Valley Good Show
Walk 8 - by Nigel Vile
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Description - a personal view
|Midford Brook carves a
delightful course through a picturesque valley, just a
few miles south of Bath. Add the colour and fragrance of
spring and summer flora, and you have what can only be
described as a picture-postcard landscape.
disused Somerset Coal Canal once passed this way, and in
the depths of the valley lie a series of fascinating
disused lock chambers. Having climbed out of the valley
to explore the hillsides around Southstoke - and perhaps
enjoying a pint at the Packhorse Inn - a descent into
Horsecombe Vale brings the walk to Tucking Mill.
Hidden away in a secretive corner there is a small
reservoir, whose isolation adds a certain magical charm.
This is truly one of those walks with a surprise at
Deep valleys and rolling hillsides combine to form a
perfect pastoral landscape which is wonderful to explore
Distance: 6 miles
Time: up to 3 hours
Start: By the church and pub in Monkton Combe
Parking: In village car park opposite the church (GR
Maps: OS Explorer 155 Landranger 172
Refreshments: Pubs in Monkton Combe, Midford and
Follow Mill Lane alongside the Wheelwrights Arms down to
the Old Mill. turn right and cross a sluice before following
an enclosed path to a bridge across Midford Brook. Cross the
river and a stile on the right, and follow Midford Brook
upstream across two fields. At the far side of the second
field, cross a stile and continue following a riverside path,
bearing left away from the river after 140m (150 yards) to
reach a hillside field. Cross this field to a stile in the far
right corner, before passing through a small area of woodland
to reach the next field. Cross to a gap in the wall on the
opposite side of this field, before heading across one final
field to a stile in the far right corner. Join Midford Lane,
turn right and go downhill to the B3110 in Midford.
Turn right, and follow the pavement as far as the Hope and
Anchor Inn. Turn left opposite this pub to follow the
signposted footpath which passes under an old viaduct and
alongside a garden, before reaching a stile. Beyond this
stile, continue along the path directly ahead, going alongside
the depression which marks the course of the Somerset Coal
Canal. Follow the canal bed right across the field for about
320m (350 yards) to an old stone over-bridge on the right.
Cross the stile beyond this bridge, bear left and pass beneath
another old viaduct by Midford Brook. Beyond this viaduct,
cross a stile on the left to rejoin the bed of the canal.
Follow the canal bed for about half a mile through the valley
to a stile and a bridleway. Follow this track to the right for
200 yards to a lane.
Follow the lane to the left before turning right under a
railway bridge to rejoin the disused canal. then follow it
through the woodland ahead, passing the Combe Hay flight of
lock chambers, for 320m (350 yards), to a stile. Cross this
stile, and keep directly ahead through an area of scrubland
into an open hillside field, ignoring two left turns. Head
uphill to a stile to the left of an isolated property, before
continuing along an enclosed path to reach another hillside
field. Head uphill to a stile at the top of this field, before
continuing along a metalled driveway which bears right into
Southstoke, passing the church on the right. At the fork
ahead, keep to the left of the telephone box, ignore a left
turn and continue along the lane out of the village. After
about half a mile, just beyond Southstoke House, pass through
a kissing gate on the left and head across to the far right
corner of a field and the B3110.
Cross the main road to a stile opposite, slightly to the
right, and enter a hillside field. Follow the fence downhill
through the first two field to a stile at the bottom of the
second field. Cross this stile, bear right and head downhill
to a gap and a stile at the foot of the slope. Continue along
a well-defined footpath to a footbridge across a stream. Turn
right and follow what eventually becomes a woodland path to a
cross-track. Turn right, walk down by a water-board
installation and continue along the access road which bears
left beneath a viaduct and alongside Tucking Mill Reservoir,
before joining the lane running from Midford to Monkton Combe.
Turn left, and follow this lane back into Monkton Combe,
passing through a gate on the right as you enter the village.
Walk through the churchyard and go past the church to get back
to the roadside parking space where you started.