Walk - Three Picturesque Villages - Bossington to Selworthy
Walk information provided with help from Natural England. Map reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown copyright and database right 2019. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100022021.
- To start your walk, head north-east out of the car park and cross the footbridge over the Horner Water, before bearing left at the South West Coast Path sign for Hurlstone Point.
- After about 1 kilometre turn right at the seat at the bottom of Hurlstone Combe. Head up the combe to the crossroads, turn left and follow the level path to Hurlstone Point coastguard station.
This was built in 1902 and was operational until February 1983 (see the Hurlstone Point Walk).
Take time to admire the views of the Bristol Channel and scan the sea for the occasional glimpse of grey seals or porpoises, and the skies for the passing seabirds or the resident peregrine falcons.
- Retrace your steps to the crossroads and turn left following the Coast Path up Hurlstone Combe. Take your time as it’s a long steep climb!
The landscape below has been dramatically shaped by the sea's incursion inland, and both history and wildlife have been affected by it (see the Bossington Landscape Walk and the various Porlock walks).
- At the top of the combe continue straight on, staying on the Coast Path for approximately 1 kilometre until you reach some fields near to the left-hand side of the track.
Look out for Dartford Warblers and Stonechats flitting between gorse bushes and in late summer admire the spectacular colours of the maritime heath (see the Bossington Hill Walk).
- Keeping the fields on the left of the track continue straight on for about another 200 metres. At the corner of the field leave the Coast Path behind, and take the wide track ahead up to the high point of Selworthy Beacon (308 metres).
As its name suggests, Selworthy Beacon was used to send warning of invaders landing in the sixteenth century, when Britain was at war with France and Spain; but its history goes well back, to the Bronze Age (see the Selworthy Beacon Walk).
- Just before reaching the stone cairn turn right and follow the track down to the road.
Before leaving the Beacon take time to admire the 360-degree views of South Wales to the north, the Bristol Channel coast and Quantock hills to the east, Dunkery Beacon to the south and the North Devon coast to the west.
- Cross over the road and follow the bridleway down to the village of Selworthy.
Look out for the stone memorial hut on the right, built in 1879 in memory of Sir Thomas Dyke Acland 10th Baronet. His great-great grandson donated the estate to the National Trust in 1944. (See the Selworthy Combe Walk).
- At the end of the bridleway next to Selworthy Church go through the gate and down onto the road, then turn right through another gate and follow the tarmac path down onto Selworthy Green.
This is an excellent point for a well-earned rest. You can visit the nearby church with its white lime-washed walls or reward yourself with refreshments at the tea-rooms. There are also public toilets if you walk down through Selworthy Green and out through the gate at the bottom. The toilets are then on your right.
- To continue the walk, go across the small bridge and through the gate opposite the tea-rooms, and at the top of the path turn left onto a wide track. Take the second path on the left following signs for Allerford and Bossington, and head along the edge of the woods to the small spring named Katherine’s Well. Here bear left along the lower path. Upon reaching Holnicote Combe carry straight on following the sign to Bossington.
As you walk through these woods you will see clues that this landscape was once very different. The old dry stone walls and banks are a reminder that this was once all farmland. The woods you enjoy today were in fact only planted in the early 19th century by Sir Thomas Dyke Acland. You may be lucky and see some of the resident roe deer and red deer which live in these woods.
- At the next junction go straight on again and then take the left-hand (lower) track at the next junction. Follow it until you reach the seat and viewpoint of St Agnes Fountain.
- Here continue straight on, taking the left-hand path down towards Bossington. At the next crossroads go straight across. After passing behind Lynch House take the right-hand path at the fork and head towards the field gate. Go through it and follow the footpath across the field to the next gateway.
- Bear sharp left down to a kissing gate and head along the path through a small wood; at the next kissing gate turn left.
Congratulations - you are back at Bossington car park!
There are excellent tea-rooms at both Bossington and Selworthy which are open from Easter through to October. Nearby Porlock also offers tearooms, restaurants and pubs.