When the sun comes out, family days out are on the agenda. But with the spiralling cost of pretty much everything these days, why not plan a low cost day out with our top 17 list of places to go for a walk and have a picnic.
People often find themselves driving off for hours trying to find a nice walk in Exmoor and Dartmoor or heading down to the beach.
But right here on our doorstep are plenty of lovely and exciting walks. So, here are the best 17 places to walk or have a picnic in the heart of Somerset.
READ MORE: 16 walks across Somerset with a hidden gem of a pub on the route
1. Dundon Beacon
With an Iron Age hill fort at its heart, this walk is made up of a mix of an ancient oak woodland, managed coppice and grass downland. Dundon Beacon is halfway between Street and Somerton and there is limited parking in Dundon village.
2. Deer Leap
Situated between Easton and Priddy is a place often said to have the best views in Somerset, Deer Leap. Parking at Priddy, Easton or Wookey Hole would provide a short walk there, but there is also a car park at the site which has views of 360 degree views of the Mendips: ideal for a picnic and a walk.
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3. Coombe Hill Wood
There are 25 hectares of woodland situated around three miles from Street, above and between Compton Dundon and Butleigh. There’s a spacious car park.
4. Priddy Ponds
The Priddy Mineries have been reclaimed by nature, for this old lead mining site has formed a flowing landscape of tall grasses and ponds.
Priddy Ponds, where mineries have been reclaimed by nature
(Image: Duncan Simey)
From the site there are walks to North Hill, and Priddy Nine Barrows. There is parking in the village of Priddy and the old mineries are a short walk from anywhere in the village, making it a beautiful and easy day out.
5. Westhay Moor Nature Reserve
This nature reserve has lots to explore with its lakes, reed beds and bird hides. Parking is not an issue as there is a small car park at the entrance.
6. Chew Valley Lake and Blagdon visitor centre
Run by Bristol Water, the Blagdon visitor centre provides families with the opportunity to tour of a series of exhibitions featuring videos, interactive displays and historic items for free. Since the visitor centre began these free tours 17 years ago, over 380,000 visitors have enjoyed a day out at Blagdon.
Early morning mists over Chew Valley Lake
(Image: Chas Breton)
Outside in the beautiful grounds, there are nature trails and also the chance to feed thousands of trout. The beautiful Chew Valley Lake offers a stunning walk, and along the way around the lake there are lots of open spots with picturesque views of the lake and the surrounding area, perfect for a family picnic.
7. Bushy Coombe up to Glastonbury Tor and surrounding fields and lanes
A lovely walk from Glastonbury town centre, up to the top of Dodd Lane and then get lost in fields that lead to Glastonbury Tor.
Glastonbury Tor and St John’s Church
Although there is no parking by Glastonbury Tor, this walk allows you to park in Glastonbury town centre and walk the scenic route. Alternatively, if you want to get straight to Glastonbury Tor, the Tor Bus runs regularly from the Abbey car park in Glastonbury.
8. Brean Down Fort
Located at Brean Down between Weston-Super-Mare and Burnham-on-Sea is the ancient fort classed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument by the Department of the Environment for its archaeological remains which date back many thousands of years. As well as a Victorian Fort, Brean Down has the remains of a Roman temple, an Iron Age hill fort and rare WW2 training remains.
Brean Down Fort
(Image: Simon Galloway)
Access to the fort is free but to park on the site there is a charge for those who aren’t National Trust members (but if you are a member parking is free too). The coastal views of Brean Down are another thing which makes it such an appealing place to visit.
9. Along the Brue (between Glastonbury and Street)
Walking anywhere along the River Brue is very scenic however the views from walking between Glastonbury and Street look out over Butleigh and Coombe Hill. To walk from Glastonbury town centre go up Fishers Hill, straight over the crossroads at the top of the hill the turn right onto Tor View Avenue where there is a walk way down to the River Brue on the left. Keep walking till you find the river then just follow it.
10. Nunney Castle
A fantastic piece of English heritage, Nunney Castle is situated in East Somerset near to Frome and was built by local Knight Sir John de la Mere in the 1370s. It was modernised in the 16th century and while it was bombarded with canon fire during the Civil War in 1645, the damaged section of the wall did not collapse until 1910.
It is free to enter and has free parking, and equipped with a moat it is a fascinating artefact of history. Situated in the quaint countryside village of Nunney, it is one of the area’s main historical attractions.
11. Ham Wall
During this walk you might be lucky enough to spot some rare species including water voles and otters. In spring the reed beds are alive with birdsong and in autumn you can see kingfishers flashing up and down the ditches.
Starlings forming murmerations just before roosting at sun set at RSPB Ham Wall nature reserve
The Ham Wall National Nature Reserve, is about two-and-a-half miles west of Glastonbury, on the Somerset Levels. There is a car park but it has a 6ft 6in height restriction.
12. Velvet Bottom
Near to Charterhouse, the distinctive landscape which is excellent for walks and has lovely views of the Mendips formed as a result of lead mining in the past.
The cheekily named ‘Velvet Bottom’ high up on the Mendip Hills near Charterhouse
There is roadside parking, though visitors should not leave their valuables in the car, and the distinctive nature reserve links Charterhouse to Cheddar Gorge
13. Below Cinnamon Lane
Here is another walk which is suitable from Glastonbury town centre. Walk along Chilkwell Street, down Cinnamon Lane then turn right onto Kennard Moor Drove and follow the lane along the bank of the River Brue.
14. Kingswood and Wavering Down
Once you park up at the car park of Kingswood in Winscombe you can walk immediately into the ancient, National Trust protected woodland, which stretches much of the way up the hill. Once you take the walk up the path through the woods and up the hill some more to the trig point there are fantastic far reaching views from Winscombe Hill to Cheddar Reservoir, of Crooks Peak and the Bristol Channel.
(Image: Dave Hucker)
On some days it would be a bit too windy to have a picnic by the trig point of Wavering Down, but with expansive grassland stretching far around the area there are plenty of more sheltered bits ideal for a family of hikers to have a break on their way up the hill, and sit down for a picnic
15. West Sedgemoor RSPB Reserve
The reserve is part of England’s largest remaining wet meadow system. Set among the Somerset Levels and Moors, it has the largest lowland population of breeding wading birds such as lapwings, snipe, curlew and redshanks in southern England. The nearest car park is the one at Swell Wood or alternatively, there is parking at Curry Rivel for footpaths.
16. Street Hill
Popular with dog walkers, Street Hill overlooks Street itself and is located just behind the site of a YHA youth hostel.
The view from Street Hill
(Image: Andy Linthorne)
There is parking at the hostel, and the picturesque views not only of Street, but of the whole landscape with Glastonbury and the tor make it lovely for walk and a day out.
17. Swell Wood
Swell Wood is an ancient woodland, part of woodland that extends around ten miles between Langport and the Blackdown Hills. It has the largest colony of breeding grey herons in south-west England. As mentioned above, it does have a car park however this is often shared with West Sedgemoor RSPB Reserve visitors as the two walks are very close.
Where is your favourite picnic spot in Somerset? Share your ideas with other readers in the comments section of this article