Ivor King’s Country Rambles around Pill
Walk 4 – Pill, Abbots Leigh, Abbots Pool, West Tanpit Wood, Lower Failand, Pill
A nice walk of about 6.5 miles taking in Abbots Leigh, Abbots pool, Tanpit Wood and Lower Failand. There are 17 stiles and a number of pedestrian gates to negotiate.
There are few gentle slopes and one steep gradient to climb. As with all previous walks, stout walking shoes or boots are advised. (You may wish to catch a bus to start at 1)
Leave Pill by the Ham Green road to the A369, and walk along the A369 to Blackmoor Lane on your left. Cross Blackmoor Lane keeping the raised footpath alongside the main road as far as the lay by at the top of the hill into Abbots Leigh on the first left-hand bend where the walk starts.
- Here cross the A369 with care using the central reservation and enter Sandy Lane. Follow the lane up the hill to a junction on your left which splits into two lanes. Follow the right-hand lane with a number of modern properties on the right (Until quite recently, the cottages which comprised Abbots Leigh Poor House also stood here) Note the impressive Manor House across the fields to your left. Just before the lane reaches Manor Road, a public footpath crosses the lane. Turn right onto a track, passing private houses on the right. Where the track ends, a kissing gate is seen to the right with an information board. This leads onto a flight of stone steps which apparently used to be known as Coffin Steps as they were on the funeral route to Lower Failand Church, I don’t envy the pallbearers! At the bottom do not cross the bridge, but turn left to climb the steps besides the brook and cascades to the main lake of Abbots Pool. Turn right to walk along the dam to another information board, at which, turn right onto the ascending path going away from the lake and passing a third information board. Keep straight on until you see an old low open-fronted building on the left and immediately turn left to follow a stony path climbing up through Snakes Well Wood to a metal gate giving access to a large field. Turn right and follow the edge of the field to a stile to take you in to Scutche’s plantation. Follow the path through the trees but before you reach the exit stile, make a short detour to your left to have a look at what must be the remains of a WWII bomb crater. In winter the crater becomes a pond. Return to the path and cross the stile into a field. Go straight ahead to a new metal gate beside a ladder stile.
- Pass through to a bridleway, cross to a metal gate and pass through into a field. Follow the left edge of the field to the trees at the top of the rise. As you approach the trees the Bristol and Clifton golf course can be seen beyond the hedge. Turn right with the trees on your left to pass on through a farm gate. Bear half left and cross the stile beside another gate. With Failand Farm on your left, look diagonally to your right across the field at an angle of about 30°and locate an opening in the field boundary hedge. On reaching the opening, make for the far left-hand corner of the field where you will find a well used stony path going downhill. Carry on down this meandering path through a scrubby wood that leads to a stile in a fence adjacent to a wooden building. Cross the stile and turn right onto a track that will lead to a seat by a pond. A nice spot for a break!
- Pass through the kissing gate and enter West Tanpit Wood following the track beside the stream. At the path junction, take the left path that leads to a wooden footbridge. Cross the footbridge over the stream (which further down the valley becomes Markham Brook) and turn right with the stream on your right, until you reach a fork in the path. Take the left fork which climbs quite steeply up the valley side passing – about halfway up and a few yards off the path – an old boundary stone. Keep climbing this path to emerge into an open field via a stile. On reaching the field, follow the right-hand edge and cross the next stile to join a grassy path which leads to Oxhouse Lane. Turn right and follow the lane passing the very impressive Failand House to reach Sandy Lane once more, close to Lower Failand Church.
- Cross Sandy Lane to the stile facing you but linger a moment to take in the panorama of the Welsh hills, the River Severn and it’s environs. Climb the stile into the field and follow the hedge to your right to a stile in the corner. After crossing this, bear a little to the right and drop down a steep bank to a kissing gate. Go on through and turn right along the short enclosed path to a second kissing gate. Pass through to enter National Trust land within which each field has a name, this one is Salter’s Small Ground. Cross diagonally to the hedge corner facing you and turn right to the next stile and cross into Home Pasture. Bear left to the opposite corner and over the stile into Grove Mead and climb the slope to the stile leading you on to Common Lane. Cross the lane to the left-hand gate from which you will have an excellent view of our village. The kissing gate gives access to a path which follows the right-hand hedge of the next three fields, Northfield, Lower Northfield and Happerton Mead, to a kissing gate and over a stile into Happerton Lane.
- Turn left and in a few yards take the path on your right between the buildings of Happerton Farm, over a stile and follow the path around the edge of the field (The Walnuts) to a stile into a small wood. The path runs straight on through the trees to a stile at which a steep bank drops down on to a lane where you turn left to the A369. Once again take care crossing this busy road and look for a stile to the left. Cross it and follow the clear path ahead. Take the right-hand path to the bridleway.
- Turn left onto the bridleway and in a few yards turn right onto a fenced path running around the edge of the school playing field. Cross Brookside and follow the path back to the centre of the village, crossing Westward Drive and leading finally to the Kings Head public house.