Walks in and around
Monkton Combe

Walk 1
Brassknocker,
Kennet & Avon

Walk 2
Combe Down, Horsecombe Vale & Tucking Mill

Walk 3
Bridging the gap

Walk 4
Somerset Coal Canal & Southstoke

Walk 5
Bluebell Woods &
Riverside Walk

Walk 6
Rainbow's End

Walk 7
Brookside Views

Walk 8
Monkton Combe, Southstoke, Midford

 

 

Brookside View

Walk 7 - by Nigel Vile

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General Description - A ramble that will put muscle to the test !

To the south of Bath the network of rivers and streams carves out a most dramatic landscape. There is, of course, the Avon Valley, that most popular of walking locations, running south to Bradford on Avon. The Avon is fed by a number of diminutive streams and rivers, that include the Somerset Frome, Wellow Brook and Midford Brook.

This walk includes an impressive section of the Midford Brook, upstream of Monkton Combe, as well as the hillsides to the south west of the river.

From Monkton Combe, whose former mills are now overshadowed by the local public school, the walk climbs steeply uphill to neighbouring Limpley Stoke. St. Mary's Church, high on a hilltop to the south of the village, can boast a fair deal of history. The nave walls, for example, are allegedly those of a small chapel built in 1001 to mark the boundary of land given by Ethelred, son of King Edgar, to the Abbess of Shaftesbury in 973.

Beyond St. Mary's, fieldpaths and lanes take the walk through the scattered hamlets of Sharpstone and Pipehouse. Along the way you may catch a glimpse of the very private Hinton Priory through the trees. This former Carthusian priory, founded in 1232, was abandoned during the dissolution. The remains consist of the chapter house, the refectory and the outline of the cloister.

Pipehouse Lane descends steeply down the hillside into Midford. 'Lane' is perhaps a misnomer. The tarmac surface soon gives way to a rough, boulder-strewn track that can resemble a stream following a heavy rain..

It is the simple matter of following the Midford Brook back into Monkton Combe, with one last surprise in store along the way.

There, on the hillside above the river, stands the quite imposing Midford Castle. The main house is shaped like a triangle, with a circular tower at each corner. It is said that a society gambler once made his fortune by turning up the ace of clubs. In the hope of perpetuating his fortune, he built this residence!

 

Instructions:
 

Distance: 5 miles
Time: up to 2/3 hours
Start: By the Wheelwrights Arms in Monkton Combe (parking in Village car park opposite the Church)
Maps: OS Explorer 155/142 or OS Landranger 172
Refreshments: Pubs in Monkton Combe and Limpley Stoke

 

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Walk down Mill Lane beside the Wheelwright's Arms. At the bottom of the hill keep to the right of the mill and follow an enclosed path to a footbridge across Midford Brook. Cross the river and follow the enclosed path ahead uphill. Part way up the hillside, on reaching an unmetalled track, turn right for a few yards before turning left to continue following the enclosed path steeply uphill. On the hilltop, on joining a road by a bungalow, continue ahead to the junction with Midford Lane. Turn left and follow Midford Lane for 400 yards to its junction with the A36.

Cross the A36 with care, turn left for a few yards before turning right into Church Lane. In 400 yards, just before the church, turn right at a stile and follow the churchyard wall to a kissing gate. In the next field, follow the well-worn path directly ahead to a kissing gate in the opposite hedgerow. In the next field, cross to a kissing gate by a house opposite, before following the path ahead that shortly becomes a driveway. At the junction with Ashes Lane, turn left to reach a staggered crossroads. Continue ahead and, at the next junction, bear right and follow Abbey Lane, the main road, up to the A36, emerging at the entrance to Hinton Priory.

Turn right for a few yards and cross the A36 to a gate/stile opposite. Cross this stile, bear half-right and make for another stile halfway down the right-hand field boundary. Cross this stile, head across the next field in the direction of a barn to another stile. Follow the left edge of the next field to yet another stile before crossing a paddock to a gate in the corner and a track. Cross the stile opposite and follow an enclosed path alongside a garden to the lane in Pipehouse. Turn left along this lane. Beyond the last property, continue along an unmetalled byway that, beyond a private drive that bears right to a water tower, becomes a rough, stony track that descends the hillside to the B3110 on the edge of Midford. Turn right and, in 100 yards, right again into Midford Lane.

250 yards along this lane, cross a gate to follow a path signposted to Millbrook. Follow the left edges of two fields, dropping gradually downhill. Partway along the second field keep left as the path runs alongside a fence besides an old railway line to reach a stile. Pass through a small area of boggy ground to a second stile, before crossing a thin hillside field to reach the banks of Midford Brook. Follow the river back to Monkton Combe where you cross a stile to rejoin the path walked at the outset. Re-cross the wooden bridge on the left, follow the enclosed path back to the mill and bear left up Mill Lane to the heart of the village.

 

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