Distance: 8.03 km
Terrain: Some very steep ascents and descents on rocky, uneven ground although the mid-section is fairly flat. Part of the walk is through a water meadow, so waterproof footwear is recommended.
Grid reference: ST042 271
Walk Guide: Circular Walk 17, Taunton Deane Borough Council
This is a walk in gorgeous countryside on the Somerset/Devon border near Wiveliscombe on the Brendon Hills. We followed the walk guide as shown above and started at the church in the village of Chipstable, however, if I was going to do this walk again, I would begin at Washbattle Bridge. From Washbattle Bridge the walk ascends pretty sharply from the river valley up to the top of Heydon Hill at 342metres. It would be so much nicer to know that the main hill was done and dusted at the beginning rather than looming at you 2/3 of the way through!
Unusually, we saw more pheasants than people out enjoying the cool Spring day – there are so many that there are warning signs for drivers on the road to Chipstable!
There are three main phases of the walk: the Green Lanes, the river valley and Heydon Hill. The start of the walk from the hamlet of Chipstable takes you up through some Green Lanes, which are historic routes that have been marked out by people possibly since pre-historic times. There are lots of these Green Lanes around the Wiveliscombe area and are beautiful spaces to walk through. At this time of year, the banks are full of violets and primroses.
The route continues along the River Tone for a long stretch, some of which is a conservation area, and is really pleasant.
At Washbattle Bridge, the walk continues uphill, at first gently through some water meadows, then into a vicious ascent up a very narrow path (not for the faint hearted)! There was water running down this path so I imagine it is more like a waterfall in Winter. At the top of Heydon Hill before descending back down to Chipstable, we saw some lovely Spring lambs!
Please note that this walk is not the 6.7km that the walk guide suggests it is!