The River Parrett is one of the main rivers draining the Somerset Levels, or Plain of Sedgemoor. Its source is the green hills on the Dorset and South Somerset border at Chedington, from where it flows northwards to enter the Bristol Channel near Burnham on Sea. The River Parrett Trail is one of England’s beautiful ‘source to mouth’ river routes all of which offer fabulous walking enhanced by the fascinating presence of water. The River Parrett Trail can be enjoyed as a 50 mile hike over 3 or 4 days or as a series of shorter walks exploring some of England’s most beautiful, intriguing but also fragile countryside. This is comfortable walking through the gentle hills of the Dorset and Somerset borders and across the wetlands of the Somerset Levels and Moors. It is also a fascinating journey through orchards, woods, withy beds and the watery haunts of birds and fishermen; passing limestone cottages, Georgian terraces, elegant mediaeval churches and the elaborate pattern of rhynes and water courses of the low land. On the way you can visit Ham Hill – the site of one of Europe’s largest Iron Age hill forts, Stoke St. Gregory – the heart of the Somerset willow growing and basket making industry, Burrow Mump and Athelney – where the Saxon King Alfred found a refuge from the Vikings (and burnt the cakes). At Ham Hill the route links with the Liberty Trail and the Leland Trail.
Follow the River Parrett from the source in Chedington in Dorset to the mouth in Bridgwater Bay, Somerset.
The route first heads to Langport passing Haselbury and the 16th century English Heritage owned Muchelney Abbey. You continue north through Langport and onto Burrowbridge where you will pass the interesting geological and historical site at Burrow Mump. The river then takes you towards Bridgwater passing the Westonzoyland Pumping Station Museum. This Industrial Heritage museum is dedicated to steam powered machinery and makes for a fascinating few hours.
The final section takes you through Bridgwater and Combwich before finishing at the beautiful Steart Nature Reserve on Bridgwater Bay.