A popular local circuit. Apart from the beginning and end it is all off-road, on paths and tracks, with good views of gentle rolling countryside and a pleasant meadow section by the River Brue. Two dog unfriendly stiles, and there are almost always livestock somewhere on this walk. For brief periods after exceptional rainfall the route may not be passable. Parts of it can be muddy at other times.
Because landowners have realigned some of the footpaths (sometimes with and sometimes without permission), in places the paths no longer correspond to the rights of way on OS Maps. The correct route is described and shown here. For much of it there are public footpath signs.
5km, 100m of ascent. About 75 to 90 minutes. Easy. Route last checked April 2020.
Starting at Bruton Community Office:
From Bruton Community Office walk east along the High Street, then turn right down Patwell Street. Cross the road, cross the Brue at Church Bridge, and turn left at the Church into Station Road. Follow the road out of town to the railway bridge (point 2).
Starting at the Station:
Leave the station and walk down Station Approach. Turn left on reaching the main road to reach the railway bridge (point 2).
Go under the railway bridge, and, taking care, cross the road and go through a gate to follow the path gently uphill past the former Abbey Fishponds (a scheduled ancient monument). Continue through two further gates, straight on through the community garden and turn left through gates to cross the road again (fast traffic) into Hauser and Wirth Car Park.
Turn right once in the car park. Just before the car park exit to the main road cross a stile on the left and follow the path uphill to the woods. A further gate leads to a track up through Marydown Copse and another gate.
Continue anti-clockwise round the perimeter of Marydown field to the opposite corner. This field is managed by Hauser and Wirth as a wild-flower meadow, and in July and August it is a sea of chicory flowers (at their best in the morning).
Ignore the first gate you come to (don’t go through it) and continue onwards keeping the fence on the right. Eventually you reach a cattle grid and a non-dog-friendly stile. Go over the stile or grid and follow an indistinct path which cuts across the corner of the field to your right towards a further gate and a fence. Do not go through this gate: continue with the fence on your right.
Reach two gates next to each other with a stile. Pause to look at the views over Cogley Wood towards Alfreds Tower, and downhill towards the Flood Prevention Scheme and Sheephouse Farm.
Go through the gate or over the stile and follow the clear track downhill to the right through three more gates (often open) to reach the edge of Cogley Wood. The track continues through the Flood Prevention Scheme, and back uphill to reach the railway line.
Turn left and follow a good track between the railway and the flood prevention scheme. Turn right under the railway (and over the Brue), then almost immediately left through a gate. Continue along the bottom of the field, crossing the Brue again by a wooden bridge. Continue straight ahead through the meadow, just above the Brue to your right, to reach a gate at the far end of the meadow.
Go through the gate and turn right over two small footbridges to follow the path just above the Brue. (Please stay on this path, no matter how muddy, and do not go into the field to the left). After a few minutes the path emerges into the bottom of the field and over a further footbridge with gates to reach Darkey Lane.
Turn left and follow the permissive path next to a high fence onto Platform 1 at the station. Walk along the platform and out the exit, then down Station Approach to re-join the outgoing route at point 2.