Culm Beacon, Culmstock, Devon
The walk up to Culm Beacon in the Blackdown Hills AONB might be a bit steep in places and some might consider it arduous but it’s a wonderful way to pass a few hours, so lace up your boots, pack a bite to eat and put your best foot forward. Tracks and trails lead you up through gorgeous ancient woodland, carpeted with bluebells in springtime, ankle deep in golden-bronze beech leaves in the autumn. You’ll stroll along narrow country lanes, passing centuries old cottages and farms that have been in the same family for generations, which is pretty much how it is round these parts; it’s a way of life.
You’ll traverse wide open common land, a mass of pink-purple heather in late summer, where horses graze freely and there are ponds where great crested newts have been spotted. The views from the top of Culm Beacon are staggering, stretching on and on for miles across the Devon and Somerset countryside; it’s breathtaking, but then what do you expect – it’s 820ft high!
The beacon itself is one on a chain of similar buildings built in Elizabethan times to warn of approaching enemies, namely the Spanish Armada. The original beehive structure collapsed over time and was rebuilt in flint in 1870; in the middle of the roof there’s a hole which is where the fire basket was erected on a long pole.
All information correct at the time of writing