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Experience The River Parrett Trail - Somerset's stunning 50 mile walk

| District

A new lease of life has been given to the much-loved long distance walk, The River Parrett Trail, thanks to a collaborative project between South Somerset District Council, Somerset County Council and other local groups and volunteers from across the County.

An incredible crew of 15 volunteers generously gave over 350 hours of their time to improve way marking, complete basic maintenance on the Rights of Way and check the route guidance. This has led to brand new route guides, divided up into six sections, providing visitors with easy-to-follow directions, maps and useful information about highlights to look out for, both on the trail and in the surrounding area. The project also enrolled Dot Walford, a retired local walking guide and trail enthusiast, producing videos for the walking sections to give visitors a real peek into what to expect and what to look out for. Dot’s love and knowledge for the trail is infectious!

Somerset’s 50 mile long distance walking trail is extraordinary. You quickly become immersed in landscapes, heritage, nature and wildlife as it takes you from its source near Chedington, Dorset, to sea at Stert Point on the Bristol Channel, with amazing views across Bridgwater Bay. The towns of Langport and Bridgwater are lovely spots to enjoy whilst exploring the trail, offering a fantastic range of places to stay, independent shops and excellent food and drink options.

There are some noteworthy trail highlights, including Ham Hill Country Park, the site of one of Europe’s largest Iron Age hill forts; Stoke St Gregory, the heart of the Somerset willow growing and basket making industry;  Burrow Mump and Athelney, where the Saxon King Alfred found a refuge from the Vikings; and Steart Marshes, a wild, wetland landscape for the future that helps people and wildlife adapt to climate change.

Rich in remarkable flora and fauna, the wildlife is a real draw too; do look out for otters, kingfishers and herons, and the famous Somerset cranes.

Martin Cooper, Rights of Way and Trails Officer at Somerset County Council, comments, “Refreshing the River Parrett Trail has been a superb project and, despite the challenges of Covid-19, we are delighted to be bringing new attention to this for walkers to find the new life blossoming along this trail in time for everyone to enjoy this spring. So many people discovered the joys and wellbeing benefits from being outside and in nature during lockdowns, we hope this trail inspires people to continue these hobbies whilst suggesting some new places and routes to explore.”

The team is delighted to have worked with Somerset’s highly acclaimed songwriter and guitarist, Kitty Macfarlane, as part of the project.

Katy Menday, Leisure and Recreation Manager at South Somerset District Council, explains why, “We wanted to produce a series of films to capture the wild and natural beauty of the trail to give visitors to the website a real sense of what it’s like. Kitty really understands this area and is so passionate about nature, wildlife and the Somerset Levels, and we could not think of any better song than Man Friendship for the films. It is a real privilege to have had Kitty’s permission to use this, it is such a perfect fit. The feedback we have had to the films has been really positive”

To find out more about walking The River Parrett Trail, access the free to download route guidance, trail films and to view Dot Walford’s videos, visit:

The River Parrett at Muchelney

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