Walk Day 15 – Roadwater to Nether Stowey

Day 15 – April 20 Roadwater to Nether Stowey
 Weather: Sunny  B&B: Merrywood B&B (£30)
 Departed: 09:00 Arrived: 15:45  Walked: 4h 42m Rested: 1 hr 55m
 Distance Today: 14.1 mi / 22.69 km  Total Distance: 238.2 mi / 383.85 km
 % Complete: ~ 20.99%  Pint of the Day: Cottage Brewery Co. Ex-Mayor Ale
 GPS Track for: Day 15

Away at 9am today under mostly cloudy skies and I began by taking advantage of the fact that I was already 1/2 mile out of Roadwater. I followed a dirt track behind Wood Advent Farm for about a mile until I linked up again with the Coleridge Way.

The walk to the tiny village of Monksilver was almost perfect. It spent much of its time skirting the edge of a woodland and provided some good views of the coast to the north. I say almost perfect because the last few hundred meters was practically impassable. The dirt track ran between two 10 to 12-foot hedges and become progressively wetter and was before long a complete mess. To make matters worse a stream emptied directly onto the footpath. To top it all of was the fact that some of the hedges had been cut and the cuttings were blocking parts of the path. Back home we call this a ditch rather than a footpath. There were two obvious options:

    1. Plow straight through the middle of it and sink into mud up to your calves.

    2. Back-track and find an alternate route.

I chose neither and employed a Canadian solution: blazing my own trail out of the harsh wilderness while reciting a selection of poetic profanity that would have Samuel Taylor Coleridge turning in his grave. For a good 20 minutes I scaled the sides of each hedge, removing dead wood and some not-so-dead wood as I went. I’m tempted to send Somerset County Council a bill for my tree-pruning services (along with a copy of my poetry).

I eventually emerged from the footpath / ditch (or what’s left of it) in a foul mood but was quickly brought back to my ‘quiet place’ by the tranquil surroundings of Monksilver. I met up with the walker from the Netherlands who had taken a different but less adventurous route from Wood Advent Farm.

On leaving Monksilver I also left Exmoor National Park and entered a small valley that sat between the Brendon Hills and the Quantock Hills. The walk to Bicknoller was uneventful and I found myself standing at the bar of the Bicknoller Inn at 11:55am. I had to make up for my disappointing performance yesterday by being the first customer today.

I had a nice chat with a local who grew up in Bicknoller and had spent many happy days exploring the impressive Quantock Hills. At 12:30pm I began the climb up Bicknoller Combe, the trail that slices its way through and up the western edge of the Quantocks. The steep sides of the valley were covered in ewes and their lambs, including a black and white pair that didn’t scamper until the very last minute.

When I reached the summit I found a selection of tracks going in all different directions and some stunning views. The fact that I missed Dunkery Beacon yesterday is moot now as I can’t see how these views of the coastline of both England and Wales could be beat. My new destination of Nether Stowey meant that I would be crossing the Quantocks from west to east rather than north to south, a process that took just over two hours. I emerged in the little village of Holford and took a brief break on a bench outside the Anglican church (Tip: need a bench … look for a church).

The walk to Nether Stowey took less than an hour and I was in my B&B before 4pm. I have a massive room with all the mod-cons, in fact I have three single beds to choose from. Nether Stowey is a large village with a library, several shops and at least three pubs.

I have another 14-15 mile day tomorrow which my blisters are thankful for. I’ll be staying in Bridgwater but will be walking a few miles beyond it and then busing back in order to reduce the next day’s walk to Cheddar.

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10 thoughts on “Walk Day 15 – Roadwater to Nether Stowey

  1. “poetic profanity”
    Now that is a great description of just what i have been doing from time to time, (like when i went to take the burner of the gas cylinger before it had properly cooled)

    You are producing a fine blog young man, keep it going i like a good read.

    Cheers J.P.

    • Hi John … I see you’re in Taunton now … you’ve almost caught me up. If you’re looking for a hedge with a little more room for your tent I recommend the one just above Monksilver 😉

  2. Hi there,
    You must be really hardening up – does it get easier on the feet as the days go by, or worse?
    And how the heck do you manage to walk so far on gut fulls of beer?!!
    It is great to follow your blog – keep it up, there is a book at the end of it.
    best regards
    John M.

    • I had assumed it would get easier and for sure the feet are hardening up. Unfortunately once you’ve got a blister on the bottom of your foot it gets immediately worse. Fortunately a single pint of mild ale (<4%) at lunchtime acts as a mild anesthetic. 🙂

  3. Watch out for Godfrey’s when you get to bridgewater – I’ve been told it’s locally known as “Godfrey corners”. And the ones that aren’t related to me are related to Geoff H.

    Happy walking – 20% allready is impressive.

    • I will keep my eyes peeled for all signs of Godfrey’s and Hughes as I approach Bridgwater (carefully). Cheers, Steve.

      • I’m glad to see from teh pictures that Richard Godfrey in Monmouth was subverting the dominant pardigm back in the 1600’s

      • I’m afraid that was the only Godfrey reference I could find. I thought of asking total strangers what their surname was but I thought I might end up with a ‘bunch of fives’. You can take solace in the fact that it’s Godfrey 1 Hughes Nil. Where is that Geoff Hughes character anyway … are you keeping him so busy he can’t comment on my blog?! Still re-working those Technical Architecture documents?

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