Jamming About to Wills Neck and Broomfield Hill

I am walking on my own today so it is no surprise that I head towards the Quantock Hills. Since we started travelling we have walked past numerous Ordnance Survey Triangulation Points, more commonly known as Trig Points. However, it is only recently, after joining Twitter, that I realised there was such a thing as Trig Point bagging.

Having not recorded those we have visited I have been going back through photographs to see how many we stopped at and captured for prosperity. I am working on the principle that even if we visited a trig point, it doesn’t count unless we have photographic evidence. It will be fun going back to bag those we did not capture at the time. Today I aim to bag a trig point I have visited a number of times and depending on time hopefully bag a second.

Parking in the large car park near to Crowcombe Combe Gate I walk besides the road to reach Crowcombe Gate and then turn left to head southeast along the tree-lined track.

It is a cracking, misty, autumnal day, a chill to the breeze but ideal for walking.

It might be the weather, but it surprises me that I meet nobody as I stride along. My first sight of anyone is as I approach the Triscombe Stone car park. The information board here explains that the track I am following along the ridge is known as Drove Road and has been used by farmers and traders for thousands of years. It is also known as a Harepath (a Saxon army route) recorded in the 14th century as the “Alferode”.

At this point is the Triscombe Stone; this is a Bronze Age monolith marking the route of the Drove Road. It is so easy to walk past something like this without realising the significance.

Following the well-worn path, my mind wanders to imagine all those who have been this way before me. I soon leave the trees to walk towards the trig point at Wills Neck.  This is the highest point on the Quantock Hills and I know from previous visits that the panoramic views are stunning, however, today the visibility is so poor that I can only see a couple of hundred yards. I have now successfully bagged my thirty-seventh trig point.

Continuing along the Drove I arrive at Bagborough Plantation where the trees are showing distinct signs of autumn.

Walking to the left of the plantation along the Drove I soon reach the track that leads steeply down to West Bagborough. Many years ago I used to start and finish my walks on the Quantocks at the Rising Sun at the foot of this hill. In those days I started my walk by tackling the ferocious climb up to the Drove, needless to say the reward was a pint in the Rising Sun at the end.

Still following the Drove, whilst reflecting about what has happened over the last twenty-five years since I first walked this route, I reach the car park at Lydeard Hill. There are a few benches here and the cloud has cleared sufficiently to provide a view so I stop for a sandwich.

Refreshed I resume my walk taking the footpath that heads through the trees parallel to the minor road. At Birches Corner I follow the road to Park End where I take one of the footpaths leading through the trees to the summit of Cothelstone Hill.

This is the first time I have been to this spot, which is surprising given the amount of walking I have done in this area. It is stunning; apparently with a telescope on a fine day you can view 14 counties from here. The source where I read this did not list them, and I find it hard to believe. Perhaps it is one of the “untruths” of the Internet.

An information board explains that Neolithic flint tools show that there were communities here somewhere between 4,000 and 6,500 years ago. I love the way that in a world now so precise about everything we can still talk of a period spanning 2,500 years!

In the Bronze Age, which is of course more recent, only 3,500 to 4,200 years ago, the hill was used as a burial mound.

Even more recently between 1768 and 1780, Lady Hillsborogh, who owned the Cothelstone Estate had a tower built on the hill. The information board says it was destroyed before 1919, which is a pity because from pictures it looked quite impressive. But clearly not very substantial.

From the hill summit I continue in an eastward direction to reach a car park by a minor road. Here I join the road and turn right to follow it through Bucombe Wood towards Broomfield Hill. At a five-way junction I take the lane towards Broomfield and after a couple of hundred yards take a footpath on the left passing through trees towards the summit of Broomfield Hill.

A few hundred yards up this footpath I am shocked to see some chap running towards me with his kit off. Crosby immediately thinks the chap is about to offer him a sausage! On seeing me he turns sharply and his bare buttocks quickly disappear. As an old mucker of mine would say “The things you see when you haven’t got your gun”. There is a time and a place for everything, this does not include running around the woods with no clothes on!

I carry on through the woods and at the top of the hill take a track on the right and soon enter a field at the summit of the hill to walk to the trig point; trig point number thirty-eight. I do not hang around long as the cattle in the field, although someway off, have started to take an interest in us and I am not sure I am quick enough to exit the field before they reach me.

After leaving the field I retrace my steps to the junction of paths and then descend from Broomfield Hill on the path directly in front of me, this leads down to the five-ways junction. Here I pick up a path that runs parallel to the road and provides a pleasant walk back to the entrance to the car park of Cothelstone Hill. Instead of heading back over the hill I continue to walk besides this minor road to reach Park End.

From here my return route follows the Drove back to Crowcombe Gate. The only difference being that the cloud has now lifted and I can enjoy the views. The local Exmoor ponies appear to also be taking in the surrounding beauty of the view over Aisholt.

Aisholt is a “Thankful Village”; this term is used to describe a village where all their members of the armed forces survived World War I. Back in 1930 thirty villages were identified, but more recently research has created a list of fifty-three. Somerset has thirteen such villages.

Walking back through the Beech trees on this autumn afternoon is wonderful. This has to be one of the best times of year to be walking on the Quantocks!

 

My route has covered just over twelve miles and I need to get a move on, as I am already late for picking Lynnie up.

To view this 12 mile walk on OS Maps Click Here

To follow our walk you will need Ordnance Survey Outdoor Explorer Map 140 – Quantock Hills & Bridgewater

10th October 2017

© Two Dogs and an Awning (2017)

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