Friday 26th April – Baltonsborough
Walk Leaders: Maggie & John S
A walk around the Baltonsborough area - OS Explorer map 4, grid reference ST542348, length: 5.1 miles
Baltonsborough church is the starting point for our walk but lunch will be at The Quarry Inn at Keinton Mandeville. The plan is to gather at The Quarry Inn by 9.15am so that you can order your food on the morning. We then travel in as few cars as possible to Baltonsborough (BA6 8RL, 2.9 miles, 7 mins), parking close to Church Path.
The terrain is flat and the walking relatively easy. There are quite a number of (dog-friendly) stiles but none difficult. From the church we head west out of Baltonsborough to Wallyers Bridge - this is a short section along a road and care needs to be taken. We then follow the banks of the Brue to Baltonsborough Flights. From there we follow Cunlease Rhyne as far as Tootle Bridge then back along Dunstan’s Dyke to the Flights. Turning away from the river we track across fields, skirting the edge of Baltonsborough and back to the church.
We met at the Quarry Inn in Keinton Mandeville on a rather grey day. From there we squeezed into fewer cars, almost leaving John, our back marker, behind and so to ancient Baltonsborough (first mentioned in 744, property of the Abbot of Glastonbury), in 909 the birthplace of Saint Dunstan who became Abbot of Glastonbury and later Archbishop of Canterbury. Here we gathered in the churchyard (unsurprisingly St. Dunstan’s) before setting off, as we did so the rain started as well, light but coming on a breeze straight at us.
Along by the Mill Stream at first, then a short stretch on a road as far as Wallyers Bridge. This was followed a long, stile-hopping walk along the banks of the Brue, very pleasant and fortunately the stiles were sturdy if not all quite as easy as implied. We left the river at Baltonsborough Flights, a rather baffling name for a bridge over a weir. Next part was along Cunlease Rhyne to Tootle Bridge, a beautiful old stone bridge. (lovely names aren’t they?) where we stopped for coffee and where the rain stopped too.
From there we turned back towards Baltonsborough along Dunstan’s Dyke which runs parallel with Honey Mead Lane (I love these names) as far as the Flights. Across fields - and yet more stiles, and so back to the church and our cars. Just on the edge of the village we passed a couple of giant glasshouses where, apparently, they grow date palms from tissue and export them over the world - it seems an extraordinary thing to find tucked away by a small rural village. On back to the pub and lunch. A really pleasant walk in what was for me a completely new part of Somerset, thank you Maggie and John.
Report by Nick