Stage 1: Chedington to Stoke-sub-Hamdon — River Parrett Trail
Kit P planned a hike.
January 6, 2021
The first stage of the River Parrett Trail is 13 miles long (21 km) and has the most elevation of the entire route, although this is mainly due to Ham Hill. This Tour is gently undulating and takes in the River Parrett at its absolute infancy, following it past ancient villages with lots of intriguing secrets. There’s nothing too challenging on the route but the ground can get muddy in low-lying sections.
This trail starts at Chedington in West Dorset, where the River Parrett’s source lies as a series of springs and pools. You’ll begin by going downhill, soon reaching the old village of South Perrot and leaving Dorset behind. Crossing into Somerset, you’ll join the Liberty Trail for a mere moment (so don’t worry about waymarkers) before hiking north alongside the Parrett and west to Merriot.
This middle section is low-lying and stays mostly in fields. As a result, waterproof boots or socks are recommended in anything less than bone dry conditions as this area often gets damp around the ankles. Passing the 16th-century Wigborough Manor, you’ll cross the Parrett, which is a little more established by this point, and head into Norton-sub-Hamdon.
Norton is a wonderful little village that has plenty of stunning hamstone buildings to gaze at. Hamstone is the yellow-hued rock that has been historically quarried from Ham Hill. You’ll find a pub here as well, should you crave a hot meal.
The next section of this Tour leads you up to Ham Hill’s fantastic summit with correspondingly excellent views. This hill is home to a sprawling Iron Age hillfort and is well worth rambling about. Afterwards, walk down into Stoke-sub-Hamdon to seek out its ancient priory and end the Tour.
The easiest way to reach Chedington is to head to Crewkerne by car or train and catch the number 6 bus to Mosteron and the B4 to Chedington. Stoke-sub-Hamdon has a variety of accommodation and eateries or you can catch the number 81 bus to nearby Yeovil, which has plenty of amenities.
January 7, 2021