From the (77) Bus Stop Walks – Walk 9 Somerton
The former capital of Wessex with its fine historic buildings.
Easy walking on tracks and lanes – maybe slippy when wet.
Distance 10.3 Km/ 6.4 miles
Total ascent/descent 156m
1 From the bus-stop (GR 491285), do take time to visit St Michael’s Church (1) just across the road. Then walk past the Buttercross (2) and follow the road as it bears L into Broad Street, an avenue of lime trees. Pass several interesting old houses and after 100m(110yds) reach Cow Square with its restored horse trough and overlooked by The Old Hall. Turn R along New Street (3) and follow for 200m(220yds) and just beyond Hillhead Cottage go R through a metal squeeze, ascend steps and follow the tarmac path to emerge in The Millands with its open grass area in the centre. Go L, follow clockwise and just beyond number 20, go L along path to reach a kissing gate and emerge in a field. Bear 45oR to a stile in the fence, cross and descend, keeping hedge on R to go through a gate and along a short track to reach a road.
2 (GR497283) Go L 150m(175yds) to reach the busy B3151. Cross with care, go L for 35m(40yds) and go R. Follow for 900m(½mile) passing The Mill and Somerton Randle to reach a gate on R (this will be the return route).
3 (GR506283) Continue ahead for a further 750m(½mile) and at the end of the tarmac, go R through wooden squeeze and keeping hedge on L for 160m(175yds) to reach a hedge gap. Bear slightly L and continue, still with hedge on L, to reach woods. Ascend the obvious track and after 500m(550yds) on emerging from woods follow clear track across field to reach a metal gate at a road.
4 (GR508272) Go L inside hedge for 100m(110yds) and then ahead on path through wooded area with hedge on L. After 250m(275yds) the path bears L and becomes a wide track. Follow for 800m(½mile) to a cross-roads of tracks. Go sharp L for 800m(½mile) and follow as track bears sharp L into Kingsdon woods. The track descends, gradually at first then more steeply to reach a tarmac road. Follow for 800m(½mile) to gate on the L at the end of point 2.
5 GR(506283) Go through gap and bear 45oL then bear R to gates at wooded area and then follow path just in the woods, with a wire fence on L for 550m(600yds) to emerge in a field. Continue ahead through large hedge gap and cross field on well-defined track to cross sleeper bridge into the next field. Bear slightly L to fence corner and follow with fence on L via two kissing gates to road.
6 (GR499278) Go straight ahead with care for 100m(110yds) and where road bears sharp L, cross and take road on the R (no sign) past Keepers Cottage. Go ahead at crossroads and continue for 350m (400yds) then go R through metal gate (SP Footpath). Keep hedge on R then enter enclosed track to a T-junction of tracks. Go R and after 100m(110yds) through gate and follow obvious track across field to cross a stone stile to a road. Go L then R at mini-roundabout up Parsonage Hill. At the top by Police Station, go L along Kirkham Street to the Market Place (4) and bus-stop.
Note: Buses operate a one-way system, so all buses pass this stop.
For car travellers free parking is available in Broad St or Market Pl
FOR A SHORTER WALK
Distance 5.3 Km/ 3.2 miles
Follow route to the gate at the end of point 2. This is the start of point 5. Follow back to Somerton.
1 St Michael & All Angels church dates from the 13th century and is Grade I listed. Inside is one of the finest wooden carved roofs in the county dating from about 1450.
2 The Buttercross was built in 1673 by the Hext family at a cost of £300 although there was an earlier cross on the site. It belonged to the Earls of Ilchester until they could not afford to repair it after World War I, when it was given to the town.
3 New Street (probably the oldest street in the town) has many old buildings including Cockspurs, the site of a former cock-fighting ring.
4 The Market Place contains many interesting buildings and was the backdrop for the BBC drama “The Monocled Mutineer” (1985/6).
Refreshments: Cafés/pubs in Somerton