Hemyock, Madford Valley and Dunkeswell Abbey ruins
A 6.5km (4 mile) walk with lovely views of secluded Madford valley and a visit to the ruins of a Cistercian abbey.
With thanks to the Blackdown Hills AONB for this walking route.
Photograph courtesy of: Eugene Birchall / Dunkeswell Abbey Gate / CC BY-SA 2.0
- From the car park next to the Baptist Church, turn left along Forestreet to the village pump. Turn left here (High Street) and walk uphill for 0.5km to a lane on the left with a no through sign.
- Go along here for 200m, past Mountshayne Farm, and take the footpath on the right, which follows a muddy track on the top of the hill. Go through a gate on your left and follow the path along the edge of a hill for about 1km, crossing several stiles and keeping the hedge bank on your right. This is a lovely, level stretch of walking with views over the Madford valley.
- At the end of the path, you will come to two gates, close together, leading to a lane. Go through both gates, turn left on the lane and walk downhill for 1km.
- Take the first lane on your right (signposted Dunkeswell Abbey). As you come into the hamlet, just before crossing a stream, look through a gate to your right: the grass-covered embankments are the remains of the Abbey’s fishponds.
- Go a little further and turn left at a T-junction, then follow the footpath towards the church and Abbey ruins.
- At the iron gates go left across the graveyard, over a stile and into a field. (Before doing so though, do take a little time to look around the ruins and church. Inside the church is a very good information board about the Abbey and the Cistercian order of monks who lived there).
- Follow the stream, then go over a bridge and through a gate. Follow the direction of the footpath arrows across two more fields to a bridge, then one more field to a lane.
- Turn left, and soon after, right to Madford Cross. Go left here, past a thatched barn with a post-box in the wall, and continue for 1km.
- About 100m past a bungalow on the left you will find two footpath signs on opposite sides of the lane. Take the left-hand path across a field with a ditch running through it, to a bridge hidden in the right hand corner of the field.
- Cross the bridge and go straight ahead for 100m to the first gate on your left. Go through this gate and immediately through a second, then continue uphill to the top right corner of the field where there is a stile onto a lane.
- Turn right and return via Mounthayne Farm and High Street.