Thursday, 10 May 2012

Even more Exmoor walks near Exmoor House at Wheddon Cross

Exmoor is fabulous for walking. Here are a few more walks in and around the National Park that we’ve discovered recently. These are all quite short (but could easily be incorporated into a longer walk). If you’re staying at Exmoor House, you wouldn’t need to use a car to get to the start point of most of them (see below).

Kennisham Woods

There’s an entrance to Kennisham Hill Woods at Goosemoor, not far from Wheddon Cross. We did a four mile walk that also takes in Colly and Lype Hills, with great views across the Brendon Hills and towards the Bristol Channel. The walk passes through Forestry Commission woodland, beech woods and farmland as well as open hills. Lype Hill is invariably windy, so you will certainly get some fresh air.

Conygar Hill

This is the hill with the folly on top, visible from Dunster and the area around (in fact, sometimes people think the folly is actually Dunster Castle – an easy mistake to make if you haven’t yet seen the castle itself). We went via the Butter Cross and the community orchard going up the hill via the more meandering and less steep route, coming down by a more direct (steeper!) path into the village. There are some fabulous views of Dunster, its surrounding countryside and the Somerset coastline and you pass through a mixture of woodland. The name Conygar, in case you were wondering, indicates that this is where rabbits were bred for eating.

Old Mineral Line, Washford to Watchet

A more or less straight walk along part of the Old Mineral Line; only about two miles. We walked there and back, having a wander round Watchet before returning to Washford. On the way back we walked via the church, to visit St Decuman’s Holy Well - a mystical and peaceful spot - rejoining the Mineral Line route by Kentsford Farm. You could do this walk as part of a day out on the West Somerset Railway.

Clatworthy Reservoir

On the edge of the National Park, still in West Somerset, in part of the Brendon Hills. It’s a five mile walk round the reservoir; the terrain is fairly flat for much of the way although there are some up and down bits by the nature trail. I took loads of photos on the way round the lake – it’s all very picturesque. There is a lot of plantlife and birdlife to see, so it would be interesting to do this walk at various times of the year.

Car-free walking

You could incorporate Kennisham on a walk from Exmoor House via the Coleridge Way. For the Conygar walk you can get the bus to Dunster from Wheddon Cross. The bus goes to Minehead too, where you can get the West Somerset Railway to Washford, Watchet and stations beyond. In fact, the Clatworthy walk is the only one for which you’d have to take a car, as the reservoir is in quite a remote area.