Walk - Bossington Hill

2.9 miles (4.6 km)

Selworthy Beacon viewpoint car park -TA24 8HS Selworthy Beacon viewpoint car park

Moderate - Tracks and footpaths, some steep ascent but gentle descent

A bracing walk over a rounded hill with spectacular views in every direction, from Dunkery Beacon in the south to the Welsh coast in the north, with headlands lining up one behind the other all the way down the Exmoor coastline. It is particularly breathtaking in the spring, when birds call from the blossoming bushes and the distant views are hazy in the bright air. A good romp for children, who will love the open space at the top and its tank training history. It will be especially popular if you take a kite!

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.

Bossington Hall Luxury B&B

With breathtaking views and 9 superb rooms, Tennis and Squash within the 8 acres, and a private bar for the lazy evening.

Sparkhayes Farm Campsite

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.

The Cottage B&B

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

Myrtle Cottage

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

Harbour House Coffee Shop

Next to South West Coast Path at Porlock Weir on Exmoor coast, dog friendly cafe & unique self-catering holday apartments 1 sleeps 4, 1 sleeps 2 (grd flr)

Ash Farm B&B

We are a working farm just off the Coast Path. We can pick up from Porlock Weir if required. Packed lunch on request.

The Beach Hotel Minehead

The Beach Hotel is the perfect place for your South West Getaway, Apprentice run social enterprise, with a little help from us!
You'll be spoilt for choice for where to eat and drink along the Path. With lots of local seasonal food on offer, fresh from the farm, field and waters. Try our local ales, ciders, wines and spirits, increasing in variety by the year, as you sit in a cosy pub, fine dining restaurant or chilled café on the beach. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Harbour Gallery & Cafe

Situated right on the coastpath we sell a fabulous range of freshly prepared food and drinks.
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.

Porlock Visitor Centre

Porlock Visitor Centre provides a vast array of information for visitors to Porlock Vale, including accommodation booking service, maps, walks, things to see and do.

Minehead Information Centre

Maps and Guide Books for sale. FREE accommodation booking service

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. From the car park take the track curving around to the north, around the top of the hill.

The area around you here was used for tank training in World War II (see the North Hill walk), and during exercises the tanks would assemble in what is now the car park. On the hillside below were two trackways, built to provide moving targets for firing practice. Dotted around the hillside, and beyond, were numerous dug-outs, bunkers and gun platforms.

  1. Turn left onto the track which merges with yours and follow it for a short distance.

Up here and eastwards along the ridge to Minehead, much of the land is given over to western maritime heath: bell heather, ling heather and the closely-related cross-leaved heath, western gorse, and bilberry (or whortleberry as it is known locally). Mosses and lichens grow beneath, as well as summer-flowering grasses and herbs, such as heath bedstraw, bristle-bent grass and tormentil.

  1. When the Coast Path comes in from your right, turn onto it, towards Hurlstone Combe, dropping very gently downhill for about half a mile.

From the top of Bossington Hill on a clear day you can see the Welsh coast across the Bristol Channel, from Worms Head to Lavernock Point; while spread out below you are Porlock Marshes and the vast, flat tract of Porlock Vale. The whole area is a haven for wildlife, with its shoreline and saltmarshes, woodland, fertile farmland and the heathland up on the ridge between here and Minehead.

  1. At the next fork, leave the Coast Path, and turn left onto the path towards Lynch Combe, ignoring the track a few yards later and then bearing left and downhill when the park forks almost immediately afterwards.

Bossington Hill is a Marilyn (a hill which is at least 150 metres higher than the land around it), and its shape means that there is often a wind around the top as the air around its base is forced to rise. This makes it a favourite place for kite-flyers as well as paragliders; and birds of prey, too, will often be seen wheeling above it: buzzards, peregrine falcons, kestrels.

  1. Follow the path round the hill. As you turn towards Church Combe, ignore the path heading uphill to your left, and carry on around the corner into the combe. Stay with the path as it descends gently into the woodland until you come to Lynch Combe.

Hurlstone, Church and Lynch Combes are three of the six combes carved by streams into the sides of Bossington Hill (the others being Allerford, Holnicote and Selworthy Combes). The word “combe” comes from the Welsh word “cwm”, meaning valley, and there are many of them along this part of the coastline (see the Culbone Wood walk).

The woodland below you is the Allerford Plantation, planted at the start of the nineteenth century by Sir Thomas Acland, Tenth Baronet and owner of the Holnicote Estate, of which the hill is also a part. He planted the wood in blocks, each one commemorating the birth of one of his children (see the Selworthy Combe walk).

  1. Here take the bridleway which heads steeply uphill. The views behind and below you give plenty of excuse to turn and catch your breath at regular intervals!

Poet Laureate Robert Southey visited Porlock in 1799, and commented thus on the hills soaring around the vale: “Hedges luxuriantly high for the most part impede the view; through their openings dark hills are seen, and the combes that intersect them...Porlock is called in the neighbourhood the End of the World. All beyond is inaccessible to carriage or even cart.”

He saw, however, that there were compensations for the remoteness: “If only beauty of landscape were to influence me in choice of residence,” he remarked, “I should at once fix on Porlock.

The next day being wet and cold, he spent it at the fireside in the inn, in the place now known as Southey's Corner, and composed a sonnet to the village:

“Porlock thy verdant vale so fair to sight
Thy lofty hills which fern and furze embrown
Thy waters that roll musically down
Thy woody glens, the traveller with delight
Recalls to memory, and the channel grey
Circling its surges in thy level bay.
Porlock, I shall forget thee not,
Here by the summer rain confined;
But often shall hereafter call to mind
How here, a patient prisoner `twas my lot
To wear the lonely, lingering close of day,
Making my sonnet by the ale house fire,
Whilst Idleness and Solitude inspire
Dull rhymes to pass the duller hours away."

  1. When the track crosses your path, towards the top of the hill, carry straight on with the bridlepath until it returns you to 3. From here, retrace your steps to the car park.

Public transport

There are several buses a day between Minehead and Porlock, stopping at Allerford Shelter. It is possible to join the walk by taking the right-hand fork in Allerford and following the footpath to the left through Allerford Plantation to Lynch Combe.

For timetable information, zoom in on the interactive map and click on the bus stops, visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 22 33.


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