The Coombeshead valley provides a good walk, with rewarding views across the wider estate. The walk travels across fields, some of which may contain livestock, so whilst dogs are welcome on the walk, please keep them on a short lead. The route also goes through a working farmyard, so please shut all gates along the way. The path may be muddy in places.
Outside Old Kitchen tea-room, grid ref: SS611405
This walk is marked with signs with pink arrows on them. From the tea-room, follow signs through the garden to the Carriage Museum. By the Granary building look out for wooden signs with a pink arrow to direct you to Coombeshead. Walk up the track past a wooden garage on your right and bear right through woodland to emerge next to the Sawmill building.
Arlington Court stables
Built by Sir Bruce Chichester (father of Rosalie and 2nd Baronet at Arlington Court) in 1864 to house his mainly hunting horses. The stables now host the National Trust Carriage Museum and also the working stables.
Walk uphill with the Sawmills building on your left and follow the track as is narrows and goes past a farmyard entrance on your right. (Do not enter the farmyard). Just after the farmyard you will see a kissing gate to your right, set slightly back from the track with a pink arrow directing you across the field, following a stoned track.
At Barton Court, go over the stile directly in front of you and follow the signs to take you across the next field, heading for a gate directly in front of you. Go through the gate into a small band of woodland, before heading back into the fields again. There may be cows or horses in these next few fields.
Protecting the landscape
Surrounding these fields are wooded strips known as Barton Belt. These views are typical of the parkland landscape which is such an important part of the character of Arlington Court and visually extends the more landscaped grounds nearer to the mansion house.
Keeping the hedge on your left walk through the first field following the pink markers. After you have walked through a gateway in the hedge, take a route diagonally to the right across the second field, clipping the edge of a half hedge until you get to a gate onto a farm track. Follow this track, making sure to close all the gates, until you find yourself in the farmyard. This is Coombeshead Farm, managed by one of our tenant farmers.
In the middle of the farmyard you will see a tall pink arrow directing you to the right, follow this track around and uphill, passing an old mill pond, until you see another pink arrow directing you along the edge of the field.
The farmhouse and vernacular buildings on this traditional farmstead are all listed as grade II. The farm has been well managed and has significant value in terms of landscape and habitat, as well as forming an essential feature of the estate as a whole.
You should now be standing at a stile looking down a steep valley (coombe), where you may see some wild Exmoor ponies grazing. Follow the steep steps down the hill until you reach a gate into the woodland on your left.
Follow the track downhill through the woods until you reach a junction of other paths. This is the end of the Coombeshead Circular and from here you can choose to return by one of our other coloured walking routes. Following the green arrows will take you back uphill to the Carriage Museum – this is the shortest route back to Arlington Court. Following the blue arrows in reverse will take you along the valley to Tucker’s Bridge and from here you can follow signs to the Lake or Arlington Court, to bring you back on a longer, but well surfaced route.
The area of woodland around you now is all part of Deepark Wood, an area designated as a wildlife reserve by Miss Rosalie Chichester and where you still regularly see Red Deer roaming wild today.
Arlington Court woodland, crossroad of paths, grid ref: SS614396
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