Day 19: Bridgwater – Glastonbury 

Monday, 08/05/2017
Distance: 30,9 km (19,2 mi) for a total of 484,7 km (301,2 mi)
Ascent (ca.): 250 m (820 ft)

Weather: Sunny and warm, especially in the afternoon, with only some fleecy clouds to make the sky look more interesting

Again an early start although I was sure that today I would encounter less problems as there was a lot of road walking involved. If I had been completely awake I wouldn’t have walked up to the main road only to recognise that the best start into the necessary detour was in the other direction from my campsite. I returned and started clocking down the road miles. Partly this meant following a route of the National Cycle Network which was okay as I could assume to find a walkable way here.

I passed a number of small villages which were more or less indistinguishable: Chedzoy, Sutton Mallet, Moorlinch, Greinton. Between Sutton Mallet and Moorlinch I was able to leave the road for a nice path over Pit Hill.

The footpath I had marked between Greinton and Street started good, only to become an exercise in bushwhacking and nettle-bashing. Because it had become quite warm in the sun I had considered unzipping my trousers to shorts. Luckily, I didn’t. I seldom does this when it comes to walking across footpaths on farmland. The reasons for this are: nettles, brambles, thistles, hogweed and similar stuff I don’t get the names right now. Gorse was missing today, but still the rest, either being poisonous, or having thorns, or being otherwise unpleasant is a good argument for staying in long trousers despite of the warmth.

Nevertheless I reached Street reasonable early and was able to take a real lunch break in a nice small cafe.  I had planned to get to Glastonbury and being already at the northern edge of Street I knew that there weren’t many miles left to the campsite. I spent some time to check if heading further on would have any advantages for tomorrow but couldn’t confirm this as the possible campsites were all quite off-route.

So I stayed with the plan and stopped in Glastonbury. I only had time for a short stroll up and down High Street, but even like that I could see that this town is different. I had seen people in hippy clothes before but not in this number in one place. And the names and the window displays of the shops are … special, to say the least. I’m glad I made my way into here but I’ll be lucky to leave again  tomorrow morning.

And a word of encouragement to my friends and other colleagues who are reading here as I can tell from the number and origin of visitors: You are entitled to put a word in from time to time. As much as you are – hopefully – enjoying to follow my progress I’d like to hear from my readers as well  😉

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11 thoughts on “Day 19: Bridgwater – Glastonbury 

  1. Hi Mike – I’d imagine that the Somerset Levels are a pleasure to walk on, or at least much easier than the SWCP and the ups and downs. Finally our two routes have intersected. I’m planning on crossing the water at Burrowbridge, a little further south from where you walked, and heading north either through or near Chedzoy. I’ll be heading straight for the Strawberry Line. I guess you’re going to Cheddar via Glasto, and then Bath for the Cotswold Way? Or are you planning on crossing the Severn via Bristol and Aust? Thanks – Sam.

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    • Sam, to be honest, I’m happy to have the levels behind me. Easier to walk alright because no ups and downs but many of the footpaths ROW on the maps are simply fantasy. Best to stick to minor lanes, at least they’re leading somewhere. And, yes, for me it’ll be Bath and the Cotswolds. Bristol and ODP have never been an option, walked the ODP before and remember the insane number of stiles too well to choose this route again 😉

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      • My walking buddy and I spent three days in the Cotswolds in mid-April; we walked from Bath to Hinton Grange on the first day where we stayed and branched out north to the Iron Age fort and east to Castle Combe (where there isn’t a castle!). I would strongly recommend visiting The Bull at Hinton – the food is amazing, as is the beer, cider and wine. Booking is advisable. The CW is beautiful, though hilly. Bring a nettle whacker! Good luck.

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  2. I’m going to try to ‘follow’ your route a bit better by plotting it on a map. James (Jimmy) Jones is only 2 or 3 days ahead of you. He’s used a completely different route to you through Devon & Cornwall but he did come through Glastonbury so I can compare your 2 experiences there. Like you he seems to make nice, friendly contact with the people he meets, and doesn’t scare them (after a couple of weeks on the road you may look a little road-weary?) I have another 2 leaving John O Groats later this month, a couple, Andrew & Danielle. I’ve never met or spoken to any of you!

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    • I’m following Jimmy’s progress as good as possible as well. I was sure he would overtake me before we would enter Somerset.
      Well, I think the worst for other people is not the look but the smell when you practically live in one set of clothes for several days.
      Andrew contacted me some time ago, perhaps we’ll bump into each other in Scotland, would be nice.

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  3. My recollection of Bridgwater is that the best thing about it is the view behind you as you’re leaving it! It used to have an unpleasant smell as well, owing to the British Celanese factory. Talking of smells, when I last walked the SWCP, I hadn’t had a shower for several days. It’s amazing what you can do with a bit of Dr Bronners (peppermint flavour), a J-cloth and an inch of warm water in your cooking pot. An all over wash – it was great.

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    • Yes, I wouldn’t call Bridgwater pretty as well, didn’t notice a specific smell though. But that could be my fault, I’ve never been susceptible to smells.
      Dr Bronner’s: I don’t get along with it, I’m afraid I’m more for having a real shower if possible at all.

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  4. Hi I’m very much enjoying your blog. I’m in Australia but was born in Staffordshire and an currently plotting out my own route that passes through Avebury . I’ll be sure to take the Staffordshire way as that passes close to my home town of Leek. Have fun!

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