Walk - Selworthy Combe

3.3 miles (5.3 km)

Hill Road Car Park Above Combeshead - TA24 5LB Hill Road Car Park Above Combeshead

Moderate - Tracks and footpaths, some ascent and descent.

A delightful stroll through some gorgeous woodland on a country estate, with bubbling streams and Victorian water features, little bridges and winding paths. The air is full of birdsong and the old trees soar gracefully above as you drop gently down through the combe. It is particularly pretty in the springtime, when the unfurling ferns and the brand new leaves are fresh and sharp, there are primroses along the streams, bluebells under the trees and other wildflowers in the grass, and the trees are bright with blossom. In autumn, too, the majestic trees of the Victorian parkland are vivid in their changing colours and they are alive with small birds and mammals collecting up the bounty.

There are a range of wonderful places to lay your head near the Coast Path for a well-earned sleep. From large and luxurious hotels, to small and personable B&B's, as well as self-catering options and campsites. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Tudor Cottage

15th century Licensed Farmhouse B&B offering a hearty breakfast with beautiful views. Evening meal, packed lunch & afternoon teas by arrangement

Exmoor Country House

Beautiful Guest House within Exmoor National Park in the enchanting village of Porlock. Evening dinner every night except Sunday.

Sparkhayes Farm Campsite, Porlock

Family site-5 minute walk to the village and its shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants. 20 minute walk down to the sea on the South West Coast Path.

Reines House B&B, Porlock

Benefitting from a peaceful location, yet a short walk from Porlock's numerous shops, pubs and restaurants. Locally sourced produce from sausages to tea and coffe.  Packed lunch on request.

The Cottage B&B, Porlock

A cosy, luxurious, historic and friendly B&B in the heart of the village, close to all amenities

Hillside

Bedroom with view of Hurlestone Point. Double bed, private bathroom and downstairs toilet. Can provide mattress for child. Use of kitchen for DIY breakfast. Sunny back patio.

Myrtle Cottage, Porlock

A comfortable thatched cottage built over 400 years ago, bursting with character and charm. All rooms en-suite, award winning breakfast.

Sea View B&B, Porlock

4 Star B&B, en suite. TV/free wi-fi. Breakfast Award: gluten free/vegetarian, local produce/homemade
bread/preserves. Drying facilities.

Baytree B&B, Minehead

Spacious Victorian house in a quiet central location, 5 minutes walk from the seafront and Coast Path. Extensive breakfast menu.

Rosanda House Holiday Flats, Minehead

Comfortable self-contained self-catering flats yards from the start of the South West Coast Path. Great base from which to walk and explore Exmoor & West Somerset.

Anchor Cottage

Warm, cosy, well equipped 2 bed 17th century Fisherman's cottage near Minehead Harbour. Start the Path from the doorstep.

Sunfield B&B, Minehead

A delightful family-run guest house tucked away in a quiet corner of Minehead. Delicious home cooking and a warm welcome awaits.

Montrose Guest House, Minehead

Situated in a tree lined road, few minutes walk to shops,restaurants & beach. A perfect base for exploring wonderful Exmoor coast or starting the Coast Path.

Ash Farm, Porlock Hill

We are a working farm just off the Coast Path. Please call 01643 862414 for more details. Porlock Weir pick up if required. Packed lunch on request.
What is on your list of things to do when you visit the Path? From walking companies, to help you tailor your visit, with itineraries and experts to enhance your visit, to baggage transfer companies and visitor attractions there are lots to people and places to help you decide what you'd like to do. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Exmoor Rambler, Porlock

Exmoor Rambler stocks a large range of outdor clothing & equipment-waterproofs,walking boots, walking guides,etc. Ideally suited for South West Coast Path.

Minehead Information Centre

Maps and Guide Books for sale. FREE accommodation booking service

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

Selworthy Combe is part of the Holnicote Estate, now owned by the National Trust after Sir Richard Acland donated it in 1944. Holnicote dates back to the Domesday Book, which lists it as “Hunecot” (as it is still pronounced, although the spelling has changed), and it covers some 5042 hectares of woodland, moors and farmland.

  1. From the car park walk just a few yards to the track running roughly parallel to the road and turn left onto it. Follow this track until you reach a crossing with a metalled road.

This road, and various tracks on the ridge, were built in World War II for tank training (see the North Hill walk), leading to an extensive network of former observation posts and gun platforms overlooking the Bristol Channel.

  1. Turn right onto the metalled road and follow it to the end, where it meets the Coast Path.
  2. Turn left along the Coast Path for about half a mile, ignoring the track to your left towards the end of this stretch.

  3. There is a junction of paths at the open area beyond. Leave the Coast Path here, turning sharp left and heading east, towards Selworthy Beacon.

Like nearby Dunkery Beacon, Selworthy has been a beacon since the 16th-century wars with France and Spain, and a long time before that it was an important burial and ceremonial site for Bronze Age settlers (see the Selworthy Beacon Walk).

The pastureland in the valley below Selworthy Combe is rich and green, and there are wildflower meadows and an abundance of moths and butterflies, thanks to the National Trust's conservation practices. In the woods, storm-felled trees are left where they fell to encourage fungi and insects and the higher species which feed on both.

Holnicote is one of the best places to see the heath fritillary, one of Britain's rarest butterflies. This too is due to the efforts of the National Trust, with help from Butterfly Conservation and the particular dedication of local NT warden Paul Camp.

Heath fritillaries were thought to be extinct in the 1970s, but Noel Allen, President of the Exmoor Natural History Society, discovered a local population in 1981. Although they were once again teetering on the brink of extinction at the turn of the millennium, the extensive habitat management has ensured that they are flourishing here once again. An excellent place to see them is in Halse Combe.

  1. At the beacon, turn sharp right onto the track travelling southwest towards the road, and follow it to the road.
  2. Follow the track across the road.

Before you make your way down the bridleway to Selworthy Combe, take a look at the “Wind and Weather” memorial hut among the trees just off the path. This was erected by the Acland family in memory of Sir Thomas, who liked to walk around here every Sunday after church.

This is one of many inspirational walks throughout the estate. Local author Frederick Hancock, writing at the end of the nineteenth century, attributes the number of these to Sir Thomas and his son: “Forty miles of [walks], it is said, open from the little wicket gate on Selworthy Green, and have been made almost entirely by the late Sir Thomas Acland and his son, the present baronet. The late Sir Thomas, with the artistic taste which he possessed in so eminent a degree, planted the many acres of moor and common between Selworthy and the sea, and then began the vast network of walks which now intersect these woods.”

  1. Follow the bridleway down through the combe, to where it crosses a stone bridge, to meet the path coming up from Selworthy village. Turn left onto this path, marked Selworthy Combe, and follow it around the bottom of the hill and then steeply upwards towards the road. Turn left onto a track with blue bridleway markers.

The woodland planted by Sir Thomas at the start of the 19th century stretches from Selworthy to Bossington and covers much of the hillside. He planted it in blocks, each one commemorating the birth of one of his children, and it consists mainly of oak, sycamore, ash, silver birch, sweet chestnut, holly, and various conifers.

    1. A couple of hundred yards after this track, you come to a junction of paths, with a prominent fingerpost. Go straight across to join a pretty green lane, past a couple of mysterious concrete objects which must no doubt be related to the tank training, and up to the road.
    2. At the road turn left to return to the car park. 

Public transport

Buses run several times a day between Minehead and Porlock, although this walk is about a mile away from the nearest bus stop, at Selworthy Turn. For timetable information, zoom in on the interactive map and click on the bus stops, visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 22 33.

Parking

Hill Road Car Park Above Combeshead - TA24 5SH This takes you to North Hill. Continue along the road. At the top of the hill, pass over 2 cattle grids, close together. The well-hidden car park is off the first stony path on the right, as the road curves left.

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