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Looking Back at our January Walks

5th March 2021 (12:00am - 12:00am)


Looking Back at Walks over the last twenty years

 January .

Apart from the obvious benefits of getting some exercise the walks and the meals afterwards have always been good social occasions. The walks also take you away from roads and allow you to see the countryside from a very different perspective

I retired in 2000 and started walking with the group later that year, in time to take part in the 100th walk . That walk was from The Rest and Welcome alongside the A37 at Melbury Osmond.

In recent times The Rest and Welcome was renamed The Sheaf of Arrows.

Up until 2003 all the walks were organised and lead by John and Ann Coyne, the founders of the section, but at that point other members began taking turns, organising the monthly walks to relieve John and Ann of some of this heavy work load

I bought my first digital camera in 2001 and from the middle of that year began recording the walks. Most of the pictures I take are of the “Happy Snapper” variety and were never intended to be for anything other than my own interest. However, once the website became available I thought it would be nice to share the pictures with the rest of the membership.

Since our walks have been paused by the pandemic I have been toying with the idea of looking back at the walks we had each month over the years and I’ve at last made an effort to start with January.

I don’t have pictures for every January walk since 2001 but, as far as I know, the walks have been from the following places and pubs:


WRA Walks in January since 2001




23rd January 2001

Ham Hill

The Prince of Wales

22nd January 2002


The Foresters Arms

28th January 2003

Chilthorne Domer

The Carpenters Arms

27th January 2004

Melbury Osmond

The Rest and Welcome

25th January 2005


The George

24th January 2006

West Coker

The Castle Inn

23rd January 2007


The Red House

22nd January 2008


The Quicksilver Mail

27th January 2009

Chilthorne Domer

The Carpenters Arms

26th January 2010

NK but cancelled due to bad weather

18th January 2011


Penn Mill Hotel

31st January 2012


The Red House

29th January 2013

Chilthorne Domer

The Carpenters Arms

21st January 2014

Hardington Mandeville

Mandeville Arms

20th January 2015


The Half Moon

19th January 2016


The Podimore Inn

17th January 2017


The Crown Inn

18th January 2018


The Windwhistle Inn

15th January 2019


The Carpenters Arms

21st January 2020


The Drayton Crown


In looking through my pictures It’s made me aware of how many of the members who I started walking with, are either no longer with us or are now, for various reasons, unable to join us on the walks.

I intend to try and review each month in turn but there are many pictures to sort through and the problem is finding the pictures that best represent the month being reviewed. 

Jan 2002

This is the earliest of my walk pictures, taken in the car park of The Forrester’s at Lye, and I have no record of where we walked that day.

Jan 2003

This one of several walks from The Carpenters Arms. It took us from Chilthorne Domer to Lufton and back.

I’m not sure of the location of this picture but we were waiting for the tail enders to catch up. At that point information about the walking holiday in April was being circulated. It was to be in Gurnsey

Not the sort of warning sign you want to see when you’re about to walk across a field. I'm glad to say we didn't have a problem



The picture is of Ken, Ron and Wilf walking past St Andrews Church at Thorne Coffin 

Jan 2004 

We did a number of walks from The Rest and Welcome, including the 100th.

The January 2004 walk took us east to Stockwood, back across the A37 into Melbury Park, and then to the edge of Melbury Osmond before returning to our starting point.

This picture shows the steep climb away from Stockwood before we circled back to cross the A30 south of our starting point.

Negotiating stiles is always a source of entertainment

The ground was quite well frozen but January walks are often very muddy.

Jan 2005

It wasn’t until 2006 that I started to get myself properly organised and recorded the route taken on each walk so I don’t have a precise record of the route of this walk. However, from the pictures it would appear that we crossed The River Parrett into South Petherton parish at Bulsom bridge and then circled back to our start point, at The George, by way of the Parrett Works.

Unfortunately the George is no longer a pub.

This picture was taken from Cripple Hill looking down across the shallow River Parrett valley. The building in the valley bottom, to the left of the picture, is Joylers Mill on the eastern edge of South Petherton.

Crossing a ditch near Bulsom Bridge. It was very slippery and some of the walkers needed help.

The walkers just before crossing the river at Bulsom Bridge

Passing The Parrett Works

Waiting for lunch in The George

January 2006

This walk was from The Castle at West Coker but I don’t have any pictures or information.

January 2007 

The Red House has been a popular venue for our walks.

On this occasion we walked to East Coker, North Coker, Nash and back 

As you can see from the picture of the group in the car park at The Red house it was a fine but cold day.

Memorial stone by the Alms Houses near East Coker Church on the site of a plague burial

Passing The Millenium Stone between East and North Coker.

Lunch at The Red House

January 2008 

Didn’t attend this walk due to a family commitment – No pictures

January 2009 

This walk started at The Carpenters Arms. Due to the very wet weather of the preceding days the route was changed to avoid areas of flooding and it included a lot more road walking than normal. It first circled north as far as Knap Farm and then returned nearly to the starting point before making another circuit to the south around Lufton and Thorne Coffin

 This stile was on the return from Knap Farm towards Chilthorne Village and it was a high one through a blackthorn hedge.

Another stile towards the end of the northern circuit. The stone building in the background is a six seater privy. Now a grade two listed building. It was built early in the 18th century and was in use up until just prior to WW2

You come across some funny things on our walks. This was an example of “fly tipping” near Lufton

The walkers close to the site of The Lufton Roman Villa.

Back at the pub waiting for lunch.It looks as though Ann may be recruiting for the next walk.

January 2010

Walk cancelled due to weather conditions

January 2011 

The Penn Mill Hotel, Yeovil, is another popular starting point for our walks. This time the walk took us over the top of Wyndham Hill, through Nine Springs to Hendford and back to Penn Mill

After crossing the A30, a pause before climbing Wyndham Hill

Leaving the top of Wyndham Hill

The group at the top of Nine Springs

Back at Lunch

January 2012 

Another walk from The Red House. The walk took us eastwards through Barwick, round the edge of Barwick Park to Summerhouse Hill. From here we crossed Constitution Hill and Nine Springs to return to our start point via Lovers Lane and Tarratt Lane

Leaving the car park at Red House

Climbing over what must be the tallest stile we’ve ever encountered on our walks

A fine looking bird near Barwick

The group by “Jack The Treacle Eater” in Barwick Park

 On Summerhouse Hill

An Obstacle and mud on the path

Back at The Red House

January 2013 

Back to The Carpenters Arms for probably the wettest and muddiest January walk covered by this article. After setting out from the start we walked to Knap Farm and then Sock Farm before turning south to follow The Monarchs Way to Windmill Farm. Here the decision was made to change the route and avoid the mud by staying on the road past Lufton and Thorne back to The Carpenters.

The briefing in the pub car park

Silvia paddling away from  stile near Knap Farm. This was typical of the conditions encountered for much of the walk.

The group by Kissmedown Lane near Windmill Farm

Walking through Thorne Coffin. It looks as though Lesley is on the phone warning the pub that we are nearly back for lunch

John Howard tucking into his lunch

January 2014

Walking from the Mandeville Arms at Hardington Mandeville.

The route of this walk took us south to Pendomer and then east before returning by way of Hardington Moor to the pub at Hardington Mandeville.

The February walk also started at the Mandeville arms due to the sudden closure of the pub the organiser had planned to use

 The group close to Hardington Mandeville

There was a way through this hedge!

Another one of those things you find in the countryside. Part of a deer skeleton


A friendly Shetland pony

 Hot soup in the pub

January 2015

Starting from The Half Moon in the middle of Sherborne the route took us to Oborne, through Sherborne Castle Park and back to our starting point for lunch

In the car park behind The Half Moon

Passing Sherborne Abbey

After leaving the road at Oborne and passing under the railway we crossed some very muddy fields to reach Crackmore Wood.

In Sherborne Castle Deer Park

 The group in Sherborne Castle Park near The Camp. Sherborne Castle in the background

In the Half Moon waiting for lunch

January 2016 

This was a walk that started at The Podimore Inn and did a complete circuit around the outside of Yeovilton Airfield. Unfortunately I was ill and unable to walk but I was supplied with a few photographs by one of the walkers.

 It was a cold day!

January 2017 

We previously walked from Marnhull in 2013 but that was from the Blackmore Vale Inn. The Crown was new to us. This walk took us round the east and north sides of the village, out as far as Strangways Farm, and returned through the middle of the village.

In the car park of the Crown Inn before the start of the walk

Passing through the narrow gap at this kissing gate proved to be a challenge for some of our members

The group at a point looking west across the Stour valley towards Stallbridge

The pond by Goddards Farm

In The Crown having lunch

January 2018 

This walk started at The Windwhistle Inn and took us across the A30 to Purtington and Greencombe Farm. Here we turned west to reach the southern edge of Cricket St Thomas. Finally we walked through the park to reach London Lodge Farm and return to The Windwhistle Inn for lunch

View from the pub car park towards Ilminster

In Green Lane. Rather muddy

The group by an entrance into the park at Cricket St Thomas

January 2019 

This walk took us northwards to Ambrose Hill then westwards to Charlock Hill where we crossed the Marston Road. We then circled southwards to return to our stating point by way of Sheeplands and Combe

By the entrance into the car park of The Carpenters Arms at Sherborne. We weren’t responsible for the damage to the wall. We previously walked from this pub in October 2004 when it was known as The Mermaid.

Ann doing her admin

Taking a breather after crossing the Marston Road at Charlock Hill.

The group at the junction of Checcombe Lane and Trent Path Lane on the return leg of the walk

Waiting for lunch

January 2020 

We’ve walked from The Drayton Crown on one previous occasion in 2006. The pub was then known as The Drayton Arms and I have used a picture of the pub taken at that earlier time.

Our walk took us to Langport  from where we walked along the line of the old railway to Westover and then along the River Parrett to The River Isle. From here we turned back to Drayton. As you can see from the pictures this was a frosty and foggy day.

The Drayton Arms in 2006, before it was known by it’s present name

The group on the old railway bridge over The Perrymoor Rhyne

Walking along The River Parrett from Westover Bridge towards The River Isle