Please use the links below to view full route information including descriptions, elevation profiles, interactive maps and GPS downloads.
You can also view an overview map of all the routes in the using the Somerset Walk Map
|Ashton Court Park||3 miles (5 km)||A short circular walk around one of England's most popular country parks. The Ashton Court Estate is located near Bristol and is comprised of 850 acres of woodland, parkland and gardens. Highlights include Ashton Court Meadow nature reserve which contains a wide range of flowering plants. There is also a deer park and Clarken Combe - a woodland area with a range of plant species.|
The park is also good for cycling with National Cycle Network route 33, known as the Festival Way running through the park. In the park there are two very good mountain bike trails. There is a blue (moderate) grade route with small rock steps, rollers (bumps) and berms (banked corners). There's also a more difficult red graded route for experienced mountain bikers.
|Bath Skyline Walk||6 miles (9 km)||Enjoy wonderful views of the city of Bath on this popular circular walk. The walk has been devised by the National Trust so takes place on waymarked, well maintained footpaths. |
The walk begins on Bathwick Hill and then heads south to Widcombe passing Smallcombe Wood. The wood is an excellent place for birdwatching with nuthatch, wrens and blackcap to look out for. The route continues past the stunning Prior Park with its beautiful lakes and Palladian Bridge. You then cross Claverton Down before turning north towards Claverton where you will find the excellent American musuem. The path continues north towards Bathampton where there is a nice woodland section through Bathampton Woods. You then turn south through more woodland to Sham Castle, an 18th-century folly which makes a good spot to rest and enjoy the wonderful views. The final section takes you from the castle to Bathwick Hill and the finish point. It's a splendid walk with varied scenery and consistently wonderful views over Bath towards the Mendip Hills.
|Blagdon Lake||1 miles (1.5 km)||Along the northern end of this large lake you'll find a lovely footpath running along the lake shore and through the lakeside woodland. On open days you can also visit the Discovery Wood where you can see roe deer, badgers, foxes and otters. There are nesting boxes for owls, tits and kestrels too. On the nature trail there are wildflower meadows with Green winged orchid, knapweeds, white ox-eye daisies and pink devils bit. |
There' also the Blagdon Pumping Station and Visitor Centre with science and environment exhibits, a picnic area and views of the impressive dam.
If you would like to continue your walking in the area then you could head to the nearby Chew Valley Lake for more waterside trails. The Two Rivers Way walking route runs just past the lake so you could also pick this up.
|Brandon Hill and Cabot Tower||1 miles (1 km)||This pretty park and nature reserve is located in the centre of Bristol. It's a splendid place to go for a stroll with a wildflower meadow, ponds and the impressive Cabot Tower. You can climb the 105 feet (32 m) high tower for panoramic views over the city. |
The park is good for wildlife spotting. Look out for frogs, toads and newts in the pond and birds such as blackcap and jay in the woodland area. You can also try the tree trail and learn about different species of trees in the park.
If you would like to continue your walking in Bristol then you could pick up the River Avon Trail and follow it to the nearby Leigh Woods. Here you will find a nature reserve with miles of peaceful woodland trails.
|Brean Down||2 miles (4 km)||Explore this beautiful natural pier and enjoy wonderful coastal views on this walk on the Somerset coast. The promontory stands at 318 feet (97 m) high and is a a continuation of the Mendip Hills. As such there is some climbing involved but you are rewarded with wonderful views of the Bristol Channel, south Wales and Weston Super Mare. At the seaward end you will find Brean Down Fort which was built in 1865 and then re-armed in the Second World War. |
The area is a nature reserve and has an abundance of interesting flora and fauna. Look out for birds including peregrine falcon, dunnock and kestrel. Butterfly species include chalkhill blue, dark green fritillary, meadow brown and marbled white. In the summer months there are lots of pretty wildflowers and plants including Somerset hair grass, wild thyme, horseshoe vetch and birds-foot-trefoil.
This circular walk starts at the car park and takes you to the fort, Howe Rock and Sprat Beach at the end of the promontory. You return on an alternative path. There is a cafe at car park where you can enjoy refreshments after your walk.
If you'd like to cycle to the reserve then you could follow National Cycle Network route 33 from Burnham-on-Sea or Weston-super-Mare.
|Bristol and Bath Railway Path||16 miles (26 km)||This lovely easy walk takes you along this disused railway line with its series of charming stations. You will pass through Staple Hill, Mangotsfield and then Warmley where the station platform contains a cafe - perfect for a stop for refreshments.|
The route then takes you along the Avon Valley Railway and past Bitton railway station which also has a cafe.
The final delightful section takes you along the River Avon and into the historic city of Bath.
|Channel to Channel||50 miles (80 km)||This walk takes you from the English Channel to the Bristol Channel, through the Devon and Somerset countryside.|
The walk begins on the south coast at Seaton in Devon, and first heads towrds Axminster, passing through Seaton Down and Colyton, crossing the River Coly as you go.
At Axminster, you join the River Yarty for a long riverside stretch towards Bishopswood, passing the Horse Pool Camp univallate Iron Age hill fort enclosure on the way.
The walk continues through the beautiful Blackdown Hills AONB, climbing Staple Hill which offers fabulous views as the highest point in the Blackdown Hills. You then descend through wooded areas and the village of Pitminster to Taunton, the county town of Somerset.
The path then takes you on from Taunton through the stunning Quantock Hills towards Cothelstone and then on to Stogumber. The final section takes you to the finish point at Watchet passing two historic sites on the way. First you will come to the Orchard Wyndham historic house, parts of which date from medieval times. Shortly after you come to the Battlegore Burial Chamber which is a Bronze Age burial chamber at Williton.
The end point of the walk is the lovely harbour town of Watchet which sits on the Bristol Channel.
|Cheddar Gorge||4 miles (6 km)||This is a circular walk around the magnificent Cheddar Gorge in Somerset. It is England's largest gorge at 400 feet deep and three miles long and one of the most magnificent natural visitor attractions in the country. It was formed during the last Ice Age when water from melting glaciers formed a river, which gradually carved into the limestone rock creating the spectacular steep cliffs you can see today.|
This walk is the popular 4 mile circular route around the gorge. It begins at the National Trust shop and information centre where you can pick up more details on this walk which includes some steep climbs, rugged paths and easier woodland sections. Please keep to the signed footpaths as it is dangerous to depart from these.
Widlife on the route includes Peregrine falcons and Buzzards which nest in the gorge. Also look out for the rare feral Soay sheep, feral goats and ponies.
If you would like to continue your walk you could pick up the West Mendip Way walking route which runs past the gorge. Cyclists can reach the gorge on the Strawberry Line cycle route. Cheddar Reservoir is also nearby with an easy footpath running around the water.
|Cheddar Reservoir||2 miles (3.4 km)||Follow the waterside path around this reservoir on this easy circular walk in Somerset. There is a good footpath running around the perimeter with parking available at the south eastern end. It's a lovely spot with sailboats on the water and beautiful countryside and woodland surrounding the water. It's about two miles around the reservoir so it makes for a nice afternoon stroll. |
It's easy to extend your walking in the area with the spectacular Cheddar Gorge and the delightful Strawberry Line route nearby.
|Chew Valley Lake||1 miles (1.2 km)||This walk follows the delightful nature trail which runs along the eastern side of this large lake in Chew Stoke. The trail is well surfaced and offers great views across the lake towards Denny Island, a nesting site for Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck and Canada Geese. You will also pass the reed beds where you can look out for Reed Bunting and in the summer, enjoy the purple flowers of March Woundwort. |
The trail includes an area of woodland with Sweet Chestnut, Beech and Sycamore trees. Look out for Coal Tits, Chaffinches and the brown Tree Creeper in this area. There's also a pond, a wildflower meadow and wonderful views across the lake towards the Mendip Hills. After your walk you can enjoy refreshments in the lakeside cafe.
The lake is located just south of Chew Magna and has a car park at the start of this route. The Two Rivers Way walking route runs past the lake so you could pick this up to extend your walk.
|Coleridge Way||35 miles (56 km)||Travel through the Exmoor National Park and the stunning Quantock Hills AONB as you walk in the footsteps of poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.|
You start off in the pretty village of Nether Stowey, at the foot of the Quantock Hills and head west towards Holford, passing the iron age fort of Dowsborough on the way.
You continue through a wooded section at Alfroxton Woods and onto Stowborrow Hill with its resident deer before passing through Bicknoller and Monksilver where you enter Combe Sydenham country park. Here you will find a 15th century stately home set in a 500 acres estate which includes a Deer Park and a variety of walks.
The route continues through Luxborough and Cutcombe before climbing Horner Hill and passing the delightful Dunkery and Horner Woods Nature Reserve with its woodland and upland habitats. The path then descends to the finish point at the pretty coastal village of Porlock.Quantock Hills AONB
|Community Forest Path||45 miles (72 km)||This is a varied and interesting circular walk taking you on a tour of the countryside, villages and historic estates around Bristol. |
The walk starts in Keynsham at the confluence of the River Chew and River Avon and begins with a lovely waterside section along the River Avon before joining the Bristol and Bath Railway Path. You continue to Winterbourne, with a short section along the River Frome, and then through Stoke Gifford to Henubry where you will pass the splendid Blaise Castle Estate. Described as 'the finest place in England' in Jane Austen's novel Northanger Abbey, the estate boasts a 19th century mansion, an 18th century castle, a fascinating Victorian museum and 400 acres of parkland.
From Henbury you continue through the suburbs of Bristol, crossing the River Avon on the Clifton Suspension Bridge next to the beautiful Avon Gorge Nature Reserve. This diverse ancient broad-leaved woodland is home to many rare plants and animals and is well worth exploring. Soon after you arrive at another walk highlight at the Ashton Court Estate. Here you will find 850 acres of woodland and meadows including a deer park, mansions and landscaped gardens.
The final section of the walk takes you to Pensford via Dundry Hill, where you will pass the Pensford Railway Viaduct. You then join the River Chew for a delightful waterside section leading you back to Keynsham.
|Cothelstone Hill||2 miles (3.5 km)||Enjoy heathland, woodland and wonderful views on this circular walk in the Quantocks. It's a lovely area with the groups of beech trees known as the Seven Sisters, bronze age burial mounds and the remains of a folly tower. You should also see several Exmoor Ponies around the hilltop and bluebells in the woodland in the spring.|
The walk starts at the car park just to the east of the hill, and follows good footpaths to the summit. Here you can enjoy wonderful 360 degree views across the Quantocks towards the Severn Estuary. It's a fabulous spot on a nice clear day. The walk then descends through woodland and past Merridge Hill before returning to the car park.
The Samaritans Way South West and the Macmillan Way both cross the hill so you could pick these up to extend your walk. For example you could head a couple of miles to the north and visit Wills Neck, the highest point in the Quantocks. The wonderful Fyne Court is also just to the east and is well worth visiting.
|Cricket St Thomas||1 miles (1.5 km)||Explore 160 acres of lovely parkland and gardens on this walk around Cricket St Thomas in Somerset. In the park you will find peaceful lakes, secluded woodland and beautiful gardens. Highlights include the delightful Water Garden and the Grotto Garden with sculptural rocks. There is also the beautiful 19th century mansion of Cricket House which was designed by famous architect Sir John Soane. You can enjoy afternoon tea in the tea rooms and sit outside and enjoy the splendid views of the gardens and surrounding Somerset countryside. |
Cricket St Thomas is located just a few miles east of Chard. The Liberty Trail runs just south of the park so you could pick this up if you wanted to continue your walk.
|Dunkery Beacon||5 miles (7.5 km)||This walk climbs Dunkery Hill to Dunkery Beacon - the highest point in Exmoor and Somerset. From the 1,705 feet (520 m) summit there are fabulous views over Exmoor, the Brecon Beacons, Bodmin Moor, Dartmoor, the Severn Bridges and the Bristol and English Channels.|
The walk starts at the Dunkery Hill car park taking you up the hill to the beacon before heading into the delightful Dunkery and Horner Wood National Nature Reserve. The reserve covers 4000 acres/1604 hectares and is owned and managed by the National Trust. It consists of upland heath and woodland with a variety of wildlife including pied flycatcher, wood warbler, lesser spotted woodpecker, redstart and dipper. It also supports 14 of the 16 UK bat species, including barbastelle and Bechstein bats. You should also see several Exmoor Ponies and Exmoor's Iconic Red Deer.
If you would like to continue your walk you could head to the nearby Selworthy Beacon in the Holnicote Estate. Here you can enjoy more fabulous views of the Exmoor coast.
|Dunster Castle||8 miles (13 km)||Explore the parkland, woodland and Historic Deer Park surrounding this Norman Castle near Minehead. From the castle there are fabulous views toward the Bristol channel, the Quantock hills and Exmoor.|
|East Mendip Way||19 miles (30 km)||This walk takes you through the beautiful Somerset countryside from Wells to Frome along the eastern section of the Mendip Way.|
You start in the city of Wells near the magnificent cathedral and pass around the moat of the splendid Bishop's Palace. The path then heads towards Shepton Mallet passing through several wooded sections including the National Trust owned woods at Tor Hill, King's Castle Woods and finally Ham Woods.
From Shepton Mallet you continue to the hamlet of Chelynch before a climb of 280 metres (919 ft) takes you to the grade II listed Cranmore Tower which is the highest point on the trail.
The final stretch takes you through the delightful Asham Wood and onto the village of Great Elm before leading into Frome where the path terminates.
|Exe Valley Way||45 miles (72 km)||The walk starts in Starcross on the banks of the River Exe Estuary and heads through through Powderham Deer Park and then along the Exter canal to Exeter. |
The next section continues along the River Exe to Tiverton via Thorverton and Bickleigh.
The final section takes you from Tiverton into the Exmoor National Park where you will pass through Dulverton before the finish at Hawkridge in Somerset.
For an excellent guide to this walk please click here
|Forde Abbey||2 miles (2.5 km)||This former Cistercian monastery has 30 acres of award winning gardens to explore. It's perfect for a peaceful afternoon stroll in beautiful surroundings.|
|Fyne Court||2 miles (3 km)||Explore the gardens and 65 acre wider estate on this short walk in the Quantock Hills. In the estate you'll find three waymarked walking trails taking you to the most interesting areas on well surfaced paths. You'll visit the fine courtyard with a coach house, stable, library and music room. The trail then takes you into the beautiful gardens with a serpentine lake, boathouse, round-towered folly and a walled garden with ornamental trees and shrubs. There are also lovely woodland sections with beech trees and bluebells in spring.|
If you'd like to continue your walk then you could pick up the Samaritans Way South West and head up to the nearby Broomfield Hill and Cothelstone Hill where there are fabulous views over the Quantocks. This runs just to the north of the estate.
Fyne Court is located just a few miles from Bridgwater.
|Glastonbury Tor||2 miles (2.6 km)||This popular walk takes you from the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey to the summit of the iconic Glastonbury Tor.|
You start off at the Grade I listed, Scheduled Ancient Monument of Glastonbury Abbey. The abbey was originally founded in the 7th century and rebuilt in the 14th century after a fire in 1184 destroyed the buildings. The site is 36 acres and open to the public so its well worth exploring the area and marvelling at the fascinating architecture and history of the abbey before climbing the Tor.
From the abbey you head to the Tor summit on good footpaths passing Bushy Combe and Chalice Hill on the way. At the summit you will find the 15th century St Michael's Tower where you can enjoy marvellous views over Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Wales and the nearby Polden Hills. You can also explore the apple orchards at the bottom of the Tor before returning to the abbey.
|Gordano Round||25 miles (41 km)||This figure of eight walk takes you on a tour of the coast, countryside, woodland and villages around Portishead in Somerset.|
You start in the town centre of Portishead and soon join the splendid coastal path along the Severn Estuary which takes you past Walton, Charlcombe, Ladye and Margaret's Bay. At Cleveland the route then heads inland through some delightful countryside, passing through the pretty village of Clapton in Gordano before returning to Portishead.
The walk was devised by the Gordano Footpath Group and is waymarked with their symbol throughout.
|Grand Western Canal||24 miles (38 km)||This splendid waterside walk takes you from Tiverton in Devon to Taunton in Somerset.|
The first section of the walk takes you from Tiverton to Greenham along the towpath of the Grand Western Canal. At Greenham you join the West Deane Way and the walk changes as you start following the dry bed of the canal. However, the waterside aspect continues as you also join the River Tone which takes you through Bradford on Tone and then onto the finish point in Taunton.
For more information on this lovely walk please click here
|Great Wood Quantocks||2 miles (3 km)||Enjoy miles of cycling and walking trails in this large area of woodland in the Quantocks. There is a red waymarked walking trail starting from the main car park which takes you to Ramscombe on good footpaths. The area has fine trees including ancient oaks, Majestic Douglas firs and Sitka spruce. There are also lovely streams and grassy glades to enjoy a picnic in. Look out for a variety of wildlife including red and roe deer, nightjar and sparrowhawk. |
The wood has miles of wide paths which are excellent for mountain biking. You can easily extend your ride by continuing along the many bridleways in Seven Wells Wood or Quantock Combe.
|Ham Hill Country Park||5 miles (8 km)||Explore the 390 acres of parkland located at this delightful country par near Yeovil in Somerset. The Mendip Hills, Blackdown Hills, Quantock Hills and Dorset Downs can alll be viewed from Ham Hill on a clear day. The park is centred on an Iron Age hill fort while there is also war memorial to the dead of the nearby village of Stoke-sub-Hamdon killed during the two World Wars.|
The park is very popular with walkers and cyclists with many routes passing through the park. Mountain bikes are advised for the cycle routes because of the challenging nature of some of the trail sections.
The Leland Trail runs past the park while the 16th century Montacute House is less than a mile east of Ham Hill. These are both good options if you would like to continue your outing.
|Hestercombe House||1 miles (2 km)||Explore the beautiful gardens surrounding this historic country house on the edge of the Quantock Hills. It's a nice place for an afternoon stroll with good footpaths taking you to peaceful woodland, beautiful lakes, a gothick alcove, a Tuscan temple arbour and a folly mausoleum. Hestercombe is generally considered to be one of the finest gardens in England.|
|Holnicote Estate||3 miles (5 km)||This walk visits Selworthy Beacon and Bury castle in the splendid Holnicote Estate in Somerset. You start off in the village of Selworthy next to the church, and head to the nearby Bury Castle where you will find an Iron Age enclosure dating back to 400 B.C. You then climb to the 308 metres (1,010 ft) high Selworthy Beacon where there are marvellous views across Exmoor and the Somerset coast. It is one of the highest points in the Exmoor National Park along with Dunkery Beacon. From the high point you descend on Folly Combe, returning to the church soon after.|
If you would like to continue your walking in the area you could head to the nearby Dunkery Beacon. It is the highest point in Exmoor and consists of a beautiful nature reserve with woodland walks. You could also pick up the South West Coast Path and head west along this lovely stretch of coastline towards Bossington Hill and Porlock or east toward Minehead.
|Kennet and Avon Canal Walk||76 miles (122 km)||A splendid waterside walk from the Thames at Reading, through Thatcham, Hungerford, Pewsey, Devizes, Bradford-on-Avon to Bath. Most of the walk follows the towpath making for an easy, relaxing walk.|
The route of the Kennet & Avon Canal takes you through some of the nation's best loved landscapes, including West Berkshire - an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - and the southern tip of the rolling Cotswolds. Highlights include the delightful Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre, Caen Hill Locks (video below), Cane Avoncliff Aqueduct, Claverton Pumping Station, numerous pretty canalside villages and the historic city of Bath.
|Kilve Beach and East Quantoxhead||3 miles (5.5 km)||This circular walk explores a beautiful area of coast and countryside in the Quantocks. |
The walk starts at the large car park just north of Kilve. It's a short walk from here to the fascinating Kilve Beach. Part of the Jurassic coastline the beach is a good place for fossil hunting. You'll also pass the Oil retort which was built in 1924 to burn the oil rich shale beds here. Though the venture failed the old building remains.
The footpath passes along the coast with great views of the cliffs and surrounding countryside. You then turn inland to the village of East Quantoxhead. It's a pretty place with thatched cottages, a medieval tithe barn, a duck pond, a mill house and an interesting manor house with a medieval tower. The route then leaves the village and passes more countryside and some woodland before returning you to the car park.
|Land's End Trail||303 miles (488 km)||This terrific trail runs for over 300 miles from Avebury in Wiltshire, through Devon and Somerset to Land's End in Cornwall. |
The walk has been spit into a number of manageable stages as follows
1 Land’s End
2 Bosullow Common
3 St. Erth
5 Beacon, Camborne
6 Chiverton Cross
9 Dunmere Bridge
10 St. Breward
11 Jamaica Inn, Bolventor
17 Sampford Courtenay
19 South Molton
22 Bishop’s Lydeard
27 Market Lavington
The walk is waymarked with a Yellow chevron for most of the way. The link below includes excellent pdf route guides for each stage.
|Leland Trail||28 miles (45 km)||Follow in the footsteps of royal librarian John Leland during his 16th century survey of Britain's churches and priories.|
You start at King Alfred's Tower at the north-western edge of the Stourhead Estate in Wiltshire and head west towards Bruton and Castle Cary in Somerset. The route continues to South Cadbury where you will pass Cadbury Castle Iron Age Hill Fort before coming to the pretty village of Queen Camel. The next section takes you to Yeovilton with a short stretch along the River Yeo leading you through the village and on towards Ilchester. The path then turns south towards Montacute where you will pass the National Trust owned 16th century mansion at Montacute House and the delightful Ham Hill Country Park. The final stretch takes you on to the finish point at Ham Hill Country Park where you will find splendid views of the Mendip Hills, Blackdown Hills, Quantock Hills and Dorset Downs.
|Liberty Trail||28 miles (45 km)||Follow in the footsteps of the villagers that made their way to join the Protestant Monmouth Rebellion in 1685.
The route starts at Ham Hill Country Park where you will find splendid views of the Mendip Hills, Blackdown Hills, Quantock Hills and Dorset Downs. From here you head south through West Chinnock, Haselbury Plucknett, Misterton and Wayford before coming to Forde Abbey. This former Cistercian monastery has 30 acres of award winning gardens and is well worth a look. Also of interest is Cricket St Thomas - it's just to the north of the trail and has 160 acres of parkland and gardens to explore.
The route continues towards Thorncombe and then onto Fishpond Bottom via Lambert's Castle Iron Age hill fort. The final stretch takes you past Wooton Fitzpaine to Lyme Regis on the coast.
|Limestone Link||36 miles (58 km)||Starting at Cold Ashton in St Catherine's Valley, Gloucestershire follow the Limestone Link from the Cotswolds to the Mendip Hills in Somerset.|
The walk first heads south towards Batheaston where you join the River Avon and the Kennet and Avon Canal for a lovely waterside stretch to Monkton Coombe. You will also pass near to Little Solsbury Hill, made famous by the Peter Gabriel song 'Solsbury Hill'.
The second section of the path then takes you through the Mendip Hills AONB with fabulous views of the Chew Valley, the waterfall at Hallatrow and the final stretch through Burrington common the main highlights.
|Little Solsbury Hill||3 miles (5.5 km)||This circular walk climbs this small hill made famous by the Peter Gabriel song 'Solsbury Hill'. The walk starts in the village of Batheaston, following footpaths to the hill summit. From here there are super views over Bath and the surrounding countryside. The route then heads along Chilcombe Bottom to Northend, passing two reservoirs on the way. The last section follows the Limestone Link back to Batheaston. |
If you're coming from the centre of Bath you can reach the hill by following the Kennet and Avon Canal to Bathampton and then picking up the Limestone Link to take you to Little Solsbury Hill.
|Macmillan Way||290 miles (467 km)||This long distance path links Boston in Lincolnshire to Abbotsbury in Dorset. It is promoted to raise money for the charity Macmillan Cancer Relief.
The route starts from Boston and then runs across the Fens to Bourne before joining the limestone belt. You then head to Stamford and then along the shoreline of Rutland Water to Oakham. The trail then heads south and west via Warmington to Stow-on-the-Wold, then into the Cotswolds via Cirencester and Tetbury to Bradford-on-Avon. After leaving the Cotswolds you follow the path through Somerset passing Castle Cary before entering Dorset and the final section to Abbotsbury via Sherborne.
The route joins with other popular trails including the Viking Way at Oakham, the Thames Path National Trail near Thames Head and with the South West Coast Path towards the end of the route.
The Macmillan Way is well waymarked with a green and white disc.
|Monarch's Way||615 miles (990 km)||This incredible 615-mile walk approximates the escape route taken by King Charles II in 1651 after being defeated in the Battle of Worcester. |
The Monarch's Way starts at Worcester then travels north to Boscobel and then south to Stratford upon Avon. It then continues south through the Cotswolds to Stow on the Wold before turning south west towards Bristol via Cirencester. The route then heads south through the Mendip Hills to Wells and then on through Somerset towards Yeovil and then south west to Charmouth. You then follow the Dorset coast before turning north again to Yeovil, before heading east across the Downs to Brighton and then onto the finish point at Shoreham-by-Sea.
The walk also takes you through two World Heritage Sites, one National Park and six Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. For those interested in the history of the walk there is ample opportunity to learn and discover more with a series of museums and historical sites dotted throughout the route.
The walk is waymarked with a picture of the ship The Surprise, the Prince of Wales crown and the Royal Oak tree at Boscobel House.
The route has been split into two separate gpx files. The first includes the section from Worcester to Bridport via the Midlands and Somerset. The second runs from Sandford Orcas to the finish point at Shoreham-By-Sea.
Monarch's Way GPS 1 (right click save as)
Monarch's Way GPS 2 (right click save as)
|Montacute House||2 miles (3 km)||This magnificent 16th century mansion is surrounded by beautiful parkland and gardens, perfect for a peaceful walk. The house includes the 52 metre Long Gallery with a collection of Tudor portraits from the National Portrait Gallery. |
The parkland includes the Cedar Lawn with its wibbly wobbly hedges, the orangery with its pretty water cascade, and the lovely Lime Tree avenue with lovely views of the house.
Montacute House is located just a couple of miles west of Yeovil. The Leland Trail runs past the house so you could pick this up if you wanted to continue your walk. Ham Hill Country Park is less than a mile west of Montacute so this is another good option.
|Prior Park||1 miles (1.7 km)||Enjoy a stroll around this National Trust owned 18th-century landscape garden in Bath. The main feature of the park is the lovely lake crossed with a stunning Palladian bridge. This type of bridge is extremley rare with only four of the same design in the world. Look out for wildlife including herons and swans on the lake. From the lakes you can stroll down through woodland to the meadows and ponds at the southern end of the park. In this area you can see dragonflies, cygnets and possibly roe deer. Other features in the park include a summerhouse, ice house and a beautiful cascade which feeds the lakes.|
The park is elevated high above the city so you can enjoy wonderful views over Bath from various viewpoints. The Bath Skyline Walk passes the park so you can easily pick up this wonderful six mile circular route around the city to extend your walk.
|Quantock Greenway||36 miles (58 km)||A splendid figure of eight walk through the stunning Quantock Hils AONB.|
The walk begins at the pretty village of Broomfield which is the highest village on the Quantock Hills. The first section takes you to the tiny village of West Bagborough and then up a steep climb through Floorey Down and Great Wood. Another long woodland section then follows leading you to the village of Holford on the River Holford. From here, the path leads you through the delightful Stowborrow Deer Park on the way to West Quantoxhead and then Crowcombe where you will pass the Grade I listed Crowcombe court, dating from the 18th century. You then head back through the Great Wood and through Enmore and Goathurst before returning to Broomfield.
|River Avon Trail||25 miles (40 km)||Travel along the River Avon from Pill to Bath via Bristol on this delightful trail|
You start off in the village of Pill, near the mouth of the river, and head to Bristol through the stunning Avon Gorge. You will pass through the lovely Leigh Woods with its woodland, plant life and wildlife on this section.
The path then continues through the interesting city of Bristol and then on towards Keynsham where the river is particularly picturesque. You will then pass through the splendid Avon Valley Country Park which has a number of attractions for children.
The final stretch then takes you into the historic city of Bath where you finish on the iconic Pulteney Bridge.
For more information on this trail please click here.
|River Parret Trail||50 miles (80 km)||Follow the River Parrett from the source in Chedington in Dorset to the mouth in Bridgwater Bay, Somerset.|
The route first heads to Langport passing Haselbury and the 16th century English Heritage owned Muchelney Abbey. You continue north through Langport and onto Burrowbridge where you will pass the interesting geological and historical site at Burrow Mump. The river then takes you towards Bridgwater passing the Westonzoyland Pumping Station Museum. This Industrial Heritage museum is dedicated to steam powered machinery and makes for a fascinating few hours.
The final section takes you through Bridgwater and Combwich before finishing at the beautiful Steart Nature Reserve on Bridgwater Bay.
|Royal Victoria Park Bath||1 miles (2 km)||Enjoy a stroll around this popular, 57 acre park in the centre of Bath. The park was opened in 1830 by Queen Victoria at the age of 11. Tree lined footpaths take you through the park to the beautiful botanical gardens at the western edge.|
|Samaritans Way South West||103 miles (166 km)||Starting at Bristol follow the Samaritans Way to Lynton, in Devon, and visit the Avon Gorge, the Chew Valley, the Cheddar Gorge, the Mendips, the Quantock Hills, the Brendon Hills and Exmoor.|
|Staple Fitzpaine Herepath||13 miles (21 km)||This is a shared cycle and walking bridleway which forms a loop around Staple Fitzpaine in the beautiful Blackdown Hills AONB.|
The route primarily follows a series of off road tracks through wooded areas including Staple Park Wood, Piddle Wood and Birkenhall wood. For cyclists, a mountain bike is advised as several of the off road sections are quite challenging. A good start point for the route is the car park at the ancient earthworks of Castle Neroche.
|Strawberry Line (Yatton to Chard)||11 miles (18 km)||This splendid walk and cycle path runs along a former railway line that used to transport strawberries from Cheddar.|
You start by Yatton railway station and head south passing Congresbury and Axbridge before finishing in Cheddar. The route passes apple orchards, open fields and the River Yeo while there are also pleasant woodland sections at King's Wood and Rose Wood. Also on the route is the delightful Millennium Green at Winscombe (perfect place to stop for lunch!) and the tranquil Cheddar reservoir at the end of the route.
If you have time you could continue up to the magnificent Cheddar Gorge and see this spectacular natural wonder.
N.B - Between Wednesday 2nd September 2015 & Tuesday 15th September 2015, the Strawberry Line between Weston Road & Drove Way (Nye Road) will be closed to all recreational users (including all cyclists, walkers and joggers) to enable the safe delivery of material to the Carditch Drove Solar Farm development.
|Tarka Trail||79 miles (127 km)||This wonderful walk through Devon follows the path taken by Tarka the Otter in the book of that name. It is a circular walk starting and finishing in Barnstaple on the River Taw. After following the river for a short section you will head through Landkey Newton and East Buckland to the Exmoor National Park. The route then reaches Lynmouth where a splendid coastal section that takes you through Ilfracombe, Woolacombe and Croyde. The final section follows the estuary of the River Taw through Braunton and then back into Barnstaple. This part of the route passes the beautiful Braunton Burrows Nature Reserve. The reserve covers nearly 900 hectares making it the second largest dune system in England. |
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|Three Peaks Walk||17 miles (27 km)||This is a fairly hilly circular route taking you through some of the most peaceful and attractive countryside in Somerset.
The walk starts and finishes in the pretty village of Chew Magna and follows the path to Pensford and then back via Clutton.
You will climb Knowle Hill, Maes Knoll, and Blackberry Hill (three peaks) while enjoying excellent views of the Mendip hills and surrounding countryside.
|Two Counties Way||56 miles (90 km)||Travel through Somerset and Devon on this beautiful walk from Taunton to Starcross. There is much to enjoy on this varied walk with peaceful waterside sections along the River Tone, the Grand Western Canal and the River Exe real highlights. Also stop for a visit at the lovely National Trust owned Killerton Estate. This 18th century house boasts a historic fashion exhibition and stunning gardens.
The route passes Wellington, Sampford Peverell, Tiverton, Bickleigh, Exeter and Powderham before finishing on the Exe Estuary at Starcross.
|Two Moors Way||90 miles (145 km)||Travel from Ivybridge to Lynmouth through the Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks on this splendid walk through Devon and Somerset. The walk is generally not strenous taking you through tranquil moorland and the deep and wooded valleys of the moorland edges.|
|Two Rivers Way||20 miles (32 km)||Starting on Congresbury Bridge over the River Yeo follow the Two Rivers Way through Somerset to Keynsham on the River Avon. The walk passes through Chew Stoke, Chew Magna, Compton Dando and Pensford with sections along the River Yeo and River Chew to enjoy. |
Other highlights on the route include the Stanton Drew Stones which include the Great Circle - the second largest stone circle in Britain (after Avebury). You'll also pass the lovely Chew Valley Lake which has delightful nature trails and a variety of wildlife.
|Two Tunnels Greenway||11 miles (18.5 km)||This is a super, shared cycling and walking path making use of a disused railway path through Bath and the surrounding countryside. The path takes you through Bath and then on into some splendid Somerset countryside before following the Kennet and Avon Canal Towpath and the River Avon back into Bath.|
|Tyntesfield House||1 miles (2 km)||This Victorian Gothic Revival house near Bristol is surrounded by 150 acres (61 ha) of parkland and gardens which are perfect for a peaceful walk. You can explore the woodland, the tree lined drive, the delightful rose garden, the walled kitchen garden, summer houses, and the aviary - all with the rolling Somerset hills as beautiful backdrop. The Home Farm Visitor Centre houses the Cow Barn kitchen, gift shop and garden shop.|
Tyntesfield is located about 4 miles west of Bristol, near Nailsea.
|West Deane Way||45 miles (72 km)||This wonderful circular walk takes you through the beautiful Somerset countryside including the Quantock Hills AONB.|
The path starts and ends in Taunton on the River Tone and heads north west towards West Bagborough. You continue through Lydeard St Lawrence and Wiveliscombe before a pleasant waterside stretch along the River Tone takes you back to Taunton via Bradford on Tone.
|West Mendip Way||30 miles (48 km)||This splendid walk takes you through the beautiful Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty from Wells to Uphill.|
You start in Wells by the impressive cathedral and head west towards Cheddar passing the show caves and paper mill at Wookey Hole and then onto the spectacular Cheddar Gorge-voted the second greatest natural wonder in Britain.
The route continues through the lovely countryside at Compton Bishop before finishing by the wharf at Uphill on Weston Bay.
|West Somerset Coast Path||25 miles (40 km)||Follow the beautiful Somerset coast through the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on this lovely coastal walk.|
The walk begins at the car park at Steart, next to the Bridgwater Bay Nature Reserve. You then follow the path west, along the coast, to the village of Watchet with its pretty harbour and piers.
From Watchet, you continue to Minehead along Blue Anchor Bay and Dunster Beach Nature Reserve.
This is an excellent walk for anyone with an interest in geology as local people have uncovered the remains of elk antlers and wild boar tusks on the shores. Fossilised oak and yew tree sections are also still visible in places.
Also of interest are the views of Flat Holm and Steep Holm Islands which you can visit by boat from Minehead in the summer. On a clear day, there are also good views of the South Wales coast across the Bristol Channel.
|Wills Neck||2 miles (3.5 km)||Climb to the highest point in the Quantock Hills on this circular walk in Somerset. Wills Neck stands at a height of 1,261 ft (384 m) and commands wonderful views of Dartmoor, Exmoor, the Brecon Beacons, the Mendips and Blackdown Hills.|
This walk starts at the Triscombe Stone Car Park and follows the Macmillan Way to the Wills Neck summit. You descend on the Samaritans Way South West. It's a nice walk on decent footpaths with some attractive woodland and great views. The walk can easily be extended by visiting the nearby Bagborough Hill, Lydeard Hill and the interesting Triscombe Quarry. You could also head a couple of miles south and visit the lovely Cothelstone Hill where there are more great views and a herd of Exmoor Ponies.
|Wimbleball Lake||7 miles (12 km)||Enjoy cycling and walking trails around this large lake on Exmoor. There is a super walking trail running around the perimeter of the lake. You'll enjoy long waterside sections, many peaceful woodland trails and views of the River Haddeo. This route is the round the lake walk but there are also a number of cycle trails with cycle hire available too. The three well surfaced trails are great for riders of all abilites. The easy green graded trail runs for just over a mile adjacent to the lake. It's perfect for families looking for a safe traffic free ride.|
It's easy to extend your walk and explore the surrounding countryside. You could enjoy a riverside walk along the River Haddeo near Hartford or you could climb Haddon Hill at the southern end of the lake, and enjoy splendid views across Exmoor.
The park has excellent facilites with a cafe, cycle hire and parking available. Wimbleball Lake is located a few miles east of Dulverton.
|Yeovil Country Park||3 miles (4.5 km)||This park, also known as Nine Springs Country Park, is situated in Yeovil, near the town centre. You will see rivers, lakes, waterfalls, open grassland, woodland and a children's play area as you pass through the 127 acres of the park. There are splendid views of the Dorset Hills and an abundance of wildlife with water voles, kingfishers, green woodpeckers and otters visitors to the park.|
The route below is devised for walkers but there is also a flat linear cyclepath which follows the line of the old railway and links the different areas of the country park.