Walk Distance: 3km (there & back again), 4.5 km (round walk)
Walk Duration: 1 hr 10 (there & back again) 2hr 30 (round walk)
OS Map: OS Explorer 141 Cheddar Gorge & Mendip Hills West ; OS Landranger 172 Bristol & Bath
Suitable for: babies in carriers, good little walkers (for there & back walk), older kids, mountain biking!
Walk Features: Fantastic far reaching views from Winscombe Hill to Cheddar Reservoir, Crooks Peak and the Bristol Channel, woodland walking, walk passes through old railway tunnel (on round walk only)
‘The walk up through Kings Wood to Wavering Down and Winscombe Hill is not particularly long but does involve a decent amount of uphill walking. Our toddler managed a good stretch of the initial hill before having to be carried for a bit so be prepared for piggy backs if walking with a little walker.
The views are fantastic – well worth the effort and you do get a lovely flat section with views after the initial ascent to look forward to. If you’re walking with older kids then you can carry on to Crooks Peak by walking past the trig. Don’t be deceived though – it’s further than it looks!
If like me, you prefer round walks then you can follow the directions for the circular walk below. If walking with little ones though I think it is better to stick to the there-and-back route on this occasion – the return stretch involves some very steep downhill sections and a lane which, despite being the hottest day of the year, was almost impassable with muddy puddles. ‘
The walk starts from the National Trust car park at Kingswood near Winscombe. Leave the car park and head into the woods through the wooden gate. Take the right hand path that lies straight ahead of the gate and begin the walk uphill through the trees. In the spring there is a lot of wild garlic here making the woods quite pungent and brightening up the woodland floor with their white star flowers.
Keep following the path uphill. Eventually it emerges from the woods out onto the open grassy flat of Wavering Down. From here you get some fantastic views across to Cheddar Reservoir and the surrounding countryside, with Winscombe Hill right ahead of you.
Walk along the flat path until reaching the next uphill section. This is just a very short sharp pull up to the trig point on Winscombe Hill. A minute or two’s effort is well worth it for the extra views that open up from the top across to the Bristol Channel and beyond. For those heading on for Crooks Peak, the path passes the trig and continues straight ahead.
Walkers can now return back to the car-park the way they came.
Alternatively, if you would like to follow the longer round walk then head back down the first bit of hill back onto the flat back of Wavering Down.
Here there is a small National Trust sign on the left saying ‘Cross Plain’. Head through the gate next to it. Just beyond Hill Farm and its duck pond the walk continues steadily downhill on a gravel lane. At the bottom the lane meets another lane. Cross straight over and through the kissing gate into the field beyond. When we walked here there were baby lambs in the field here!
The path passes straight through the field and out through a gate to the left hand corner at the bottom. Here the going gets pretty steep and the path descends in steps through a small wood. You can see bluebells here in the late spring. Head over the stile at the bottom and walk along side of the stone wall until coming to another kissing gate leading into the church yard beyond.
Follow the path through the churchyard of St. James the Great – the parish church for Winscombe and Sandford. It dates from the 15th century although parts are thought to be as old as 12th century.
Head out the churchyard and onto the lane beyond. At the end of the lane turn left down the road for a short stretch. Just before the corner you will see a bridleway sign leaving the road on the opposite side.
Follow the bridleway sign (the left hand and lower of the two tracks) . A short walk on and the track splits in two again. Once more take the left-hand track. This is where the walk can get really muddy!! There are lots of little streams and springs here making the lane very wet. Keep your eyes peeled as you cross above the main stream and you will see a tyre swing below over the water. We didn’t test it out but it looked fun!
The lane continues straight and muddy for some way, eventually bending round gently to the left ad meeting another track. Turn left here onto the new track before almost immediately turning right again just to the side of a small field and up a small slope. This brings you to the Strawberry Line – a disused railway line now converted into a level bike and pushchair friendly path from Yatton to Cheddar.
Head right onto the Strawberry Line and follow it straight for about a quarter of a kilometer. Here the Strawberry Line approaches an old railway tunnel – it gets pretty dark inside, is fairly long and has some good echos – great fun for adventurous kids!
Shortly after exiting the tunnel you will see a footpath leaving the Strawberry Line to the right hand side. Head up the path and a short walk uphill will lead you back into Kingswood. Keep on the main track and you will find yourself back at the cat park and walk start.
Map of Route:
Kingswood is most easily accessed by car, with free car parking available at the National Trust car park just off the A38. You can get to Kingswood via bus from Bristol but will need to walk from Winscombe or the Winscombe Hill stop on the A38.
Rate this walk: