On Thursday 30th April the weather looked promising with blue sky and clouds. Rod was going to see his friend to do some work on our car so I decided to go out for a while. I decided on Stourhead although I wanted to do something more than look round the gardens, so I had a search on the internet and found an AA walk around the Stourhead Estate http://www.theaa.com/walks/stourheads-paradise-421223 a walk of 3 miles which I though would suit me very well.

Instead of heading into the gardens I had to take the road to the side of the gardens and then turning right taking me past the restored waterwheel at Turner’s Paddock, skirting the edge of the gardens.

Turner's Paddock, waterwheel
Turner’s Paddock, waterwheel

Then over a cattle grid into a meadow which took me up a lovely valley, there was a Buzzard flying overhead and I spotted a Jay in one of the trees. it was peaceful and the colours on the new leaves coming out on the trees were stunning. I passed a lovely cottage, probably let for holidays and then carried on up the hill.

Towards Beech Cottage
Towards Beech Cottage

I could see King Alfred’s tower peeping over the woodlands in front of me and black clouds in the background but I was very lucky, there were only a few drops of rain, while I heard later that we had heavy showers at home during the morning.

Stourhead 03

Walking up the track towards the woods all I saw were Sheep and of course Lambs, so I couldn’t resist a photograph or two.

Stourhead 04

Lambs
Lambs
Lambs
Lambs

Just before I was about to enter into woods I saw the ruins of Tucking mill and cottages.

Ruins of Tucking Mill cottages
Ruins of Tucking Mill cottages

I went through a gate into woods  and there was a little track up through the trees with bluebells underneath. The Bluebells weren’t so advanced as ours in Dorset. I had to go on a little farther to take the track in my walk.

Bluebell woods
Bluebell woods

My instructions told me to turn right on a path through some large conifers, it was a stiff climb to the top but the light coming through the trees was lovely.

Conifer woodland
Conifer woodland
Broad Ride
Broad Ride

Once I reached the top at Park Hill the conifers gave way to Beech trees. Park Hill is the site of an Iron Age fort. I walked from here a little way along the ridge and then the instructions were to descend into the valley called Six Wells Bottom. St Peter’s Pump sits in the middle of the valley and marks the source of our own Dorset River Stour, from which Stourhead takes its name.

Six Wells bottom
Six Wells Bottom with St Peter’s Pump
Back of Stourhead Lake
Back of Stourhead Lake

I then had to cut across the field diagonally in front of the pump which was at the top of the lakes in Stourhead gardens and then entered another Beech wood at the opposite side, it was here I met the first human beings since I started out!

Bluebell woods
Bluebell woods

Another climb up through the woods leading to a gate which took me to one of the lodges at Stourhead.

Stourhead lodge
Stourhead lodge
Stourhead park
Great Oar Meadow

The lodge lead me to Great Oar Meadow, where there were cattle grazing with some lovely Oak trees. I walked from the lodge up the drive towards Stourhead House passing an Obelisk on the way, I had seen hints of it from the gardens before but never got close to it.

Stourhead Obelisk
Stourhead Obelisk in Great Oar meadow

This was the final part of my morning walk and the final destination was Stourhead House itself, again I had never seen it before as I always went round the gardens. I had a lovely walk and the weather was kind, I just had to walk through the walled garden cross a bridge where the footpath lead to me to a welcome cup of tea and Flapjack in the National Trust Cafe.

Stourhead house
Stourhead house
Stourhead house
Stourhead house

3 thoughts on “Stourhead walk

  1. I have been taking photos of Stourhead for a number of years. However, your article made me look further afield and I walked most of your journey. Thanks for the tip.

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