We have walked in many parts of the Country but up until today have not ventured onto the Mendip Hills. A couple of times when living in Taunton I thought about driving to the Mendips for a wander around, but with the Quantock Hills close by I always ventured there instead.
Our starting point is a large layby besides the B3134 at the south east corner of Burrington Ham Nature Reserve. Leaving the car park we follow a footpath that heads west across the access land of Burrington Ham.
The path takes us to a rocky outcrop and we climb the crags to get a cracking view of the surrounding countryside.
Following the path we reach the Iron Age hillfort settlement. The shape of the settlement is difficult to distinguish amongst the bracken but the location offers more stunning views.
It was my intention to pick up a footpath marked on the map that leads from the hill down to the B3134, however, wherever we look there is a precipitous drop and no route I would consider taking with the dogs. So instead we follow a well-worn pathway around the edge of the settlement to join a footpath heading steadily downhill towards Burrington.
On joining a minor road, Ham Link, we turn left and follow this lane until we reach the B3134, which we cross with care to take the lane opposite, Link Lane. This heads steadily uphill and we stay on the tarmac lane ignoring a footpath to our right and continue up through the trees.
Where the path divides we keep to the right fork keeping woodland to our right as we continue to head upwards.
At a junction of paths we turn right to follow the Limestone Link path along a narrow track. On reaching a crossing of paths we go straight on, leaving the Limestone Link to follow a track with the steep bank of Dolebury Warren to our right.
Staying on this track we ignore paths to our left and carry on until we reach a small car park at Dolebury Bottom. Here we go through a gate on the right and head up the steep path towards Dolebury Warren.
It is a warm afternoon and as we near the top we stop to admire the view giving us time to get our breath back.
Continuing on we reach the ramparts of the huge Iron Age fort on Dolebury Warren.
It occupied over 22 acres and was also utilised by the Romans. It is well protected on three sides by the natural shape of the hill and the extensive views would ensure any aspiring attackers would be spotted before getting too close.
Apparently it was scheduled as an ancient monument in 1929 and then purchased by Miss V Wills, a member of the Wills Tobacco family, to ensure it would not be developed. In 1983 the National trust acquired the freehold of the whole 229 acres of the Warren and it is now managed on their behalf by the Avon Wildlife Trust. It is a cracking spot.
Following a well-worn route we head west across the Warren, on the route of the Limestone Link path.
After passing through a field of cattle we reach the crossing where we were earlier. This time we head straight across and go up a track through a forestry plantation on Rowberrow Warren. At a crossing of paths we turn left to follow a track onto Black Down.
It is stunning up here and the views on such a clear day are extensive.
Keeping on the track we head across Black Down heading towards the trig point at Beacon Batch.
The trig is very distinctive and easy to spot as we head towards it. At 1,066 feet it stands at the highest point on the Mendip Hills and it also has an impressive stone surround that makes it even more prominent.
This is the 116th Ordnance Survey trig point I have bagged and the views are amazing.
Eventually we tear ourselves away and head south easterly towards masts in the distanc still admiring the panoramic views.
As we reach a gate we turn left to follow a path along the edge of access land and then head down a track to reach Ellick House. Here we join the B3134 and turn left to walk the short distance besides the road to the car park where we started our ramble.
Our afternoon out had covered close to 8.5 miles and as an introduction to the Mendips it has been cracking. I am sure that it will not be too long before we are exploring these hills again!
To follow our walk you will need Ordnance Survey Outdoor Explorer 141 – Chedder Gorge & Mendip Hills West
3rd October 2018
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2018)