Categories
Somerset South West

Minehead to Watchet via Dunster

Description:
This 18.3 mile (19.5km) walk ascends from Minehead to cross Hopcott Common to reach Dunster.  It then goes through the Deer Park of Dunster Castle to reach Carhampton before joining the coastal path near Blue Anchor.  After passing through Blue Anchor it follows the coastal path to the harbour in Watchet.  The return route from Watchet to Minehead follows the coastal path heading west. There are short sections of this walk, around Watchet and Blue Anchor, where the coast path follows roads so care needs to be taken.

Walk Grade:
Moderate / Challenging

Distance:
18.3 miles / 29.5 km

Total Ascent:
2365 feet / 721 metres

Time:
7 / 8 hours

Parking:
This walk starts from the Warren Road upper car park, Minehead (TA24 5SH) (Grid Ref: SS981463).  This is a play and display car park.  There are a number of other long stay car parks in Minehead.

Walk Route:
From the car park walk west on the seafront and then turn left into The Avenue towards the centre of Minehead.  From a small square in front of the Duke of Wellington take Bampton Lane which runs between the pub and the HSBC bank.  After passing the old Bagley’s Bakery building, Bampton Lane turns left and heads uphill.  After passing a shop the road becomes Cher.  Stay with this and head uphill to reach the A39 and turn right (Grid Ref: SS967455).

After 280 metres on reaching Hopcott turn left to follow the narrow tarmac lane (Grid Ref: SS964455).  This lane heads steadily uphill for 1km to reach a parking area in the woods (Grid Ref: SU964446).  Now head southwest on the route of the Macmillan Way West.  Stay with the Macmillan Way West as it forks to the left (Grid Ref: SS962444).  The route emerges from the trees and carries on to a crossing of paths; here turn left (Grid Ref: SS961439).

Now follow the broad track on the public bridleway signposted to Dunster.  At Hole’s Corner continue straight along the track on the route of the Macmillan Way West (Grid Ref: SS970437).  After 900 metres at Grabbist Hill take a path on the left signposted to “Dunster – avoiding a steep path” (Grid Ref: SS979437).  At the next junction of paths continue straight on ignoring a path to the right, signposted to Dunster.  The track descends steadily downhill and then at a junction of paths turn right (Grid Ref: SS985439).

Follow this lane to pass St Leonard’s Well and continue on to a minor road.  Turn left and then after 100 metres turn right at the Butter Cross.  Now follow the path past a community orchard to enter Dunster near the Yarn Market. Turn right to head down the High Street of Dunster and then skirt around the edge of the Castle, on reaching the Forester’s Arms Hotel turn left into Mill Lane (Grid Ref: SS990435).  

At a footpath sign turn right to Gallox Bridge. Cross the bridge and go towards the woods ahead.  At a junction of paths turn left (Grid Ref: SS990431) to follow a footpath through the Deer Park to reach Carhampton Gate (Grid Ref: SS 999427).  Now join a lane leading down into the village of Carhampton. Turn left down the High Street to reach the A39.  Here turn right and cross the road to continue along the pavement towards the church of St John the Baptist.  

Just before the Church turn down a lane running to the left of the church.  Continue for 250 metres and then take a footpath on the right Grid Ref: ST009429).  Follow this clear path through fields and across a stream.  On the far side of the stream head cross a field to reach the West Somerset Railway line (Grid Ref: ST015436), cross heeding the sign to “Stop, Look and Listen”.

Having crossed turn right on the footpath leading to Blue Anchor.  After 700 metres the path reaches the promenade in Blue Anchor.  Continue along the seafront on the pavement on the high sea defence wall.  Follow the road as it passes the permanently closed Blue Anchor Hotel and then join a permissive path on the left (Grid Ref: ST034435).

Follow this fenced path along the edge of a field to enter woodland.  Here in addition to the footpath, there are numerous tracks made by local walkers.  Opt for the most well-worn route and follow this as it heads initially to the east and then turns north towards the coast.  On re-joining the coastal path turn right (Grid Ref: ST040436).

Now stay with the way-markers to follow the coastal path. The path heads through trees before reaching open farmland. After passing a caravan park at Warren Bay head uphill to open land and follow the footpath leading to Daws Castle.  After passing the castle join the B3191 on the outskirts of Watchet (Grid Ref: ST063433). Turn left and follow the road downhill to reach Watchet harbour.  

After exploring the old fishing village turn and retrace the route west on the coastal path for 4.5 km to reach the promenade at Blue Anchor.  Continue along the promenade and stay with the coastal path as it passes a World War II pillbox and continues along the shingle bank.  The path soon becomes tarmac and is easy to follow.  After 3.2 km the path reaches a car park at Dunster Beach (Grid Ref ST004445).

Continue on the coast path passing holiday chalets on Dunster Beach before reaching the eastern end of Minehead golf course (Grid Ref: SS997455).  Stay with the coast path keeping the golf course to the left for 1.9km to reach the promenade in Minehead and the starting point of the walk.

Toilets:
There are public toilets in Minehead, Dunster, Blue Anchor, Watchet and at Dunster Beach.
Toilets are also available in the pubs and cafes on this route during opening hours.

Refreshments:
Minehead: A wide range of pubs and cafes.
Dunster: A wide range of pubs and cafes.
Blue Anchor: The Driftwood Café, Hobourne Cafe and The Smugglers Inn.
Watchet: A wide range of pubs and cafes.

To download GPX and print map click “Learn More” below:

Additional Information:
A narrative of this walk with pictures, historical information and points of interest can be viewed on my associated Two Dogs and an Awning website.

To follow my walk you will need Ordnance Survey Explorer Map OL9 – Exmoor

© Walking Moonraker (2021)

All information on this site is provided free of charge and in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of damage, loss or injury which might result from it.  To the best of my knowledge the routes are entirely on public rights of way or within areas that are open for public access.
Walking can be hazardous and is done entirely at your own risk.  It is your responsibility to check your route and navigate using a map and compass.