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Somerset coastal walk: King Charles III England Coast Path

View from Daw's Castle Photo: Isobel Pring
View from Daw's Castle Photo: Isobel Pring

A coastal walk along the the King Charles III England Coast Path at Warren Bay, starting at  Watchet or Blue Anchor.

Somerset & Exmoor Coast Trail Passport

If you love walking on the Somerset coast, you’ll be needing a copy of the new Somerset & Exmoor Coast Trail Passport. This free pocket-size booklet contains maps, route details and things to see and do, as well as space to collect stamps and an area for your notes and memories.

The passport celebrates the Somerset coast from Brean to County Gate and can be collected from selected locations on the coast. Thirty five businesses have already signed up as stamping points with more joining every day, so there are loads of opportunities to fill up your passport and create a tangible memory of your journey.

It's also a great way to discover some fantastic small businesses and visit the participating cafes, pubs, shops and galleries along the route and, each with their own unique stamp and some with offers for walkers (and treats for your doggy pals). On this walk you have the chance to collect four stamps in Watchet and Blue Anchor

Details of collection and stamping points and a link to the Somerset & Exmoor Coast Trail itinerary can be found at www.somerset.gov.uk/coastpath.

Great British Life: The new Somerset & Exmoor Coast Trail Passport Photo Isobel PringThe new Somerset & Exmoor Coast Trail Passport Photo Isobel Pring

Following in the footsteps of miners and monks

This walk takes in the Old Mineral Line, the Monks Path between Cleeve Abbey in Washford and St Andrew’s church in Old Cleeve and returns on the King Charles III England Coast Path. With many trees bare of their leaves at this time of year, it’s a great opportunity to take in fantastic views of Minehead and Exmoor, Wales, Steep Holm and Flat Holm, and Hinkley Point with the Mendip Hills behind.

Starting in Watchet make your way to Mill Lane and follow the footpath and signs to The Old Mineral Line turning right on Whitehall and continuing until the road forks where you take the right fork. At the end of this short stretch (1), keep left and go past the gate and under the railway bridge.

This path was once part of the West Somerset Mineral Railway that brought iron ore from mines in the Brendon Hills to Watchet Harbour, where it was shipped to the Ebbw Vale furnaces for smelting. At the end of the path you come out into playing fields and continue past them to exit through a kissing gate and down a short lane to the road (2).

Turn right and follow the road to the T junction where you turn right again, go under the bridge and take the steps on your left. You are now on the Monks Path, which connects Washford to St Andrews Church in Old Cleeve and was used by monks to travel between the church and Cleeve Abbey in Washford. Follow the path until you reach the road where you turn left and continue straight on this road until you see St Andrew’s Church on your right (3) and turn into the churchyard.

The church dates to the 12th Century, although what you see today is mostly from the 15th and 16th centuries. Inside, the 15th-century font has a beautifully carved cover of the same period; the only original medieval font cover in West Somerset. Take the opportunity to walk to the top of the church yard and enjoy the views.

4. Return to the path and look for a waymark pointing right through the grave stones and follow it. Exit the churchyard through the gate at the bottom, go down the steps and follow the path down to the right. At the end go down more steps and then immediately up the steps opposite and through the kissing gate. Head diagonally left across the field towards the house, through a kissing gate and out to the road.

5. Cross the road with care taking the track on the right and following the waymarked path past Binham Grange manor house. Leaving the grounds, go over the footbridge and turn right. Follow the path until you reach another bridge. From here there are stunning views to your right of Chapel Cleeve Manor, dating back to the 1450s when it was a pilgrims’ hotel. continuing to a second bridge. Cross this bridge and go diagonally left across the field, crossing a third bridge and going through the wooden gate. Follow the footpath with the stream on your left until you reach a tarmac track that takes you past a pub and out to The Esplanade at Blue Anchor.

Great British Life: Walking on the KCIIIECP near Blue Anchor Photo Isobel PringWalking on the KCIIIECP near Blue Anchor Photo Isobel Pring

6. Cross the road and turn right until you join the road up the hill past the pub. Turn left into the pub car park and head for the kissing gate in the corner, following signs for the King Charles III England Coast Path. Once through the gate, follow the waymarked Coast Path along the clifftop all the way to Watchet. This takes you through fields and woods where gaps in the trees offer views of the beautiful rock formations on the shore.

Nearing Watchet you pass through a kissing gate and out into the English Heritage site of Daws Castle. The castle is the site of a hillfort, originally enclosed by semi-circular ramparts and ditches, but most of this has now been lost to the sea.

Ongoing cliff erosion in this area means that the Coast Path is diverted to your right. Exit the field through a kissing gate (6) and turn right onto the road, continuing until you see a waymarked path on the left. Follow this down the steps and through the woods and fields until you reach the bottom at (1) and can retrace your steps into Watchet.

COMPASS POINTS

Start point:

Choose your own starting point in Watchet or Blue Anchor

Parking:

Watchet car parks and Blue Anchor seafront parking

Map:

OS Landranger 181: Minehead & Brendon Hills

Refreshments and facilities:

There are public toilets and plenty of pubs and cafes in Watchet and Blue Anchor.

Practicalities:

The route is about 7.5 miles (11.5km) and takes about 4 hours. The ground is mostly flat but does include some steps and short steep sections and has gates but no stiles.



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