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  A Variation to the Walk: The Rebel Advance

The walk to battlefield and back from Chedzoy is almost 5 miles (8km) and if you include the visit to Westonzoyland church then add just over another mile (1.5km). The going can be a little wet and rough at times, especially off the droves, and so stout footwear is essential.

If you are intent on a long walk then you can start from Chedzoy. Some guides suggest a start from near Peasey Farm but, as Burne says, this adds little to the experience. Take the road past the church towards Sutton Mallet and just after you cross the bridge over the great Kings Sedgemoor Drain you will find a parking space on the left for 8 or 10 cars. From here you can cross back over the bridge. (The lane from Chedzoy to the car park is one of the pre-enclosure lanes and gives a good impression of the problem that the narrow lane leading from the London road to the moor posed for the rebel army, making progress painfully slow. The actual lane they used is the one leading from the A39 towards Bradney House). Over the bridge turn left follow the western bank of the Drain southward towards Westonzoyland, roughly on the line of Monmouth’s advance. After almost 1km you reach the point where Monmouth encountered the Langmoor Rhyne, although this watercourse has long since disappeared. It was here that the rebel advance was disrupted as, in the dark and the mist, they desperately sought the pass across the rhyne. It was then, after they had found the crossing and the troops were making their way across, that the fateful shot rang out from the rebel army giving the game away. A new waymarked access under the Countryside Stewardship scheme leads to the right from our path across to the path alongside Chedzoy island, immediately to the north of the former line of the Langmoor Rhyne.

Continue along the side of the main Drain and then turn right along the second drove (600 m), then left along the next drove (250m). At the junction (450m) turn right and follow the drove to Bussex Farm and the junction of droves with the lane from Westonzoyland village. Just before you reach the farm the ground rises quite clearly off the moor and on to the gravel island. You cross the line of the Bussex Rhyne just before you reach the island.

Before walking the core of the battlefield a detour to Westonzoyland church is highly recommended. From the junction take the tarmac lane, Monmouth Road, leading straight on through the hamlet of Bussex. The road bends right into a street of council houses (400m). Pass a road on the left and take the small alleyway left between the houses (100m). Follow the alley to the church which lies adjacent to the main road (350m). Here you rejoin the less adventurous visitor who has chosen to drive from Chedzoy and you can follow the main walk instructions to the battlefield.

For the return journey: When you have reached the Bussex Rhyne and monument on the main walk you have two alternatives to return to your car near Chedzoy. Either turn right on the Langmoor Drove which will take you directly to the Kings Sedgemoor Drain whence you can turn left and retrace your steps along the side of the watercourse to your starting point. Alternatively for a yet longer walk you can retrace your steps along the Langmore Drove, turn right on the Sogg Drove and just after it turns sharp left take the footpath on the right skirting the field, crossing the Chedzoy New Cut and then north to the edge of the Chedzoy island. Turn right to skirt the island, alongside the drain that was there at the time of the battle. This drain proved a dangerous obstacle to the fleeing rebels, and here you are close to the line of flight of those rebel troops. On the slight higher ground many were cut down and lay undiscovered in the corn for some days. Skirting along what was the moor edge alongside the drain. By Mount Close Batch turn north and follow the path to Parchey, which was another small, anciently enclosed island. Here you turn right on the road to return to the car park. As you cross the bridge over the Kings Sedgemoor Drain the hill 500m to the north east is Pendon Hill, from which Monmouth is said to have surveyed the battlefield early in the morning as he made his escape.

 

   
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