Bats Castle from Dunster Castle Walk
A longer walk with steep climbs that rewards you with breath-taking views over the Bristol Channel and across Exmoor. Explore the unique landscape of Exmoor as you climb to Bats Castle, a well-preserved Iron Age hillfort. With the opportunity to spot wildlife such as the native Exmoor pony as you stroll through woods, heath and pasture.
Dunster Castle Car Park
With your back to the castle, walk past the picnic area. Just past bottom of picnic area turn right through kissing gate into parkland. Follow this path diagonally right, skirting the bottom of the picnic area for a few metres then continuing to follow it towards the right hand corner of the field.
In the corner of the field you will see a wooden gate leading to a bridge over the River Avill. This is signposted "Permitted Path Gallox Bridge". Go through this gate and turn left over the bridge then continue to follow the path, keeping the River Avill on your right. Keep on this path for about 500 yards, passing Lovers' Bridge and Dunster Historic Working Watermill before reaching a small wooden bridge.
Cross the wooden bridge. Here you can explore Gallox Bridge, a historic medieval packhorse bridge, to your right. When you have finished turn left (from the wooden bridge) and follow the path up past a pretty, yellow thatched cottage, signposted to "Bat's Castle, Carhampton".
After about 100 yards you will reach a crossroads of paths. Here, take the path curving up to the right signposted "Bridleway Bat's Castle". Continue up this path for about 500 yards until you reach a fork in the path. Here, take the left hand path and continue up the hill for about half a mile.
You will reach another fork in the path, with the left hand path leading through a tall wooden fence and signposted to Gallox Hill and Bats Castle. Following this path, go through the gate and turn slightly to the right to continue on the path straight ahead as it climbs a little further up hill.
Follow the well-trodden path as it meanders across the top of the hill, after about 300 yards the path will dip down slightly. Ignore the path down on your left and continue to follow the path as it curves back up the hill, signposted "MAC Bat's Castle".
Keeping on the right hand path, continue for a quarter of a mile then you will reach the remains of an Iron Age Hillfort with extremely well preserved earthworks and stunning views over Exmoor and the Bristol Channel. Take time to explore the fort before continuing to follow the path straight on.
The path meanders across the hill top for about half a mile, continue along it, ignoring paths to the left and right. At the end of this path, you will reach a crossroad of paths and a tall wooden gate. Signposted to Withycombe, follow the path through the gate and turn left.
Through the gate, there is a signpost pointing left for "Restricted Byway Carhampton" follow the path to the left down for about a mile. About halfway down you will pass Park Lane Carhampton reservoir.
At a fork in the path, you will see a signpost to Dunster. Follow this signpost through the tall wooden gate on the left then make your way straight across the field, aiming for a small wooden gate near a stream at the far end. When you reach this gate, go straight through and continue on the path across the second field.
Keep following this path for about half a mile until you see another tall wooden gate. Go through this gate and turn right and walk about 100 yards back past the thatched cottage to Gallox Bridge. This time cross the bridge and carry on up the road.
Across Gallox Bridge, walk about 100 yards before taking the path to your right between a small car park and pink thatched cottage, signposted Mill Gardens and Public Bridleway. At the end of this path, you can turn to your right to visit the tearoom for a well deserved pick-me-up. The walk continues to the left, up Mill Lane.
Walk up Mill Lane until you reach Dunster High Street. Staying on the right hand side, turn right and follow the road up for about 100 yards. You will then see a pair of wooden gates and signs to the castle, go through these gates and keep walking up.
As you walk along here, there is the opportunity to use the toilets as well as to visit the National Trust shop. When you are ready, follow the path past the ticket office and through a set of wooden bollards, and curve down to the left back to the car park.
Dunster Castle Car Park
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