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East Quantoxhead and Kilve Beach

Kilve Beach and East Quantoxhead Circular Walk

This Kilve Beach circular walk explores the Somerset countryside and coastline on the edge of the Quantock Hills. The route takes in spectacular views over the Bristol Channel, as far reaching as Wales on a clear day. This beautiful area also has lots of local history and geological interest – it’s the perfect spot for fossil hunting!

Distance: 2.7 Miles (4.35 km)
OS Map: Landranger 181; Explorer 140
Elevation: 40m
Dog Friendly: Yes (beware of live stock). Dogs are allowed on the beach all year round
Start/Finish Grid Ref: ST 14946 43046 (East Quantoxhead Village)
Parking: East Quantoxhead Car Park
What3Words (parking): ///steroids.beast.drumbeat
Accessibility: Not suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Points of Interest: Fossil beach, rockpooling, stream, woods, great views, thatched cottages and tearooms.
Pub: The Hood Arms, Kilve
Kilve Beach and East Quantoxhead Beach

Things To Note:

After rain the paths can get very muddy. A small section of the route goes through a farmer field, so please close all gates and keep dogs on a lead.

If you go to the beach, please be aware of the tide times so you don’t get cut off by the high tide.

This walk can be combined with a pub lunch at The Hood Arms in Kilve, a historic 17th Century coaching inn serving lunch and a roast on Sunday. Or a cream tea at the Chantry Tea Rooms.

About Kilve Beach, East Quantoxhead and the Somerset Jurassic Coast

This area of coastline at Kilve and East Quantoxhead, is part of Somerset’s Jurassic Coast which runs from Lilstock to Blue Anchor. It’s the same Jurassic Blue Lias rock that runs under West Dorset and re-emerges on Somerset’s coast. It’s a site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its geological importance and the fossils found here date back 200 million years. You can easily find a large amount of ammonite fossils amongst the pebbles and rocks on the beach. If you discover any unusual finds, you’re asked to report these to the Museum of Somerset in Taunton.

Fossil on Kilve Beach

The lovely little villages on Kilve and East Quantoxhead are within the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Both villages have a long history and listed in the Doomsday Book of 1086. East Quantoxhead has an Iron Age Hillfort just above the Village at Black Ball Camp, and evidence of Bronze Age burials.

East Quantoxhead

East Quantoxhead village has a manor house, thatched cottages, medieval tithe barn, its own duck pond and mill house dating from 1725. The manor house, known as Court House, has a medieval tower and other parts of the building which date from the 17th century.

This walk passes the ruins of Kilve Chantry, a religious site built in 1329 and is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Over the centuries it has been used for prayer, a farm store, and possibly as a store for smugglers until a fire in 1848, caused by an attempt to destroy evidence of contraband.

Kilve

In Kilve Beach car park you’ll see the remains of an Oil Retort House. This red brick building was built in 1924 for the extraction of oil from shale in the cliffs. However, the (Shaline) company was unable to raise sufficient capital and this is now all that remains of the anticipated Somerset oil boom.

Somerset Legend of Blue Ben

Legend says that a dragon called Blue Ben resided in this part of Somerset, near Kilve and was supposedly the steed of the devil. Blue Ben was said to dwell in the shale caves along this part of the Somerset coast. He is said to have fallen from a causeway of rocks and drowned in the mud. His skull (actually a fossil Ichthyosaur) was uncovered and is on display in one of the local museums, in Wells or Taunton.

Blue Ben’s “causeway” is a naturally occurring limestone formation that resembles a paved road. Several sections can be seen along the coast, near East Quantoxhead and Kilve.

Beach at East Quantoxhead

How to get to Kilve Beach

Follow Satnav to postcode TA5 1EG for parking at Kilve Beach, or TA5 1EJ for parking at East Quantoxhead.

BY CAR:

From the M5 North, exit at junction 23 and follow the A39 towards Minehead.

From M5 South exit at junction 25/26 at Taunton and follow A358 to join the A39 to Kilve/East Quantoxhead

Kilve Beach and East Quantoxhead Circular Walk Directions

🥾 Exit the car park (at East Quantoxhead) into the road, turn right and then immediately left by the side of the village duckpond. The public footpath sign points towards the England Coast Path (1/2 mile).

East Quantoxhead, Village Duckpond
Start of Kilve Beach walk

🥾 Follow the broad track down past the thatched cottage at the side of the duckpond.

When you reach the start of the stream, look through the gate on your right hand side to see a grassy bank covered with primroses and daffodils in Springtime.

Thatched cottage in East Quantoxhead, Somerset
Primroses in East Quantoxhead

🥾 On reaching a junction by the side of the Court House gardens on the left, turn left and follow a straight path towards the coast. This is signposted “beach” and “England Coast Path”. This section can get very muddy after heavy rainfall.

Along this section of path, look back to your left to see Court House Manor which has been the home of the Luttrell family for more than 900 years.

Path to Kilve
Court House

🥾 At the end of the path, you’ll see a sign. If you want to go down to the beach here, at East Quantoxhead, take the flight of steps leading to a metal staircase down to the beach.

Steps down to East Quantoxhead Beach
Shale cliffs at Kilve Beach
East Quantoxhead and Kilve Beach

🥾 Otherwise, turn right and follow the coast path alongside the cliffs to Kilve Beach. Keep dogs on a lead along here and keep an eye on children by the cliff edge. You’ll soon arrive at a couple of benches with a fantastic view over the Bristol Channel.

England Coast Path
View across the Bristol Channel, Somerset

🥾 On reaching a gate pass through it and follow the path down to the right, towards the Kilve Beach car park. You’ll see the red brick Oil Retort House in the distance.

This area of grass above Kilve Beach is an ideal spot for a picnic. Kilve Beach can be accessed from here.

Gate to Kilve Beach, Somerset
Kilve, Somerset

🥾 Cross a wooden bridge over the stream, walk past the Oil Retort House and follow the path round to the right. This will take you through Kilve Beach car park. There are toilets here and alternative parking.

Oil Retort House, Kilve, Somerset

🥾 As you exit the top of the car park, the Chantry Tea Rooms are on your right hand side and you’ll see the ruins of The Chantry here.

The Chantry, Kilve
The Chantry Ruins
Ice cream and cream tea at Chantry Tea Rooms
The Chantry Tea Rooms

🥾 Continue up the lane, passing St Mary’s Church on your right hand side which dates back to the 14th Century.

St Mary's Church, Kilve, Somerset

🥾 Walk past Kilve village duck pond on your left hand side then turn right (opposite a house) and walk up a wide stony track, signposted with a yellow waymarker.

Walk in Kilve, Somerset
Waymarker

🥾 Continue on into a field, keeping the hedge on your right hand side. Cross this field, keeping to the edge, to the far corner. In the corner you’ll come to a waymarker post. Turn right here, into the woods.

Kilve-East Quantoxhead Circular Walk
Waymarker at East Wood (Kilve walk)

🥾 Follow the track through the woods, eventually heading downhill. This path can be very muddy after heavy rain. At the bottom of the hill, the footpath joins another. Turn left here, and continue until you see a gate. Turn left through the gate and immediately right, and head towards a small wooden bridge over a stream.

Muddy path through East Wood, Kilve, Somerset
Waterfall at Kilve, Somerset

🥾 Over the bridge you’ll come out onto the path next to Court House. Follow the sign marked East Quantoxhead, back up the gravel path, past the thatched cottage to the village.

Next to the car park, there is a little stall selling local apple juice.

Local apple juice stall
East Quantoxhead

From the car park, there is a footpath to the church of St Mary, which was built in the 14th Century. Court House is not open to the public.

Church of St Mary, East Quantoxhead

Do you have to pay to park at Kilve Beach?

You do pay to park at Kilve Beach. It costs £1/hour. There are parking cameras at Kilve Beach car park (pay
by cash, phone or the RingGo app.)

You also have to pay to park your car at East Quantoxhead village car park. It costs £1.50/day. Please use the honesty box to pay which is used for the upkeep of the church. Please contribute and help keep this car park available for everyone.

Parking at East Quantoxhead

Can you take fossils from Kilve Beach?

Please follow the “Fossil collecting code of conduct”

  • Collect only from loose material or fallen blocks and never hammer the cliffs
  • Only take a few representative specimens
  • Large fossils should be left for others to see and enjoy
Fossils on Kilve Beach, Somerset

Are dogs allowed on Kilve Beach?

Dogs are allowed on Kilve Beach and East Quantoxhead Beach all year round.

Things To Do Near Kilve Beach

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