Stride out into mining country

Somerset is known for cider, not coal. But Mark Rowe digs up its surprising past

This walk explores the landscape left from the little-known era of mining in Somerset, which employed 9,000 people in the 19th-century.

Start by Radstock Museum in Waterloo Road in Radstock. Cross the A367 and take the footpath for Thicket mead. Pass under the old railway bridge and turn right and climb the field to the top-left corner to a gate. Walk uphill and turn left along a farm track. Turn right by the sign to Quarry cottage, past the house to a gate. Walk downhill, cross the bridge and uphill to another stile. Cross and bear diagonally left uphill to a stile on the right and another ahead. Turn left along the lane and head right up steps on to Clandown recreation field.

Walk diagonally left to the road. Turn right and take the first road left. After 400 yards, turn right across the field to Paulton Lane. Clamber over an overgrown stile opposite, then head across the field, at about two o'clock, keeping the oak tree to your left. Look for two yellow waymarkers, about 30 yards apart. Walk between them but closer to the right-hand one, and keep the hedgerow a little to your left.

Aim for a stile directly across the field, and then make for the left-hand corner of the next field (with a car park on your left) to steps on to the road at Camerton. Turn left. The path continues to the drive of Camerton court. Pass through the small iron gate and cross to the kissing gate. Go diagonally right across the field. Through the next gate, go downhill to a stile. Turn left and pass the old colliery cottages, walking along the road for about 800 yards to crossroads. Turn right and take the second footpath on the right and pass through the estate to a track. Where the paths cross, go straight, through the gate and across the cottage garden to a field. Keep right to a stile by the edge of the wooded batch and keep ahead.

Follow the track behind the cottage and follow the path to the river and turn left in front of the bridge over a stile and walk with Cam Brook on your right. Go through a gate; turn right on the road then left through the gate to walk with Cam Brook on the right. Cross the footbridge to a road. Turn right up the road into Carlingcott, walking past the former mining cottages of Carlingcott. Bear left past the village green before turning right past house No 94 down a track to a field. Continue with the hedge on your right to another field. Here, cross a stile, with the hedge now on your left. Keep ahead and drop down the hill to a stile and cross the road to a metal gate. Turn left and walk up the grassy path. Where the ground levels out, take the well-hidden stile on the left and cross the fields at about 11 o'clock to reach a stile into woods.

Take the stile ahead and follow the field edge to a gate to cross the A367. Turn left and then right at the first drive leading to Woodborough Court. Just before the house, bear right into the field and go downhill. Keep downhill to the metal gate and then pick up a path from the left.

This path then emerges on to a field which you cross straight to find another gap in the hedge. (A stile should be in place soon.) Through another field the path (not yet on the OS map) will bear around the south side of Ludlows Farm. Turn right, and then left along a track that becomes a road, downhill into Radstock. At Waldegrave Terrace, take the final footpath left to the car park.

Distance: Eight miles
Time: Four hours
OS Map: Explorer 142, Shepton Mallet and Mendip Hills East
Further information For details on Somerset go to visitsomerset.co.uk. For information about bus services from Bristol and Bath, contact Traveline (0870 200 2233; traveline.org.uk).

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