Bampton Woods Circular
This 2 1/2 mile walk provides many reminders of Bampton’s industrial past and some panoramic views across the town.
Starting Point: Station Road Car Park
Type of Walk: Moderate with one steep climb and a few stiles (possible electric fence – dogs be aware)
- Walk down through St Michael’s Churchyard, to the right of the church. Pass the ancient stocks on your left and even older yew trees at the church porch. Turn left into Mary Lane to join Brook Street, where you turn right. The streams on either side flow to join the Batherm river 100m ahead. Continue to the bridge and into Briton Street.
- Here was the original Celtic Settlement, along the river. Continue to the end of the street, crossing to the left-hand side just before turning right at the Toll House.
- Keeping to the left-hand side, follow the road (A396 Tiverton). Be CAREFUL it can be a busy road. After 300m take the lane uphill on the left (Windwhistle Lane). Very shortly turn sharp left at an old quarry track and immediately take the path on the right, up steps and into Bampton woods.
- The woods were first mentioned in the Domesday of 1086 and provided protection and timber for the old town. Continue through the woods and after climbing a stile turn left along the field edge. Go over the second stile and take a line to the right of the buildings to another stile. Bear right around the walled triangular area and go through the first farm gate on your right. Climb up the steep hill to the next stile. Look back at Bampton beneath its many hills.
- Cross the stile (this can be muddy) and go right towards ruined farm buildings on the brow of the hill. Higher Bowbierhill is now derelict, providing shelter for cattle. Cross the low level electric fence at a stile (dogs beware!) and after another stile you reach the open grassy track. You are now at the highest point of the walk – take in the view! You will see the hills towards Morebath lead to Raddon Hill. Dunkery Beacon (the summit of Exmoor) is the highest point you can see on a good clear day. Cross the grassy track with views of the Exe Valley – keep an eye out for Buzzards and red deer.
- Continue to the right along the track, gently descending to a gated lane. At the lane junction (Windwhistle cottage) turn left and descend to the Exe Valley. Pass tucking Mill Farm. The lane ends at the road junction.
- The Exeter Inn to your left dates from the 15th century. Cross the A396 with care and follow the verge round to your right into the Dulverton road, looking for the second metal gate on the right. You can see the remains of the railway bridge by the Batherm below.
- Go through the gate and , cross the stile in the fence on the left. Follow the hedge around the foot of the field and then bear diagonally for the stile beside the gate on the far side if the field. Leading into Western Way, turn right here. Follow the the Western Way uphill towards Bampton. Below are old Tucking Mill cottages and mill buildings where once were sluice gates, a weir and mill leat.
- Follow the Batherm for a while passing Duvale Cottage, here were lime quarries under the hillside. The roadsides are rich with wild flowers. Continue on the Western way past Ball Hill Lane into West Street. Follow the road round turning right and then left into Station road again.
Church image: Robert Cutts from Bristol, England, UK [CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]