Aspects of Exmoor

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We would suggest that these notes are read in conjunction with
the Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure 9 Exmoor 1:25000 map.

Walk P9: Porlock-Porlock Weir

Notes: This is another flat walk from Porlock to Porlock Weir via the Coast Path, returning via the woods.

Distance: 3½ miles.

Time: 1¼-1½ hours.

Start point: Porlock village centre. Park in one of the village car parks.

Directions: If you have parked in Doverhay car park at the Minehead end of the village, turn left out of the car park, walk along the High Street and turn right after about 100 yards into Sparkhayes Lane.

If you have parked in the Central car park near the Fire Station, walk to the back of the parking area, go through the gate and along the short lane emerging in the High Street opposite the Post Office. Turn left, walk along past the church and, after 50 yards, turn left into Sparkhayes Lane.

Walk along the lane, passing the camp site on your left. Continue for a quarter of a mile; 100 yards beyond the 30 limit signs the road becomes a rough farm track. Follow the direction sign to the path through the gate on the right. This path runs along the left-hand side of three fields, with fine views across the fields to Bossington Hill and Hurlstone Point. When you leave the third field, continue along the lane which swings slightly to the left to a gate opening onto the marsh. Here you are joining the permitted path which was opened in 2003 to restore the through route of the Coast Path.

Go through the kissing gate and swing left following this path heading towards a second gate about 200 yards away. Keep an eye open along this stretch of the path for the possibility of herons by the drainage channels. Go through and keep the hedge on your right-hand side following the yellow waymarks. At the end of the field, cross the sturdy wooden footbridge crossing the Hawkcombe Stream.

As you descend the wooden steps on the other side, directly in front of you is the memorial to a USAF Liberator which crashed on the marsh in 1942 with the loss of all its crew except one. This memorial was relocated here from a former position behind the shingle ridge in the summer of 2006. Stay with the fence on your left as you continue along the path. Notice the long stand of dead trees on your right which were drowned after the flooding of 1996. The track curves to the left and heads past a substantial stone-built barn, shortly swinging to the right again following the field boundary to reach a T-junction of tracks.

Here you are joining rejoining a public right of way, that from the Porlock Weir road to the beach. Go straight ahead, again keeping the fence on your left. There are a couple of places along this stretch where small streams flow across towards the marsh; the crossings can be muddy after wet weather. Ahead of you is a stand of woodland and the path heads towards a stile on the edge of this plantation. If you have a dog or find climbing stiles awkward, a few yards to the right there is a gap in the fence where a gate has been removed.

The path follows the fence and then enters the edge of the woods, crosses a small footbridge and comes down with the paddocks at Porlockford on your left and you reach the shingle ridge behind the beach. The easiest route here is to remain on the top of the bank where there is a smoother path, descending to the rear of the beach after 200 yards or so. Continue towards a flight of stone steps ahead of you by the sea wall.

You have an option here to climb the steps to the road and follow the road along to Porlock Weir or to go up the slight gradient on the pebbles and walk along the top of the ridge, keeping you off the road until you reach the car park at the Weir. Go up the steep road directly opposite the car park and turn sharp left along the road at the top of the hill.

Walk along this quiet road which runs above the main road. Notice on the right hand side, the tiny white painted "tin tabernacle" church of St.Nicholas, worth a visit if open. Continue along the road and at the junction, turn right up the slope for about 100 yards. At a metal seat on the right hand side, take the track past the seat.

On reaching a minor road, go straight across following the Porlock sign and, after passing the village hall, cross the narrow footbridge taking the wide track on the left, ignoring the unsignposted track on your right. When you reach a junction, take the left arm, signed Porlock, dropping slightly away from the fork. On reaching the West Porlock-Porlock Hill bridleway, go straight across it and through the wooden chicane, continuing along the level path to the next chicane.

The ground begins to fall here and there are two parallel paths facing you; both will lead you down the slope. Go straight ahead at the T-junction at the foot of the slope. At this point you are walking behind the houses in West Porlock. You soon gain a first brief glimpse of Porlock Marsh and Bossington Hill where there is a gap in the trees. From here, you follow the level path through the woods ignoring any tracks leading to the right and up the hill.

As you approach Porlock, there is a good deal of fencing on your left hand side as you begin to walk behind the larger houses on the Porlock Weir road. You pass a white house on your right-hand side, leave the woods and walk up a short section in the open to join the Toll Road by the last house. Continue down the road towards the village, passing the Village Hall on your left and meeting the main A39 opposite the Ship Inn. Exercise caution for the next 50 yards as there is no pavement at this point and the road can be busy and continue to walk through the High Street. If you started from the Central Car Park, turn l;eft into the lane opposite the Post Office. If you started from Doverhay, continue past St.DubriciusŐ Church to reach your car park on the right hand side at the end of the shops.

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Information © Geoff Bannister 2004-2008