Day 18: Flaxpool – Bridgwater

Sunday, 07/05/2017
Distance: 28,8 km (17,9 mi) for a total of 453,8 km (282 mi)
Ascent (ca.): 385 m (1260 ft)

Weather: Sunny and warm, especially in the afternoon, with only occasional clouds

Luckily, this part of the route was one where I had set up an alternative already at home as I thought this might become a tricky stretch. From the campsite it would be my southern route which involved a long and steady uphill road walk past Triscombe. What was striking in the villages of the past few days was the number of thatched houses. I’ve always liked them, as far as I know in Germany they are mainly found in Schleswig-Holstein, in North Frisia.

Once I got up to the edge of the woodland the path was nicely contouring along this edge giving fine views to the lower places to my right.

Shortly afterwards I reached Hawkridge Reservoir, a pleasant sight in the sunlight. If you look closely you’ll perhaps see the empty glass of red wine on the wall, I wonder what sort of party remain this was.

In Spaxton I had to made a difficult decision. Following the minor road directly to Bridgwater would have taken me there considerably faster than my plotted route. But the main idea of this walk, at least for me, is to walk the countryside not roads. So I more or less kept to my plan, passing Enmore and Goathurst. The most eye-catching feature of the churches in all these villages is the tower which always has a square layout and looks very fortified.

From Goathurst I took a footpath across fields, mostly not only visible but also in good walking condition to Bridgwater, except some scary-looking footbridges. 

Again a decision was required. If everything would work out as planned I would perhaps be able to reach Street or to stop short of it at the least. So I only grabbed some provisions and pressed on.

Not only the OS map indicated a right of way but my topo map on my GPSr showed a footpath as well leading out of town and across the M5. I found the footpath leading to an unmissable pedestrian bridge across the motorway. Well, if there ever was an incarnation of a white elephant this was it. On the other side of the bridge the footpath first continued exactly as on both maps, just to end at a hedge, loads of nettles and absolutely no way to cross the drainage ditch. The only possibility was to retrace my steps.

This had cost me the best part of at least three quarters of an hour, having made absolutely no progress. The shortest possible detour to get where I wanted to be would mean that I’d perhaps could pitch on a site a bit off route between six and seven in the evening. And, to be honest, by this time I was too fed up with the ways to consider this. The nearest campsite was just down the road at the outskirts of Bridgwater. There I went and called it a day.

After having had a shower I happen to get into a conversation with a neighbour of the farmer who provides the site. He offered me a coffee, we chatted quite a while and he recommended a good place to eat not too far away. There I had a delicious Sunday roast of beef, rhubarb panna cotta, beer, espresso and a whisky. Not sure whether this will help with an early start tomorrow, but I savoured it and took it as a compensation for the path troubles 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Day 18: Flaxpool – Bridgwater

  1. You must have spent many happy hours planning the route, Mike. Using both GPSr and our unbeatable OS maps. I can have fun plotting routes too, and after a long walk (Past Tense unfortunately) I would re-run the route again on the map, made notes of what I found, useful information for a future walk and so on.
    Your frustration at the White Elephant Bridge can be imagined. The local walkers of course will all know about this and the history of it, just a pity no one has posted a warning sign up for the unwary visitor. Glad the food went some way to make up for it.

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    • Yes, it had been many hours but I felt it might pay off which already proved true. And OS maps are really a walker’s dream. The food was excellent, I will start a list of places (accommodation and food) which – in my opinion – deserves a recommendation.

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      • I’m part way through reading a book called Map Addict by Mike Parker. He began collecting OS maps when he was a child and is fascinated by all thing ‘mappy’

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        • A man after my own heart! I own a collection of books etc on historical maps. Absolutely fascinating what they are able to tell about the world view of former times.

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