Welcome to the first of our new #LVGHexplorer series! We’re kicking things off with a stunning circular walk from Porlock Weir, stopping at the quaint Culbone Church (smallest church in England!) and passing by some fairytail tunnels and pretty amazing scenery.
Porlock Weir Circular Walk
Distance: 7.5km (the first of which are quite steep, be prepared!)
Starting Point: Porlock Weir Car Park, TA24 8PB (don’t forget some coins for parking)
Ending Point: as above
Porlock Weir is a picturesque hamlet centred around a harbour, about 1.5 miles west of Porlock village. Once a busy port, it’s now a peaceful harbour for yachts and fishing boats. Once you come into Porlock Weird, the car park is easy to find, on your right.
If you havn’t been to Porlock Weir before, it’s worth having a wander around the little hamlet. Once you’re ready to go, walk past the Anchor Hotel (currently ‘Millers at the Anchor’) on your left and follow the path between the buildings, to get started. You’ll pass Porlock Bay Oysters on your left here – a company started in 2013, growing the shellfish in Porlock bay itself. (While you can’t buy oysters from the base here, they can be ordered through the Spar in Porlock.)
The start of this walk is a steady climb – but it follows the picturesque river running below (when you need a brief rest, have a look down to the water, or take a photo or two!). The road running below is the Worthy toll road, which is usually pretty quiet but you might spot a car or two.
Once you reach the top of the valley, where the woodland opens out, the worst of the uphill is done! There’s a lovely little bridge (above) you’ll go past before you hit the road that you’ll be walking on for the next mile and a half or so. It’s pretty flat (hurrah!) and you’ll go past a number of farms –
- Yarner Farm
- Ash Farm (Samuel Taylor Coleridge is said to have stayed here when he wrote Kubla Khan)
- Parsonage Farm (look out for the 17th century mullioned windows & chimney stacks)
Once you’ve at the end of the road, you’ll turn onto the lane which takes you most of the way to Culbone Church – this has open farmland on the right so keep an eye out for wandering sheep! You can either keep on this lane or once you enter the woodland, there’s a right turn which is shorter but steeper – we chose this route and got amongst the trees! Before long you’ll be able to see the church.
Culbone Church (St Bueno’s), only accessible by foot, is said to be the smallest parish church in England. The Church, which seats around 30 people is Grade I Listed, and the Churchyard Cross Grade II listed. It’s thought to be pre-Norman in origin, with a 13th century porch and 15th century nave. There’s a small window set into the North wall which is a leper’s squint, a relic of the 16th century when a leper’s colony was sited in the nearby woods.
If you follow the path past the porch, it climbs slightly above the churchyard and there’s a couple of benches – perfect for a packed lunch or break to take in the serenity of the beautiful place.
Once you’re ready to continue, you’ll be continuing on the South West Coast Path back towards Porlock Weir, turning left at the fork to continue all the way back down to the road at Worthy. You’ll go past a number of walls and tunnels which are the ruins of Lady Lovelace’s elaborate fairytale mansion. Lady Lovelace was Lord Byron’s daughter, and a friend of Charles Babbage. It is said that she gave Babbage the idea for the very first computer program. She brought a team of Swiss mountaineers to Worthy to construct tunnels in the hillside, to allow traders to come and go while she made her way undetected down to her private beach below.
At Worthy, you’ll recognise the road back to the footpath leading below the fields – retrace your steps back to Porlock Weir.
There’s a number of hotels, pubs and restaurants in Porlock Weir if you fancy stopping for a well-deserved coffee, drink or meal before leaving.
If you do this walk, tag any pics with #LVGHexplorer so we can have a look!