Herne Hill, Ilminster, Somerset
Herne Hill on the southern edge of Ilminster was designated a Local Nature Reserve some years back but it’s always been a popular spot for the townsfolk who come here to walk their dogs, to picnic, to play, and just to stretch their legs. The 28 acre site is owned and managed by the town council – not such an easy feat these days because there will always be the mindless few who now and then abuse these beautiful little corners of the world by leaving litter and the like.
So don’t be surprised if you see a bit of that – you shouldn’t, but you might; it happens, and you certainly shouldn’t let it deter you from the sheer joy of being outside in the fresh air with gorgeous Somerset countryside all around. The walk to the top of Herne Hill is an easy one; you can park on the road down by the cricket club, or in the car park in town, and take your time. The gentle climb takes you to oak and beech woods on the summit, in the springtime the floor is awash with bluebells and there’s no shortage of birdlife. There’s a lot of badgers up here too, as is evidenced by the huge sett, so keep your dogs on a lead because you don’t want them disappearing down a hole and coming face to face with brock.
There are several benches, perfectly placed for admiring the far reaching views. Find the tree stump that’s inlaid with a swirly pattern of two pence pieces, and then carry on down to the old railway line at Donyatt Halt and follow the cycle/walking path back to town.