Porlock Weir, Somerset
A six-mile walk featuring coastal scenery, woodland and the smallest complete church in England
Distance: 9.5km (6 miles)
Typical time: Two hours
OS grid reference: SS865475, Explorer OL9
Starting point: The car park in Porlock Harbour
Circular Walk: Yes
Recommended by: Times Online
Why I love this walk
The walk from Porlock Weir to Culbone church is legendary. It’s the perfect length, a little challenging at times but the goal is lovely — Culbone, home to the smallest complete church in England, a titchy 10.7m (35ft) in length.
Yards away is a shed with a tea urn, tea bags and an honesty box for walkers. If you’re lucky and early enough there may even be biscuits left.
The walk goes through Yearnor Wood, then zigzags along, changing over the years owing to the occasional minor landslide.
The landscape is technically a coastal walk, but you pass through woodlands of stunted oaks, follow old paths under stone tunnels that once connected the now derelict and forbidden house at Ashley Combe, and stroll up and down gentle slopes that occasionally reveal a view over the Bristol Channel. There are flat stones set into old walls that make the ideal spot to catch your breath.
1: From Porlock Weir, walk past the Anchor Hotel, through the alley between the buildings and turn left up the footpath. Take the steps up to the field, then cross the field to reach the hamlet of Worthy.
2: A few hundred metres along the lane there’s a thatched cottage that forms an arch over the Worthy Toll Road. Take the footpath that begins just to the right of the cottage and up through Yearnor Wood.
3: Carry on up the hill through the woods, following the zigzags. The track turns sharply away from the coast and into the hill, and within a few yards you can see Culbone above the high rocks. A visit to the tiny church is compulsory — though it takes you a couple of hundred metres out of the way.
4: Leaving Culbone via the hamlet’s main entrance track, a long steep climb takes you up the small lane that terminates at Silcombe Farm. You’ll see the farmstead on your right.
5: Turn left for a few metres until you see a track ascending the hill on the right. This takes you over Culbone Hill to the top of the Worthy Toll Road.
Keep an eye out for small standing stones in the bracken among the pine trees to your left, the remains of a prehistoric stone row that runs east-west across the hill.
Turn left at the top and walk along the lane for a few metres before branching right into Smalla Combe. The footpath runs down this valley alongside the stream. Swing left at Pitt Farm to take the track back to the toll road.
6: Once again, it’s only a few metres before we leave the road for a footpath. This time it’s the right of way that climbs briefly around the shoulder of hill above Yearnor Mill.
7: Now we are walking along the very upper limits of Worthy Wood, but after a quarter of a mile we come to a junction where a smaller path disappears down over the hill. This is the path that leads back to Porlock Weir, coming out on to the lane that runs inland around the rear of the tiny port. Turn right and walk for a couple of hundred metres until you reach the junction where another lane descends to the harbour and then to the car park.
Things to see
Pretty coastal scenery, the smallest complete church in England, magical woods