Walk - Minehead YHA - Brockholes

5.8 miles (9.3 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

Challenging - Tracks and footpaths, some of them narrow and exposed, with steep ascent and descent too. (Remember it is the "rugged alternative" path!).

An adventurous hike, high above the sea with breathtaking views across the Bristol Channel to the Welsh coast and the Brecon Beacons.This walk passes through three very pretty combes that are especially inspirational in the springtime, when clumps of bluebells and other wildflowers run riot beneath banks of blazing gorse and vivid green bushes bedecked in blossom.

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

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

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.

Myrtle Cottage

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

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

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

Anchor Cottage

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

Baytree B&B

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

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.

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

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.

The whole area enclosed by this walk is rich in history. At the start of it is Iron Age Furzebury Brake, although flint tools found nearby date even further back, to the Bronze Age. There are traces of mediaeval farming methods, and a farm mentioned in the Domesday Book. And like much of the rest of North Hill, this area was used extensively for tank training in World War II; while during the Cold War in the 1950s and 60s there was a radar station here.

  1. From the car park walk westwards just a few yards, to pick up the bridleway heading north west, towards the coast.
  2. Turn left onto the Coast Path, and a short while later take the path to the right, signposted as the Coast Path rugged alternative. This will take you through a gate, from where waymarkers will direct you down into Grexy Combe. As is the way with combes on this part of the Coast Path (and elsewhere too), no sooner have you dropped a hundred metres than you have to climb the same height out again: it's all very good for the fitness levels!

To your left as the Coast Path curves around the top of the hill above Grexy Combe is Furzebury Brake, although it is not visible from here and there is no public access to it. This is a late prehistoric oval enclosure thought to be an Iron Age hillfort. Aerial photographs show a substantial bank, forming the ramparts, with a slight external ditch, although past ploughing has damaged it and the entire site is badly eroded. To the north east are what may be the remnants of strip lynchets, small banks of earth sometimes used in prehistoric farming methods. Flint tools have been found up here dating back to the Bronze Age (around 2000 BC). Nearby there are also traces of a mediaeval field system.

A little further along, again to the left and off the path, is the deserted settlement of East Myne, now a collection of ruined buildings but at one time a farm. This is thought to be mediaeval too, and there was a water meadow, a little way uphill from the farm, which made use of flooding from the spring above to fertilise the land during winter months.

The Domesday Book mentions a Mene or Myne near here, belonging to Geoffrey of Mohun after the Norman Conquest but dating back to before then, and it's possible that it was East Myne; although there is another contender at the deserted and ruined settlement at West Myne. This was mentioned in records as far back as 1279.

  1. Rounding the corner at Western Brockholes, you descend gradually into Henners Combe and then pull gently up the other side and out towards the coast again. Moments later you repeat the whole process in East Combe, and then the path stays high and doubles back on itself above Bossington Hill.

Eastern and Western Brockholes are thought to be the quarries used for the construction of the field boundary banks along the hillside here, and possibly the buildings at East and West Myne.

  1. There is a track heading uphill and southwards out of East Combe, if you feel the need for a shortcut after all your exertions; but otherwise carry on around the coast.

Canadian and American troops used North Hill for tank training during the Second World War. Both West and East Myne were requisitioned for their use. There are remains of numerous dugouts and platforms all along the coastal hillside which were used for bunkers, observation posts and gun platforms, and there was also a target railway used for firing practice.

A Cold War radar station was built on the hillside between East and West Myne in the 1950s, following extensive delicate negotiations with landowners, the National Trust, who were keen not to spoil the landscape. It was in use until 1964, and then the site was completely levelled.

  1. Ignore the path leading down towards Hurlstone, staying on your path as it turns and heads roughly south east. Ignore the two further paths to the right shortly afterwards, and another soon afterwards, and stay with the Coast Path as it makes its way towards Selworthy Beacon.
  2. At the top of Bossington Hill, above Lynch Combe, two further tracks lead off to your right and should be ignored.

Several of the tracks here are associated with the World War II training arena: tanks would assemble in the large open area on the high ground to the south, and another target railway here was used for their firing practice.

  1. Just after this, the track from East Combe joins your path as you reach the top of the hill and turn slightly eastwards to the junction of paths to the west of Selworthy Beacon. (Note that the bridleway shown on OS maps as heading southwest here doesn't actually exist on the ground).
  2. Follow the Coast Path as it heads back towards Minehead, below Selworthy Beacon. You'll be pleased to know, after all your exertions, that it's downhill all the way from here!

The track joining from your left here was built for tank training.

  1. Carry straight on along the Coast Path. Ignoring the tracks to your right stay on the Coast Path until it returns to 2, and then turn right to go back to the car park.

Public transport

This walk is several miles away from a bus stop.


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