County Gate – Coast Path– Culbone Church – alternative Coast Path – Yenworthy Common - County Gate

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From County Gate the route descends to the coast path (a trail of over 600 miles between Poole and Minehead) and proceeds on a wide undulating track through woods above the shoreline. After entering Culbone Woods the route descends to a more established level track, except where it is diverted inland and uphill on account of landslips. After a right-hand bend takes you inland you will find Culbone Church nestling in a beautiful wooded combe on your left.

The church (see general photo) is Grade I-listed and seating only about thirty people, is reputedly the smallest parish church in England. It is dedicated to the famous Welsh saint, St Beuno – pronounced 'Bayno'. It is probably pre-Norman: the body of the church is 11th Century, the porch is 13th Century and the nave is 15th Century. The box pews include one for the squires of Ashley Combe House (a large house close to Porlock Weir which is no longer standing, see notes of Walk 8481). Other notable features are the Saxon bowl font and the small window in the north wall of the chancel, which is carved from a single block of sandstone with a carved face at the top of the central upright. Also set in the north wall is a lepers' squint; there is reputed to have been a leper colony in the woods in the 16th Century. The church was used in the TV version of Blackmoore's 'Lorna Doone'as the setting of John Ridd's wedding.

Specimens of a rare microspecies of self-cloning sorbus can be found in the woodland around the church. This is one of the rarest trees in the country and is found only in the coastal strip between Culbone and Trentishoe to the west.

The return leg of the walk is on the Alternative Coast Path, which is higher up the hillside on farm tracks. Although there are good sea views there is no access to the shore from this walk. There are no stiles but the possibility of sheep between Waymarks 7 and 8 and also between 10 and 12.

England - South West England - Somerset - Exmoor


Birds, Church, Great Views, Sea, Toilets, Woodland

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Distance away
13.7 Miles