Combe Down, Horsecombe Vale and Tucking Mill
Walk 2 -
printable version (1 x A4)
|Time: about 1½ hours, steep in
Start: By the Wheelwrights Arms in Monkton Combe - parking in village car park opposite the church (GR 773620)
Maps: OS Explorer 155 Landranger 172
From the Wheelwrights Arms, turn west, follow the road bearing right past the Church. Where the road beds left, take the drung (footpath) straight ahead. A steep climb, with good views behind encouraging pauses, brings you to Shaft Road, where you turn immediately left through a kissing-gate to a drung between walls - follow this. Cross the next lane and continue with a Quarry (inactive) on your left and playing fields on your right, to a road between Monkton Combe Junior School on your left and busy allotment gardens on your right.
Turn left into Church Road, follow into Belmont Road on the left, and down to cross Summer Lane into Beechwood Road straight ahead. Walk along this road to Public Footpath sign on the left, down between the houses and diagonally left across the field to a stile into a wood. Follow the main path down through the wood to another stile, then along the edge of the wood with fenced field to the left. (The romantic looking tower rising from the woods is a folly belonging to Midford Castle). Steep steps lead down to the right with memorial plaques to two Cotswold Wardens - Cyril Love and Des Cory. At the stile at the bottom, turn left - but you may like to make a few yards diversion to the right to the boundary stone of Lyncombe and Widcombe Parishes (L and W) from where you can look up Horsecombe Vale.
Follow along the valley, with the stream on your right, cross a stile by another stream and turn right through an iron gate to pass the Wessex Water Authority Research Station on your right. Go under the handsome viaduct of the late Somerset and Dorset Railway (which here plunged under Combe Down through a long tunnel to reach Green Park Station in Bath, now Sainsbury's Supermarket), and walk past the lake, which has facilities for disabled anglers provided by Wessex Water.
Take the footpath on the right to the lane at Tucking Mill. On your left is a gothic revival cottage with a memorial plaque to William Smith, the father of English Geology - although it is probable that he actually lived in the next house on the left, when he was surveying the route for the Somerset Coal Canal.
Turn left and follow the lane back to Monkton Combe with the Midford Brook below on the right. You can take a short cut through a kissing-gate and the churchyard, just after a bend to the left, and so to the Wheelwrights Arms.