Distance: Approximately 5 1/2 miles (it took us just under two hours)
Terrain: Flat fields and footpaths
Guide: Annoyingly, Taunton Deane Borough Council have just updated their website and removed all the walk guides, including the sections of the West Deane Way! The route starts in Taunton at Goodland Gardens and the section that we have done is Walk 2 and part of Walk 3 from their guide.
I have been walking on my local section of the West Deane Way for some time since I discovered it last year. It is a long distance circular footpath of about 50 miles encompassing Taunton & Wellington in Somerset. I won’t lie to you – it’s not the most picturesque walking route ever (from the bits I have done so far), but it is local and a challenge, so I thought I would have a go!
This section of the West Deane Way starts in the Netherclay Community Woodland which is a lovely area just outside of Bishops Hull. It’s not a great start when you are faced with four different footpaths! My son, Fred, who I dragged along was not impressed (I really must learn to stop vocalising if I don’t know where we are going)! As it was, we chose the wrong one, but as the West Deane Way follows the path of the River Tone, it was quite easy to remedy this. As long as you keep the River Tone to your left, you can’t really go wrong.
The footpath then becomes less exciting as you run parallel to Norton Fitzwarren. I admit to having a nostalgic moment passing the back of an old college boyfriend’s house on the way to the Victory Inn!
There was a patch of wild garlic a little further on which smelled really strongly. I love the smell, but Fred held his nose.
We passed a couple of walkers at this point who told us that the pub at Bradford on Tone was shut but we weren’t planning on stopping there anyway – we were headed for Wellington and home.
There are some lovely views across to the Blackdown hills and Wellington monument on the stretch to Bradford on Tone. Fred had moaned a little and I did concede that he could have a lift home from Bradford if he wanted, however, as we approached the tiny medieval bridge in the village, he brightened up and volunteered to finish the walk.
From Bradford on Tone, there is a little bit of walking on quiet country roads (and a hairy level crossing to traverse) before heading off onto a footpath at East Nynehead. This is where Walk 2 turns into Walk 3.
After a bit of field walking, we met up with the River Tone again just in time to witness a fisherman catch a fish. At Wharf Cottage, where the footpath meets the main road to Nynehead, we turned left into Wellington.