Brassknocker Hill and Kennet and Avon Canal
Walk 1 - printable instructions (1 x A4)
Time: about 1½ hours
Start: By the Wheelwrights Arms in Monkton Combe - parking in village car park opposite the church (GR 773620)
Maps: OS Explorer 155 Landranger 172
From the Wheelwrights Arms, turn east and follow the main road with school buildings on the right. Turn left up Shaft Road with playing fields below you on your right, but as the road turns sharp left, go straight ahead up the driveway to reach stile into a large field. Take the path running diagonally uphill, through a gate in a fence and up to a kissing-gate in the top left-hand corner of the second field. (the wood to your left belongs to the Combe Grove Hotel and Country Club).
Cross a small stream and walk up to the main road (Brassknocker Hill) and turn left uphill past the houses to the public footpath on the right. Cross the road carefully, and follow this path behind the houses to a stile into a field. Turn left downhill with the fence on your left, to another stile and steeply down to a kissing-gate leading on to the A36. From this last field you get good aerial views of the Dundas Aqueduct.
Cross the main road with extreme care and bear right to public footpath at the end of the lay-by. Follow this stepped path down to the Kennet and Avon Canal. The towpath to the left goes to Bathampton and Bath, but you go straight ahead over the lifting bridge crossing the entrance to the Somerset Coal Canal. (Part of this canal now serves as boat moorings and you can read its history on the display boards). Walk on over the Dundas Aqueduct (built by John Rennie - foundation stone laid in 1797) and along the towpath for about ¾ mile with hanging woods of oak and beech on your left (fine colours in the Autumn reflected in the water) and the River Avon below you on your right. Ducks, moorhens and the occasional kingfisher can be seen on the canal. Beware of cyclists approaching silently behind you!
At the first road bridge, leave the canal and turn right down the road, cross the river bridge, under the railway and turn left into Lower Limpley Stoke. At the Hop Pole Inn turn right up a steep lane, keeping right at the fork ("No Entry for Vehicles": the left-hand fork is slightly longer and less steep). Right at the T-junction takes you back to the A36 by the Rose and Crown pub, cross carefully to the public footpath opposite. Follow this path behind a house and above the road for about half a mile. The path enters a wood and bears downhill to the right - it is quite steep and slippery, towards the end a stick might be helpful. A stile brings you out into a field from where you can see Monkton Combe and Brassknocker Hill across the valley.
Cross the field downhill to a stile and take the lower lane to your left past Waterhouse and the path between some houses and the Midford Brook to a wooden bridge. Cross the bridge, follow the path between two fields (often overgrown) and cross the mill leat by the Morris Minor Centre which occupies part of the Old Mill. turn left up the hill and follow Mill Lane, passing the village Lock-up on your right, and back to the Wheelwrights Arms.