From the (54) Bus Stop Walk Series 1 – Walk 1 Henlade

Bridgwater & Taunton canal and the river Tone
Easy walking along towpaths, tracks and paths
Distance 11.8Km/ 7.3 miles
Total ascent/descent 31m

  1. From the bus-stop (GR270241), walk to the cross-roads and take Lipe Lane. After 350m (385yds) just beyond speed derestriction sign, go L into Stearts Cottages. Where road ends at Loxleigh, go over stile to R and follow narrow path for 360m (400yds) crossing stiles to reach road. Turn R for 670m (750yds) to reach cross-roads by Ruishton Inn.
  2. (G263250) If time permits go ahead to visit church (1), otherwise go R into Cheats Road. After 150m (175yds) where road bears R, go L (SP Public Footpath) along gravel track at side of house to a stile by a metal gate. Go 45o R with water on L to pass under the R arch of five-arch bridge and continue to steps to reach and cross the former Taunton to Yeovil railway line and 200m (220yds) beyond, reach a road.
  3. (GR272252) Go L across bridge over river and after 100m (110yds) a second river bridge, then turn R along Bull Street. Continue for 450m (500yds) and at Private Drive sign go through wooden gate on R to reach the river Tone. Go along path keeping river on R for 1km (⅔ mile). On reaching the bridge to the R, which crosses to village of Ham, go L through waymarked gate and aim 450 R to far corner of field to locate a stile to reach a track. Turn R for 100m (110yds) then by wooden gate, go L over waymarked stile and follow faint path to trees in far L corner of field. Through two Bristol gates and with stream on L for 270m (300yds) cross railway line. Then go along short track to reach canal (2).
  4. (GR282258) Turn R and follow towpath for 1.5Km (almost 1 mile) passing the 1826 Engine House (3) to reach Bridge 24. Cross the canal here and after 100m (110yds) where the road bears R by Charlton House, go L down a waymarked track and bear R by pond to emerge into a large field. Follow hedge on L for 500m (⅓ mile) and at far side go through gate, turn R for 50m (55yds) to cross stile on L and go straight ahead across field to join hedge on R and follow as it turns L to a stile by metal gate into lane. Go ahead 100m (110yds) to Fair View Farm.
  5. (GR279254) Go L(Foxhole Lane) for 500m (⅓mile) and take the waymarked footpath just before the pebble-dashed building to emerge on a track. Continue ahead to reach and cross Bridge 25. Turn R along the towpath with canal on R for 900m (just over ½ mile) and just before Bridge 27, go L up a ramp to a road.
  6. (GR273255) Go ahead along the road over the railway bridge and follow for 700m (800yds) as it bears to the R, crosses two bridges to a T-junction. Go R (SP Ruishton) 500m (⅓mile) and go L (Lawn Meadow). Follow as it bears L then R for 500m (⅓mile) to school and short track to stile. Cross and go L with hedge on L to reach road. Go R for 500m (⅓mile) to main road.

    The bus-stop for Somerton and Yeovil is to the L and that for Taunton is across the road to the R.

    Distance 3.9 Km/ 2.4 miles
    Walk to point 3 and at the road turn L as far as the canal bridge. Return to point 3 and go ahead with care back to the main road in Henlade.

1 Ruishton Church was built on the site of an earlier Norman church in the 14th Century. The roof above the nave was completed in 1549, but the tower was never finished. The font was carved in about 1380.

2 The Bridgwater and Taunton Canal opened in 1827 linking the River Tone to the River Parrett as part of a plan to link Bristol to Taunton. Commercial traffic ceased in 1907 and restoration as a leisure facility was completed in 1994.

3 Charlton Engine House (1826) used to house steam engines, which were used to pump water from the River Tone into the canal. The Tone was navigable long before the canal was built and was still considered to be navigable until after WW2.

For car travellers careful parking is possible in Lipe Lane – there is space on the R beyond Knightstone.

Refreshments: Ruishton Inn

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