continue through the village and pass the Tithe Barn which has a plaque commemorating the wanderings of Walter Wilkinson with his peep show. Many years ago Lynnie gave me a copy of Walter’s “Peep Show” book. It is a great insight into a way of life long passed.
I continue through the village and then fork right on a footpath that leads through Selworthy Farm with its range of old barns and then continue along a track. When I was here in February the hedge besides this path had recently been laid and looked a bit of an eyesore. Now ten months later nature has taken its course and the casual observer would not even know of the work to the hedgerow.
As I go downhill I pause to take in the view. There was a time when I constantly glanced at my watch to ensure I was maintaining a decent pace. These days I like to pause and look occasionally. I still walk pretty fast but I have learnt to stop from time to time and take it all in.
The track leads to the outskirts of Higher Allerford where I go straight on along a narrow lane leading to Allerford via a packhorse bridge besides a ford. The bridge is thought to be medieval, though work to enlarge the bridge was undertaken in 1886.
After crossing the bridge I turn right to walk through this attractive village passing the old Post Office with its King George VI postbox.
Soon I reach a footpath along a track which passes Stoates Farm and goes through a gate to reach a footbridge over the river. On the far side of the bridge I turn left and take a footpath towards West Lynch this initially follows the river.
The path soon starts to ascend into the woods.
At a crossing of paths I take the route signposted towards Hurlstone Point, the path continues to steadily ascend through trees. The path leads to a wooden gate and a crossing of paths at Lynch Combe. There is an information board explaining the work that has been done by National Trust volunteers to restore the stone walls in the Selworthy and Cockerhill section of the Holnicote Estate. The walls are at least 200 years old and there are some fine examples in this Combe.
On previous visits I have turned right here and walked up the hill, but today I go straight over to follow the path towards Hurlstone Point. This path leads through stunning section of trees.
The path follows the contour line around Bossington Hill and opens out to provide cracking views over Bossington and Porlock Beaches.
The path now opens out as it heads toward Hurlstone Point.
At a fingerpost I turn right on a path to Minehead.
This path goes uphill, when I say uphill I mean seriously uphill. Bossington Hill is a stiff ascent.
The first time I walked up here I thought I would do it in one go and today I try to repeat the challenge. But my cold is taking a toll on my lungs and I decide it is sensible to take a breather and admire the view back towards the coast.
I am now on the route of the South West Coastal Path and I follow this uphill. There are a number of options but I choose a broad path heading towards Selwothy Beacon. Close to the path are cattle and I meet a lady walking her dog who is anxious going through the cows. I offer to walk with her and we spend the next fifteen minutes chatting. I really enjoy such encounters I always learn something about others’ lives; this person, like me, feels the need to get out every day for a walk to get away from the pressures of modern life.
We walk together to Selworthy Beacon where we wish each other well and part company.
From the Beacon I follow a track heading east across North Hill. There are a number of paths up here but I know as long as I head east and keep the minor road somewhere to my right I will be fine.
The track leads towards a parking area and soon after passing through it I take a path on the left. This heads north and rejoins the South West Coast path where I turn right and soon go through a gate into an area of pasture.
The path continues close to the road to reach another gate, now I keep going east to reach another parking area and then keep going to pass some Exmoor ponies.
On reaching another car park close to woodland I have a choice of routes to take to get to Minehead. I go to the left and then take a path that goes east through the trees and passes concrete bases that housed Nissen huts during World War II. Apparently the American Forces had a NAAFI in one of the huts on this hill.
I continue on this path until I reach a fork in the path, here I go to the left and descend towards a gate and then continue on the path going steadily downhill.
There are multiple paths in the trees that descend towards the seafront. I stay with one that goes straight on to reach a tarmac lane where I turn left, soon joining the Zig Zag path going steadily downward.
At the bottom of the path I turn left and pass cottages to reach the seafront by the sculpture marking the start, or end, of the south west coast path.
It is a cracking evening and I stop on the seawall to watch the moonrise.
From here it is a wander through the streets of Minehead to get back to the caravan site for a well-deserved cup of tea and a sit down to plan were I will walk tomorrow.
To follow my walk, you will need Ordnance Survey Explorer Map OL9 – Exmoor
12th December 2022
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2022)
All information on this site is provided free of charge and in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of damage, loss or injury which might result from it. To the best of my knowledge the routes are entirely on public rights of way or within areas that are open for public access.
Walking can be hazardous and is done entirely at your own risk. It is your responsibility to check your route and navigate using a map and compass.