Wellington Monument, Wellington, Nr Taunton, SomersetRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Take a walk along a beech-lined avenue that opens out onto a wildlife rich meadow surrounding the Monument. This is an ideal place for a picnic or to fly your kite. Stroll on past the Monument, a tribute to the ‘Iron Duke’, before descending into the depths of Firs Plantation.
- Grade of walk: Walking Boot (steep/rocky)
- Type of walk: 'Historical Footsteps' , 'Beautiful Views'
- Bus stop
Start: Wellington Monument car park, grid ref: ST143167
Starting from the car park head around the metal barrier and down the wide beech-lined avenue.
At 174ft (53m) the Wellington Monument is the tallest three-sided obelisk in Britain. It was started in 1817 to celebrate the Duke of Wellingtons victories, culminating in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. But the money ran out. It was abandoned, unfinished, without the planned cast iron statue of the Duke on top. Later it was struck by lightning. In a surge of local fervour after the Duke died, it was completed between 1853 and 1854 to a different, Egyptian-inspired, design. The Monument has repeatedly needed major repairs, and we are exploring solutions for its serious structural defects.
At the end of the avenue you'll come out to the edge of an area of grassland. Head across the grassland directly towards the Monument, a tribute to Arthur Wellesley (the Duke of Wellington), built as an expression of gratitude after the Battle of Waterloo. The Wellington Monument is an impressive landmark in the local landscape, which now stands 175ft (53m) high. The grassland is studded with flowers such as field scabious, birds-foot trefoil and lousewort. This is a popular feeding place for green woodpeckers.
The original intention was to plant trees around the Monument and create an avenue approach, but we dont know exactly what was done. Veteran oaks, beech and sweet chestnut trees provide excellent bird nesting sites and bat roosts. Deadwood from old trees are also a valuable wildlife resource, supporting a host of fungi and invertebrate species which in turn are food for great spotted woodpeckers; often heard drumming across the site from late March onwards. Tree creeper and nuthatch can often be seen. If you do this walk at dusk you may see bats hunting for insects.
Bear to the right-hand side of the Monument and go around it until you come to a gravel path and steps that head down into the woodland. Follow these steps down into the beech woodland and then further down along a slope.
The grassland around the Monument is rich in wildlife, containing plant species such as field scabious, common spotted orchid, birds-foot trefoil and tormentil. The rare moonwort fern has not been seen for many years. Its a popular feeding place for green woodpeckers and you may be able to find common dodder, which is a parasitic plant on gorse. All these plants provide a great pollen source for a variety of butterflies including common blue butterfly, marbled white and green hairstreak, and a multitude of smaller insects which dragonflies, martins and swallows can be seen hunting over the grassland.
Near the bottom of the slope, theres a metal gate on your left with a path leading away behind it, take this path. This is the boundary path along the bottom of the woodland and can be quite muddy. Keep your eyes peeled for veteran oaks, beech and sweet chestnut all providing fantastic habitat for bats and birds. Tree creeper and nuthatch can often be seen, although you'll need to do a dusk walk to see the bats.
After a short while you'll come to a bank with old beech trees growing on it and a metal gate directly in front of you. Turn left before the gate and, keeping the bank on your right, follow the track gently upwards.
After a short distance the track curves left and goes steeply uphill, keep following this track along, with another hedge bank immediately on your left. At the top of the slope the track widens out and has many tree roots in it.
Go through a gap in the earth bank which crosses your path, a few steps further ahead you'll come back onto the edge of the grassland around the Monument.
Follow the track around the edge of the grassland and then back down the beech avenue to the car park.
We hope that you really enjoyed this one-mile walk. The National Trust looks after some of the most spectacular areas of countryside for the enjoyment of all. We need your support to help us continue our work to cherish the countryside and provide access to our beautiful and refreshing landscapes. To find out more about how you too can help our work as a volunteer, member or donor please go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk
End: Wellington Monument car park, grid ref: ST143167
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Moderate
- Distance: 1 mile (1.6km)
- Time: 30 minutes to 40 minutes
- OS Map: Landranger 193
The tracks and paths on this walk range from gravel stone tracks to muddy paths, especially through the woodland. There are a set of steps down into the woodland and a short steep slope back up. Tree roots create very uneven terrain in places through the woodland, so wear some decent walking boots.
- How to get here:
- By train: Taunton, 8 miles (12.9km)
- By car: Off M5 at Junction 26, then head towards Wellington. At roundabout take first exit onto A38. After about 1 mile (3.2km) turn left onto Monument Road. At the top of a steep section of road you’ll come to a crossroads, turn right. Entrance to Monument car park is 218yd (200m) on right
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