Rodney Stoke Walk

Tuesday 25th February – Rodney Stoke

Walk Leaders: Stan & Harry

This is a moderate circular walk of just under 5 miles, starting and ending at the car park of the Rodney Stoke Inn. Please meet there at 9.15am. The walk will start at 9.30 a.m. and take about three hours to complete. The Inn’s toilet facilities will be available.

The Rodney Stoke Inn is on the A371 Wells to Cheddar road at the western end of the village. The OS map Grid Ref is ST486501 and the post code is BS27 3XB, telephone no. 01749 870209.

We will leave the Inn along road and footpath before starting to climb through a field up into Stoke Wood and then on to even ground. The climb will be slow, with frequent stops to admire the stunning unfolding vista, and take about 45 minutes. We will then enter Draycott Sleights Nature Reserve along an imposing avenue of beech trees. After a short but steep gradient we will join the West Mendip Way down the edge of Batcombe Hollow to Draycott. The route will then take us through Draycott along lanes close to the moors and on to Rodney Stoke church, and thence back up to the Inn.

There are 4 stiles and one footbridge. The stiles are a mixture of standard wood stiles, stone stiles and a stepstile. There are no dog stiles but all are possible for dogs that can be lifted.

Some of the going is likely to be a little muddy in parts with a few patches much muddier but none will be forbidding. Walking poles are recommended for this walk.

This felt a very well-designed walk. The hard bit was at the start! Thanks to the clear description we had been given, all eighteen of us were well prepared for, and coped with, the long steady walk up through a sheep field (a sleight?) and then up through the Rodney Stoke Nature Reserve, eventually rising to 500ft above our start. We had some periods of blue sky, giving good views across the moors to Glastonbury Tor, Nyeland Hill, Cheddar Reservoir, Brent Knoll and beyond.

Then it was downhill all the way, round through Batcombe Hollow to Draycott and on to our start, stopping on the way to view the interesting Rodney Stoke Church, with its Rodney family chapel.

As is usual this year, the forecast had been for light rain showers and a moderate breeze. The showers came as promised but fortunately held off at the start and the end so those staying for lunch got into the pub quite dry. Many thanks to Harry, who designed the walk and to Stan for leading us.
Report by Don