It is always pleasing when the B and B is the finish of a day’s walk and you start the next day by simply walking out the door. So it was today – but not for me.
|Dove Cote, Walford House (Pic: Francis)|
|Francis strides past The Monkton|
Not our first example of the rare Somerset Alpaca
Francis writes enthusiastically We climbed through fields and bluebell woods enjoying our return to more hilly country after two days on the Levels, Alison is a little more laconic A noticeably hillier day than the previous days.
After descending into and out of Gadd’s Bottom.....
Francis admitted they arrived a little late in Kingston St. Mary for a coffee break. We found a bench in the churchyard which served our purpose only to discover, after leaving, a nicer one in a better, more sheltered location in the village.
|Coffee break, Kingston St Mary (Pic: Alison)|
|St Mary's, Kingston St Mary|
Mostly 13th century, though the tower is 16th century
|Millennium Seat, Kingston St Mary|
And then the route…took us up through the extensive grounds of Tetton House from where Alison observed we could see the main climb of the day, Cothelstone Hill, ahead. [I looked at Cothelstone Hill and said 'that's not much.' 'Wait til you get to Ball Lane,' Francis said ominously]
|Cothelstone Hill looking less than imposing from Tetton House|
[Francis warned me, and he was right. Ball Lane is always just steep enough to feel like hard work, but never quite steep enough to get the climb over and done with swiftly. It is a slog, more precisely, a long slog.]
we did], but it is the highest point on the walk since the Herefordshire Beacon (338m) on the Malvern Ridge.
Having reached the top, Francis continued we didn’t hang around up there long as the wind was strong and quite cold and we were running late. He did pause on the way down to photograph the bluebells in Twenty Acre Plantation. I am delighted to say they appear to be the native British bluebell - and looking as good as they get. [It was warm and sunny on top of the hill this time. The view west was the same but the weather conditions gave us an even better view north. Ignorng the nuclear power station at Hinkley Point, we could see the whole sweep of the Somerset coast to Weston Super Mare and beyond, and across the Bristol Channel to Barry and Penarth. What we had no chance of seeing in September were the bluebells in Twenty Acre Plantation.]
[I understand the need for a shortcut on the third day of three, but we were only there for the day so we carried on, taking a fine path that does not quite cross the summit of Lydeard Hill, though at 350m the path set a new high point for the day. They are proud of their colony of Dartford Warblers here, but Francis did not see one. I might have done, but I have no idea what a Dartford Warbler looks like]
|Francis looks for Dartford Warblers on Lydeard Hill|
We descended to West Blagborough on a path that was rougher and steeper than Ball Lane. It was redeemed by a) being downhill and b) being shorter.
|The descent to West Blagborough|
[Well I got there, - four months late. We had a very welcome (and, I think, deserved) pint of shandy sitting in the sun outside the Rising Sun]
|Wild ponies, Cothelstone Hill (Pic: Francis)|
Day 25 (2016) Entering Devon and Leaving Exmoor
Day 26 (2016) Knowstone to Black Dog on the Two Moors Way
Day 27 (2016) Morchard Bishop to Copplestone
Day 28 (2017) Down St Mary to Drewsteignton
Day 29 (2017) Drewsteignton to Bennett's Cross
Day 30 (2017) Bennett's Cross to Lustleigh
Day 31 (2018) Southwest Across the Moor from Lustleigh
Day 32 (2018): South to Ugborough
Day 33 (2018): Ugborough to Ringmore
Final instalment scheduled for April/May 2019