Butleigh Walk in May

Tuesday 7th May – Butleigh

Walk Leaders: Maggie & Barbara

A 5 mile walk around the Butleigh area (OS Explorer map 4, grid reference ST519332) We start at the Rose and Portcullis pub in Butleigh (BA6 8TQ) where facilities will be available. Please meet at 9.45am ready for a 10am start.

From the pub we walk a short distance along Barton Road then head in a southerly direction across fields, climbing gently towards the Butleigh war memorial. We then have a stretch of road walking towards the hamlet of Kingweston. From there we walk east across fields to our coffee break stop in the village of Barton St David. Heading then in a westerly direction, partly on lanes, partly across fields we return to the outskirts of Butleigh and the main focus of this walk which is the Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Whitefield nature reserve. If the timing is right it should be full of cowslips! From the reserve it’s a short walk back to Butleigh and the pub. Despite the terrain being reasonably flat the walk offers lovely views of the surrounding countryside. There are half a dozen stiles, mostly dog-friendly.

The morning of the walk started out overcast but warm, with no rain forecast, and 19 walkers set out for a 5ish mile walk from the Rose and Portcullis in Butleigh.

As the walk description said after as short stretch along the road we soon turned into fields, and this, with footpaths and a few short stretches of road, was to be our terrain for the next couple of hours.

We continued our walk via a huge field of oil seed rape which was shoulder high to the war memorial, where some of us attempted to read the inscription which had over the years become very worn, and soon we came into the tiny hamlet of King Weston where Maggie, our leader, told us some of the history and we admired the expensive houses. A brief interlude at the church followed as we set off for Barton St. David church which was to be our coffee stop.

After a refreshing stop our steps took us to the Dove Centre at Butleigh, which is a small cluster of houses attempting to live as “green” as possible, occupied by various artists and acting as a “Deep Nature Retreat Centre”. Here we had a very interesting conversation with one of the residents about the benefits of solar power and batteries. The Centre practices Taoism, which is an ancient Chinses philosophy advocation humility and religious piety (look it up for a full description and more facts, it’s quite fascinating). Leaving the centre behind we entered the Avalon Permaculture gardens where the highlight was a magnificent field of cowslips as far as the eye could see, now administered by Somerset Wildlife Trust. The field and the permaculture area had been bequeathed in 2006 to SWT by Patrick Whitefield who died in 2015.

Leaving behind the cowslips our thoughts turned to lunch and a well-deserved drink back at the Rose and Portcullis which we soon reached and where we enjoyed excellent food and company.

Thanks to Maggie for leading the lovely walk and to Barbara for being the backmarker and giving us the benefit of her knowledge about the many wild flowers we saw along the way.
Report by Roger R.