Nether Stowey to Holford and back

A circular day walk to The Plough Inn at Holford over the Quantocks, taking in part of the Coleridge Way, Walford’s Gibbet and Holford Combe with fine views of the Somerset Coast. There are some lengthy climbs and descents. Can get muddy in places.

Technical sheet
No. 2915313
A Nether Stowey walk posted on 22/01/20 by Stowey Walking. Update : 23/01/20
Calculated time Calculated time: 4h45[?]
Distance Distance : 12.88km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 386m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 380m
Highest point Highest point : 317m
Lowest point Lowest point : 80m
Average Difficulty : Average
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Nether Stowey
Starting point Starting point : N 51.150857° / W 3.158871°
Download : -
The waterwheel at Combe House Hotel


(D/A) From the carpark turn right up Castle Street and Castle Hill. Just after crossing Channel Close take the right hand fork up Butcher’s Lane. At the end of this lane, turn left at the 30mph sign and after 20 yards take a path on the right up to a kissing gate. Climb directly uphill to the far top corner of the field. Through another kissing gate and turn right into a narrow country lane, Hack Lane.

(1) After descending along this road and after 250 yards, turn left along a wide dirt track. Follow this round to the right and then when you hit a left hand bend, go through the gate on the right, entering a large grassy field. Head left uphill, keeping the fence to your left and aim to the left of an old quarry scar ahead of you. Walk to the top of the field to a 5 bar gate and onto the road at Walford’s Gibbet. Turn left here and walk up the road.

(2) Just past a Quantock Greenway (“QG”) and Coleridge Way (“CW”) sign (about 15 yards) take a path right at 45° and head uphill. Ignore a path crossing diagonally and follow the path through a break at the corner of an earth and beech bank and after about 100 yards meet another path crossing. Turn left here and head downhill. On just passing a grassy clearing with a solitary tree, turn right down a dirt path and head downhill. This path follows to the right of a small brook. On meeting a stream/ford across the path, cross over this and continue downhill following the stream as it meanders down the valley. The path crisscrosses the stream, although the best paths tend to be those to the right of it. On reaching a clearing, walk straight ahead down a track.

(3) On reaching a tarmac road by the Combe House Hotel, take a moment to see the water wheel, originally used to power the tanning process undertaken here. Continue to follow this road until reaching ‘The Triangle’. Walk straight ahead until meeting another road at ‘Silk Mills’. Keep straight ahead until the road bends sharply to the right and here take the left hand road marked ‘narrow lane’ by ‘Glen Cottage’. Follow this to The Plough.

(4) Turn right out of the pub, along the A39 for a few yards and then right again into the road marked ‘Unsuitable for buses and coaches’. Follow this back to ‘Silk Mills’ and ‘The Triangle’ and here turn sharp left and head uphill along the road. Just before joining the A39 turn right along a dirt track into National Trust land (‘Woodlands Hill’). Follow this track uphill until you reach open moorland.

(5) Once out into the moorland and a branching of paths, take the track straight ahead, ignoring a green path to the left. Continue uphill towards a large stone cairn at the brow of ‘Woodlands Hill’. Continue to follow the path downhill until meeting a triangular crossing of paths by a short waymark post. Turn left here keeping Dowsborough Hill to your right. Enter a wood and follow this path to the road you walked earlier in the day.

(2) Turn left down the road back to Walford’s Gibbet at the corner. Enter into the field to the right hand corner with the gate and turn right here heading down the steep green lane to ‘Broomsquire’s Cottage’.

(6) At the crossing of paths take the path signposted in blue to Nether Stowey. This is ‘Watery Lane’. On reaching the stream, take the higher path to the left and follow this to the road. On reaching the road, turn left. Turn right at the >6’ 6’’’< sign and head up Castle Hill, following this road back to the library car park. (D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 80m - Car park
1 : km 0.88 - alt. 140m - Hack Lane
2 : km 2.37 - alt. 237m - Quantock Greenway sign
3 : km 5.32 - alt. 172m - Tarmac road
4 : km 6.72 - alt. 112m - Pub
5 : km 7.93 - alt. 181m - Branching of paths
6 : km 11.34 - alt. 138m - Broomsquire’s Cottage
D/A : km 12.88 - alt. 81m - Car park

Useful Information

Refreshments : The Plough Inn and Combe House Hotel in Holford.

Public Toilets : Library car park, Nether Stowey.

Public Transport : Occasional buses from Bridgwater and Minehead stopping at Castle Street, Nether Stowey and Holford on the A39 near the Plough Inn.

Start and parking : Library car park in Castle Street, Nether Stowey. GR®: ST190395

Holford Extension (1.6 miles) – start at pub (4) : Follow road between pub and car park. Metal stile 30 yards right after Dye House, over bridge, turn right onto tarmac road. Keep eyes open for red deer in field to the right. Over cattle grid continue up drive. Ignore drive to left. Continue for further 100 yards to see back of Alfoxton Park House where the Wordsworths lived in 1798. Unfortunately the house and drive is not open to the public. Retrace steps back to cattle grid turn right, signposted Holford, up short and very steep hill. Over a framed stile and along the right-hand field boundary until a further framed stile. Down the other side and left to the dog pound – supposedly haunted by the ghost of the hunt master torn to pieces by his own dogs. Continue forward past the pink house and Holford Bowling Green (probably used by the silk making Huguenots as a ‘boule’ green). Follow road round past the ruined silk mill on left (location for Bryan Adams’ ‘Everything I do, I do for you’ video). Follow road round to right and the church. Forward to pub. 1.6 miles.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

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