Download GPX File
THE MENDIP RING - Leg 2b
Keinton Mandeville to Sutton. 8 Miles
Starting Point Grid Ref. ST 552 309
As you emerge from Cotton's Lane onto the B3153, take the lane opposite (Babcary Lane) follow this until you reach the A37. Cross over this busy road into Westover Lane; pass two paths on your right and at the next junction turn left and continue to follow the Macmillan Way (unmarked at this point). After 300m follow this to the right. Leave the Macmillan Way at the next turn left and follow this path all the way back crossing the railway to reach the B3153 opposite Toy Farm. Turn right along the road taking the next left into East Lydford.
Continue to the bottom of the road, straight on beyond the junction, and onto the footpath straight ahead. Cross the stream, and follow the path bearing right through the left field gate, to follow the river on your left. Cross over the bridge; turn right and follow the river through five more fields. Once over the sleeper bridge with double stiles and in the fifth field go half left aiming for the dogleg in the hedge on your right; follow this left to reach a gate. Go through this following an enclosed path, and round the farm and down the drive to reach the road.
Turn left along the road. Where the road bends to the left, take the path through Bristol gate to your right, and after crossing 2 fields, at the single gatepost at the end of the hedge, bear diagonally left up to the top corner of this field to join the end of a track. Cross the track and go through the gate then follow the edge of the wood to the corner. Next cross the field diagonally right to reach a gate onto another track; turn left and follow the hedge to a narrow gate at the bottom, then turn right.
Follow this path over Bolter's Bridge and, up with the ditch on your right, onto the concrete farm track. Follow this out to a road (Bolter's Lane) continue straight ahead through the hamlet of Sutton until you reach the A371 at ST 633 341
Points of Historical Interest
Down Babcary Lane the walk is joined for a short distance by the Macmillan Way West which was opened in 2001. The first Macmillan Way opened in 1999 and is a 290 mile path from Boston in Lincolnshire to Abbotsbury in Dorset.
An independent organisation, it supports Cancer Relief.
The track continues over the Great Western Railway line. The advent of the railways from the mid-19th century saw the beginning of the end for the Turnpike Trusts. This link between Castle Cary and Charlton Mackrell ran through the south of Lydford parish.
Opened in 1906, it closed in 1962.
The Fosse Way, the A37, was the major road established by the Romans soon after the invasion in 43. Initially used for the movement of troops, the road ran from Exeter to Lincoln.
Rubbery Farm to the right of the track takes it name from Rowborough, a common pasture field. There were buildings on the site before 1688.
Back on the B3153 the house with the flag pole is Toy Farm. The father of the present owner bought the property in 1953. Having only one chicken and one sow at the time, it suited his sense of humour to call his new home 'Toy Farm'.
East Lydford is the original Lydford village. The earliest settlement may have been deserted because of flooding from the river Brue. In 1086 Glastonbury Abbey held the Manor. In 1443 it became part of the Duchy of Cornwall (Leg 6b). The name Waldegrave (Legs 6a and 7a) appears in the 16th century. West Lane, so called in 1544, runs west from Church Lane to the Fosse Way. East and West Lydford were amalgamated in 1933.
The church of St Mary the Virgin is through an unmarked gate next to the parish notice boards on the left in Church Lane. It has been privately owned since 1993. Consecrated in 1866, it was designed by Benjamin Ferrey in a 14th century style. The tablets with Latin inscriptions in the church wall are not antiquities; the clergyman responsible for the building work brought them back illicitly from a holiday in Rome. The church was last used for regular worship in 1987. It is now a Grade II Listed building At Risk and is designated as a "dangerous structure".
The site of the medieval church of St Peter is in the flat field between the N end of the village street and the river. It survives as a slight scarp to the SW.
The walk follows below the line of Eastfield Lane, probably the northern boundary of the medieval east field of the village. This clay vale, which continues to the north of Lamyatt Beacon (Leg 3a), is predominately a dairy farming area particularly associated with that other Somerset staple, Cheddar Cheese.
Near Wake's Covert the walk joins the Monarch's Way, a long distance route of 610 miles from the Midlands, which follows the escape route of Charles II after the Battle of Worcester in 1651. This path, still a road in 1884, follows on to Sutton where the Monarch's Way turns south towards Castle Cary and the coast.
N.B. Charles, unable to escape from Charmouth, turned east along the coast and eventually left England from Shoreham in Sussex.
Bolter's Bridge is a Scheduled Monument and appears in the Somerset Historic Environment Record as follows 'Footbridge spanning River Alham. Of medieval origin. Random laid lias rubble. Four segmental-pointed archways, rough hewn voissoirs, slab imposts; no parapets. Narrow cobbled causeway. Three cutwaters upstream; short section of splayed rubble wall to north-east corner supporting the bank. Appears virtually unaltered'.
In the fields on the right, below Lower Sutton Farm, is an archaeological site. A small excavation in the 1970's revealed building debris and pottery dating from the Romano-British period through to the medieval. It is now a Scheduled Monument.
Approaching Sutton the light coloured wedge shaped building at 1.00 o'clock is a pet food processing factory at Castle Cary. Looking back from the rising ground, the Tor is still visible. To the north is the mast of the Mendip Transmitter above Wells, a landmark which will be visible intermittently for much of The Ring.
In Sutton there is a Victorian letter box in the barn wall to the right.