Walk 1727 - Shallowford, Hoar Oak Tree & The Chains
Walk Route Description
This Exmoor walk explores the wild upland moorland known as the Chains. The route uses sections of three long distance footpaths and offers ever changing views of the landscape. The area can be very wet underfoot and the route is not for inexperienced walkers. In periods when visibility is limited or there is snow on the ground route finding can be difficult so navigational skills are important. With this in mind, an outline route is provided rather than a detailed explanation.
The start is the lay-by (grid ref. SS729401) on the B3358 about three miles west of Simonsbath. Note that there are two lay-bys in this vicinity and the one recommended is the first encountered when arriving from Simonsbath. If you reach the lay-by close to Goats Hill Bridge then you have gone too far. After parking walk east along the road towards Simonsbath. Turn right onto the Macmillan Way West and follow the waymarked route to reach a road by Sloley Stone (grid ref. SS717393). Turn sharp right here onto the Tarka Trail.
Follow the Tarka Trail north over the B3358 to Woodbarrow Gate (grid ref. SS716424) where the Tarka Trail turns east. Leave the Tarka trail and continue north to Saddle Gate and cross Thornworthy Common to reach the road at Shallowford (grid ref. SS713449). Turn right here following the bridleway over the Ilkerton Ridge and down to join the lane at North Furzehill (grid ref. SS725541). Follow the lane north and just after the lane bends left, take the bridleway on the right just after some farm buildings along a track enclosed with hedges.
After 600 metres you reach a junction (grid ref. SS729456). Turn right and continue south over Furzehill Common to Hoaroak and Gammon's Corner. Continue down into the valley near the Hoar Oak Tree (grid ref. SS746430). Do not cross the stream, instead turn right onto the Tarka Trail (and Two Moors Way). The path stays on the western side of the stream in a steep sided valley. After crossing the stream (grid ref. SS746422), the route climbs steadily onto the moorland to reach a junction of paths (grid ref. SS715415).
Turn right (west) to continue along the Tarka Trail and Macmillan Way West. Follow the path for just over 2 kilometres to a path junction (grid ref. SS731418). Turn left here following the Macmillan Way West as it descends gently over the flank of Goat Hill and down to the B3358 and the start of the walk.