Sojourn in Somerset

Somerset is one of the Ramblers’ Areas whose walk is held before the AGM, so it was an early start for me to be at Holford, on the edge of the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, by 9.30am on Saturday 17 February.  I made it, and the sun was shining.  I had visited Somerset’s AGM last year too, in nearby Nether Stowey.

Led by Gerald Swayne, chair of West Somerset Group, we set off for Holford Combe, passing the church.

1 Holford church

Holford church

We walked alongside woodland where there are the ruins of silk mills.  These are believed to date back to the sixteenth century and have been the subject of some controversy, with plans to develop them into workshops.

2 silk mill

Ruins of the silk mills

3 signpost







We passed the extensive village green

4 village green

Holford village green

and headed up Holford Combe.

5 Holford Combe

Holford Combe

Soon we emerged on the sunny uplands of the Quantocks

6 sunny uplands

Black Hill on the Quantocks

and were rewarded by an excellent sighting of red deer.

7 red deer

Red deer

The view to the north-north-east was of the Hinckley Point B nuclear-power station by the sea

8 view to Hinckley

Hinckley Point B in the distance

and to the west, of Exmoor

9 view to Exmoor

To Minehead, North Hill and Exmoor

We followed the bridleway to Halsway Post and then on to Bicknoller Post.

10 Bicknoller Post

On top of the Quantocks

We returned via the Long Stone, hidden in the gorse.

11 Longstone

The Long Stone (GR ST 140407) on the boundary of East Quantoxhead and Kilve parishes

We came over Longstone Hill where there is a clump of trees, a memorial to the men and women of Holford and Kilve who served in the second world war.

12 memorial


14 trees











The view from there is lovely—pure Quantocks.

13 view from memorial

Hodder’s Combe and Higher Hare Knap

We returned past the entrance to Alfoxton Park (where William Wordsworth lived from 1797 to 1798) and noted the dog pound at its entrance.

15 dog pound

Dog pound, at the entrance to Alfoxton Park

The wording on the pound is:

15a crest
Crest on the dog pound
This ancient dog pound
was given to
the village of Holford in 1982
by the family of the late
John Lancelot Brereton
descendants of the St. Albyns
owners of Alfoxton
since the 15th Century
whose crest appears above.


We crossed the River Holford on a bridge and headed back to the village hall for lunch and the meeting.
16 crossing the stream

Climbing the hill having crossed the river

Last year I wrote about how Somerset Area was struggling to find volunteers to serve as officers.  This year it is in better heart.  Les Stather has agreed to be chairman and Philip Bisatt from Taunton Deane Group has volunteered to be secretary.  I warmly thanked the outgoing chairman, David Thompson, who has held the fort admirably for many years.  Somerset Area has an immensely important job to do, ensuring that Somerset County Council and North Somerset Council carry out their legal duty on public paths.

It was encouraging to see the Area stepping forward with confidence, holding the torch for walkers.

About campaignerkate

I am the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society and I campaign for public access, paths and open spaces in town and country.
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