Stratton Battlefield Walk
Type of Walk: A fairly easy walk offering fine views from the site over the surrounding coast and countryside.
Distance and Guide Time: Approximately 3 miles (5 km) or 4 miles (6.5 km) & 2-2½ hours depending on the route taken.
Starting Point: Car park next to the Bude Visitor Centre. Alternative parking at Poughill and Stratton.
Recommended Wear: Walking boots or stout shoes. The paths can be muddy in places.
Leave the Tourist Information Centre and follow the Bude canal towards the sea. Turn right by the Library passing the Bude Light and castle. All this, even the castle to your left is comparatively recent. The Royalist ‘headquarters’ was at Ebbingford Manor across the canal from the start of the walk.
Past the castle you will come to the footbridge over the river Neet, Nanny Moors Bridge. At the time of the Civil war this was a ‘fordable’ crossing point although the name Grenville Quay suggests it was built-up in the 1570s. The night before the battle a Royalist advance party engaged Parliamentarian troops at this point and after a brief skirmish they secured the crossing.
Go up the steps in front of you, turn right and then left up the passageway to bring you out at the Triangle. Cross over and go up Lansdown Road to the Coop store. Go into the car park and onto the golf course at the far end. Having secured the river crossing the Royalist troops moved into a ‘fuzzy waste’ for the night. This is now the golf course.
Follow the path across the golf course and at the bottom of the slope take the path to the right across the small stream (not the more obvious one straight ahead). Following the path you leave the golf course over a stile into fields. Follow the hedge crossing a small field until you come out in the lane at Burn Park. The Royalist troops stood at arms all night in case of attack. In fact there was none but at dawn it was realised the enemy were behind hedges only 40 yds away. There was then an exchange of fire.
From Burn Park the path winds through the holiday park (keep bearing left) until you reach a building housing the leisure facilities. The exit from the park is to the left in front of this building through a gate with a sign marked ‘Broomhill Manor – Private, public footpath only”. Follow the path straight across the field, over the stream and up the bridle path to Broomhill Manor. Turn right at the end and follow the lane, through a gate carrying the same sign as above, to another gate on your left opposite the stables. Follow this leafy lane up to the Stratton – Stibb road. The Royalist council of War had decided their strategy the night before. The 2,400 foot soldiers were divided into four columns and paced along the south and west of the hill. Some of these troops probably used this lane. The 500 dragoons stayed in reserve back on the ‘Sandy Common (the golf course) – where there was a way leading up to the Enemies Campe’ – presumably the lane.
Take great care crossing the busy Stibb road. Go through the kissing gate onto the Battle Field. Go to the top of the hill where you will find the information board that will tell you more about the battle. From the hill-top here you can see the kind of land the battle was fought over. Many of the lanes and hedges may have existed at that time. It can also be appreciated the odds there were against a Royalist victory on rising ground with hungry troops being only half the number of Parliamentarians. Exit be a second kissing gate on the east side of the field and follow the path to the right (marked with a white arrow) down through the mature beech trees of Grushill Woods where wild daffodils, primroses, wood anenomes and bluebells abound in early Spring. Exit through another kissing gate and follow the path across the water meadows and over a small bridge straddling the river Strat.
Just before you leave the meadow via a stile onto the busy A39 there is an information panel describing the rich variety of wildlife to be found in the surrounding area. Take care crossing the main road and head toward the small B-road slightly to your left. Follow this into the attractive village of Stratton and look out for St Andrews Church and the Tree Inn (where you will find a portrait of Anthony Payne). Follow the road up through Stratton and bear left upon reaching the A39. Follow the road for a few hundred yards until you reach the tarmac Bude-Stratton footpath. Follow this path down the hill to the Bude Junior and Infants School car park. Bear right and then left by Langfield Manor where you carry straight on following the footpath back down into Bude.