Categories
Somerset South West

The Punchbowl and Caratacus Stone

Description:
A walk from the attractive village of Winsford in the heart of Exmoor.  It climbs the Punchbowl at Winsford Hill to provide spectacular views.  After a circuit of moor it visits the ancient Caratacus Stone and then returns to the village over fields and an ancient track.  Sections of this walk around Winsford follow minor roads which are not devoid of traffic so care should be taken.

Walk Grade:
Moderate

Distance:
8.7 miles / 13.9km km

Total Ascent:
1422 feet / 433 metres

Time:
3 hours 15 mins/ 4 hours 15 mins

Parking:
This walk starts from the free parking area opposite a garage in the middle of Winsford (Grid Ref: SS906349).

Walk Route:
From the parking area cross the bridge and then turn right to go over the footbridge besides the ford.  From the ford it is a gradual climb up the road, passing below the church.  After 500 metres at a footpath with a fingerpost to ‘Winsford Hill via the Punchbowl’ turn left and leave the road (Grid Ref: SS901351).

Now follow the path to a kissing gate to enter a field of pasture and then follow yellow way-markers across a number of fields of pasture to skirt above Withycombe Farm.  At a farm driveway turn left and go through the farmyard and then cross Winn Brook (Grid Ref: SS887351).  The path now starts to head uphill with great views of the Punchbowl.

It is a long steady ascent, as the path levels out (Grid Ref: SS880343) continue straight on, leaving the rim of the punchbowl, to head south.  After 100 metres at a crossing of paths turn right to head west.  After 350 metres the path reaches the Ordnance survey trig pillar on Winsford Hill (Grid Ref: SS877343). 

From the trig turn south and walk 100 metres to the B3223.  Cross to continue on a faint path opposite.  After 140 metres on reaching a clear track turn right heading in a westerly direction (Grid Ref: SS876341).  Continue along this track across access land for 1.9km to reach a footpath. Now turn left following this route across the moor (Grid Ref: SS861352).

At a junction of paths by a way-marker (Grid Ref: SS863344) continue straight across in a south easterly direction.  The path soon follows the hedge line at the edge of the moor traversing a couple of boggy areas, try to find drier land by walking a bit higher up the moor following paths made by others.  On reaching a gate (Grid Ref: SS867339) do not go through, instead keep to the edge of the moorland on a path that turns to the east.

After 1.5km the path reaches a junction of tracks (Grid Ref: SS881339), here turn left and walk across the moor heading south east for 700 metres to reach a minor road (Grid Ref: SS887335). Turn left and follow this road for 170 metres to reach a crossroads at Spire Cross.

Now head in an easterly direction to reach the Caratacus Stone (Grid Ref: SS890335).  From the stone head southeast along the hedge line of a moorland area marked on the map as The Allotment. The path stays close to the hedge and after 1km reaches a track (Grid Ref: SS898331).  Turn left and follow the track for 250 metres to reach a footpath on the left, go through a gate and enter a field (Grid Ref: SS990332).

The path continues across the field to join another footpath close to an open gateway and then goes along a track for a few metres to a footpath on the left (Grid Ref: SS906332).  This footpath initially descends steeply through shrubland and then steadily descends through woodland to reach a footbridge close to the isolated Yellowcombe Cottage (Grid Ref: SS904339).

After crossing the footbridge turn right uphill on a narrow track, Yellowcombe Lane, soon passing the ruins of buildings.  After 950 metres the track reaches a minor road on the edge of Winsford (Grid Ref: SS905347).  Turn right into the village, passing the Royal Oak Inn to return to the starting point.

Toilets:
There are public toilets in Winsford.
Toilets are available in the pub and cafe on this route during opening hours.

Refreshments:
Winsford: Bridge Cottage Tearoom; The Royal Oak; The Oak Shop (Village shop situated in the Royal Oak pub).

To download GPX file and print a 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 Maps 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.