A circular walk through woodland and farmland with occasional lane walking, taking in part of the Quantock Greenway. There are fine views across The Somerset Levels and the Bristol Channel to the Mendips and Glastonbury Tor.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A) From the Forestry Commission office car park at Cockercombe, take the broad track which leaves the back of the car park; this curves around to the right and ascends between mixed tree plantings. Continue upwards on the stony track into mature forest. (Ignore a track to your left.) Continue ahead to reach a small grassy clearing in the forest, Knacker’s Hole, where you bear right to continue to ascend along a wide forestry track between conifer plantations to reach a crossing of tracks.
(1) Turn left onto a broad level track bounded by deciduous trees and continue ahead to meet a T-junction of tracks in front of a boundary bank, below which is another track. There are good views here across Aisholt Common. Turn right, keeping the bank with its beech trees on your immediate left and gently ascend about 100 metres until you find a small gap in the bank; go through with care onto the track below and go through the waymarked gates. You are now on Aisholt Common.
(2) Turn immediately left onto another broad track and in another few metres leave this track, which strikes off to your right, to take a grassy path to the left, bordered by bracken; continue steeply downhill to the left, through a wooden stock gate, past Higher Aisholt Farm to reach a lane.
(3) Turn left along the lane and after 50 metres take the footpath through a kissing gate on the right to cross a meadow, through a further gate, across a second meadow at 45 degrees to the left to a footbridge across a stream and then climb the slope towards Aisholt church. Exit the field by hunting gate and enter lane adjacent to the church. Before continuing on the walk it is well worth a visit to the historic 12th century church at Aisholt, particularly in spring when the churchyard is home to orchids, bluebells and other wild flowers. Then continue by turning left from the hunting gate (right from the church) down the lane about 100 metres to a waymarked bridleway immediately right before the white-washed thatched cottage, ‘The Old School House’.
(4) Continue along the bridleway at the back of the cottage and garden with a stream on your left to enter woodland and pass the entrance to Aisholt Wood Nature Reserve, now owned by Somerset Wildlife Trust. After about 500 metres ford the stream, go ahead for 30 metres, then take the right fork in the track along a broad track above the stream. In times gone by, this was a turnpike linking Spaxton and Aisholt. Continue through a metal gate and turn left to reach the Taunton to Nether Stowey road in front of the western end of Hawkridge Reservoir.
(5) Cross this road with care and take the right-of-way immediately opposite. Go through the gate and ascend the field above the reservoir with the fence on your left; go through a gateway into a second field where Highland Cattle are often grazing. Keep the hedge on your left until you reach a metal gate; ignore the yellow footpath sign, instead follow the blue bridleway waymark on the gate. Follow the path through the belt of woodland and onto a wide fenced track. There are fine views ahead to the Bristol Channel and to Quantock Lodge on your left. Gently descend to a lane.
(6) Take right fork onto the lane and at the next junction take left fork downhill. Follow the lane past converted barn buildings and Tuxwell Farm on your right. Continue 200 metres to a crossroads at Tuxwell Lodge and turn left onto a broad avenue of lime trees. This drive once connected Quantock Lodge with Spaxton and Bridgwater.
(7) Continue straight along the drive for about 1 km (ignoring a right turn) until reaching a finger post marked bridleway on the right hand side just before the Taunton road. Follow this bridleway through a hunting gate and then carefully cross the road diagonally right, to a continuation of the route on the opposite side through a similar hunting gate. The path then enters coniferous woodland for a short distance before turning left and following metal parkland fencing meeting the Lodge drive beyond the gatehouse. Dog on leads here. Turn right on this permissive path along the drive and follow the track to a junction of pathways at which point turn left towards Pepperhill, and ignore the bridleway on the right. Within 400 metres and after passing through two metal gates the route passes through Pepperhill Farm and meets Cockercombe Lane.
(8) Turn right at this T junction and follow the lane back to the Forestry Commission office at Cockercombe and the start point; approximately 600 metres on the left. Take care along the narrow lane which can be busy, especially at weekends. (D/A)
D/A : km 0 - alt. km 0 - Forestry Commission office car park
1 : km 0.79 - alt. km 0.79 - Crossing of tracks
2 : km 1.19 - alt. km 1.19 - Broad track
3 : km 1.88 - alt. km 1.88 - Lane
4 : km 2.25 - alt. km 2.25 - The Old School House
5 : km 3.48 - alt. km 3.48 - Hawkridge Reservoir
6 : km 4.39 - alt. km 4.39 - Lane
7 : km 6.13 - alt. km 6.13 - Bridleway
8 : km 7.34 - alt. km 7.34 - Cockercombe Lane
D/A : km 7.92 - alt. km 7.92 - Forestry Commission office car park
The section through Aisholt Wood can be very muddy in winter and the stream there can quickly rise above ankle height after heavy rain. Farm stock will be encountered on the walk. There are three ascents, some stiles and a short section of road walking. There is a picnic table under the trees near the Forestry Commission office.
Refreshments : There are no refreshments enroute. However, The Lamb at Spaxton and The Cottage Inn at Keenthorne are nearby by car.
Public Toilets : None enroute.
Public Transpor t: No buses within easy walking distance.
Start and Parking : Forestry Commission office car park at Cockercombe.
This walk was first published by The Nether Stowey Footpaths Group via the Village Links in Action initiative. Artwork by Gerry Wright.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
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