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The King Sedgemoor Drain trail
The Interpretation board at the King Sedgemoor Drain is sited on the fence of the Environmental Agency Depot marks the starting point of the rural trail designed to highlight the beauty of the area and the nearby battle of Sedgemoor. The route is coloured GREEN.
THE KING’S SEDGEMOOR DRAIN Completed in 1795 is the main drainage channel for a wide area, including King’s Sedgemoor, West Moor, Lang Moor and Aller Moor. It relies on gravity to transport water from the River Cary to the tidal River Parrett. Recent changes have been made to improve control of water flow and increase capacity of the Drain. It is now maintained by the Environment Agency.
It is a wonderful wildlife corridor. Kingfishers, herons, water voles and otters can all be seen. The KSD is a popular fishing destination with roach, rudd, pike, tench, bream, carp and perch. One remarkable creature that shares these waters is the eel; starting life in the Sargasso Sea.
Try to visualise where Plumb Tree cottage once stood, and the other footbridge was located. Imagine the landscape before the Drain and the bridge was widened. The Drain plays a key role in trying to prevent flooding in Bridgwater and Taunton with fields upstream used as water harvesters in the winter and times of heavy rain.
This is where rebel army passed in 1685 at the time of the Monmouth Rebellion. There is more information on the board.
THE BATTLE OF SEDGEMOOR In 1685 the Rebel Army (3600 strong), led by the Duke of Monmouth, marched past here on a misty moonlit night enroot to the Bussex Rhyne, near Westonzoyland where the army of King James II (3000 strong) was encamped. For further information visit Blake Museum or Westonzoyland Church Visitor Centre.
To begin the trail towards Bawdrip taking care as you walk up Bradney Lane as there is no pavement.
Turn right into Stone Drove. Follow the path until you reach a stile on the left.
You could extend the walk here into Skylark Meadow by going straight ahead.
SKYLARK MEADOW is an example of former farming methods with its rhynes and pollarded willow. In midsummer, the meadow is alive with wild flowers and a wide variety of grasses. The herb-rich hay is cut in late summer to protect ground-nesting skylarks. The reserve is surrounded by arable fields and agriculturally “improved” grassland in keeping with modern farming methods.
To continue along the trail, turn left over the bridge and follow the footpath keeping right alongside the rhyne reflecting on the changes in agriculture over the years, with dairying being replaced by arable and beef.
Cross the footbridge over a rhyne to go through King’s Farm and on to Eastside Lane.
KING’S FARM is named after the King family which can be traced back to 1609. The building has a datestone of 1650; however, it could be older as the fireplace appears to be of the Tudor period. An extension was made to the farmhouse around the year 2000, giving it a west wing. It is said that soldiers from the Battle of Sedgemoor rested here.
Turn left and continue along Eastside Lane a short distance, then turn right up to the old railway line passing the interpretation board at the Kings Seats.
Go straight ahead and down the other side of the embankment.
At the bottom go through the gate and straight ahead to another one. Go through this, turn left and follow the field until you reach the path that leads back to Eastside Lane.
At the end of the path turn right and again at the end of Eastside Lane into Church Road.
Pass by the railway bridge and bear right into Shaws Orchard following the road to the far end.
Apple trees have been planted in the development as a historic link to the orchards grown here for centuries. It is named Shaw’s Orchard after the previous landowner.
Take the path through the open area up to the old railway embankment and down the steps on the far side. There is no hand rail so take great care. It is at your own risk.
Follow the path from the bottom of the steps to the left.
Continue until you reach a stile on your left.
Cross this and go straight ahead through the field to a further one.
Cross this and proceed until you reach King’s Sedgemoor drain. Turn left and follow parallel to the water to another stile and a footbridge.
As you cross, look right to try to pick out the spot where the railway bridge crossed – marked black on the map.Look out too for cormorants, kingfisher, swans and herons. Cranes do fly over the village too! If you are very lucky you might see an otter.
Turn left at the end of the bridge. Go through the gate and follow the path to the road. You have now reached the end of the KSD Trail