We are very fortunate in Somerset to have one of the longest footpath networks of any county on a pro rata basis and indeed particularly lucky here in Somerton to have so much good walking so close by. Within close proximity we have the serene river Cary, some lovely wooded areas, the Somerset levels with rich black peaty soils, a great piece of Victorian railway engineering and, for a very modest effort, some fabulous views.
RIGHTS OF WAY
THE COUNTY COUNCIL’S RESPONSIBILITIES
The County Council (0300 123 2224) is the body responsible for keeping the legal record of Rights of Way up to date and to protect and assert your right to use the network.
Any faults or problems may be reported to the Council by telephone, through the County Council website www.somerset.gov.co.uk or to the Parish Paths Liaison Officer whose name and address you will find in the current issue of “Somerton News”, or from Somerton Town Council (01458 272236).
Keep rights of way clear of obstructions and overhanging vegetation
Maintain stiles and gates across footpaths and bridleways (with the assistance of maintenance authorities)
Restore the surface of any crossfield footpath or bridleway which has been ploughed within 14 days
Not to plough any footpath or bridleway which constitutes a headland, ie field edge
Not to allow any prohibited bull in a field through which a right of way passes
Not to allow barbed or electrified wire to cross through stiles, or run adjacent to rights of way
Not to erect misleading signs likely to deter use of rights of way
WALKERS’ RESPONSIBILITIES – THE COUNTRY CODE
Enjoy the countryside and respect its life and work
Guard against all risk of fire
Leave all gates as found
Keep your dogs under close control
Keep to public rights of way across farmland
Use gates and stiles to cross fences, hedges and walls
Leave livestock, crops and machinery alone
Take your litter home
Help to keep all water clean
Protect wildlife, plants and trees
Take special care on country roads
Make no unnecessary noise
Each of these walks will each take 2½ hours or so – maybe slightly less if you walk quickly or maybe a little longer if you amble or stop to admire some of the wonderful views. So, each can be accomplished in a half-day – a good enough reason to start in the morning and finish in time for lunch, or maybe have lunch first and then walk afterwards. Either way, there are lots of good places to eat in Somerton. I chose the Half Moon car park as the starting point because parking there in many of the bays is unrestricted and it’s near my house! However, since they are circular walks, you could start or finish wherever you wish. The Ordnance Survey 1:25000 maps would be useful and they are available at Stationery House in the Market Place.
Some of the walks involve walking along roads, some of which carry fast traffic and have no pavements, so do take care. Conventional wisdom suggests walking to face the oncoming traffic but on some occasions it may be prudent to disregard this – for example when approaching a bend or when walking with the sun behind you. Make sure that you can be seen easily by motorists and as early as possible!
Many of these routes will involve the possibility of muddy sections in the winter (or indeed any particularly wet spells!) and seasonal growth such as nettles and brambles in the summer. Generally, I tend to walk in shorts but with knee length socks and lightweight walking boots – I find those with a breathable membrane do tend to keep the feet dry except in extreme wet conditions. Sometimes, I use walking sandals, which are ideal in dry conditions (as long as you don’t mind the odd nettle sting, scratch from brambles or stepping into a cow-pat!).
Thanks go to the group of friends with whom I walk most Sundays, for bearing with me whilst trying out the routes described – in order (hopefully) to ensure accuracy. Special thanks also to Becky Sanders at SSDC for help in setting up the publication of these walks, Somerton Tourism and Heritage Partnership for financial support and to Nancy Langmaid for her line drawings and general encouragement. Last, but not least, thanks to my wife Sue for the helpful (sometimes) suggestions and continuous coffee.
I do hope you enjoy these walks. If you have any comments, suggestions or corrections, do let me know!
These walks were originally printed in 2008, but the print run is now exhausted. Therefore, it seems an opportune time to update the walks and to put them on the town’s website – thanks to Ian Laker for his assistance in this.
Here is the link below to the town website:
email: [email protected]
The walks are detailed below:
WALK 3 LONG SUTTON & SOUTH HILL
WALK 4 SOUTH HILL & BURNT HOUSE LANE
WALK 5 COPLEY WOOD & LITTLETON
WALK 6 ETSOME HILL & LITTLETON
WALK 8 HURCOT & CHARLTON MACKRELL
WALK 10 BLACKS MOOR HILL & KNOLE
WALK 11 LITTLETON & DUNDON BEACON