A good turnout of 15 walkers. Several swans and mallard ducks on the water, and at the end of the walk as we left the riverside a woodpecker in the tree.
The picture shows our lunch break by the Little Ouse just outside Brandon. This 7 mile walk was something of an out and back with the first leg being on breckland forest tracks to Brandon. From here it was very much single file for the return leg alongside the Little Ouse back to Santon Downham. There was a good turnout of 15 including a couple of New Zealand origin but now with the Cambridge group. As the picture shows, we were blessed with sunshine on what was the best day of the bank holiday weekend.
Home again after another enjoyable holiday ??? this time in Cheddar.?? This was my first visit to the area, principally to do some walking on the Mendips and a little further afield on the Quantocks.?? The town of Cheddar is relatively small, one Bugdens supermarket and a few other shops/pubs etc.?? The area in and around the Cheddar Gorge is, as one would expect, given over largely to tourism.?? However, to escape the crowds, it???s possible to walk the length of the gorge alongside the road that runs down the middle or on footpaths on either side.?? Cheddar proved to be an ideal base for the holiday as there were many walks in the immediate vicinity with plenty of opportunity to explore the Mendips which topped out at about 800 feet high.??
The one excursion to the Quantocks, about 35 miles away, was blighted by poor rainy weather and the need to drive through Bridgwater which seemed to have little to commend it. The sole walk on the Quantocks starting from Holford was okay but the need to wear hat and gloves, because of the cold, and a 180 degree navigational error didn???t really leave such a favourable impression.??
Whilst discussing the weather, I should mention the unseasonably low overnight temperatures during the first week which did little to enhance Karen & Barry???s tenting experiences.?? Apparently, the sub-zero nights were the coldest recorded in May for over 10 years. ??The statistics for this holiday were 60 miles walked with 7,500ft of ascent, bringing the running total for the season to 140 miles and 19,500ft of ups and downs.
If anyone is thinking of where to go for a walk then I can thoroughly recommend the Mendips which, in many ways, are similar to the Peak District & Yorkshire Dales although with probably more tree cover.?? The climbs are steep in places, generally 600 or 700ft, but the views from the top are well worth the effort.
For my last day in Cheddar, I decided to go on something of a ramble in that I had just selected the route from the map and had no description to aid my way around. The 6 mile walk with 950ft of ascent started directly from my base and took in some of the hills, woods and nature reserves within view of my caravan. As on many of the walks on this holiday, there were many bluebells on view and seeing deer was almost commonplace. The morning started with low cloud but by the time I set off on the walk, this had dispersed and was replaced with cloud breaking out in sunshine. The good part of the walk was that I didn’t meet anyone along the way and seemed to have the Mendips to myself.
I decided to have an ???easy??? day today with a walk of only 4 miles and 550ft of ascent. I visited and area known as Charterhouse which is just at the top of the Cheddar Gorge and we walked past here on our second day of the holiday. The area has a great history having been the site of a Roman fort and town.?? It later became a medieval settlement and in Victorian times was a centre of lead and silver smelting. The ruins of the Victorian works can still be seen. After exploring the Charterhouse area, I then went on to walk through Long Wood Nature Reserve where bluebells were still in flower.
Today’s walk was on the southern fringe of the Mendips starting at Pilton.?? The 7?? mile route with 750ft of ascent passed the 13th century Tithe barn in Pilton and visited the small villages of West Compton & North Wotton, passing through many cider apple orchards.?? It felt like summer had arrived and I wore shorts and T shirt for the first time this year.?? This resulted in nettle stings and red arms & legs from mild sunburn.?? The return into Pilton gave good views of the Glastonbury Festival site which in a month or so will be packed with thousands of music lovers.?? Gladly, all was peace and quiet today.
On the 16th May, despite a showery forecast, a group of 14 and a dog set off from the Slipper Chapel car park?? for the short morning walk. Although rain threatened, only a light sprinkling fell and the weather improved as the day wore on. We set off to travel the first part of the figure of 8 walk with the second half planned for the afternoon. The walk was along country lanes and foot paths using the old railway path?? to reach the start of the walk.The afternoon walk saw 6 walkers set off to complete the figure of eight walk. Another four stopped off to look round the village and wait for our return. This time the sun had warmed up and walking past the Walsingham Shrine and then we went over the style and the route took us over several styles. In these fields there was three horses and they followed us across the three fields.?? We found that one of the styles a double needed the step repairing and watch out for the lower string of barbed wire ( see picture).?? As we followed the stream we did find some tadpoles .?? We returned back over these fields instead of the road to avoid the traffic.