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Castle Combe and Nettleton Mill

There are currently 1 comments and 3 photos online for this walk.

Castle Combe and Nettleton Mill
Author: Claire, Published: 02 Jun 2017 Walk Rating:star1 Castle Combe and Nettleton Mill Walking Guide star1 Castle Combe and Nettleton Mill Walking Guide star1 Castle Combe and Nettleton Mill Walking Guide star1 Castle Combe and Nettleton Mill Walking Guide star1 Castle Combe and Nettleton Mill Walking Guide
Wiltshire, Cotswolds
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Castle Combe and Nettleton Mill
Length: 4 miles,  Difficulty: boot Castle Combe and Nettleton Mill Walking Guide boot Castle Combe and Nettleton Mill Walking Guide
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A 4 mile circular walk from the idyllic village of Castle Combe in the Cotswolds, Wiltshire. The route is particularly picturesque, taking you through a beautiful parkland golf course (that would even entice me into a game!) before joining a beautiful stream-side path that leads you past the former buildings of Nettleton Mill and then crosses an ancient clapper bridge. On the return leg, you will pass through stunning sections of beech woodland, swimming with wild garlic in the spring months, before enjoying the centre of Castle Combe with its stone cottages, market cross and church (and the mandatory Cotswold tourists!).

The route has several long and steady climbs and descents throughout, although no sections are very steep. Some sections of the woodland paths can get muddy and slippery and some other short sections of the route follow narrow paths that can be overgrown in the summer months (so long trousers and boots are a must). You will need to negotiate a few footbridges, some steps, gates and kissing gates plus one stile (that has a large gap alongside that should be easy for most dogs to pass through). There is no livestock on route. There is a total of about 1200 metres walking along the edge of quiet country lanes, so take care of traffic on these stretches. The first section crosses a golf course, so watch out for any stray flying golf balls and show respect for the golfers by allowing them to play their shots before you cross. There are public toilets in the village centre, towards the end of the walk. Allow 2 hours.

Castle Combe is located about 5 miles north-west of Chippenham in Wiltshire. The walk starts at the village’s dedicated car park on Dunns Lane (a large, open-air, tarmac, free car park), just north-east of the village. From the B4039, turn into Dunns Lane (signed to Castle Combe and Parking) and you will find the car park almost immediately on your right. The post code SN14 7HH will take you to the properties at the junction between Dunns Lane and The Street (too close to the village), from here you need to turn into Dunns Lane (uphill and away from the village) to reach the car park. For Sat Nav purposes it will be easier to request Dunns Lane, Castle Combe.

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Walk Sections

Start to Golf Course Junction
Start to Golf Course Junction

Start point: 51.498 lat, -2.224 long
End point: 51.4947 lat, -2.2305 long

Leave the car park via the steps that sit alongside the noticeboard. These steps lead you down to the road, Dunns Lane. Turn right along the road edge, following it downhill and taking care of any traffic. At the road junction, turn right and continue along the road edge. Where the road bends left (with Hillside Cottage on your left), go straight ahead into School Lane (a narrow tarmac lane, marked as a private road and public footpath to Nettleton Shrub).

Follow this short lane uphill, passing pretty stone cottages on your right and then passing between tall stone gateposts (more about these later…). Continue ahead on the narrow lane, with a wooden fence on your left. Stay alongside this fence line and, as the lane begins to swing right, pass a wide wooden gate within the fence and then turn immediately left. This left turn takes you through a narrow gap between two concrete posts to join the footpath (marked with a yellow arrow and entering Manor House Golf Club). NOTE: Be sure to follow this first path on the left, not the (more obvious) second path.

Follow this path with a fence running on your left and rough scrub on your right (this short stretch can get overgrown). Stay with the fence-side path and ignore any smaller paths heading right into the scrub. At the end of the horse paddocks on your left you will see a wooden stable block. At this point, follow the main path as it swings right to emerge to the edge of the golf course (with a tall dry-stone wall on your left). NOTE: This next short section follows the edge of the fairway so watch out for flying golf balls (which will come from behind).

Bear left to follow the edge of the fairway with the stone wall running on your left. As you approach the green ahead, stay on the left-hand path which leads you downhill through a tunnel of trees (still with the stone wall running on your left). Pass an old metal gate within the wall on your left and then follow the path as it swings left to reach a junction of paths, with a wooden gate on your left.

Golf Course Junction to Nettleton Mill House
Golf Course Junction to Nettleton Mill House

Start point: 51.4947 lat, -2.2305 long
End point: 51.4966 lat, -2.2411 long

Do NOT turn left through this gate (this is the way we will return later), instead keep straight ahead on the path with the stone wall running on your left. Stay with the wall-side path as it swings steadily right and then continues ahead and downhill through the woodland. Where the stone wall ends, simply keep ahead on the obvious path to enter another stretch of the golf course (so please take care of any stray flying golf balls and show respect for the golfers by allowing them to play their shots before you cross).

The path leads you past a fairway and green on your right before descending to reach a junction with a golf course access road. Turn right to join this access road for just 60 metres and then turn left to cross the beautiful stone bridge over By Brook. You may want to pause to look into the river, which has a healthy population of trout and is also home to the endangered native white-clawed crayfish.

Beyond the bridge, continue along the tarmac access road (noting that you are crossing two fairways). Just before the road crosses a small stream, fork left (signed as the public footpath) to join the unmade path leading you uphill into the trees (with the stream running down to your right). Follow this pretty woodland path and, at the end, it swings right to reach a large old metal gate set within a stone wall. Pass through the pedestrian gate (to the left of the main gate), to enter the grounds of a number of stone buildings, the former Nettleton Mill House.

Nettleton Mill House to Clapper Bridge
Nettleton Mill House to Clapper Bridge

Start point: 51.4966 lat, -2.2411 long
End point: 51.4949 lat, -2.2468 long

You will have noticed so far on this walk, a number of impressive stretches of old stone wall, gates and gateposts. These once formed part of the boundary of the Manor House estate in Castle Combe. This site, Nettleton Mill, is also part of the Castle Combe estate. The mill was built in 1774, and the undershot wheel was replaced by a turbine during the 1800s, for use when the stream flow was inadequate. It ceased work as a mill even before World War I and today is run as a bed and breakfast.

Keep ahead for just 30 paces and then turn left to pass between the converted stone buildings. You will pass the tall brick chimney of the former mill on your left. Beyond the buildings, continue ahead to join a woodland path. Pass through the kissing gate ahead and continue on the woodland path with the stream running on your left. At the end of this stretch, pass through the gate ahead to reach a T-junction with a bridleway. Turn left to reach the ford and stone clapper bridge in the stream.

Clapper Bridge to Shrub Farm Avenue
Clapper Bridge to Shrub Farm Avenue

Start point: 51.4949 lat, -2.2468 long
End point: 51.4857 lat, -2.2344 long

Cross the clapper bridge and go straight ahead to join another stretch of woodland path. At the top of this long and steady climb, keep ahead to merge with a wider tree-lined track, with stone walls each side and sheep pastures beyond. Towards the end, the track swings right, leading you downhill to a vehicle barrier at the road.

Pass alongside the barrier and turn left along the quiet lane, taking care of any traffic. The woodland slopes down to your right, filled with beautiful beech trees, are known as The Pinetum. Follow this road for about 600 metres, passing a farm track on your left and then an unmarked entrance drive also on your left. Take a moment to glance up this driveway, with its avenue of lime trees and horse paddocks each side. This driveway serves Shrub Farm and would once have acted as an entrance avenue for the Manor House.

Shrub Farm Avenue to Brook Bridge
Shrub Farm Avenue to Brook Bridge

Start point: 51.4857 lat, -2.2344 long
End point: 51.4923 lat, -2.229 long

Continue along the road for a further 200 metres to reach a footpath waymarker and stile on your left. Turn left across this stile to join the woodland footpath. Almost immediately you will pass an old stone gatepost on your left, another remnant of the former Manor House estate. Simply keep ahead on the path through Becker’s Wood. The level paths leads you ahead for about 400 metres, before bearing right to head downhill.

At the bottom of the slope, go down the three steps very carefully, taking care of any traffic as you emerge to the road edge. Turn left along the road, soon passing the 30mph signs at the edge of Castle Combe village. The road continues with By Brook running on your right and passing the first of the village stone cottages on your left. Pass the public toilets on your left and, on your right, you will come to a pretty paved section with benches. This is just before the bridge over By Brook and the entrance for the Manor House on your left. It makes the perfect spot to pause, enjoy the classic Cotswold view and understand the history of the area…

Castle Combe is a popular tourist spot, particularly with visitors from overseas. In 1962, it was given the title of prettiest village in England by a national newspaper. The village has been used as a backdrop for many film and TV productions including the 1967 film musical Dr Dolittle, episodes of Downton Abbey and Poirot and the 2010 film War Horse. Needless to say, it has also appeared on countless post cards, jigsaw puzzles and chocolate boxes. By Brook, which formed the steep sided combe, was also the making of the village. Its fast-flowing waters powered the medieval fulling mills, creating a prosperous medieval cloth industry. In 1140 the motte and bailey castle was built, giving the village its name, and a deer park was created. The Manor House was originally built in the 1300s to replace the castle that had fallen into a state beyond repair. It had many Lords of the Manor, the most influential of which is believed to be Sir John Falstaff who was immortalised by Shakespeare in Henry IV. The Barony continued for 850 years until 1947 when the Manor House was sold and converted into a country house hotel.

Brook Bridge to End
Brook Bridge to End

Start point: 51.4923 lat, -2.229 long
End point: 51.4982 lat, -2.2239 long

Continue along the village road, crossing the bridge over By Brook. Pass the Old Post Office on your right and then Unicorn Lodge on your left, with its helpful namesake plaque sitting above the door. At the top of this short stretch of road, you will come to the market square in the centre of Castle Combe, surrounded by the village pubs and tea rooms. Unmissable is the stone Market Cross building at the centre, erected in the 1300s when the village was granted the privilege of holding a weekly market. To the left is the entrance for St Andrew’s Church. The church clock is thought to date from the 1400s and to be one of the oldest working clocks in the country.

Take the left-hand fork within the market square and keep directly ahead to pass through the square arch that leads you under a building (alongside Archway Cottage). This is marked as a private road and footpath only. Beyond the arch, follow the residential lane as it swings left (with the church tower visible over the wall on your left). As you approach property gates ahead, stay with the lane as it swings right, now heading uphill between cottage stone walls.

At the end of the tarmac, keep straight ahead on the stone track between stone walls passing an impressive yew tree on your right. The track leads you under an old parkland bridge, ahead up a few steps and through a wooden gate to reach the path junction that you should recognise from the outward leg. From this point, you will be retracing your steps back to the car park. Turn right along the narrow path, with the stone wall running on your right.

As you emerge to the edge of the golf course, follow the stone wall as it leads you ahead and then swings right to join a rough path through scrub. Follow this ahead towards the horse paddocks and then turn left to continue along the edge of scrub (with the paddocks on your right). Emerge through the concrete posts and bear right to follow the tarmac lane leading you through the gate posts and down to the road junction. Turn left along the road and then turn left again at the road junction (signed for Parking and All Routes). Follow this road and then turn left up the steps to reach the car park 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.


1 comments for "Castle Combe and Nettleton Mill"

This was a really lovely walk. Castle Combe is a beautiful village and the walk took us round it and then through the centre. This was just the right distance for my other half who has arthritis in his knees. And we enjoyed a cold drink in the pub near the Market Cross before returning to the car.

By Razouski on 28 Aug 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 "Castle Combe and Nettleton Mill"

8389_0Razouski1503921393 Castle Combe and Nettleton Mill Walking Guide Image by: Razouski
Uploaded: 28 Aug 2017
By Brook and paved area.
8389_adminv1596 Castle Combe and Nettleton Mill Walking Guide Image by: Razouski
Uploaded: 28 Aug 2017
Cottages opposite the Manor House.
8389_adminv1599 Castle Combe and Nettleton Mill Walking Guide Image by: Razouski
Uploaded: 28 Aug 2017
St Andrew's Church tower

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