Four miles south of Minehead, along Broadwood Road; TA24 6TA
0.4 miles, along a broad path through the grove of the tallest trees
Along the eastern fringes of Exmoor in Somerset, Nutcombe Bottom is a short, shady, moist and quite steep-sided valley on the north side of an isolated area of high ground (Croydon Hill); land planted with conifers in the mid to late 19th century, one of which, a Douglas fir, is currently the tallest tree in England - 60.05 metres (197 feet) when last measured, in 2009. In all the UK, the record is held by another Douglas fir, near Inverness in Scotland, at 66.4 metres.
The tall tree at Nutcombe Bottom was planted in 1876 and stands near the north edge of the woodland, part of a sheltered grove of other large specimens, which may be viewed along a 0.4 mile trail which crosses a stream a couple of times and links with longer paths into the plantation; the dense conifer forest extends over 2 miles to the south, uphill.
A longer loop can be made by walking a little further up the tall trees valley, over a ridge and down an adjacent ravine, a circuit of 1.4 miles. This latter ravine, the one marked as Nutcombe Bottom on maps, has a carpark with picnic place, while the deeper (unnamed) valley with the tallest trees, just to the east, is also reached by a paved road, and is served by a smaller parking area.
The signed approach to Nutcombe Bottom is along a narrow lane, Broadwood Road, south of the A396, 1 mile from Dunster and 3 miles from Minehead. This forks after half a mile; the west road enters the actual Nutcombe Bottom, past the picnic/parking area, then proceeds further into the plantation, skirting the west edge of Croydon Hill, while the east fork leads to the parking place for the Tall Trees Trail, after which the road narrows to a (gated) track, extending a little further up the valley, ending at a point where the sides become steep, and three trails branch off. From the initial parking place, the tall trees path soon reaches the famous Douglas fir, identified by a sign and enclosed by a low fence for protection; it then crosses the stream, running below other large conifers, soon crossing again and ending with a little loop. This stretch of the valley is particularly atmospheric, the firs mixed with ferns and other leafy plants, all fed by the stream flowing through the grove, and surrounded by reddish earth, scenery reminiscent of the great redwood forests of California and Oregon.