Today after a check of the map we decide to do a straightforward walk from the centre of Staple Fitzpaine on the Blackdown Hills. This is just a short drive from us and we are looking to identify a convenient three to four mile walk that will be okay if we encounter a prolonged period of rough weather in the winter.
We park in the car park of the Greyhound pub, I pop in and get confirmation that it is okay to leave the car and then stop for a pint at the end of our walk. From the pub we cross the road and walk along the lane and pass the rear entrance of the churchyard.
Dotted around the crossroads are a couple of large boulders, apparently known as devilstones, it is claimed that the Devil threw these stones from nearby Castle Neroche. Legend has it that if you prick the boulders with a pin they draw blood. Fortunately we do not have a pin with us to test the legend.
At a fork in the road we go right and follow the tarmac lane towards Staple Park Farm. On reaching the farm we continue on passing through an open gate onto a gravel track and follow this as it heads towards Staple Lawns Farm (this part of the walk we covered when we walked from Corfe a few days ago). We take the diverted footpath to skirt around the farm and on entering Oakey wood we turn left and follow the path through the woods. This is a broad path and pleasant walking in the late afternoon sun.
Our route is up hill and we follow the path as it swings round to the left. On reaching Underhill Lane we turn left and walk down hill soon going by Underhill Farm. We get clear views across the vale of Taunton Deane. It is so nice to have ready access to open countryside so close to a busy town.
We pass the hamlet of Bow Green and are soon back in the centre of Staple Fitzpaine. Our walk has taken the best part of an hour at a steady pace. It has been firm underfoot and just right for wet winter walking later in the year.
Before popping into the pub we visit St Peter’s Church. This has a fine ornate tower and inside the church is spacious and very light. The font has an intricately carved wooden lid, this is obviously a weighty item because there is a pulley system attached to lift it. I trust they ensure that it is safely secured before any baptisms.
On the crossroads there are also the village almshouses. These are fine buildings built in 1643 and donated by Sir William Portman. Restoration work was carried out in 1970 and they definitely look homes of character.
The Greyhound is a pub that I first visited in 1993, the notes I made in my walking book at the time states that it was a smart pub with a locals bar and good food. When Lynnie and I last lived in Taunton we used it on a couple of occasions to eat and were never disappointed. It is now a Hall and Woodhouse pub and still retains the comfortable feel and is clearly used by many locals. Badger beer has never been a favourite of mine, but as we are here it would be rude not to sample one. Cheers!
25th September 2014
[To follow our walk you will need Ordnance Survey Outdoor Explorer Map 128 –Taunton and the Blackdown Hills]
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2014)