West Somerset Railway

Walking and Running beside the West Somerset Railway

Running and Walking the West Somerset Railway

Introduction

This is an opportunity to encourage runners and walkers to follow as closely as possible the route of the West Somerset Railway from one end to the other. This can be undertaken either running with the challenge of trying to do it all in one go, or running or walking station-to- station over a longer period of time.

At the end of the adventure catch a train back to your start point, enjoying the countryside in a more leisurely manner and feeling great about what you have just achieved.

The Three Challenges

The challenges are a bit of fun to encourage you to get out there and enjoy the West Somerset Railway.

For runners wanting to achieve the Catch the train challenge the idea is to leave your chosen starting station (either Bishops Lydeard or Minehead,) with the first train of the day and to arrive at the opposite end before the last train to your start point departs. On your journey you call at the identified stations on the line, getting a card signed to prove your arrival.

For those who can run the distance but not in the time necessary to catch a train back, Track the train gives you the challenge of setting off prior to the first train, and then coming back on the train.

Walkers can enjoy the Trek the train challenge, which is to walk from station to station, quite likely more than one in a day. This can be completed over a longer period of time.

This is an individual challenge that is not an authorised activity by the WSR. You will be responsible for your own safety throughout the route, and if you should miss the final train, the public transport alternatives are bus or taxi. If you are running late aim to catch a train back from an alternative station. Carry a timetable with you.

Tony Hampson

The Route

This route does not include running across the top of the Quantocks but follows a fairly level route, with a few inclines and sharp hills. Wherever possible the route is off-road and on public footpaths or restricted by-ways. The routes enclosed are the same in both directions, but the station-to-station directions will vary.

Conditions underfoot can change very quickly. At times parts can be very boggy and a section on the Washford to Blue Anchor route is very low lying and prone to waterlogging. In adverse weather conditions or at the height of summer when crops, grass or nettles are at their highest you will need kit according to the conditions.

There are possible variations to the routes that are available. Two choices are given for a section between Bishops Lydeard and Crowcombe Heathfield. Whichever route you take, remember that safety is your priority, keep to public footpaths, and follow the country code.

If you wish to run on the beach between Blue Anchor and Minehead please check tide times before you start. The route between Bishops Lydeard to Crowcombe will require sharing country lanes with cars, farm vehicles, horses and their riders and cyclists, so take care.

The rail journey is approximately 25miles. It passes through the staffed stations of:

Bishops Lydeard

Crowcombe Heathfield

Stogumber

Williton

Watchet

Washford

Blue Anchor

Dunster

Minehead

*the route does not include Doniford Halt as this is un-staffed and the road can be busy and has poor visibility.

How do the Challenges work?

Participants are required to get their downloadable journey card signed off by a WSR staff member, who will record the time of doing so, at each station visited. Remember that their priority is the smooth running of the railway and the safety of passengers on the station, so you may be required to wait a short time.

Timing your run or walk

A Catch the Train start from Bishops Lydeard should not start before the first train on the day at 10.20am. You must complete and be on the final return journey of the day from Minehead. This can be either 16.30 or 17.20, depending on the colour of the timetable. With the yellow timetable the final departure time from Minehead is 50mins later and diesel powered. You can of course catch an earlier train if you are there sooner. The maximum running time is either  6hrs 10mins or 7hrs. You would need to finish before then to give yourself time to get onto the train.

A Catch the Train start from Minehead should not start before the first train departs at 10.10, and should complete for the final return journey from Bishops Lydeard at 16.30. With a Minehead start the maximum run time is going to be between the first and last trains will be 6 hours and 20mins. You would need to finish before then to give yourself time to get onto the train.

For a Track the train challenge arrive at your start point earlier than the first departure and ask a member of staff to sign your card and record the time. At Bishops Lydeard and Minehead stations some staff will be on duty 1.5 hours before the first departure. Be aware that it is a relatively short run from Minehead to Dunster station and that it is possible it will not be staffed if you arrive too early! Bishops Lydeard to Crowcombe is a longer and tougher run and although to a lesser extent the same issue might apply.

Buying a ticket. Ideally purchase a ticket in advance or before boarding the train, but this can be done on the train. For those intending to walk over a week the FREEDOM OF THE LINE ticket is fantastic value.

Refreshments and toilets are available at all of the above named stations, and on the trains. There are café’s close to the stations in Watchet, Blue Anchor and Minehead.

On completion

When you finish your challenge, deliver or post a completed journey card, counter signed by WSR staff, to run walk wsr, The West Somerset Railway, The Railway Station, Minehead, Somerset, TA4 5BG.

In return you will receive a certificate of completion and an acknowledgement on the run walk wsr website. The aim is that this is a personal challenge and not a competition so no times will be posted.

Route descriptions

At the time of writing  these routes were accurate. Download the copies that you require. Always take a map to accompany the route description.

Route description from Bishops Lydeard:

1. Bishops Lydeard to Crowcombe Heathfield

2. Crowcombe Heathfield to Stogumber

3. Stogumber to Williton

4. Williton to Watchet

5. Watchet  to Washford

6. Washford to Blue Anchor

7. Blue Anchor to Dunster

8. Dunster to Minehead

 

Route description from Minehead

9.  Minehead to Dunster

10. Dunster to Blue Anchor

11. Blue Anchor to Washford

12. Washford to Watchet

13. Watchet to Williton

14. Williton to Stogumber

15. Stogumber to Crowcombe Heathfield

16. Crowcombe Heathfield to Bishops Lydeard

Maps of the route

The downloadable map will highlight the suggested route and you can use this together with your journey card which will have the approximate distances between each station.

The WSR in action; photographs of each station

Bishops Lydeard

Crowcombe Heathfield

Stogumber

Williton

Watchet

Washford

Blue Anchor

Dunster

Minehead

Links

www.wsr.org.uk

the unofficial website featuring the West Somerset Railway

westsomersetrailwayvticket.co.uk

www.westsomerseton-line.gov.uk

buses from First Group

www.westsomersetmineralrailway.org.uk

additional resources

Country Walks from West Somerset Railway Stations by Malcolm and Natalie Short 20 interesting walks.

This is an invaluable guide and some of the downloadable route cards make reference to alternative walks that will be can be used by those walking between stations on the Trek the Train challenge. These guides are available at most West Somerset  Railway Station.

Route 1 Bishops Lydeard Station to Crowcombe Heathfield Station

Distance 5.89 miles (alt 5.14 miles**)

Turn left out of the station, over the railway bridge, to Ash Priors Common. Go right at the signpost (0.98) direction Combe Florey. Continue up and then down until you meet the B3224 (2.05). Be very careful crossing to the road opposite and enjoy the downhill run. Turn right, pass the church on the left and then. Shortly beyond the village hall on the right turn left along a lane. As it ends bear right along an elevated footpath above a stream. Watch your footing especially in wet conditions.

At The Farmers Arms (2.99) it’s up the hill, over the railway bridge, and enjoy the

lane as it bends right. At a T junction at Tower View Farm (3.64)** go right for 0.34 of a mile to a track (no marker) opposite a telegraph pole on the right hand side.

Follow slowly along this track as it can be boggy, sometimes overgrown, and can

become a stream with rainfall. As the path descends you may wish to walk as it

has a couple of deep drops. On emerging take care on the concrete areas as they can become slippery. Back on a road take a second left turn at the Old Stone Barns sign. Just before the buildings and take a big step up to go over the first stile on your right. Note the ‘To the trains’ sign. Follow to the left of the right hand hedge until you reach the WSR and a foot crossing.

Follow the Safety Instructions and be aware of the bends in the track in both

directions and that not all locomotives are steam and you may not hear one

approaching. You will be heading in the direction of the farm buildings you can see ahead of you. Go down the slope ahead and cross a footbridge and stile. Go directly ahead until you come to the corner of a hedge to your right. Follow the waymarker to the right which will take you to meet a stile next to the WSR. Go over it and left until you emerge onto a farm track. Ignore the stile opposite and it’s left along a track that becomes a lane. Continue past the lane joining from the left, and straight on when joined from the left by a road. Turn first right and after the railway bridge turn left to the station,

**Alternative route

(This is a shorter route but is but has a tough climb and a hilly descent. It goes

through a field that can be extremely boggy and is often occupied by cattle. You will not have to cross the railway line)

Turn left and run down the hill under the railway bridge. Continue through Nethercott and up a steep hill until the footpath on your right (3.79). Go through this and up the field and crossing over the electric fence at the indicated point. Go through the gate

ahead and you are now at the highest point and the WSR is at the bottom of the hill on your right. Proceed diagonally to your right and downhill. (In wet conditions this field can be extremely muddy and often has cattle it).

Go through the V shaped stile (4.09) and follow the path past Coursley Farm. Followthe tarmacked road uphill and then to the right and left, where it will be joined by a lane from the right (4.56) from the original route. Go left to the road and straight on. Turn first right and after the railway bridge turn left to the station,. (5.14)

Alternative walking route

Use walk #18 from the West Somerset Railway Country Walks booklet by Malcolm and Natalie Short, which shows an attractive option between Bishops Lydeard and Combe Florey. This would better suit someone looking for a picturesque walk than someone running against the clock!

Route 2 Crowcombe Heathfield Station to Stogumber Station

Distance 2.92 miles

Leave the station with the WSR on your left, turning left over the railway bridge following the road to a three way signpost. Continue straight on passing Roebuck Level Crossing (0.74) and the lane to Roebuck Farm (1.02). After a sharp uphill run with a wood on your left until after a slight downhill the road turns left (1.44). Turn right and go across the footbridge/ford until the signpost before the cottages on your left (1.50). Take the footpath on your left and continue with WSR is on your right  keeping left of the trees on your right.  Aim for the far side of the far field heading  towards the white buildings. At the road (1.82) turn right uphill and look for a signpost in the hedge on your left just before the bridge. Go left through the metal kissing gate (2.09) and ahead to a stile to the right of a metal gate. Continue to a double stile where you drop diagonally to your left (this field can be very boggy after rain). Crossing another  stile you continue with a hedge on your left to a stile taking you onto a road (2.2). Turn right up past Water Farm and left immediately before the railway bridge.

Run with the WSR on your right and after a short distance the path will descend to a stream with a railway bridge on your right. Go left and right through a high fence/gate (2.59). Beware of uneven and sloping ground. At the next gate bear a little to the right and go uphill and down through two gates and up (2.68) through a wooded area. You are now level with the WSR but will drop down past Lower Stream Farm to a road. Stogumber Station is to your right, under the railway bridge and left up Station Approach (2.92).

Alternative Walking route.

For those not running against the clock Walk #14 of West Somerset Country Railway Walks by Malcolm and Natalie Short includes a loop around Roebuck Farm. Walk #15 start from Crowcombe Heathfied Station and duplicates part of this walk and then includes a loop around Crowcombe.

Route 3 Stogumber Station to Williton Station

Distance 4.15miles

On leaving the station run down the approach, go right under the Railway Bridge, and right again onto the footpath. Bear right avoiding Trowbridge Cottage and continue through a series of gates and stiles until you come to Yard farm (0.73miles).

Turn left and down for a short distance until Brambletye Cottage where the road bears to the left (0.83). Go right and follow the footpath sign through the farm gate that takes you along the track to Cheddarmarsh Cottage (0.9). Do not miss the waymark sign on the post in front, and turn right and then left into the field.

Run with the hedge on your left through a metal gate (1.17) to a wood. Turn to the right and continue to Curdon Mill. Follow directions around the building and at the next waymarked sign go left through the farm yard to the main entrance(1.63) and exit with Curdon Mill Farm to your right.

Bear right and enjoy the short stretch of road until the road goes right. Keep ahead and pass the road to your left. Continue ahead onto the restricted by- way between the two barns (1.98) until it narrows where there is a path to your right signposted to Sampford Brett.  Go right beside the pylon (2.15) and directly towards the field. Go through a kissing gate (2.31) left through trees, up steps and along a gently descending track. The housing on your left brings you to Sampford Brett (2.63).

Go through the two kissing gates and proceed ahead, turning right past the Church, and a gentle up and down to the very busy A358 (2.87). The WSR crosses this road further to your right.  With great care cross to the left of the garage opposite and follow the waymarked track into and through a series of gates at Sampford Mill Farm.

As you leave the farm (3.10) keep the wood on your left and the WSR to your right. Do not take the path to your right. Climb over the stile at the end of the wood (3.3) and continue with a hedge to your right as it gently arcs to the left.

At the second kissing gate (3.66) go right and right again and continue with the river on your left, crossing a footbridge. As you emerge between two houses follow the road to the right until it joins the A39. Williton Station is a short distance to your right. Cross the road at a safe place, continue into Station Road and the station is to the left of the level crossing (4.15).

 

Route 4 Williton Station to Watchet Station

Distance 2 miles.

Leave the station via the exit gate on the platform on the same side as the signalbox. Go right along Station road joining the A39 on your left.  After a short distance turn right following the signpost  with the West Somerset Coastal Path motif, following it when it turns left and then right. At the second kissing gate bear right across a small park area and follow the footpath, first right and then sharp left avoiding the houses on your right until you reach a main road.

Cross the stone footbridge almost ahead of you over the stream. Turn left on the main road and look for the footpath sign a little way down the road on the opposite side marked with the West Somerset Coastal Path symbol. Continue through two fields with a hedge and stream on your left until you emerge onto a road. With Danesfield School to your left, turn right for a short distance. Take the wide tarmacked footpath/lane that heads up the hill passing a wood half way up on the right side. You will see the Bristol Channel in front of you.

Follow the path down until you reach a hedge, with a signpost to your left. Go through between the houses and follow the road downhill, going straight ahead at the main road until you see Watchet Station in front of you. Go to the right side of the footbridge onto the platform.

Alternative Walking route

For those not running ‘against the clock’ there is an alternative longer walking route described in Walk #10 of West Somerset Railway Country Walks by Malcolm and Natalie Short. It could be used in conjunction with the above route to make a circular walk. It is essential to check tide times before venturing into Helwell Bay.

 

 

Route 5 Watchet Station to Washford Station

Distance 2.5miles

Leave the platform using the footbridge over the track. Turn right and ahead to the harbour. Turn left and run with the harbour to your right, passing the statue to the Ancient  Mariner. Continue along the road in front of you taking a left turn at the footpath sign that directs you to the Old Mineral Line and goes to the left of the Star Inn.

Keep ahead bearing left and right until you join Whitehall (road). It’s right and straight ahead going to the right of a large white house, passing a sign for The Mineral Line to your right (0.5m). Go under a railway bridge and continue with the railway on your right until you emerge into Washford Recreation ground.

Follow the path through a gate to the road ahead where you turn right running past the school on your left. At the road junction continue straight across to the path that runs with a hedge and the WSR to its right (2.25).

Note the arched railway bridge to your right. You will shortly return to the point. As the path turns left, you turn right as you see a block of garages, and it’s a very short distance to The Washford Inn and  Washford Station on your right (2.5).

This route is also described in walk #8 of West Somerset Railway Country Walks by Malcolm and Natalie Short.

Route 6 Washford to Blue Anchor

Distance 2.86 miles

Turn left out of the station and past the Washford Arms pub. Take the footpath to the left and at the end garage it’s left and right along a path that has the railway high above it on to the left. At the road go left under the railway bridge and up a steep set of steps in front of you. As you merge onto a road from the right continue uphill and enjoy the views of the Quantocks to your right. As the road descends continue past the road joining on your right  and near the bottom of the road turn right at the footpath sign that directs you into the churchyard (0.86)

At the front to the church enjoy the view to Minehead - your destination. Continue diagonally right down through the headstones and as you emerge take the signposted track to the right of the road. Take care as you go down between hedges and along a track/stream.

At the bottom go slightly to the right, up steps, over a stile, and now run diagonally to the left heading for the white coloured farmhouse. Do not go through the farm gate but use the kissing gate on your left. At the road cross almost directly opposite into Binham Farm which is a large working farm. Follow the footpath to the right and around the farm. Cross the stream ahead and go right with the stream and then trees on your right. Cross the stile ahead and go diagonally left to a large metal gate.

Go through this keeping the stream and campsite to your left. Go to the left of The Smugglers Inn. At the road turn left and along the Promenade for 0.5 miles. As the road bears left Blue Anchor railway station is to the left of the level crossing.

This route is also described (from Blue Anchor)  in Walk #5 of West Somerset Railway  Country Walks by Malcolm and Natalie Short.

Route 7 Blue Anchor Station to Dunster Station

Distance 2.03 miles

On leaving Blue Anchor station turn left at the end on the Promenade and follow the signpost showing the English Coast Path and Dunster.* This is also the West Somerset Coastal Path. With the WSR to your left and for the best view of the WSR keep to the path which is on compacted pebbles, and later a muddy track.

At low tide if you have time there is the option of weaving a route on the sand and pebbles of the shoreline.

At the River Avill (1.36) follow the path to the left, over the bridge, and then right onto Dunster Beach Car Park. Take the road on your left in the direction of Dunster. At the Level Crossing take care as you approach and cross, obeying all instructions. Turn immediately right along a small path to the platform of Dunster Station (2.03)

You will need to go on the seaward side of the pillbox, though it is uncertain whether this will be usable when there are very high tides.

Alternative walk

A longer walk between Blue Anchor and Dunster Station is described in walk #4 of West Somerset Railway Country Walks by Malcolm and Natalie Short.

Route 8 Dunster Station to Minehead Station

Distance 2.7miles

On leaving Dunster Station take care crossing the level crossing and run past The

Old Manor to your left to the 1st of four metal gates (0.43). Continue on a path to the left of Marsh Farm. Continue along the track (this can flood after heavy rain)

until a bridge with a metal gate to it’s right. Follow the waymarked route to the right along the bottom of the golf course with a small river and trees to your right.

As you approach the beach turn left at the signpost and 2nd World War pillbox

(0.7) and run along the West Somerset Coastal Path on the edge of the golf course. Beware of flying golf balls and a pebbly path that can very uneven. (If you have the time and the tide is out you can take a slower weaving route along the beach).

As you emerge from a short stretch of dunes make a quick left and right past the golf club and you are on the Promenade in Minehead (2.0). Continue for 0.7miles until the WSR Railway Station is on your left and cross this busy road safely.

Brilliant! You’ve made it!

Alternative walk

A variation of this route is described as walk #3 in West Somerset Railway Country Walks by Malcolm and Natalie Short. You can have an extended circular walk by using walk #2 in the same booklet.

Route 9 Minehead Station to Dunster Station

Distance   2.7miles

On leaving Minehead Station cross the busy road in front of you and turn rightrunning along the Promenade in the direction of Butlins. Continue to the end of the Promenade (0.7) and follow signs for the West Somerset Coastal Path, making a right and left turn alongside of the Golf Club.

Turn right onto the West Somerset Coastal Path, through a small section of dunes, and then continue with the beach on your left and golf course on your right. Beware of an uneven path and of stray golf balls!

At the end of the Golf course at a 2nd World War pillbox (1.96) follow the signpost

right  running across the bottom of the golf course on the right of a small river and  trees. At the metal gate follow the waymarked route left over a bridge and along a farm track that can flood after heavy rain. At the 1st of four metal gates (2.0) run to the right of Lower Marsh Farm, to the left of The Old Manor and carefully over the level crossing and into Dunster station.

Alternative walk

A variation of this route is described as walk #3 in West Somerset Railway Country Walks by Malcolm and Natalie Short. You can have an extended circular walk by using walk #2 in the same booklet.

Route 10 Dunster Station to Blue Anchor Station

Distance 2.03miles

To leave the station go to the far right of the platform and follow a small path to aroad and Level Crossing. Obey all safety instructions. Turn left onto the road continuing ahead to Dunster Beach Car Park. Here bear right with the beach on your left. Follow the footpath and bridge around and over the River Avill flood relief channel (0.66).

Now follow the newly constructed Steam Trail until it becomes a pebbled path,

where you will drop down onto the beach for a short distance. If the tide is out there is the option of weaving a route West Somerset Coastal path, along sand and pebbles until you reach the Promenade at Blue Anchor. For the best view of the WSR keep to the higher route.

Just before the route meets the Promenade you will see a signpost announcing the English Coast path. Continue for a very short distance on the beach to the

Promenade and Blue Anchor Station is to your right, to the left of the level crossing. Take care crossing the road (2.03).*

You will need to go on the seaward side of the pillbox, though it is uncertain whether this will be usable when there are very high tides.

Alternative walk

A longer walk between Dunster Station and Blue Anchor is described in walk #4 of West Somerset Railway Country Walks by Malcolm and Natalie Short.

Route 11 Blue Anchor Station to Washford Station

Distance is 2.86 miles.

 

From Blue Anchor station go right on to the Promenade and go 0.5miles to the

footpath sign on your right directing you to the right of The Smugglers Inn. Go

through the first gate keeping a stream to your right. At the third gate (0.84) run at an angle, initially parallel to a stream on your right, as directed by a waymarker on a telegraph pole, to a wooden fence ahead which is part of a stile and bridge.

 

Cross over continuing with a stream on your left until you cross the footbridge to

Binham Farm. Follow the footpath to the left of the farm, and follow the drive that

takes you to the road ahead. Cross with caution going to the left of the house

opposite exiting via the kissing gate. Turn right and run diagonally towards a large tree in the left hand corner. Use the stile on the left and drop down steps into a gully. Follow the path between hedges – careful under foot – until you emerge close to the Church. Take the footpath into the churchyard and at the church look back and enjoy the route you have followed (2.01). Continue upwards and the path emerges onto Monks Path.

 

Go steeply uphill bearing right at the signpost. At the brow of the hill enjoy your first view of the Quantocks. Near the bottom of the descent take the footpath on the right and down steep steps (*alternately follow the road left and bear right but beware of traffic). At the foot of the steps run under the railway bridge and turn right along the footpath (2.59) that follows the railway which is high up to your right.When the path ends turn left and first right at a garage and it is a short distance to the right to the Washford Inn and Railway Station.

This route is also described in Walk #5 of West Somerset Railway Country Walks by Malcolm and Natalie Short.

Route 12 Washford Station to Watchet Station

Distance 2.5miles

Turn left on leaving the station and follow the footpath to the right of the Washford Inn. On reaching a block of garages to your right go immediately left, and then right, and proceed with the WSR above on your left. On meeting the road (0.25m) cross into the road opposite (Huish Lane)  - do not go under the railway bridge. Follow a signpost on your left indicating The Mineral Line, which is opposite the school on your right.  

The WSR will be on your left until you go under a railway bridge and reach the end of the mineral line (2m). As the path emerges into Watchet, you join a road coming from your right and will run for several hundred metres until the road bears right. Turn left at the Whitehall (road) sign and into Mill Lane.

Continue past the Star Inn on your left and turn right onto the road in front of you (2.3m). Run onto the Harbourside – see the statue to the Ancient Mariner – and as you see the WSR in front of you go right and access the station by the railway on your left. (2.5m).

This route is also described in walk #8 of West Somerset Railway Country Walks by Malcolm and Natalie Short.

Route 13 Watchet Station to Williton Station

Distance 2 miles.

From the platform walk past the footbridge and turn left up South Road. Continueover the junction and uphill along South Road passing the Masonic Hall, aiming for the footpath to the right of a clump of trees visible on the horizon.

At the top of South Road turn right and immediately left between the houses, going uphill. At the top of the hill you have great views of The Quantocks to your left and The Brendons to your right. Run downhill and make a left turn just after you are joined by a road on the right, and before Danesfield School. Follow the West Somerset Coastal Path symbol directing you left through two fields with a stream and hedge on your right.

At the road cross diagonally to your left and then go right over a stone footbridge. It’s then right and left following the West Somerset Coastal Path symbol. At a small grassy area bear left through a kissing gate, and continue ahead and then to the right until you reach the busy A39.Williton Railway Station is a short distance to your left. Go left and branch off into Station road and then ahead to the level crossing, and the station is on the left.

Alternative Walking route

For those not running ‘against the clock’ there is an alternative longer walking route described in Walk #10 of West Somerset Railway Country Walks by Malcolm and Natalie Short. It could be used in conjunction with the above route to make a circular walk. It is essential to check tide times before venturing into Helwell Bay.

Route 14 Williton Station to Stogumber Station

Distance 2 miles.

Leave the station via the exit gate on the platform on the same side as the signalbox. Go right along Station road joining the A39 on your left. When you see the footpath sign to your right carefully cross to the opposite side of the A39 and take the next turning left into Townsend (0.20). Shortly after the road turns right look carefully on the left hand side for a footpath that goes between houses no’s 63 and 65 and over a footbridge. Follow this along the left side of the river until it joins a minor road (0.5).

Turn immediately left through the kissing gate and follow the path with the West Somerset Coastal Path symbol. Run with a hedge on your left, through another kissing gate, as it gradually bears right. At a small wood climb over the stile (0.8), note the Somerset Coastal Path symbol, and run with the wood on your right and the WSR to your left until you arrive at Sampford Mill Farm (1.0). Proceed through a series of gates leading you to the A358 (1.30).  

Cross with great caution, continue up the lane into Sampford Brett, and turn left at the Church, and continue to a metal/kissing gate ahead (1.5). Through here take the track to the right beyond a second kissing gate that takes you away from the WSR, becoming part of the Macmillan Way West/Coleridge Way. After a short climb and steps down to a stile (1.8) go directly across the field to an opposite gate to the right of a pylon. Turn left onto a green lane and as you pass a barn ignore roads joining from the right and then left and continue ahead on the road to Vellow and Stogumber(2.20).

At Curdon Farm (2.50) the road turns right. Continue ahead into Curdon Mill and between the buildings in front of you, turning right at the footpath sign that takes you past the old mill. Follow the footpath left, passing to the left of a wood, and then straight on until you reach Cheddar Marsh Cottages on your right. Follow the sign right and then immediately left and continue down the drive going through the right hand gate (3.20).

At the road turn left for a short distance and as you rise to Yard Farm where the WSR crosses a bridge in front of you, follow the sign post on your right (3.40) and join a track which now runs next to and just below the WSR. You will go through a series of gates and stiles before coming out onto a road. Stogumber station is dramatically above you on your left. It’s left, under the railway bridge, and left again up the station approach (4.15).

 

Route 15 Stogumber Station to Crowcombe Heathfield Station

Distance 2.92

Leave the station and turn right at the bottom of the Approach, and after the railway bridge take first footpath on the left signposted Lower Stream farm. Continue ahead and to the left on a short climb. It’s downhill to a gate (0.26) and up to a 2nd gate, then a drop to your right to a 3rd gate (0.36). Ignore the path to your right and go ahead through the fenced area (be careful with sloping and uneven ground). On leaving this area go left and head towards but not under a railway bridge turning right at a stream.

Where the path splits above Water Farm choose left and continue until a hedge and road (0.65). Go right, and before you reach the bridge and ford turn  left at a footpath sign, and over a stile. Run with a hedge on your right to a second stile, and over this go diagonally left (it can be very boggy after rain). At the next double stile adjacent to the WSR continue ahead through a stile to the left of a metal gate. Continue to the trees directly ahead, where there is a metal kissing gate that leads you onto a steep road. (1.04). With caution go right, downhill and left beyond the cottages (1.12.) Run between the left and middle tree ahead and aim for the right of the cottage at the end of the field. (This field can have very long grass in the summer!).

At the road (1.47) go right using the footbridge/ford, turning left following directions for Crowcombe Heathfield. You are running on road, passing Roebuck Level Crossing (2.18), and continuing ahead when joined by a road from the right. The station is ahead the opposite side of the railway bridge. Turn right past the bridge and the station is on your right.

Alternative Walking route.

For those not running against the clock Walk #14 of West Somerset Country Railway Walks by Malcolm and Natalie Short includes a loop around Roebuck Farm.

Route 16 Crowcombe Heathfield Station to Bishops Lydeard Station

Distance 5.89 miles (alt 5.14 miles**)

Turn right on leaving the station and take care on the potholed road. At the end  go right over the bridge and left when joined by a road from the right. As the road bears right for Lydeard St Lawrence continue straight ahead, past a lane on your right, **turning right at a footpath just beyond a Red Barn (0.78).

Follow the hedge on your left and inside the fence on your right. At a stile (1.2) turn

right along the right of a field boundary. At its end (1.27) follow the waymarked route left, across and down the field in the direction of the WSR. Use the stile and footbridge and go up to a foot crossing of the railway. This will be your only foot crossing. Follow the Safety Instructions and be aware of the bends in the track to your left and right and that not all locomotives are steam.

In the next field run with the hedge on your left until you come to a stile at The Old Stone Barns (1.57). Climb over with caution as it has a deep drop on the other side. Note the sign ‘To the trains’. Proceed to your left and down onto the road (1.66) Here you go right and straight on at Redlands over a small footbridge. Be careful as you step onto the concrete track as it can be slippery and partially flooded after rain. Follow slowly along this track for which can be boggy, sometimes overgrown, and can become a stream with rainfall. The track gently rises and has several natural steps. At the road turn right and the run is now almost all on road to Bishops Lydeard. Run to Tower View Farm where you turn left, over the railway bridge and   down to the Farmers Arms (2.90). Here go right along an elevated footpath with a stream below you on the left. Take care with your footing, especially when wet. On emerging go to the end of the lane, turn right into Combe Florey, and left at a junction beyond the church, then there is an extended uphill run to the B3224. You are now 2 miles from the finish. Cross the B3224 with great care to the road opposite where there is another short climb before you descend into Ash Priors. At Ash Priors Common follow the sign post directions left to Bishops Lydeard. As you climb up the final railway bridge the station is on your right. You could go down the second set of steps on your right but you might prefer to continue a short distance and double back using the road below you on the right.

**Alternate route

(This is a shorter route but has a tough climb and a hilly descent. It goes through a

field that can be extremely boggy and is often occupied by cattle. You will not have to cross the railway line). Take this lane to the right (0.58) and follow it as it turns left, right and then left downhill to Coursley farm. Go straight ahead towards the wood and bend left running uphill to a V shaped stile (1.09).Through this you bear right up the hill and you will see a gateway ahead and the WSR below you on your left. Aim for the right hand corner of the field you are in, and as you reach the hedge bear right to the kissing gate. You are now at the highest point. Go through the gate, over an electric fence at he indicated place, and go straight ahead to a gate onto Nethercott road (1.35)

Turn left and it’s downhill trough Nethercott and then a very sharp climb, under the railway bridge, to the entrance to Tower View Farm. Turn right and follow instructions to the Farmers Arms and Bishops Lydeard.

Alternative walking route

Use walk #18 from the West Somerset Railway Country Walks booklet by Malcolm and Natalie Short, which shows an attractive option between Combe Florey and Bishops Lydeard. This would better suit someone looking for a picturesque walk than someone running against the clock!