The best walks in Somerset and Dorset with a coffee pitstop
Stretch your legs and refuel en route with these brilliant local walks, all with pitstops for coffee and cake. Grab your wellies and go!
Mells river walk, Mells
Walk: A gentle riverside stroll along the Mells Valley with some interesting industrial archaeology – and at the moment, spectacular snowdrop displays – along the way. The ruins of Fussell’s Ironworks are a poignant reminder of an industry that once supplied agricultural tools around the world. Walk all the way into Frome if you fancy. See the route.
Pitstop: Takeaway hot coffee and an excellent selection local produce at Mells Village Shop, open every day.
Ramscombe Forest, Over Stowey
Walk: Just under 4 miles of easy walking, mostly along forest tracks, starting and ending at The Quarry car park in Over Stowey and taking you through Ranscombe Forest, past Adscombe Farm, with views towards Bridgwater and the Somerset Levels. See the route.
Pitstop: The Foxy Bean, Adscombe Farm, Adscombe. Coffee, homemade cakes, soup, sausage rolls, bacon muffins and more to takeaway from Weds to Sat, 10am to around 3/4pm.
Walk. Starting in the hilltop town with views northwest towards Glastonbury Tor and south to Melbury Hill, the three-mile walk takes you down the famous (super steep) Gold Hill and through country lanes and fields to the chalk downlands and back. See the route.
Pitstop: Florist-cum cafe Pamplemousse on the High Street, open every day from 9am–4pm (3pm Mon), sells takeaway coffee and yummy cakes, sweet and savoury pastries (cinnamon buns and pain au raisin? Yes please!). Plan ahead and you could order a bunch of flowers online and collect while you’re there.
The Somerset Space Walk, North Newton, near Bridgwater
Walk: A scale model of the solar system along 22km of the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal, but you don’t have to do all of it. Centred on the sun at Maunsel Lock, with the planets shown in their orbits on both sides, the rote heads north towards Bridgwater and south towards Taunton. See the route.
Pitstop: Whichever direction you decide to go, Maunsel Lock tearooms are the perfect starting point, selling drinks and homemade cake at weekends, 10.30am–3.30 pm.
Golden Cap, Seatown, near Bridport
Walk: The circular four and a half miler starts in Seatown car park and takes you up a steep slope (unsurprinsgly, as Golden Cap is the highest point on the South coast), through woods on Langdon Hill before reaching the top for spectacular coastal views in each direction. Have a nose around the teensy hamlet of Stanton St Gabriel, now a clutch of refurbed cottages and a ruined 13th century chapel before making your way back down. See the route.
Pitstop: Brilliant pub grub – homemade soup, toasties, fish and chips, hot dogs, hot churros, hot drinks – to takeaway from The Anchor Inn, right on the pebbly beach in Seatown. Open Fri to Sun.
Langport and Muchelney
Walk: The three-and-a-three quarter mile loop from Langport follows the River Parrett across the waterways, under the vast skies and past the plethora of swans of the Levels to Mulcheney’s ruined Benedictine Abbey (now owned by English Heritage), and back again. See the route.
Pitstop: Inventively delicious array of homemade cakes, pastries, pasties, (purple sprouting, Stilton and miso sound yummy), filled croissants, hot soup (Thai parsnip and coconut, anyone?) at The Bridge Bakery & Canteen, on the Westover Trading Estate, is open Weds to Sun, 8am–2pm.
Hengistbury Head, Christchurch
Walk: After a bit of effort on the way up, it’s an easy walk around the nature reserve and its wildlife with great views of the coast before heading down to the beach (and some of the most expensive beach huts in the UK) and back to the car park. See the route.
Pitstop: Freshly ground coffee, breakfasts everyday from 9am at the Hiker Cafe close to the Visitor Centre near the car park.
Walk: The two-mile Woodland Route in the grounds of the National Trust’s Gothic Revival house Tyntesfield starts and finishes at Home Farm and takes you all over the 240-acre estate including the Kitchen Garden, Holly Walk and the wonderful woodlands. See the route.
Pitstop: The Cow Barn cafe in the grounds is open daily from 10am–4.30pm for hot and cold drinks and snacks.
Kingston Lacy, Wimborne Minster
Walk: The Italianate villa’s 8,500 acres – 72 miles of footpaths, cycle trails and bridleways based on ancient ‘greenways’ linking farms and villages, landscaped gardens, heathland, water meadows and an Iron Age Hillfort (above) – should keep you busy for a while. There are several downloadable routes. You must book in advance.
Pitstop: The Stables Cafe within the grounds is open daily for drinks, cakes and snacks.