Have you been to the Quantocks yet?
Visit the Quantock Hills
Have you been to the Quantocks yet? It’s a place for great walks, bike rides, good pubs, amazing scenery and family adventure! The Quantock hills are a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and I can understand why. Easily accessible from Bristol, Bath, Exeter, or London for a weekend break, but offering wilderness, space, tranquillity, and fantastic views.
Walks in the Quantocks
I’ve found three family walks that we really enjoyed.
I’ve written a rough guide of where we walked, but the Quantocks are one massive walkers paradise so these are by no means the only walks nor necessarily the best ones! The place names I’ve used are all marked on the map.
Dead Woman’s Ditch is easier for younger kids, and the other two were a good challenge for my 5 & 7 year olds. For older kids and teenagers, you can easily extend these loops and explore the Quantocks even more.
Grab an OS map (140) or use the OS app to navigate the footpaths as it’s easy to get lost!
1. Dead Woman’s Ditch
Ancient woods and a gory history
With a name like ‘Dead Woman’s Ditch’, you just know you have to visit this place! Legend has it that the ditch was named after the body of Jane Shorney was found here – brutally murdered by her evil husband. Though the facts behind the story are a little dubious, the rumours certainly add to the mysterious atmosphere of this deep, dark, moss-covered, ancient forest.
There’s a car park alongside Dead Woman’s Ditch and you can do an easy and enjoyable 2 mile walk from here.
The walk takes you through ancient, gnarled trees and out onto open moorland with amazing views across Bristol Estuary. We visited on a misty, winter day and loved the slightly spooky atmosphere of the place.
- From the car park, walk along the ditch where you can discuss the gory history of the place
- From there, head West and venture out onto the moor towards Crowcombe Park Gate with some of the best views of the Quantocks.
- It’s possible to catch a glimpse of Dunkery Beacon in Exmoor from here… though we couldn’t because of the fog!
- Head north towards Wilmot’s Pool, where wild ponies often gather, before finally heading east again back to the car park.
Beautiful beeches and hilltop views
Roughly 5 miles
The boys and I did this walk on a hot summer’s day and we absolutely loved it. There were old beech trees to climb, Cairns to conquer, and streams for a paddle. Take a packed lunch and plenty of water and make a day of it.
- Park in Bicknoller and started by visiting the 1,000 year old Yew Tree in the church yard. It’s so old that it has to be held up with supports but you can walk inside the tree and the medieval village stocks are kept underneath it (for naughty children….)
- Wonder along the road until you join the footpath at Quantock Moor Farm and start the climb up through Long Combe. It’s quite a hike up but absolutely beautiful. The ancient beech-lined pathway is great for tree-climbing.
- At the top of the tree line, continue up to Thorncombe Barrow – an ancient burial ring which turned out to be a good picnic spot. The views are unbelievable!
- Carry on along the top of the moor towards the sea, with more beautiful views and amazing colours from the heather and gorse. Passing the famous Bicknoller Post (a large marker post), head up to find the cairn marking the top of Beacon Hill.
- Finally, head down to Staple Plantation car park, and wind down through the beautiful woods, along a stream to Weacombe, and then back to Bicknoller… pop in to the Bicknoller Inn for a pint if you have time!
This is a really beautiful walk.
3. West Bagborough
The best views in the South West and a pint to finish
- From The Rising Sun, West Bagborough (reported closed), join the footpath that passes straight up past the pub and onto the hills. It’s a bit of a climb up an ancient beech-lined trackway but the views from the top are totally worth it.
- Head along the Macmillan Way West which is a great vantage point for viewing the whole of the Quantock Hills.
- From the cairn head down Wills Neck, a notoriously windy stretch of hill (which explains the the miniature, hardy trees trying to grow there.) Peering over the edge of ‘the neck’, take a look down towards the beautiful Triscombe quarry lake.
- Finally, head back along the track to The Rising Sun for a pint.
Looking for family adventure? Make sure you check out our Adventure Guide series!
How do we plot our adventures? Using a map and the awesome series of Wild Guides which share the best, secret spots to explore across the South West. We take it with us whenever we visit somewhere new! Grab a copy here.
*I have used and enjoyed the Wild Guide book series for years and I hope you will too. Though I take an affiliate commission for each book sale from my website, this helps cover the running costs of Go Wild Go West.