Cothelstone Hill, Quantocks
"Cothelstone Hill is managed by the AONB Service, on behalf of Somerset County Council, who bought the land in 1973 for its landscape and wildlife value and for its use by the public for air and exercise. The main management tool of the hill top is a herd of Exmoor Ponies, a hardy breed
who are well suited to the harsh weather often associated with the hilltop. "
Recently when we visited Somerset we walked at Cothelstone Hill. We set off from the main car, which does get busy at peak times of year, we saw numerous cars looking for a space unsuccessfully just after we found a space. Armed with this information and map kindly printed out for me by Emma at Somerset Yurts, where we stayed we headed up the hill.
This round walk, with a distance of 2.5 miles and a rough time of 1.5 hours was just the right length for me as I took Kitty, age 7 and Ozzy age 5. We walked the route backwards and one of the things we loved about the route was the variety of scenery, from the great views on top to the soon-to-be-in-bloom huge bluebell wood with it's deer.
On top you could see for miles on a clear day, alas on our visit it was pretty hazy, but lovely nevertheless.
We chose the top to sit and eat our picnic, by a Bronze-Age burial mound. It's not the usual halfway-round rule that I'd make for family walks but the views, though hazy, were smashing and it seemed a shame to waste them. Oscar managed to photograph the mood perfectly...
We descended down then, into the woodland area. In the Easter holiday the signs of a huge amount of bluebells to come was everywhere. End of April, start of May this walk is going to transform from good into fantastic when they all start to bloom.
"The walk takes you through a mixed woodland of ash, hazel and oak, where you can see woodpeckers, nuthatch and tawny owls throughout the year. A summer migrant is that of the pied flycatcher, the male is easily recognisable by its black and white plumage often seen in the tree canopy. In early spring the woodland floor comes alive with a carpet of bluebells."