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Selworthy and Selworthy Beacon

There are currently 5 comments and 3 photos online for this walk.

Selworthy and Selworthy Beacon
Author: Claire, Published: 28 May 2017 Walk Rating:star1 Selworthy and Selworthy Beacon Walking Guide star1 Selworthy and Selworthy Beacon Walking Guide star1 Selworthy and Selworthy Beacon Walking Guide star1 Selworthy and Selworthy Beacon Walking Guide star1 Selworthy and Selworthy Beacon Walking Guide
Somerset, Exmoor
Walk Type: Coastal
Selworthy and Selworthy Beacon
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot Selworthy and Selworthy Beacon Walking Guide boot Selworthy and Selworthy Beacon Walking Guide boot Selworthy and Selworthy Beacon Walking Guide
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13 °C, Moderate rain, Wind: 1 mph SSE
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A 5 mile circular walk from the tiny village of Selworthy in Exmoor, Somerset. This is a great walk for showing off everything Exmoor has to offer. It begins outside a medieval church, leading you past thatched cottages and a traditional village green to enter the vast and peaceful hillside woodland. Here you will visit Agnes Fountain and have a perfectly framed view of Porlock Bay. Your journey continues with a steep climb up into the open moorland to join a stretch of the South West Coast Path leading you to Selworthy Beacon, one of the highest points in Exmoor. You will have chance to meet the local Exmoor ponies and other conservation grazers whilst enjoying superb views across the Bristol Channel.

The walk follows mostly unmade paths and the woodland stretches can get very muddy. There are several climbs and descents throughout, including one fairly steep climb into the moorland, but there are also several relatively level stretches that balance this out. The woodland paths are free from livestock, ideal for well-behaved dogs to burn some energy, but you will be sharing the moorland stretch with Exmoor ponies, Belted Galloway cattle and sheep. Being part of the coast path, the livestock are used to walkers and tend to be fairly relaxed, but take extra care with dogs. There are no stiles or kissing gates on route, but you will need to negotiate some steps, footbridges and single gates. Navigation in the woodland is difficult due to the vast number of paths, so we strongly recommend using the App’s live GPS map to help guide you. Allow 3 hours.

Selworthy is a small village, about 3 miles west of Minehead in Somerset, close to the north coast within Exmoor. Leave the A39 just east of Brandish Street, following the white sign to Selworthy and the National Trust brown sign for the village and information point. Follow this road steeply uphill and bending right to pass the church on your left. The walk starts and finishes from the village car park, directly opposite the church. This has space for 16 cars and is open to visitors all week except 10am-12pm on Sundays (when it is reserved for churchgoers). There is a voluntary donation box to help with car park upkeep. If this car park is full (or if you are visiting on a Sunday morning), continue beyond this point and then turn left to follow the National Trust parking sign. This will lead you up into an oval stone-surfaced parking area with an honesty box which requests a £1 fee (correct May 2017). Approximate post code TA24 8TR.

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Walk Sections

Start to Holnicote Combe
Start to Holnicote Combe

Start point: 51.2099 lat, -3.5474 long
End point: 51.2115 lat, -3.5583 long

The church car park itself has wonderful views inland over the Vale of Porlock, which explains why it is such a popular visitor spot. Selworthy, today managed by the National Trust, is part of the Holnicote Estate and it was rebuilt by the lord of the manor as a model village in 1828, to house the retired and infirm estate families. The church is one of the few buildings that pre-dates this re-modelling, others include the thatched cottages alongside the green (that you will pass shortly).

Leave the church car park onto the road and turn left along this, passing the church on your right and the churchyard on your left. Keep ahead to reach the war memorial. Pass through the wooden gate ahead, immediately to the right of the war memorial, to enter Selworthy Green. Follow the tarmac path leading you downhill, with landscaped gardens with benches on your left and passing two pretty thatched cottages on your right. At the bottom of the slope, you will reach a stone footbridge on your right, with the village green to your left.

Cross the footbridge over the stream and follow the path leading you uphill. After just a few metres, turn left through a wooden gate and follow the path as it bears left for a few paces to reach a junction of paths (with a small fingerpost on your right). Go straight ahead to join the woodland path signed to Allerford and Bossington. Stay on this fairly level path leading you ahead through the woodland and ignore the branch forking left downhill. You will emerge to a staggered crossroads with another fingerpost. Go straight ahead, still signed to Allerford and Bossington.

This path soon passes a small bench on your right, the perfect spot to enjoy the views to your left, through the arch in the trees. Stay with this path leading you past another bench to reach an unsigned fork. Take the left-hand branch (downhill), staying along the woodland edge with fine views to your left. Further along, this path swings right (leading you into the woodland) then swings left to reach the next crossroads with a fingerpost. You will notice the paths marked left and right here are both bridleways, and this junction is where our route crosses the Holnicote Combe bridleway.

Holnicote Combe to Agnes Fountain
Holnicote Combe to Agnes Fountain

Start point: 51.2115 lat, -3.5583 long
End point: 51.2149 lat, -3.5697 long

Go straight ahead, signed to Bossington 1.25 miles. Again, this is a fairly level stretch of path, which later swings right to become a stone and grass track, descending gently to reach the next staggered crossroads with a fingerpost. Go straight ahead, still signed to Bossington.

When you reach the next fingerpost, ignore the right-hand track uphill (signed Sleigh Path to Bossington Hill) instead keep straight ahead on the main track signed to Bossington and Agnes Fountain. This wide track soon leads you steadily downhill then passes through a small grass clearing.

A few metres after re-entering the trees, you will come to a large wooden bench with two fingerposts and the rocks of Agnes Fountain on your right. The fountain is the site of a small spring and the large stones were constructed around it in 1820, when it was named after the youngest daughter of Sir Thomas Acland, owner of the estate. The bench is a lovely spot to pause and enjoy the perfectly framed view of Porlock Bay.

Agnes Fountain to Bench Viewpoint
Agnes Fountain to Bench Viewpoint

Start point: 51.2149 lat, -3.5697 long
End point: 51.2207 lat, -3.564 long

With the fountain on your right and the bench on your left, take the right-hand of the three paths ahead (signed to Bossington Hill). Follow this path leading you uphill through the trees. Simply stay with this main path, ignoring any side turns. There can be a few soggy sections along the way, where a few tiny streams run down the hillside to cross your path.

Further along, the path swings right and continues to climb steadily to reach a gate ahead. NOTE: From this point you will be sharing the paths with Exmoor ponies, Belted Galloway cattle and sheep that are used to manage the heathland.

Pass through the gate and keep ahead for 20 metres to reach a fingerpost. Take the path at about 1 o’clock, a bridleway signed to Minehead. Follow this rocky path steeply uphill through the trees, crossing a couple of small rocky streams along the way. At the top of this first stretch, you will come to a small bench ahead, with a waymarker post. Sit on this bench and you will quickly understand its positioning, enjoying the glorious views across Porlock Bay.

Bench Viewpoint to South West Coast Path
Bench Viewpoint to South West Coast Path

Start point: 51.2207 lat, -3.564 long
End point: 51.2229 lat, -3.561 long

Turn left at this junction (following the blue arrow to stay on the bridleway). The path climbs steadily, running along a ledge around the hillside. The drop to your left becomes increasingly steep so do take care. You will reach the next waymarker post, a junction with a grass path with superb views over the small settlements of Bossington and Porlock and across a long stretch of the coast.

Turn sharp right to join the grass path leading you steadily uphill. This path leads you to another small waymarker. Turn right (following the blue arrow) and follow the grass vehicle track continuing your climb (now heading directly away from Porlock Bay). Stay with this track as it bears slightly left, continuing its climb. At the top this emerges to a staggered T-junction with another track, with a small waymarker post ahead. This post is marked with acorn symbols, denoting that you are at a T-junction with the South West Coast Path National Trail.

South West Coast Path to Selworthy Beacon
South West Coast Path to Selworthy Beacon

Start point: 51.2229 lat, -3.561 long
End point: 51.2208 lat, -3.5496 long

It is worth pausing here to enjoy the views ahead. On a clear day, you can easily see the south coast of Wales and the Brecon Beacon mountains beyond. Turn right to join the South West Coast Path track, and after 50 metres you will come to a fork. Take the left-hand branch, still signed with the national trail acorn symbol. When we walked, there was a helpful Exmoor pony providing navigation assistance at this fork (as seen in the main walk photo).

Continue until you reach a fingerpost on your right. Here we leave the Coast Path (which forks left), instead go straight ahead on the bridleway signed to Selworthy Beacon. This stone track leads you all the way up to the beacon, marked with a trig point and cairn (or stone pile). The beacon sits 308 metres above sea level and is one of the highest points in Exmoor. For any hill baggers amongst you, it may be of interest that Selworthy Beacon qualifies as one of the 176 Marilyns in England, so only 175 to go. For everyone else, it is enough to just stand and enjoy the superb views across the Bristol Channel and back inland across the rolling Exmoor hills.

Selworthy Beacon to End
Selworthy Beacon to End

Start point: 51.2208 lat, -3.5496 long
End point: 51.21 lat, -3.5477 long

Continue ahead beyond the beacon. When you come to a fork in the track, take the right-hand branch and this will lead you to a tarmac access lane. Turn left along this and follow it as it swings right. Continue just until you reach the fingerpost on your right. Fork right here to join the public bridleway signed to Selworthy.

The path leads you to a staggered junction with a stone track. Turn right to join this track and continue just until you reach a four-way fingerpost, marking a crossroads. Turn right to join the bridleway signed to Selworthy, with beautiful woodland hillside views ahead. This track leads you first steadily and then more steeply downhill. As you approach the trees ahead, you will come to a fork in the grass track.

Take the right-hand branch (passing a blue-topped post on your left). At the next fork, ignore the grass path climbing to the right, instead keep ahead passing another blue-topped post. Follow this path leading you steadily downhill through the trees and crossing a pretty stream (alongside another blue-topped post) to reach a staggered T-junction with a track. Turn right to join this track. Stay with the track leading you downhill and swinging left to reach a junction with fingerpost.

Ignore the path signed right across the bridge, instead keep straight ahead on the same track, signed to Selworthy, with a beautiful steep-sided stream running down to your right. At the next fingerpost, our route continues ahead to reach the wide wooden gate. (Just out of interest, the path to the right – with a stone wall alongside – leads to the site of Bury Castle, an Iron-age hill fort). Pass through the wide wooden gate ahead to reach the village road in Selworthy. Turn left along the road, to reach the car park on your right where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2017 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


5 comments for "Selworthy and Selworthy Beacon"

Wonderful walk but needed help from OS map from start as signs in walk different from Walk description.

ADMIN RESPONSE: Remember to use the iFootpath App's live GPS map to guide you if ever you are unsure of the directions.

By robinwight on 14 Mar 2018

A premium walk with stunning views. Well described.

By mike evans on 26 Jan 2018

Great walk with some fantastic views.

By oli80uk on 29 Oct 2017

Amazing views. A lovely walk.

By david3cole on 18 Jun 2017

A stunning walk with fantastic views! 😀

By Readhead on 04 Jun 2017

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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3 gallery images for "Selworthy and Selworthy Beacon"

8329_0david3cole1497794186 Selworthy and Selworthy Beacon Walking Guide Image by: david3cole
Uploaded: 18 Jun 2017
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8329_0david3cole1497794214 Selworthy and Selworthy Beacon Walking Guide Image by: david3cole
Uploaded: 18 Jun 2017
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8329_0seekin1517006099 Selworthy and Selworthy Beacon Walking Guide Image by: mike evans
Uploaded: 26 Jan 2018
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