Walk - Minehead YHA - Bratton Ball

2.6 miles (4.1 km)

Burgundy Chapel Combe car park located at the top of North Hill - SS947 477 Burgundy Chapel Combe car park located at the top of North Hill - SS947 477

Moderate - Tracks, footpaths, fields, some steep ascent and descent.

A lovely woodland walk, after a stroll downhill through open pastureland. There are bird's-eye views over the lush green valley below, from Minehead in the east to Porlock in the west, and across the way to the brooding Dunkery Beacon, Exmoor's highest hill.

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.

The Parks Guest House

Georgian grade 2 listed guest house in a quiet area of Minehead 5 mins walk from town. Rooms en-suite, private car park, single night stays & dogs welcome

Baytree B&B

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

Anchor Cottage

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

Bossington Hall Luxury B & B

With breathtaking views and 6 superb rooms, Tennis Squash and Badminton within the 8 acres, and a cinema for the lazy evening.

Sunfield B&B

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

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!

The Cottage B&B

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

Sea View B&B

4 Star B&B, en suite. TV/free wi-fi. Breakfast Award: gluten free/vegetarian, local produce/homemade bread/preserves. Packed Lunches. VisitBritain "Walkers Welcome" Scheme accredited. Drying facilities.

Snow's Orchard Guesthouse

A small, relaxed and friendly guest house offering bed and breakfast accommodation in the quiet hamlet of West Porlock, situated within Exmoor National Park.

Porlock Weir Campsite

Great pop-up site, perfect location for walking. 5 mins from the SWCP

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.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

From the Youth Hostel drive into Alcombe, turning left on Church Street to reach the A39. At the mini roundabout fork right to continue along Alcombe Road. Turn right into Ponsford Road following signs to the Sea Front. Continue on into Minehead.

At the shops in The Avenue, turn left away from  the sea front. Take the next right (Blenheim Road) and then turn left, just after the flats, up Martlet Road. Continue on Martlet Road until you reach the War Memorial. The road swings round sharply to the left and becomes St Michael's Road.

Follow the signs to North Hill passing St Michael's Church on your right ignoring forks to left and right. The road winds up on to North Hill becoming Moor Road and then Hill Road.

After emerging from the trees onto the moor, continue for  about 300m to turn into the free Burgundy Chapel Combe Car Park on your right.

  1. The walk starts in the car park above Burgundy Chapel Combe (on the right as you approach it from Minehead, about half a mile after the car park at the top of Moor Wood). Go through the northern (seaward) side of the car park, heading rightwards as far as the track, but cross the track to carry on along the path which goes straight ahead and slightly left. This will quickly bring you on to the South West Coast Path.
  2. Here turn left onto the Coast Path and follow it westwards along the open heathland. Ignoring both the bridleway to the left and the path to the right, stay with the Coast Path for half a mile or so, until you come to the National Trust gate to the Holnicote Estate.

The Holnicote Estate dates back to the Domesday Book and extends around the coast from here to halfway along Porlock Bay, and for many miles inland, including Dunkery Beacon (the large hill on the south west horizon, and the highest point on Exmoor). Sir Thomas Acland acquired the land in 1745, and it remained in his family until Sir Richard Acland gave it to the National Trust in 1944.

  1. Take the path to your left here, back to Hill Road, meeting it at the cattle grid.
  2. Crossing the road, pick up the footpath immediately opposite and follow it downhill, roughly southwards, to another small path leading off to the left. Contour around the hill with this path, ignoring the next one which drops steeply downhill, instead carrying on into Bratton Wood.

Down in the valley below, parts of the manor house at Bratton Court date back to the 13th century. The building has been extensively altered and added to over the years since then and is now divided into two private dwellings. Some of the outbuildings  date back to the 16th century, and the gatehouse has some interesting Tudor features. In the nearby hamlet of Bratton, several of the cottages were built in the 16th and 17th centuries, and evidence has been found of a 13th century mill, although nothing remains of it now. There are also traces of mediaeval and pre-medieval field systems in the area, and a water meadow, where winter floodwater would have been allowed to settle in order to fertilise the land.

Near Bratton are a number of World War II pillboxes, built a year or two before North Hill was extensively used by American and Canadian troops for tank training. Above you as you pass the path which drops steeply into the valley below, before you enter the wood, a couple of concrete platforms are all that remains of a military mast for a Cold War radar station's VHF control, in use here during the Cold War in the 1950s and 60s in conjunction with the Rotor radar station at West Myne.

  1. When you come to the path leading off around the hill to the left, turn onto it and carry on as it turns into a track, until you come to the last of the trees.
  2. Turn left here and pull steeply up the valley, forking right towards the top to come out again on Hill Road. Turn right on the road and return to the car park.

Public transport

There are several buses a day between Minehead and Porlock that stop at Bratton Turn, a 15-minute walk from Bratton Wood. Take the right-hand fork in Bratton, and the left-hand one shortly afterwards, then follow the track to the right up to start the walk from point 8. 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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