Stage 1: Shipham to Hinton Blewett — Limestone Link
Hiking Highlight (Segment)
Kit P planned a hike.
May 25, 2021
The first stage of the Limestone Link begins in Shipham, where the Mendip Way passes through on its way to Frome. This is the hilliest of the three stages, with 1,175 feet (358 m) of elevation gain but the hills are mostly gentle. You enjoy plenty of wonderful views on your ramble to Hinton Blewett, including a particularly majestic one just before the end.
From Shipham, hike north east along Rowberrow Lane and take Hill Lane east, heading into lush woodland. The trail takes you north before swinging around the western end of Dolebury Warren and leading you up to the hillfort. The views from here are your first taste of the soaring vistas this stage is excellent for.
Next, head more or less due east on a fantastic walk across heathland, through woodland and past gullies. Seek out Goatchurch Cavern, one of the many along the trail here. Goatchurch is a naturally-formed limestone cave popular with newbie cavers thanks to its relative ease and two entrances.
If you fancy a pub lunch, taking a detour into Blagdon just north of the trail is a good option. Otherwise, continue along the Mendips ridge to the south east along field-flanked lanes to Green Plantation on Green Lane. As you enter Compton Wood, you begin descending to Compton Martin and the trail is at its steepest.
Lanes and footpaths wind through the countryside to the pretty village of West Harptree. Take Whistley Lane out of the village, which eventually turns into a footpath through the fields. Cross the River Chew at Shrowl Bridge, an old stone structure often partially cloaked in ivy.
You ascend after the river and reach the Prospect Stile viewpoint. On a clear day, it’s well worth making the most of the lovely bench here as the views over the Chew Valley are exceptional. Chew Valley Lake is easily seen and the patchwork of Somerset fields is glorious.
End the stage in Hinton Blewett, a sweet village with a pub and bus links to Chew Magna and Bath. If you want accommodation in the area, the best option might be following the Limestone Link towards Cameley. Before the village is Cameley Lodge, a three-star hotel in stunning surroundings.
June 9, 2021