Walk 4: TANSEE HILL TO YEW TREE FARM
Distance: 3.58km/2.22 miles
All walk descriptions © Eve Higgs
This walk takes you across Thorncombe vicarage’s former glebe, crosses the King's
Highway and follows part of the Monarch’s Way, a long-
For more information on the Monarch’s Way go to: http://www.monarchsway.50megs.com/index.html
1. With the church on your right walk up Chard Street for a few yards and go through the gate on your right into the overflow churchyard. Follow the path, go through the kissing gate and head diagonally across the church car park and go down the alleyway directly ahead of you on to Tansee Hill named after Tansee Close. The estate was built in 1988 on Thorncombe vicarage’s former glebe. Cross the road and keeping the hedge on your right follow the path through the gate. Keeping the hedge to your left cross the field until you get to a stile.
2. Once over the stile veer diagonally right and head for the stile in the right hand corner of the field. Climb over the stile (bit tricky) and keeping the hedge to your right follow the path until you reach a rickety stile next to a wooden gate. Climb over the stile and veer right. Go through the gateway, turn left and go through the gate crossing the stream. Aim for the stile ahead. Climb over the stile and keeping White Rose Farm to your right and the sheds to your left head follow the path on to the road.
3. You are now in Holway which was part of the King's Highway ,which dates back to the Middle Ages. It ran from Venn to Thorncombe Thorn and beyond. Parishioners were legally obliged to maintain these roads and fined if they fell into disrepair. Holloways are found across the west country, nestled between high hedgebanks. Hooves of animals being herded to market eroded the soil creating its characteristic 'u' shape. The field next to White Rose Farm is called Drowwers Close, a misspelling which recalls the west country burr and was probably used as a regular overnight stop by drovers, herding animals across long distances to market.
4. Turn right and then left down Saddle Street. Follow the road past Upperfold House on your left.
(Story of Upperfold House) Until the 1980s its Georgian facade hid the remains of two 17th century cottages. Follow the road until you reach Yew Tree Farm where there are several small self catering units. Keeping the farmhouse on your right head for the gate which opens on to a track.
5. Follow the track through three fields passing through three gates. You are now in Starve Acre where beasts destined for the slaughterhouse were kept overnight with only water to drink from the nearby stream. Butchery is one of several trades which also included shoe making and flax dressing practiced in Thorncombe during the 19th century. Look out for the stile in the right hand hedge. Climb over it. You are now in ‘The Dungeon’, where the doomed animals were mustered in single file for the final part of their journey. Follow in their footsteps over the stile, follow the path keeping the wood on your right, pass through the gateway with the cattle trough and head for the stile in the right hand corner of the field. Climb over it.
6. You are now in Witty’s Lane, which leads down to High Street. Turn right then left down Chard Street to return to the start of your walk outside the church.