Minehead to Bratton walk

Minehead to Bratton

  • Start / finish: Blenheim Road / Clanville Car Park, Minehead
  • Distance: 7 miles
  • Moderate, walking boots are recommended
  • The AllTrails App is an excellent guide

As at May 2023, you can park for free, all day, along Blenheim Road, Minehead. If you can’t find a spot, then Clanville Long Stay Car Park is situated just off Martlet Road and costs £5.50 all day (again, as at May 2023). It’s good to start in town since you can use public conveniences before setting off; or treat yourself to a coffee and a cheeky slice of cake… fuel for the trek ahead!

Heading away from the coast, turn right out of Blenheim Road and head up The Parade and into Park Street, then turn left into Parkhouse Road. Enter Parks Walk opposite Millbridge Road and follow the Parks Walk until you reach the Porlock Road where you will cross over and pick up the signposted Bratton Walk. Dogs must be kept on a lead for the first half of Parks Walk, but you can let them off during the second half. This is a beautifully kept green space with a meandering stream, and makes for a very pleasant start with plenty of dog litter bins.

It’s not long before you reach Bratton and start to ascend North Hill, gently at first until you arrive just above Wydon Farm, at which point the path rises steeply up hill. The lanes / paths towards Wydon Farm offer spectacular views of Exmoor and as you gain height the outskirts of Minehead come into view.

The walk as a whole is very dog friendly since all paths remain the right side of fenced livestock. In fact we only had to put Erik on the lead when we encountered Exmoor ponies; or other dogs on leads.

Once you reach the summit of North Hill you’re not far from the South West Coast Path, which will lead you back into Minehead. The views atop the hill are wonderful, and if you stick to the actual South West Coast Path you’ll have lovely views out to sea, and Wales on a clear day.

This particular circuit lends itself neatly to a morning walk followed by lunch in Minehead; or if you prefer, an afternoon excursion followed by tea / supper. It was such a glorious day that we plumped for a picnic on the hillside looking out to sea.

Once fed and watered, we headed towards the coast, and picked up the bridleway (signposted, blue acorn) back to Minehead, which runs pretty much parallel to the SWCP, but it’s a little less demanding. Had we carried straight on the path, descending further, we would have ended up on the Coast Path proper.

North Hill is covered in heather and gorse, and the rhododendrons were in abundance as we descended towards Minehead through Culver Cliff Wood, a mature woodland hugging the hillside providing welcome shade, but no real sight of the sea. As we neared Minehead, we followed the zig-zag path down to the Quay, and as we emerged between the cottages, the harbour was to our left and the hands & map sculpture, which marks the northerly start point of the South West Coast Path National Trail, was right in front of us.

For railway enthusiasts, Minehead railway station is the terminus and headquarters of the West Somerset Railway, a heritage railway. First opened in 1874, it was closed by British Rail in 1971, and reopened in 1976.