|Day 16 – April 21||Nether Stowey to Cossington|
|Weather: Sunny||B&B: Admiral Blake G.H. (Bridgwater £25)|
|Departed: 08:40 Arrived: 15:15||Walked: 5 15m Rested: 1 hr 20m|
|Distance Today: 17.1 mi / 27.52 km||Total Distance: 255.3 mi / 410.86 km|
|% Complete: ~ 22.67%||Pint of the Day: None!|
|GPS Track for: Day 16|
The Merrywood B&B offers a self-serve breakfast option that I took advantage of – juice, cereal and tea/coffee whenever you want and toast delivered to your door on request. As a result I was on my just after 8:30am.
I spent the first 2 miles heading south, which is a bit disheartening when the objective is to reach the northern tip of Scotland, however it’s not possible to cross the river north of Bridgwater and so to Bridgwater I must go.
Before long I was heading due east along a nice dirt track through gently rolling countryside and small woodlands. Although sunny the breeze was very cool and before long I was donning my jacket. There are no major footpaths around here but many minor ones. I followed one for several hundred yards before it completely disappeared near a farm. I backtracked and followed minor roads into the tiny village of Spaxton. I found a bench in front of the church and had a chat with the Vicar who suggested a route into Bridgwater. He also mentioned that some of the farmers around here do their best to discourage walkers by removing signs, blocking gates, etc.. I was going to suggest a little divine intervention but was worried that might involve rain for 40 days and 40 nights so I kept my mouth shut.
I followed the Vicar’s advice and took a less direct but much quieter road that would have me enter Bridgwater through the northern suburb of Wembdon. He mentioned that it was a scenic route but to be honest I’d need to be riding an elephant to see over the hedges. I’ve ridden elephants a couple of times, even bareback once with my knees tucked in behind its ears. Unfortunately hiring an elephant in Somerset during lambing season is problematic. More importantly I made myself the promise that I would walk every inch of this LEJOG and so elephants are a non-starter.
By the time I reached Bridgwater my left foot was in rough shape and so I hobbled down the High Street and into Boots where I bought 10 quid’s worth of Compeed blister plasters. Next stop was the Admiral Blake Guest House where I dropped off my bag and had a brief rest. My plan was to walk another 5 miles and then bus it back to town thereby reducing tomorrow’s 20+ mile walk.
Bridgwater was described in Andy Robinson’s book as “not a pretty place”. I admit it is a rather tired looking working class town but if the number of women pushing prams is any indication then this might be the romance capitol of southwest England. It seemed like I was the only one walking the streets without one.
I made my way to the outskirts of town where I crossed the first Motorway of my journey. Fortunately they built a pedestrian overpass over the six-lane M5 and before long I was back in the fields and getting a taste of the Somerset Levels for the very first time. Irrigation ditches are a common feature and so are the footbridges needed to cross them.
The first village I entered was Chedzoy, a quiet farming village today but in 1685 it had a role to play in the Battle of Sedgemoor. This battle pitted Royalist troops against the Duke of Monmouth’s rebel forces and was the last battle where Englishman fought Englishman on English soil (excluding football matches of course). More importantly I happened upon a sign which gave me my one and only Godfrey reference of the day (David – if you are in fact related to Richard Godfrey I’m afraid to say he backed the wrong side).
My walk took me through the village of Bawdrip and on to Cossington via another paved cycle trail. I was within 10 feet of the bus stop when the #375 rounded the corner and picked me up for the journey back to Bridgwater.
Tomorrow I start the long, slow turn north as I head to Cheddar.