A circular walk around Hawkridge Reservoir with opportunities for some bird watching. Then through mixed woodland and across high pasture with views across to the Mendips and Glastonbury Tor. The mile extension takes in a renovated limekiln and a viewpoint on Hawkridge Common.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A) An interpretation board at the car parking area gives details about Hawkridge Reservoir, which is managed by Wessex Water. Walk up the road in a north-easterly direction, passing Gatemoor Cottage on your left. Take care regarding traffic as there is no verge here.
(1) Immediately beyond the garden of this property, turn left over a stile; cross the field diagonally, to go over a second stile in the hedge opposite which brings you out near the water’s edge of the reservoir.
Turn sharp right to join a tarmac drive and walk up the slope past the fishermen’s clubhouse. Dogs on leads here. In winter, Canada geese, tufted ducks, mallard and coots frequent the reservoir. Continue along this drive and over the rise until, as the drive bends to the right, you take the signposted footpath mown into the grass pasture on your left through the Memorial Forest. Descend to the access road to the dam and turn left toward the dam. From here, there are good distant views of the Mendip Hills and Glastonbury Tor.
(2) On reaching the dam, take a look at the fish-breeding tanks at its base before turning back to the right, up the road briefly to the hedge on your left, behind which is a stile. Cross this and the field diagonally, aiming for the woodland in front of you and cross another stile into the woodland. The outflow stream from the reservoir, Peart Water, will be on your left.
At an indistinct junction of paths, keep straight on through the gate and over a footbridge, turning left after the bridge to walk through the private garden of Ebsley Cottage, keeping the house and garage on your right. Dogs on leads here.
(3) After passing the garage, turn sharp right up three timber steps to walk through some ornamental conifers; then three more steps, a gate, steps, then turn right to walk through mixed woodland uphill to another stile.
Cross the stile onto a field, following the general direction of the waymark, keeping parallel to the belt of trees on your right. Towards the end of the field the footpath swings sharply right following a wire fence. Cross the end of the field to the double stile in the hedge on your left.
Cross this double stile onto rough pasture, following the direction indicated by the waymark on the second stile, aiming for the top of the slope with woodland on your right. There may be highland cattle grazing here.
(4) Continue in this general direction, ignoring a gate and a footpath coming in from the right, over the rise, and, keeping the hedge line on your right, descend in an undulating fashion, down a muddy track, to the road at the southwestern end of the reservoir.
Turn left onto the footway which takes you over this end of the reservoir and turn left again at the road junction, signposted Spaxton.
(5) From here, you could return to the car, but, instead, cross the road where a finger-post indicates ‘Woodland Trail to Lime Kiln’. Go through the gate into woodland and follow the trail as it ascends, ignoring side turnings and taking great care as you pass a disused quarry on your right, until you reach a crossroads of paths. Do not turn sharp left or right, but take the right fork straight ahead of you to reach the base of a restored lime kiln with an interpretation board. Red deer and tawny owls frequent these woods; if you are quiet, you may be fortunate to see or hear them.
Pause here to read about the lime kiln then continue upwards, ignoring the sign to the circular trail for now, taking the path to the viewpoint. The trail is a dead-end here, but just off to the left is a comfortable seat where you can stop for breath and take in the views of Aisholt Common.
Descend, temporarily retracing your steps, turning right onto the circular trail just before the interpretation board, and up to the top of the limekiln and its fuel shed. There is a picnic table here. Then descend the waymarked path to join the original trail.
Continue downhill until you come to a waymarked turning right; go up and along this path through the Sitka spruce conifer plantation, following it to a second viewpoint, this time over the reservoir and also with a comfy seat.
Carefully descend the steps through the woodland to re-join the trail at point (5) and exit to the road. Turn right to re-join your car (D/A)
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 348ft - Car park
1 : mi 0.13 - alt. 387ft
2 : mi 0.35 - alt. 354ft - The dam
3 : mi 0.59 - alt. 305ft - Garage
4 : mi 1.14 - alt. 456ft
5 : mi 1.59 - alt. 400ft
D/A : mi 2.49 - alt. 348ft - Car park
The walk is suitable for most weather conditions and seasons, but stout footwear is essential. There are numerous stiles and one steep ascent.
Dogs should be kept under close control where there are livestock grazing.
Refreshments : There are no refreshments on enroute. However The Lamb Inn at Spaxton, The Travellers Rest and The Pines Café at Broomfield are not far away by car.
Pubic Toilets : None enroute
Public Transport : Hatch Green Coaches run a twice daily service no. 18 between Bridgwater and Over Stowey stopping at Hawkridge Reservoir - www.hatchgreencoaches.co.uk
Start & parking : The roadside car park at Hawkridge Reservoir. GR®: ST207361
This walk was first published by The Nether Stowey Footpaths Group via the Village Links in Action initiative. Artwork by Gerry Wright.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
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