Porlock - Bossington - Selworthy Beacon - Minehead

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The Minehead – Porlock section of the journey is achieved by bus either before or after the walk; see 'Walk Access info'.

The route starts from St Dubricus Church in the centre of Porlock, which was open when I visited. Much of the present building dates from the 13th Century. It contains a very old clock – probably around 1450 and a fragment of a pre-Norman (i.e. pre-1066) cross which is set in the west wall of the south aisle. The Chapel of the High Cross is situated directly above the porch and can be accessed by a squeeze stairway.

From Porlock the route heads towards the sea and then bears right to Bossington. Formerly this area was one of fresh water marshes. However, following a series of breeches in the shingle bank which separated them from the sea, it was decided not to repair the bank any more and to allow nature to take its course. Consequently, following a storm in October 1996, the marshes have become salt marshes. This is an SSSI site and a good place for birdwatching; species include heron, little egret, lapwing, curlew, oystercatcher and various finches and buntings.

From Bossington the route continues along the coast towards Hurlstone Point, a good viewpoint out to sea, where there is a ruined coastguard station, but before reaching this turns right and ascends, quite steeply for the initial 150m. The more intrepid may opt to do 'The Rugged Coast Path'; this undulating route passes to the north (seaward) side of the pastureland which occupies that side of the ridge. I have not done this route but from the map suggest boots, surefootedness and a reasonable head for heights and level of fitness are needed – any takers please give feedback. This route rejoins the described route at Waymark 13.

Our route deviates from the coast path at Waymark 8 to take in the summit of Selworthy Beacon, a prominent coastal hill with 360-degree views; and to walk along the ridge with continuing good views out to sea and across to Dunkery Beacon, Exmoor's highest point. If there is bad weather blowing in from the sea you may prefer to stay on the coast path and walk this section in the shelter of the wall. The two routes reconverge at Waymark 12.

This extensive area of rare coastal heath is part of the Holnicote Estate and is home to red deer, Exmoor ponies, common lizards, adders, stonechats and buzzards. Rarer inhabitants include Dartford warblers and nightjars. It was used by Canadian and American soldiers for tank training in World War II, hence concrete ramps in the picnic area on North Hill.

The route descends into Minehead on the coast path, which enters woodland in its lower reaches but retains views out to sea.

The walk is dog-friendly; there are no stiles and no direct contact with livestock. However, be aware that a quiet minor road runs the length of the ridge.

England - South West England - Somerset - Exmoor

Features

Birds, Cafe, Church, Flowers, Food Shop, Gift Shop, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Industrial Archaeology, Pub, Public Transport, Restaurant, River, Sea, Tea Shop, Toilets, Woodland

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Accommodation
Distance away
1.2 Miles
16.8 Miles