Walk - Lyme to Uplyme
Walk information provided with help from Natural England. Map reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown copyright and database right 2020. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100022021.
Lyme Regis is in the heart of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site where the rugged coasts of East Devon and West Dorset meet. It has a delightful sea front leading to the harbour and the world famous Cobb. The town itself has many independent shops, cafes and old buildings set along quaint streets.
Lyme is steeped in history, receiving its royal charter from Edward I in 1284. It was a major port along this section of the coast and in 1685 the Duke of Monmouth landed on the beach west of the Cobb (Monmouth Beach) at the start of the ill fated Monmouth Rebellion - an attempt to overthrow James II.
However, Lyme Regis is noted for its most famous resident Mary Anning and her significant discoveries in palaeontology. Her legacy lives on in the town with several fossil shops and the nearby seashore is frequented by many amateur fossil collectors.
- From Cobb Gate at Lyme Regis there are two routes to the Town Mill:
a) Go through Broad Street (pay & display) car park and descend the steps on the right at the back of the car park to reach the Town Mill and Craft Centre.
b) Walk along Coombe Street, opposite the Museum and Guildhall, signed ‘Riverside Walk Town Mill’. After 120 yards (110m) go sharp left signed ‘Riverside Walk Town Mill’ to reach the Town Mill and Craft Centre
The Town Mill dates from the 14th century and was used as a wheat mill until the 1920s when it closed. After being a Council yard and used for storage (including deck chairs) the mill fell into a derelict state until it was restored and reopened to mill grain in 2001. Grain is still milled here and three different kinds of flour are on sale inside. Surrounding the mill are other buildings used as a Craft Centre and cafe.
- Turn left between the end of the mill building and ‘Old Lynch Mill Lane’ (house) along a narrow walled path. At the end go right. Walk along with the mill leat on your right and the river on your left.
- At the road continue ahead up Mill Green (a road) and after a short distance you join the riverside path again.
- Cross the river to reach a road with Windsor Terrace opposite. Continue along Windsor Terrace with the river on your left to reach a stone arch bridge and finger post at Horne Bridge (named after the Horne Tavern which once stood near here). Continue ahead signed ‘Uplyme & East Devon Way ‘(part of the Wessex Ridgeway).
- Continue ahead with the river on your left crossing a stone footbridge to reach a field. Go through the field aiming for the finger post and gate ahead.
- After the gate cross a wooden footbridge and go left at a finger post (grid referenced SY 333933) at ‘The Old Mill’ and signed ‘Uplyme ½ ‘.
From the 14th to 18th century there were lots of mills along the river with many of them being textile mills producing good quality cloth. Dying and weaving was also carried out in the village and it is said that cloth was produced here for Queen Elizabeth I’s soldiers.
One of the remaining mills is the Old Mill here which was built in the 18th century as a textile mill driven by an overshot water wheel.
- Walk in front of the Old Mill and then along a raised path above the river. You reach a track (Mill Lane) where you go left passing Honeysuckle Cottage to reach a road (where the finger post is at SY 329934).
- Cross the road and continue ahead (signed ‘Uplyme ¼’).
- At the next road (Church Street) take the path to the left of Church Cottage unless you wish to visit the church where you turn right and climb the hill to the church.
The original church was medieval but it was largely restored in 1876 and has a very attractive wagon roof. On the right from the entrance there is a fine stained glass window dedicated to the memory of Wilfred Parke, a very early aviator, who was killed in 1912 ‘by the fall of his aeroplane’ (the word “crash” had not yet been invented).
The yew tree is the oldest living inhabitant of Uplyme being over a thousand years old.
- The path on the left of Church Cottage reaches the car park of the Talbot Arms and the bus stop with the Village Hall opposite.
The village of Uplyme dates from before the Domesday Book and was once part of Glastonbury Abbey until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539. It then passed to a wealthy landowning family, the Drake family, who lived nearby at Musbury. It is likely that this was a branch of the family of Sir Francis Drake the great Elizabethan explorer.
The Talbot Arms is named after a local landowner Sir John Talbot who was an admiral and Lord of the Manor from the early part of the 19th century.
The local Primary School is next to the church and is known as Mrs. Ethelston's C of E Primary School. It is named after Mrs. Anne Ethelston, the wife of the Reverend Charles Wicksted Ethelston who was rector at Uplyme from 1842 – 1873.
He decided to erect a building to house the existing school in memory of his wife when she died in 1854.
Optional Extension to Cannington Viaduct 1.8 miles (2.4 km)
For those interested in railways or industrial archaeology the Cannington Viaduct is one of the largest viaducts in East Devon and it heralds from a time when railway construction was at its height. The Lyme Regis branch line was just over 6 miles long from the main line at Axminster to Lyme Regis and was known as the Bluebell Line.
It was a ‘Light Railway’ built to slightly lower specifications than the main line and at its height there were up to nine trains a day between Axminster and Lyme Regis.
When the railway closed Lyme Regis station was dismantled and re-erected on the Watercress Line near Winchester in Hampshire. Lyme Regis station was about 0.63 miles (1km) from the centre of the town and the site is now occupied by Travis Perkins builders merchants.
- Go through the gate at the back right hand side of the Village Hall car park into a field (passing a finger post grid referenced SY 324934). Walk in front of the cricket pavilion, cross a bridge and go through a gate.
- Continue ahead up a field bearing left around a line of trees. Follow the top edge of the field with the trees on your right and go through a gate to reach a tarmac track where you turn left to reach the road at Wadley Hill.
- Cross this junction and continue ahead (along Cannington Lane) passing a 30mph speed restriction sign and bear left at the next junction with the viaduct in view in front of you.
- After 680 yards (625m) you go under the Cannington Viaduct.
The 203 yards long viaduct was part of the Axminster to Lyme Regis light railway which opened in 1903 and was the first viaduct in Britain to be made from concrete. It has 10 elliptical arches and is about 92 feet high.
Soon after it was opened the western end began to subside and an extra ‘fill in’ arch was added. The branch line closed in 1965 and there is no public access to the viaduct itself.
- About 110 yards (100m) after the viaduct go left through a field gate just before Shapwick House. You follow a public bridleway across a field with great views of the Cannington viaduct.
The term Shapwick means ‘sheep farm’ and several places around here bear the name. Just before the viaduct on the right (as you walk along) is the site of Holcombe Roman villa which was first excavated in the 19th century. Beneath the villa was a late Iron Age settlement where a rare mirror (AD 30 – 70) was discovered and it is now in the British Museum. The site has been grassed over and there is nothing to see today.
- The bridleway goes in front of the large house ahead and joins a largely concrete track. Almost at the end of the track you reach Cuckoo Hill Cottages with a stile on your left.
- Cross the stile and bear right heading down across fields, crossing two more stiles and the track of the dismantled railway. You reach a gated footbridge into the Hook Farm campsite.
- Walk through the campsite to reach the road (Gore Lane) where you turn left and descend to reach the Talbot Arms. Here go left to reach the Village Hall.
You can return to Lyme Regis along the riverside route or catch the X51 or X53 bus from the bus stop by the Talbot Arms car park.
There are lots of cafes and restaurants in Lyme Regis and the Talbot Inn in Uplyme.
The Old Black Dog tea room in Uplyme is 800 yards (730m) further along the B 3165 towards Lyme Regis from the Talbot Inn. (The Black Dog is named after a dog which is supposed to haunt the local lanes)