Somerton Strolls

INTRODUCTION

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).

FARMERS’/LANDOWNERS’ RESPONSIBILITIES

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

 

AUTHOR’S NOTES

 

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:

http://www.somerton.co.uk/local-tourism/walks-around-somerton/somerton-strolls-introduction/

http://www.somerton.co.uk/local-tourism/walks-around-somerton/short-walks-from-the-half-moon-car-park/

Martyn Smith

email: [email protected]

May 2020

The walks are detailed below:

WALK 1 GROVE LANE & BANCOMBE

WALK 2 KINGSDON WOOD & MIDNEY

WALK 3 LONG SUTTON & SOUTH HILL

WALK 4 SOUTH HILL & BURNT HOUSE LANE

WALK 5 COPLEY WOOD & LITTLETON

WALK 6 ETSOME HILL & LITTLETON

WALK 7 LOLLOVER HILL

WALK 8 HURCOT & CHARLTON MACKRELL

WALK 9 CARY VALLEY & KINGSDON

WALK 10 BLACKS MOOR HILL & KNOLE

WALK 11 LITTLETON & DUNDON BEACON

WALK 12 PITNEY & UPTON

WALK 13 ETSOME & PARK

WALK 14 PARK & PITNEY WOOD

WALK 15 SOMERTON PLACES OF WORSHIP & “DRAINS”

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