Landscape Photo
Photographer: Brian Horisk/AdventureArt, Fife, Scotland

Route Filmstrip & Description

This circuit runs through part of Dunster Forest owned by the Crown Estate. It is a pleasant walk along woodland tracks and paths, in places next to adjoining farmland. Towards the end of the circuit, the walk goes past the Tall Trees trail where the tallest tree in England can be seen. There are a couple of short steep sections with a maximum gradient of 58% (30 degrees) where the path is a little rough but the majority of the walk is on good surfaces with gentle to moderate (25%) gradients.

Surveyed by: Exmoor National Park Authority Volunteer, July 2013 (Summer)
Accessibility Rating: 3More Information
Distance: 2.3 km

Public Transport: No
Car Park: There is a large car park at the start with some blue badge spaces
Steps: No
Barriers: There is one gate which is usually locked but can be bypassed by a narrow (1.1m) gap
Toilets: No

Full Profile

The circuit starts at Nutcombe Bottom car park which is accessed from a country road.

Start The circuit starts at Nutcombe Bottom car park which is accessed from a country road.

From Dunster, leave on the A396 heading south-west for 1km.  Turn left onto a lane signposted to Luxborough and Nutcombe Bottom.  After 600m, at Bonninton Cottage, bear right.  In 200m, turn left into the car park.

CarPark From Dunster, leave on the A396 heading south-west for 1km. Turn left onto a lane signposted to Luxborough and Nutcombe Bottom. After 600m, at Bonninton Cottage, bear right. In 200m, turn left into the car park.

There is a large information board with details of the area, including a number of trails.

Information There is a large information board with details of the area, including a number of trails.

The Hats Wood Circuit is signed with red markers. There is one among those at the end of the car park.

Information The Hats Wood Circuit is signed with red markers. There is one among those at the end of the car park.

A hard, compacted stone track (at least 3m wide) leaves the car park.  There is a gate which is likely to be locked but there is a gap (1.1m wide) between the gate and a fence.

Width A hard, compacted stone track (at least 3m wide) leaves the car park. There is a gate which is likely to be locked but there is a gap (1.1m wide) between the gate and a fence.

To the right of the track for the first 100m there is a children's play area with a range of 'obstacles' which can be negotiated.

Feature of Interest To the right of the track for the first 100m there is a children's play area with a range of 'obstacles' which can be negotiated.

The forest road continues for 200m up a moderate gradient (20-25%) until a marker post on the left is reached.

Path The forest road continues for 200m up a moderate gradient (20-25%) until a marker post on the left is reached.

Here, the circuit turns left and the next 50m rises steeply (58%).  The surface is earth with exposed tree roots and can be slippery when wet.  This footpath is initially narrow (1.2m) but soon widens.

Path Here, the circuit turns left and the next 50m rises steeply (58%). The surface is earth with exposed tree roots and can be slippery when wet. This footpath is initially narrow (1.2m) but soon widens.

As the surface widens, it becomes much less steep and the surface improves. In 100m another sign indicates a right turn.

Path As the surface widens, it becomes much less steep and the surface improves. In 100m another sign indicates a right turn.

The path now climbs through mainly coniferous woodland.

Path The path now climbs through mainly coniferous woodland.

After 200m, there is a chainsaw sculpture of a horse's head with a log which can be used as a seat.  At this point the route turns left.

Direction After 200m, there is a chainsaw sculpture of a horse's head with a log which can be used as a seat. At this point the route turns left.

The good path continues to climb,

Path The good path continues to climb,

but there is still a firm surface.

Path but there is still a firm surface.

The slope lessens, eventually levelling out.

Path The slope lessens, eventually levelling out.

Mixed woodland allows the tranquility of the forest to be appreciated,

Path Mixed woodland allows the tranquility of the forest to be appreciated,

while the surface becomes grassier.

Path while the surface becomes grassier.

The track is joined by two others from the right but the circuit continues straight on.  Shortly after the second junction, the circuit bears to the left.

Path The track is joined by two others from the right but the circuit continues straight on. Shortly after the second junction, the circuit bears to the left.

There is a gentle downhill section with some pleasant glades.

Path There is a gentle downhill section with some pleasant glades.

Until, at a T junction the Hats Wood circuit joins the Black Hill circuit and turns left.

Path Until, at a T junction the Hats Wood circuit joins the Black Hill circuit and turns left.

The next 50m is down a fairly steep path (25%) where the surface is quite loose.  The width drops to 1.5m briefly but is about 2m for most of the slope.  At the bottom of the slope, the Hats Wood circuit bears left.

Path The next 50m is down a fairly steep path (25%) where the surface is quite loose. The width drops to 1.5m briefly but is about 2m for most of the slope. At the bottom of the slope, the Hats Wood circuit bears left.

There are two signposts to guide through a gap in a hedge bank with some uneven ground which can be quite muddy,

Path There are two signposts to guide through a gap in a hedge bank with some uneven ground which can be quite muddy,

but soon becomes a narrow (1.5m) but good footpath.

Path but soon becomes a narrow (1.5m) but good footpath.

This meanders along the edge of the forest through mainly deciduous trees.

Path This meanders along the edge of the forest through mainly deciduous trees.

With a small stream to the left.

Path With a small stream to the left.

As well as some bracken, there are many ferns on either side of the track.

Path As well as some bracken, there are many ferns on either side of the track.

These become more obvious as the footpath approaches Broadwood Road.

Path These become more obvious as the footpath approaches Broadwood Road.

Here the path emerges onto a tarmac surface, the circuit turns left and follows the broad track, most of which is a hard, stony surface.  This section is used by motor vehicles so care is needed.

Path Here the path emerges onto a tarmac surface, the circuit turns left and follows the broad track, most of which is a hard, stony surface. This section is used by motor vehicles so care is needed.

After 100m there is an obvious seating area to the right of the road.  This is at one end of the Tall Trees trail so there are now three possible routes.

Seat After 100m there is an obvious seating area to the right of the road. This is at one end of the Tall Trees trail so there are now three possible routes.

The shortest option is to continue along the road admiring the tall trees to the right.

Path The shortest option is to continue along the road admiring the tall trees to the right.

After another 200m, there is an area to the right at the other end of the Tall Trees trail with a pine cone sculpture near a blue badge car park.  It is possible to walk round the Tall Trees trail from here as described in the Phototrails 'Dunster Tall Trees Trail'.

Feature of Interest After another 200m, there is an area to the right at the other end of the Tall Trees trail with a pine cone sculpture near a blue badge car park. It is possible to walk round the Tall Trees trail from here as described in the Phototrails 'Dunster Tall Trees Trail'.

Although the direct route along the road gives good views of the tallest tree, it is possible (at photo 28) to join the Tall Trees trail by walking across the grassy seating area to a carved display describing many of the world's tall trees.

Information Although the direct route along the road gives good views of the tallest tree, it is possible (at photo 28) to join the Tall Trees trail by walking across the grassy seating area to a carved display describing many of the world's tall trees.

A 2m wide path leads gently downhill to a bridge. The bridge is 1.15m wide and is the narrowest part of the Tall Trees section of the circuit.

Width A 2m wide path leads gently downhill to a bridge. The bridge is 1.15m wide and is the narrowest part of the Tall Trees section of the circuit.

Beyond the bridge the path continues.

Path Beyond the bridge the path continues.

 There are many information boards along the path. Each is mounted at an angle on a 0.5m post.

Information There are many information boards along the path. Each is mounted at an angle on a 0.5m post.

At a junction, there is more information carved on a tree stump.  The path carries on downhill.

Information At a junction, there is more information carved on a tree stump. The path carries on downhill.

The tallest tree is on the left of the path.  It is well signed and fenced off.

Feature of Interest The tallest tree is on the left of the path. It is well signed and fenced off.

Further along the path, there is a 2m high feature which carries a moveable sighting tube by which the height of the tree can be estimated.  The path continues until the pine cone and car park of photograph 30 are reached.  A left turn leads back to Broadwood Road.

Information Further along the path, there is a 2m high feature which carries a moveable sighting tube by which the height of the tree can be estimated. The path continues until the pine cone and car park of photograph 30 are reached. A left turn leads back to Broadwood Road.

All three possible routes finish on or near Broadwood Road and the circuit continues along this for 30m

Path All three possible routes finish on or near Broadwood Road and the circuit continues along this for 30m

Before turning left through a gate (normally open) along another good forest road.

Path Before turning left through a gate (normally open) along another good forest road.

This skirts the edge of the forest with farmland to the right.

Path This skirts the edge of the forest with farmland to the right.

There are some good views towards Grabbist Hill.

Path There are some good views towards Grabbist Hill.

The level surface continues to swing gently to the left.

Path The level surface continues to swing gently to the left.

300m from Broadwood road, the circuit ends as it enters the Nutcombe Bottom car park through another, usually open, gate.

Path 300m from Broadwood road, the circuit ends as it enters the Nutcombe Bottom car park through another, usually open, gate.

Dunster Hats Wood Circuit Phototrail

 

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Map Markers

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Accessibility Info Amenities Info Facilities Info Features Info Way Finding Info
Barrier
Clearance
Gate
Gradient
Obstacle
Seat
Step
Surface
Visibility
Width
Accessible toilets
Blue Badge parking bays
CarPark
Public Transport
Toilets
Bird Hide
Boating
Cafe
Fishing
Museum & Heritage
Shelter
Viewing Platform
Visitor Centre
Water  Sports Centre
Wildlife
Feature of Interest
Information
View
Direction
End
Path
Start

 

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Vertical Profile

This is an approximate vertical profile with samples taken at 100m intervals along the trail.

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