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Walk Organiser: Tony Ash, 79 Chelston Avenue, Yeovil, Somerset, BA21 4PT. Tel 01935 474388.

Email: a.ash12@btinternet.com

Walk Fee: £1.00, Embroidered Badge £2.00.

Start: The Borough, Montacute, Somerset, TA15 6XB

[GR 183/497169]

Route Directions

From The Borough with the Phelips Arms in front turn right along South Street, passing the Toy Museum on left then shortly turn left into Back Lane, 100m turn right then after 15m turn left through kissing gate into Montacute Park. Straight on through wooden gate and after 20m bear right then left between 2 large oak trees, then ahead between large oak tree on left and 3 fenced trees on right. Ahead on faint path for 300m to isolated stile, bear right 100m to avenue of fenced trees  nos 36 & 34, take in view of Montacute House (the house is late Elizabethan, built from Ham Hill quarried stone c.1598 by Sir Edward Phelips, a Prosecutor in the Gunpowder Plot trial, features an outpost of the National Portrait Gallery, now maintained by the National Trust.) to your left. Return a short distance through fenced trees onto vehicle track to the left, half grass half metalled and continue along large oak tree avenue to go through gate at the Lodge entrance. Ahead on grass verge on left then road for 200m, at left half bend straight on uphill, SP Odcombe (Dray Road), 150m turn right on steep footpath, sign post Five Ashes, through two Bristol gates, ahead and keep to bottom of field past dilapidated sheds, fence on right to post with yellow arrow. Bear left, keeping below gorse bushes pass water trough to cross stile in fence. Stay on path uphill through rhododendron trees down dip and up stepped gulley to cross stile at top into field. Straight on to cross stile in top left corner, keep to left side of field to cross stile at end of wall into farm track, turn right. Ahead to Five Ashes road junction, straight on to left of green triangle along lane to reach wall and security gate.

Q1 What is the name of the farm on sign to right of gate?

Bear left along track for 1250m then turn right on well defined path (Hockers Lane, no name but on map) which becomes a sunken drovers track passing a wooden fence and an odd shaped boundary stone on right at right hand bend. Ahead downhill, over many water diversion cross channels, passing farm on right and barns entrance and at bottom turn right and ahead through small gate into woods sign posted Ham Hill ½ mile. Ahead following path uphill through woods, maintaining a parallel direction with field on right and fence to reach a boundary stone on right near the top.

Q2 What is depicted on boundary stone?  

Almost immediately turn left on path with public footpath sign and keep on main path, at 350m keep right up slope, ignoring any lefts or rights, as it follows the contour in a clockwise direction to reach car park (Norton, at road entrance), turn right to road and cross onto red soil path up bank and down to bottom of dip then left to reach green path to right. Follow main path on level, ignore multitude of off path diversions, to reach metalled path by picnic area and access road, toilets and rangers’ office on left (Ham Hill was an Iron Age Fort and later stone quarries were developed). Turn left on access road, 10m turn right and almost immediately turn left through small chained gate. Follow main path ignoring any side paths or gates along contour to reach the War Memorial in front.

Q3 When was the bronze wreath placed on memorial ?  

Take in the view featuring the Mendips, Quantocks and beyond, return to the main path to the left and follow with the working quarry on your right, passing a large stone circle on right, to reach a small chained gate onto access road/car park. Ahead to the left of the “Prince of Wales” main door and turn left at footpath sign down steps, at bottom of steps turn left through gate, down steps to wall in front, turn right through gate and follow main path to reach cross paths, (stile on left signed to East Stoke- do not go!) turn right uphill keeping to main path reaching the stone sculptures (Time Stones), pass stones on right ahead to path and gate in front into field.

Keep to the left of two gated fields to reach large gate on left in third field, (next to red bin) and downhill on path (a section of the Monarch’s Way) through woods over stile on right (ignore first stile)  into field. Ahead ½ left to fenced woods and National Trust gate/stile and go up to tower on spiral footpath at St Michaels’ Hill (the site was originally Montacute Castle built in1066, left to decline although St Michaels’ chapel remained in use till c.1315. it is a scheduled monument with a folly tower, maintained by the National Trust).

Q4 How many windows at top of tower?  

Return via same path going down to gate but turn left on path inside perimeter fence for 350m to cross stile on right, turn left downhill to walled path and large gate/slab stile and through courtyard to lane, turn left. Follow to main road with church on right following pavement on right, back to The Borough and the end.

Montacute House has a car park, café, shop and toilets are normally available.

Updated: 18 January 2016


BWF PT No 272 - 13km