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Wells Bishop’s Palace Circular Walk

Walk Distance: 3km / 1.9 miles

Walk Duration: 1 hr 30 at preschooler pace. 

Map: OS Explorer 141 Cheddar Gorge & Mendip Hills West; OS Landranger 183 Yeovil & Frome

Suitable for: Kids in carriers, adventurous little legs, preschoolers and older kids.  Some hilly sections on the first half of the route mean it could be challenging for very little walkers in muddy/wet weather. The whole route isn’t suitable for pushchairs but if needing a pushchair or easier/smoother route for little legs, you could walk the route in reverse, returning once reaching the road or end of paving, depending on your stroller type or energy levels. Most of that section is either on a path or flat rough ground. 

Walk Features: Lovely views of Wells and a distant Glastonbury Tor; fantastic playground near start of walk, toilets near park on Silver Street, refreshments close by, swans and ducks, cows, woodland. 


Kate says: 

Kate Limburn, Baby Routes

 

“The Wells Bishop’s Palace Circular Walk is a lovely way to explore and extend a visit to the beautiful city of Wells – England’s smallest stand-alone city. This walk climbs through woodland, emerging to views over the surrounding countryside and down to Glastonbury Tor.  Return through meadows with views of Wells Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace. There is a great playground at Silver Street to finish your walk and often an ice cream van hanging about on warm weekends, or come on a Saturday morning and pick up lunch at the market! n.b. there are sometimes cattle near or in some fields so be aware and don’t get too near mothers and young.”

 

Walk Description:

The Wells Bishop’s Palace Circular Walk starts from outside the front of the Bishop’s Palace (although alternatively you can start from Silver Street if preferred). The Bishop’s Palace is official residence of the Bishops  of Bath & Wells throughout the centuries and dates back to the late 1200s. The palace is well worth a visit in its own right (there’s a great garden and play area for kids and decent cafe) but kids will enjoy seeing the moat and imposing entryway. For years the swans here have been famous for ringing the bells to either side of the gatehouse for their food! 

Moat, Wells Bishops Palace Circular Walk, Wells, Somerset, UK.

Follow the moat around to the right, along the outside of the Bishop’s Palace. This leads you to the back corner of the moat where it intersects with the end of Silver Street.

N.b. This is the alternate start point for this walk, and also the turn off if you want to walk the more accessible half of the walk as a there-and-back-again route. Just follow the wooden sign post with white writing for Dulcote leading into the fields directly opposite. 

Turn left and continue to walk along the moat.

moat, Wells Bishops Palace Circular Walk, Wells, Somerset, UK.

Look out for the dragon mosaic on the right about half way down. Created by local children, the mosaic depicts the local legend of ‘The Dragon of Worminster Sleight’. It is said that a dragon was terrorising local villages until the then Bishop Jocelyn defeated it. Before it died though legend says that it placed a curse that should the dragon ever be forgotten, it would return to life! 

Dragon of Worminster Sleight, mosaic, Wells Bishops Palace Circular Walk, Wells, Somerset, UK.

At the end of the moat path you will pass through a gate and onto the side of a road. The path continues into the woods on the other side, slightly to the right. Take care here with kids as cars can come fast. 

Take the path leading into Tor Hill Woods and follow the path away from the main road, before it bends and starts to climb up towards the right. There is a section of steps before leading onto rough woodland track uphill. 

Tor Hill Woods, Wells Bishops Palace Circular Walk, Wells, Somerset, UK.

Head through the gate at the top of the woods. This leads out onto meadow and copse. The path is fairly easy to follow but if in any doubt, keep to the right. At one point another small path joins from the left. Again, keep right. 

Continue through the next gate. Eventually you will come to a gate and tall stone stile that leads onto a county lane. Go over the stile and then turn left. 

A very short distance down the lane you will find a kissing gate to the right. Head through here. As you reach the brow of the hill you get great views over the surrounding countryside and sometimes down to Glastonbury Tor sticking up prominently on its distinctive mound in the distance. 

Meadows and Glastonbury Tor, Wells Bishops Palace Circular Walk, Wells, Somerset, UK.

Pass through another gate and down the hill. There is a gate leading out to the main road at the bottom. 

Go through the gate. Opposite, slightly to the right, you will see a lane/pull-in. Cross over the road and aim for this area. 

Wells Bishops Palace Circular Walk, Wells, Somerset, UK.

Follow along the dirt track leading off the track to the right, where you will find a gate leading onto a well defined footpath. N.b. If you are walking the route in reverse with an all-terrain stroller or because of wanting to avoid hills, this is the point at which you would turn and retrace your steps. wells cathedral through meadows, Wells Bishops Palace Circular Walk, Wells, Somerset, UK.

From here the walk is simply a case of following the footpath. The walk passes through several more gates and the views of Wells Cathedral become better and better as you approach town, with ocassional glimpses of Glastonbury Tor off to the left.

There are often cows in or near the fields around this path so be aware, but the kids will also love going for a closer look through the fence if they are in one of the adjoining fields. 

cows, Wells Bishops Palace Circular Walk, Wells, Somerset, UK.

 

The path eventually becomes paved ( a great short walk option for normal strollers) and there are several benches to stop and rest or enjoy a snack. 

The footpath eventually emerges onto Silver Street just next to the back of the Bishop’s Palace. This is where the ice-cream van was when I last walked this route – perfectly located for returning walkers!

To retrace your steps to the start of the walk simply turn left and follow the moat footpath back to the front of the Bishop’s Palace.

Alternatively there is a great playground just down Silver Street which makes a great place for little hikers to run off any remaining energy! You can access it most safely by looking out for the path to your left a short way down the moat pathway.

path to recreation ground, Wells, Wells Bishops Palace Circular Walk, Wells, Somerset, UK.

This leads you into Wells Recreation Ground. Continue on, passing the bandstand and public toilets to your left, before arriving at the playground. There is also a roadway entrance from Silver Street. 

Map of Route:

 

Directions:

The Wells Bishop’s Palace Circular Walk starts from outside the front of the Bishop’s Palace in Wells (/// castle.dinosaur.perusing ), which you can access through the large archway at the top (Cathedral end) of the market place. 

Wells market place is well served by buses. 172, 173,174 and 376 buses all stop there. 

There is plenty of parking in nearby central car parks. Use BA5 2RA for the Bishop’s Palace. 

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