June Walks Giveaway: Dunster, Somerset
This walk is reproduced from our popular walking book 'Somerset Dog Friendly Pub Walks'. A dog isn't required, but if you do have one, they will LOVE this walk.
📥 To download this walk and take it with you, click here!
Distance: 3 miles
This scenic hike is a great work-out for you and your dog and the expansive views from Grabbist Hill make the effort worthwhile. Well-behaved dogs can explore and run leash-free from just after point 2 until point 8.
From Dunster the route ascends and skirts the northern flank of Grabbist Hill, then continues to the hill’s rounded ridge where you join part of the Macmillan Way West, a long-distance footpath. When in bloom, the heatherclad summit of Grabbist Hill looks stunning and provided the inspiration for a verse in the hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful, written in 1848. After passing the summit, you head steeply downhill back to Dunster for a drink in one of Exmoor’s most elegant pubs.
Dunster village was established to service Dunster Castle, built by the Normans in 1096 as part of their subjugation of Somerset. For centuries the village was an important centre of wool and cloth production and trade. However, by the early 18th century trade decreased and the fortunes of the village declined until the beginnings of early tourism in the late 18th century. Dunster remains a popular destination and is often regarded as one of the prettiest villages on Exmoor due to its medieval aspect. A walk along the High Street is recommended.
RECOMMENDED PUB (in case you’re reading this in the future, when pubs are open again)
The Luttrell Arms Hotel is a Grade-II listed building and one of Exmoor’s grandest pubs. Dogs are allowed in the bar, snug and courtyard areas. It is worth visiting the hotel if only to see the building, which dates from at least 1443, when it was three individual houses.
HOW TO GET THERE & PARKING
From the A39, head south on the A396 at a junction 0.8 miles (1.3 km) south of Minehead. Dunster is 360 metres south from that junction. The Luttrell Arms Hotel is at the northern end of the High Street. Sat Nav TA24 6AS.
Parking: There is a pay-and-display car park just to the north of the Luttrell Arms Hotel on the A396, which leads into Dunster High Street. On-street parking in Dunster is limited in the busy summer months.
OS Map: Explorer OL9 Exmoor/Landranger 181 Minehead &
Brendon Hills. Grid ref: SS992439.
1. From the Luttrell Arms, cross the High Street and head uphill (north) on a narrow asphalt lane to meet a lane called The Ball. Here you turn left, passing cottages and heading uphill to a gate next to a thatched cottage (Northanger), and continue straight ahead on a grassy lane next to Dunster Orchard.
2. At the Butter Cross – a medieval cross that was once in the village centre (the top part of the cross is now missing), turn left onto St Georges Street and continue downhill for 81 metres to Hanger’s Way, a narrow lane on your right.
Here you follow a waymarker indicating Grabbist Hill, heading uphill on a bridleway in the direction of Ellicombe, waymarked a little further ahead.
3. At a fork in the track bear left to go up a steep slope indicated by a public bridleway waymarker.
4. Turn right at a junction of bridleways, heading downhill towards Minehead, and pass through another junction of bridleways where you continue straight ahead towards Alcombe.
5. At an unwaymarked crossroads fork left onto a lesser-used path and continue uphill. At the next path junction 150 metres ahead, keep going straight ahead, following a blue waymarker on a wooden post.
6. Bear left onto a wide bridleway (part of the Macmillan Way West) heading downhill.
7. At a junction marked by a National Trust sign, continue straight ahead to go downhill on a track traversing a steep wooded hillside.
8. At the junction bear left towards Dunster. Here you leave the woodland and continue on a minor road passing allotments, then continue straight ahead behind a bench onto a narrow asphalt path leading to Hanger’s Way.
At the end of Hanger’s Way turn left onto St Georges Street and head back to Dunster via the Butter Cross.
- Alex Batho