Walk 1822 - printer friendly version
Hodder's Combe, Bicknoller Post & Higher Hare Knap Walk
Author - Peter Lane
Length - 5.8 miles / 9.3 km
Ascent - 980 feet / 297 metres
Grade - easy/mod
Start - OS grid reference ST154411
Lat 51.162869 + Long -3.2112548
Postcode TA5 1RY (approx. location only)
This spectacular walk exploits the varying character of the Quantock Hills to maximum effect. From the pleasant, wooded Hodder's Combe up to the bleak, exposed, ancient Drove Road on the top of the Quantocks, to a pleasant ridge walk back down to Holford, this walk has much to recommend itself.
The Quantock Hills richly deserve their status as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Rising from the sea, they command fantastic views out across the Bristol Channel to South Wales. The wind blasted desolation of the higher moorland contrasts with some fine woodland and ancient beech tree lined drove roads. These fine rolling hills are, in my humble opinion, the most beautiful in the West Country.
Starting in the small village of Holford, locate the free Quantock Hills AONB car park signed down a country lane to Alfoxton and Hodder's Combe, grid reference ST154411.
From the Hodder's Combe car park, walk up the broad, well made track past Stella's excellent Tea Rooms (a welcome place on the return trip) into the Combe itself. Follow the gently rising path through delightful woodland with the brook tumbling gently down to the right. At the first bewildering junction of paths, cross a ford and keep to the right, following the line of the brook. At the next bewildering junction of paths, keep to the right, fording again as the path heads East into Lady's Edge. This path rises more steeply and the woodland becomes more sparse, eventually giving way to open moorland and rising sharply to Sheppard's Combe.
At the summit of Sheppard's Combe, a number of crossing paths are to be ignored and the solitary, weathered Bicknoller Post lies ahead. Just beyond this are spectacular views to Beacon Hill. The main Drove Road now heads South. Follow it and bear left along the well worn track rather than continuing over the hill ahead. Proceed along this broad path with views to the approaching route to your left.
The next objective is Halsway post at the foot of Hurley Beacon. Just before reaching the stile leading up to the Beacon, a broad path (visible for a great distance beforehand) curves away to the left, flanking Black Hill. 600 metres from Halsway post a path heads off left towards the top of Higher Hare Knap. Avoid all the lower routes to the left side and remain on the summit ridge. A 150 metre detour to the left is required to visit the summit of Higher Hare Knap. Return to the main path and descend along the well worn path past Lower Hare Knap and eventually through a gate into woodland. The path then returns to the car park below.