As the temperatures cool slightly, it makes for a good time to explore our county and if you head along to the Somerset & Exmoor Coast Festival this month you will perhaps be introduced to footpaths which you have never previously trodden!

The festival is a new event which is celebrating the entire Somerset coastline from Brean to Porlock Weir, and at its very heart is a walking festival which has over 25 scheduled walks of varying distances to suit all abilities. If you needed a reason to dust off those walking boots, this is it. Running from September 23rd to October 1st the Somerset & Exmoor Coast Festival promises to be a celebration of this special stretch of coastline. Somerset artists, musicians and businesses are working in partnership with the National Trust, Disabled Ramblers and Somerset Art Weeks to throw open their doors and put a spotlight on this awe-inspiring section of Jurassic coast. Unknown to so many, this area of Somerset is one of those hidden gems so often by-passed and yet cherished by those in know!

Great British Life:  View towards Exmoor. Photo: Isobel Pring View towards Exmoor. Photo: Isobel Pring

In preparation for the festival, I was invited to walk the Quantocks & Coast route which is a ten-mile loop which takes in a combination of sea air, woodland wonders and calming countryside views. It’s a cracker of a route and can easily be achieved in half a day. The key thing to note before you start out on this walk is that the last stretch is dependent on the tide. Please don’t let this put you off though– the section of beach you’ll be walking is under a mile long, you just need to time it right and all tide times can be checked online prior to setting off. There are many reasons why the Quantocks & Coast walk is such a winner and they are all down to the fact that every turn of the footpath offers a varied view, the diversity of the landscape along this walk will distract you from any lethargy in those legs!

Great British Life: Fingerpost with a view. Photo: Rachel MeadFingerpost with a view. Photo: Rachel Mead

The best place to park is at Home Farm Holiday Centre where there’s a shop open from 9am so if you need to stock up on last minute hiking snacks, you’re in luck. If you download the route guidance map and leaflet from you’ll see that you begin your walk in the copse known locally as The Belt. Keep your eyes out for the acorn clearly carved on the footpath signage which signifies that you’ll be following the newly re-named King Charles III England Coast Path. Take your time at this starting point, despite being in the middle of a glade you can actually hear the sea and if you’re a steady stroller you may see red deer or even peregrine falcons here.

Great British Life: Lush green woodland. Photo: Rachel MeadLush green woodland. Photo: Rachel Mead

On leaving the last of the trees behind you, you’ll burst back out into daylight and be following along a cliff path where the chocolate milkshake-coloured Bristol channel is in sight and someone has seemingly turned up the volume of the birdsong soundtrack! As you push on (and steal a blackberry or two, must keep those energy levels up) you’ll whizz through the holiday park before crossing The Swill via footbridge. A few more steps will lead you almost to the door of Doniford Farm Park which if you should need a quick cuppa and cake makes for a tiny, yet worthwhile, de-tour.

Great British Life: Peaceful bench. Photo: Rachel MeadPeaceful bench. Photo: Rachel Mead

The next section of the walk tracks through farmland where you’ll stroll along rural lanes and skirt around the edges of fields. Keep an ear out for the sound of the West Somerset Railway as a peek at the old steam trains cutting across the landscape adds a sense of nostalgia to this rich green vista. Walking on to the sleepy village of East Quantoxhead will give you glimpses across to North Hill on Exmoor to your left, whilst the Channel which is now ahead of you entices you back towards the coast. You won’t be there for a while yet though for you are only half way and here in Deer Park you are welcomed with the most perfect of rest stops by means of a bench with far-reaching views. The second half of your walk will turn things up a tad with a slight increase in elevation but you will be skirting the lower edge of West Hill. With its ancient trees hugging the footpath, you’ll be transported back to times of yesteryear where Somerset folk weren’t blessed to be wearing hiking boots as they trod through fallen leaves and jumped over spring-soaked pathways. It is also here as grazing sheep nibble alongside moss-covered tree trunks, that you will be walking in the steps of celebrated poet Coleridge, and it is not difficult at all to see why he and the Wordsworth’s were so inspired by such dramatic and rugged West Country scenes.

Great British Life: Somerset's secret waterfall. Photo: Rachel MeadSomerset's secret waterfall. Photo: Rachel Mead

A hop and skip over the A39 reminds you that you are in the 21st century and on a clear day a glance eastward may reveal the cranes of Hinkley Point in the distance, but for those who are revelling in the isolation from modern life, the hum from the road soon dissipates as the on-shore breeze brings with it thermal-riding sea birds and salt in the air. You are now back on the King Charles III England Coast Path and, if you have timed your walk correctly, it will reveal the most textured of seascapes. The swirls of the sea bed unveil our past and for those keen to find a memento of their visit to this sacred Jurassic coastline, you may be lucky as fossils and ammonites are often discovered at low tide. But, the biggest gift of all is at the finishing post, after dropping down on the beach and walking for half a mile or so, your prize for completing your ten-mile walk is a cool off from St Audrie’s Bay herself in the guise of the most unexpected, yet magical of Somerset waterfalls. Mother Nature, you did good!

For downloadable route guidance and event itinerary, head to

Great British Life: The Quantocks & Coast route (c) OS MapsThe Quantocks & Coast route (c) OS Maps