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THE MENDIP RING - Leg 5b
Farleigh House to Faulkland. 5.7 miles
Starting from Grid Ref ST 800 570
Take the signed public footpath on your left opposite the thatched cottage, toward Farleigh House follow the path through the grounds, through Church Farm courtyard and follow the path between the hedges, which can be overgrown in Summer. This bears down and round to the right before opening out into fields where you follow the right field boundary up to the A366. Cross this busy road with care and enter the lane opposite following this until you reach the A361. Turn left, pass the service station, cross the road and take the first path on your right through the gate. After the footbridge, head across the field between the 2 very large trees, then straight on to a metal gate in the left hedge. After the second metal gate half-right to a metal gate in the right hedge. Across sleeper bridge and through second metal gate, head for far left corner of the field to kissing gate to reach the drive of Norwood Farm. Follow this until you reach a gate across the drive, go up the bank on your left, turn right, over the stile and head to the bottom left hand corner to a stile in the wall to reach the B3110.
Cross the road and enter Chever's Lane; go over the crossroads then just round the left hand bend take the bridleway to Hassage on your right. Follow the bridleway over the stream, cross on the wooden footbridge, ignore the footpath on your left, and continue to follow the bridleway to reach the hamlet of Hassage.
Turn left up the road then where the road turns sharp right take the stile up the bank following the path across the fields passing Ramsgate Wood; go through Knoll Wood and Knoll Farm to reach the lane. Cross the stile (which is about 30m off line here) and turn left back up the road then right into the bridleway; follow this round the field edges to enter an enclosed path, now look for another enclosed path on your left which takes you to the village green at Faulkland. ST 739 545
Points of Historical Interest
Farleigh House is described as a classic example of the florid Victorian Gothic. Originally a modest Manor House, from about 1700 it belonged to the Houlton family, who had Farleigh Hungerford mill. By the mid 19th century it had been enlarged and altered to its present appearance. Changes of ownership in the 20th century have included a period as Farleigh Castle School. It is now the headquarters of the Bath City Rugby Club.
Set back across a little green on the left is the Grade II Listed Hermitage House. Dated late 17th to early 18th century, it has a 3 light timber mullioned stairway window above the front entrance. All the buildings in the courtyard at Church Farm are Grade II Listed.
The footpath across the fields here is on the old trackway, mentioned in Leg 5a, which continues across the A 366 Farleigh Road and on to Hinton Charterhouse. The road was turnpiked by the Trowbridge Trust in 1768.
On Norwood Farm the Roman Road into Bath is shown on some maps as crossing the field adjacent to the main road at Norton St Philip. There are no visible traces.
The centre of Norton St Philip is a Conservation Area and there are several 17th century houses. The George Inn is one of the finest buildings of its type in England. It was built by the monks of the Carthusian Priory at Hinton Charterhouse, the sister house to the monastery at Witham Friary (Leg 3b). Used as a wool store until the 15th century it probably became an Inn shortly after the Dissolution in 1539. During the Monmouth Rebellion the Duke stayed at The George. It is said that he narrowly escaped being killed when a shot was fired at him through the window over the main door. Samuel Pepys visited the village in 1668. He lunched at The George and visited the church of St Philip and St James to see the stone effigy of Siamese Twins. There is guide to the church in the church.
The school dated 1827 is opposite the church and there is a Baptist chapel dated 1814 and a Wesleyan chapel dated 1836. The telephone box on Bell Hill is Grade II Listed and described as 'Type K6. Designed in 1935 by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. Made by Carron and Co. Cast Iron. Square kiosk with domed roof. Unperforated replacement Elizabeth II crowns to top panels and margin glazing to windows and door'.
In the secluded valley at Hassage, the Manor Farm on the left is a Grade II* mid 17th century building. The gable of the porch shows the date 1677. The building was restored in 1982/3. The barn across the road, with a square headed carriage entry, is late 18th century and Grade II Listed.
The house at The Knoll is a gamekeeper's cottage. It belongs to the Ammerdown Estate, of which more later.
The community of Single Hill is to the right and in the foreground.
The last section of the final field before the hard trackway into Faulkland was called Paley's or Palings on the 1839 Tithe map, suggesting a line of fencing edging an area of enclosed Parkland (see also Leg 6a).
Faulkland. The Mendip District Guide says 'a small unspoilt village with 18th/19th century cottages grouped around a triangular green, in the centre of which the village stocks still stand'. Green House Farm on the green was the home of John Turner, a noted 18th century eccentric, who built a tower on the southern edge of the village to rival the Jolliffe tower on the Ammerdown Estate (Leg 6b). Turner's Tower was demolished in the 1950's. The Wesleyan Chapel is early 19th century.
Opposite the green is the Somerset Lavender Farm. It is open from Wednesday to Sunday, May
to September. There is a cafe at the Farm.
Faulkland previously had a Post Office with a shop but unfortunately it is now closed.