High up above Dundon Fort, one of Somerset’s many hill forts, are a collection of glorious woods that surround a small gorge, known as the ‘The Great Breach’.
The little village of Compton Dundon sits on the road that winds through the edges of the Somerset Levels from Yeovil to Glastonbury and beyond; at the time of the Domesday Survey, like so many churches and their villages in this area, it was owned by the monks of Glastonbury. Indeed, Dundon, it seems, was once the home of a bell foundry, and its bells are to be found in Somerton and Aller, and presumably many other nearby village churches.
In ancient times, before the Levels began to be drained, this whole area would have been regularly flooded, and if nearby place names are anything to go by – Red Lake Farm, Greylake Bridge and so on – it’s possible that the hill fort, and the smaller hill next to it, may well have been islands within vast lakes for much of the time, connected only by the raised droves that eventually became the roads on which we now pass through the area.
But this isn’t about history – this is just about a rather lovely dog walk Woody and I went on today.
To get there, turn off the A303 onto the A372, and then almost immediately take the old Ilchester Road past Lytes Cary, and then through Charlton Mackrell. The road then becomes Kingweston Road, and then Reynald’s Way, and one parks at the Combe Hill Wood car park (see map above).
The site is one of Somerset Wildlife Trust’s many reserves.
So, once you’re parked, your walk can begin…