Combe St Nicholas to Whitestaunton
One of six circular walks in and around Chard – Walk 4
The route commences and finishes in the centre of Combe St Nicholas.
Start the walk on New Road, which turns off the main street through the village, beside the school and opposite the play area. Almost immediately there is a fine view to the left. Follow the lane round and take the second footpath on the right, signed for Chard Road. This wide track climbs to two stiles, crosses a wide drove and continues to two more stiles. Cross the road and continue on the next footpath to Combe Lane, where you turn left.
As the lane bends to the left, a wide footpath on the right takes you down to the attractive hamlet of Whitestaunton, with its fine manor house and church, both of which are medieval. You reach the road at a bend. Bear left, but soon take the wide stony lane on the right, opposite a gateway with a cattle grid. Beyond a walled garden the track crosses a ditch and becomes an uphill footpath, signposted for Howley.
In the large top field bear left towards a gate beside a concrete trough. Continue down the edge of the next field. Cross a track to another stile and turn left along this narrow field to drop to a right turn at a gap in the hedge. Walk down this field with the hedge on your left and go through a gate into the next field. Pause here and look down to a gate on to the lane which you can see descending from the right.
When you reach the lane, you can divert a short distance uphill to the left if you want refreshment at the Howley Tavern. Otherwise, turn right on the lane to cross Laps Water and almost immediately take the bridleway on your right, signed for Woodhayes Farm. Go up to a gate and then bear left, with a tiny stream on your right. It can be muddy along here. At the third gateway, bear slightly left to emerge on to a lane opposite two stone barns.
Turn left, then straight away another footpath leads off to the right. It soon enters the field on the right, via a gate, and heads up to a gate just below Cinder Hill Copse. Turn right, and if it is the spring, enjoy the bluebells. At a road junction, bear left along Giants Grave Road. At the second part of a double bend, take the footpath on the right, down three fields to Higher Beetham. Here, you turn right and walk about a mile and a half on this quiet lane, back to the start of the walk. At both crossroads, you simply continue ahead. Just before the steep hill, there is a wonderful view to keep in the memory.
Grid reference: ST303114
Nearest postcode: TA20 3NF