Selworthy and Bury Castle circular walk

Holnicote Estate, Somerset

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
The distinctive white facade of Selworthy Church © Nigel Hester

The distinctive white facade of Selworthy Church

We've gradually rebuilt the walls that run through the woodland © Vicky Roe-Mottershead

We've gradually rebuilt the walls that run through the woodland

The climb to the beacon is worth it for the views © Vicky Roe-Mottershead

The climb to the beacon is worth it for the views

View from headland near Selworthy © Vicky Roe-Mottershead

View from headland near Selworthy

Route overview

This walk incorporates some of the finest views on Exmoor, with a steady climb from Selworthy village up to the highest point at Selworthy Beacon.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

trail map for Selworthy and Bury Castle downloadable walk on the Holnicote Estate
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Selworthy church car park, grid ref: SS919467

  1. Leave Selworthy church car park via the entrance and follow the lane past the church. On reaching the war memorial, turn right up the hill towards the gate. Once through the gate, follow the path to the left and head down towards the stream. Cross the stream via the footbridge and go through the gate which is directly ahead.

    Show/HideSelworthy church

    The striking white, lime-washed All Saints church consists of a 14th-century tower with later chancel and porch. There's been a church on this site since the 12th century, but the original church would have been much smaller. The two Yew trees in the churchyard were planted by Sir Thomas Dyke Acland in 1860 - one to commemorate the 90th birthday of the rector; the other to mark his own 73rd birthday. Dunkery Beacon can be seen from the churchyard.

    The distinctive white facade of Selworthy Church © Nigel Hester
  2. Take the path ahead, ignoring the steep route to Bury Castle on your right. After about 985ft (300m), take a right turn. The path climbs quite steeply in places.

    Show/HideSelworthy war memorial

    Take some time to read Selworthy war memorial, situated between All Saints church and Selworthy Green.

  3. Where the track swings sharply to the left, head right up the small path, signed Bury Castle, and follow the narrow path to the left as it dog-legs up the hill. Head for the gate, keeping the stone bank on your left.

    Show/HideWall rebuilding

    A system of walls runs throughout the Holnicote woodland; a reminder that this land was once farmland. These have fallen into disrepair over the years but, thanks to the National Trust and their volunteers, these have been gradually restored.

    We've gradually rebuilt the walls that run through the woodland © Vicky Roe-Mottershead
  4. Follow the path up the hill until it bears left around the spur of the hill. As you leave the trees, the earthworks of Bury Castle can be seen on the right. Take one of the grassy paths to explore.

    Show/HideBury Castle

    Although this place is known as Bury Castle, this Iron Age enclosure probably held a small farming community and dates back to around 400 BC.

    The climb to the beacon is worth it for the views © Vicky Roe-Mottershead
  5. Return to the main path and continue through an area of bracken and gorse, keeping the woodland on your left. When you see a gate in the wall on your left, turn right (signed Selworthy Beacon) and follow the path straight up the hill.

  6. At the fork in the path, bear right. At the next junction, bear left and head towards the tree line. Where the path forks on the edge of the Scot's pine plantation, turn right and head towards the memorial hut.

  7. From the hut, head for the road and cross. Take the path which climbs steadily up towards Selworthy Beacon. After taking a look at the views from the top, take the path that you passed (on the left as you approached) just before reaching the beacon.

    Show/HideSelworthy Beacon

    The highest point reached on this walk is here at Selworthy Beacon. At 1010ft (310m) above sea level, it's a bit of a climb but is worth it for the views.

    View from headland near Selworthy © Vicky Roe-Mottershead
  8. Until you join the South West Coast Path, keep the fields on your right. Continue until you reach an open area (about half a mile), where there are fine views of the Exmoor coast on your left. Here, double back on yourself (ignoring the path straight ahead) and follow this path until you reach a large mound.

  9. Beyond the mound, take the right fork which leads you back towards the road. On reaching the road, cross and follow the path that runs parallel to the road back to the wind and weather hut but, just before reaching the hut, bear left back towards the road.

  10. Don't cross the road, but take the bridleway down Folly Combe (signed Selworthy). When you reach the main Selworthy Combe path, turn right and follow the path.

  11. Go through the gate back to Selworthy village and return to the car park.

End: Selworthy church car park

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 3 miles (4.8km)
  • Time: 1 hour to 1.5 hours
  • OS Map: Explorer OL9
  • Terrain:

    A circular walk with no way markers and little signage. The route is steep and stony in places; stout footwear is advisable. No bins provided so please take your waste home. Dogs welcome.

  • How to get here:

    By foot: Access from Selworthy via road. Access from Allerford via woodland paths

    By bus: Service 39 and 300 run between Minehad and Lynmouth. Winter and summer timetables vary. Alight at the bus stop opposite the road to Selworthy village

    By car: Take the A39 road to Selworthy, turn right at brown sign marked Selworthy village. Continue up that hill to the National Trust car park

  • Contact us