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

 

 

Valley Good Show

Walk 8 - by Nigel Vile

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Description - a personal view

Midford Brook carves a delightful course through a picturesque valley, just a few miles south of Bath. Add the colour and fragrance of spring and summer flora, and you have what can only be described as a picture-postcard landscape.

The long disused Somerset Coal Canal once passed this way, and in the depths of the valley lie a series of fascinating disused lock chambers. Having climbed out of the valley to explore the hillsides around Southstoke - and perhaps enjoying a pint at the Packhorse Inn - a descent into Horsecombe Vale brings the walk to Tucking Mill.

Hidden away in a secretive corner there is a small reservoir, whose isolation adds a certain magical charm. This is truly one of those walks with a surprise at every turn.

Deep valleys and rolling hillsides combine to form a perfect pastoral landscape which is wonderful to explore in spring.


Instructions
Distance: 6 miles
Time: up to 3 hours
Start: By the church and pub in Monkton Combe
Parking: In village car park opposite the church (GR 773620)
Maps: OS Explorer 155 Landranger 172
Refreshments: Pubs in Monkton Combe, Midford and Southstoke

Follow Mill Lane alongside the Wheelwrights Arms down to the Old Mill. turn right and cross a sluice before following an enclosed path to a bridge across Midford Brook. Cross the river and a stile on the right, and follow Midford Brook upstream across two fields. At the far side of the second field, cross a stile and continue following a riverside path, bearing left away from the river after 140m (150 yards) to reach a hillside field. Cross this field to a stile in the far right corner, before passing through a small area of woodland to reach the next field. Cross to a gap in the wall on the opposite side of this field, before heading across one final field to a stile in the far right corner. Join Midford Lane, turn right and go downhill to the B3110 in Midford.

Turn right, and follow the pavement as far as the Hope and Anchor Inn. Turn left opposite this pub to follow the signposted footpath which passes under an old viaduct and alongside a garden, before reaching  a stile. Beyond this stile, continue along the path directly ahead, going alongside the depression which marks the course of the Somerset Coal Canal. Follow the canal bed right across the field for about 320m (350 yards) to an old stone over-bridge on the right. Cross the stile beyond this bridge, bear left and pass beneath another old viaduct by Midford Brook. Beyond this viaduct, cross a stile on the left to rejoin the bed of the canal. Follow the canal bed for about half a mile through the valley to a stile and a bridleway. Follow this track to the right for 200 yards to a lane.

Follow the lane to the left before turning right under a railway bridge to rejoin the disused canal. then follow it through the woodland ahead, passing the Combe Hay flight of lock chambers, for 320m (350 yards), to a stile. Cross this stile, and keep directly ahead through an area of scrubland into an open hillside field, ignoring two left turns. Head uphill to a stile to the left of an isolated property, before continuing along an enclosed path to reach another hillside field. Head uphill to a stile at the top of this field, before continuing along a metalled driveway which bears right into Southstoke, passing the church on the right. At the fork ahead, keep to the left of the telephone box, ignore a left turn and continue along the lane out of the village. After about half a mile, just beyond Southstoke House, pass through a kissing gate on the left and head across to the far right corner of a field and the B3110.

Cross the main road to a stile opposite, slightly to the right, and enter a hillside field. Follow the fence downhill through the first two field to a stile at the bottom of the second field. Cross this stile, bear right and head downhill to a gap and a stile at the foot of the slope. Continue along a well-defined footpath to a footbridge across a stream. Turn right and follow what eventually becomes a woodland path to a cross-track. Turn right, walk down by a water-board installation and continue along the access road which bears left beneath a viaduct and alongside Tucking Mill Reservoir, before joining the lane running from Midford to Monkton Combe. Turn left, and follow this lane back into Monkton Combe, passing through a gate on the right as you enter the village. Walk through the churchyard and go past the church to get back to the roadside parking space where you started.

 

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