Lytes Cary river walk
Lytes Cary Manor, near Charlton Mackrell, Somerset, TA11 7HURoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
A walk through open fields with magnificent views of surrounding villages over the site of a deserted medieval village, to the River Cary catchment area. The River Cary corridor is listed as a county wildlife site for its aquatic habitat. It hosts a number of rare plants, birds and invertebrates.
- Grade of walk: Welly (puddles/rock pools/mud/stream
- Type of walk: 'Flora & Fauna', 'Waterside Walks'
- Bus stop
Start: Lytes Cary Manor car park, grid ref: ST529269
You may like to call at reception to collect a description of the River Cary catchment area and map.
The gently flowing river Cary is one of Somersets longer rivers as it flows from its source near Castle Cary to the River Parrett at Dunball and the Bristol Channel. Along its 37 mile (60km) long route it drains Cary Moor, goes through Babcary and Cary Fitzpaine and then passes through the Kings Sedge Moor and the Polden Hills. In 2007 the Cary was the subject of a major study to see if strategically placed woodland would help to alleviate the flooding which affects the river from time to time.
Return to the car park and go through the gate into the open field, keeping the willow trees to your left.
Much of Lytes Cary was built by John Lytes before he retired to live in London in 1558. His son Henry then moved into the property and created a botanic garden around it. Henry was particularly interested in herbs and in 1578 published his Niewe Herball - a translation of the Flemish book written by Dodoens which Henry dedicated to Queen Elizabeth I. It became a much admired standard work on the subject, and was reprinted a hundred years later in 1678. A copy is on show in the Great Hall at Lytes Cary.
When you reach the first yellow striped post you are close to the site of Tucks Cary Manor which was a Medieval settlement. The Church Tower visible through the trees is in the village of Kingsdon. Follow the path at the side of the field to a second similar post.
Sir Walter Jenner (1860-1948) was the eldest son of Sir William Jenner, who was physician to Queen Victoria and, as a fashionable London consultant, had become very wealthy. Sir Walter bought Lytes Cary in a dilapidated state from the Dickinsons of nearby Kingweston and began a major restoration. Perhaps inspired by the work of his brother, Leopold, who purchased Avebury Manor at much the same time, Sir Walter also collected appropriate antique furniture and tapestries to adorn the house and also did much in the garden and grounds. In 1940 he bequeathed his much-loved Lytes and its 365 acre estate to us.
Pass through the gate next to the post, crossing a small wooden bridge and a concrete road. Walk along the side of the field turning right at the next sign post.
Turn left at the sign post leading in to the woodland and turn left at the fork. Keep turning left following the signs.
Follow the path leading to a wooden platform which overlooks a dew pond in winter (these are dry in summer and wet in winter). On your left is a stag beetle habitat.
Return to the path and continue following several yellow signposts. Pass through two open fields separated by mixed hedging. Turn left at a yellow post towards Lytes Cary Manor. There is a bench on your left.
Turn left at the next dual yellow sign post keeping the woodland to your right.
At the next post keep a straight line toward another gate, with the dovecote on you right.
Go through the gate and turn right into the road to return 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: Lytes Cary Manor car park, grid ref: ST529269
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 1 mile (1.6km)
- Time: 30 minutes to 40 minutes
- OS Map: Landranger 183
Mainly flat through open fields and uneven roads. Ground may be uneven and will be muddy when wet. Please close gates as some land contains livestock. Dogs allowed on lead.
- How to get here:
By bus: First 377 Wells to Yeovil, 54/A/B/C Taunton to Yeovil (passing close Taunton). Both pass within 0.75 mile (1.2km) Yeovil Pen Mill. Alight Kingsdon, 1 mile (1.6km) away
By train: Yeovil Pen Mill 8.5 miles (13.7km); Castle Cary 9 miles (14.5km); Yeovil Junction 10 miles (16.1km)
By car: Near village of Kingsdon, off A372. Signposted from Podimore roundabout where A303 meets A37
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