Continuing in chronological order, this was officially my first walk after moving house. I’m excluding any walks in the local village for the time being because I’m building up a collection of photos from where I live.
This walk came from one of the Walk West books. It begins in Priddy and then continues south-westerly towards Rodney Stoke via. Westbury-sub-Mendip. This was also my first adventure in my new car (a Ford Focus Estate), one week after the cam belt suddenly went on my van; causing all sorts of damage to the engine (tubes, etc. all badly bent). I was quoted a minimum price of £800 to begin the repair, for which I realised that I could buy another second-hand car! Plus, I’d already spent close to £1,000 on other repairs over the previous 12 months. It was time to change.
It was rather ironic how the van got me through the house move (all done in three trips, plus one load in a larger van to take the settee and bed). Then, only the following week, it broke down and left me in, well, Wrington’s a surprisingly isolated area. When you see a bus, it only travels south to Weston-super-Mare. You have to walk 30 minutes in either direction (east or west) before you can head for Bristol or anywhere else.
This was in fact the third time that I’d been to Priddy this year. My first time was back in April, when I paid a visit to Ebbor Gorge (without getting lost).
What I like about Priddy is how largely flat and open the land is and yet, at the same time, it remains a distinct part of the Mendip Hills. Its landscape stands apart from the likes of Beacon Batch and Cheddar Gorge yet, it’s only a short walk away.
This walk begins in the centre of the village beside the town green, where the infamous timber hurdles sit firmly in the middle (after restoration earlier this year). It’s not long before you’re heading south through Cook’s Field Nature Reserve, with commanding views over the Somerset Levels and sometimes, south-east to Wells. Glastonbury Tor will make at least one appearance in a photographer’s collection from a day out here.
I often feel as though I’ve already covered so much of the Mendips, especially in Priddy, that there can’t be much left for me to see. That’s why I’d been neglecting this walk for a while. It was too close to home but, at the same time; I’d spent a lot of money in the previous two weeks and so it made sense not to travel too far.
This walk inevitably takes you down to Rodney Stoke, which I passed through only months ago. But to get there, you must cross Westbury-sub-Mendip, which was very new to me.
Truth be told, there isn’t much to tell about Westbury-sub-Mendip. It’s pretty much a ‘sub-village’; about as compact and confined as a congregation of housing and bare-essential road networks could ever get.
I remember the walk being largely downhill, from the very beginning and most of the way through this village.
What goes down must always come up and I needed to get my lungs pumping before the world began to level out and I could cross a major road and in to the next village.
I accidentally discovered a park bench ahead of a waterfall, as I failed to read the instructions correctly. This act is ‘misfortune’ actually gave me a divine place to sit and eat for 10 minutes, with nothing but the sounds of crashing water to entertain me.
Feeling full of bread, the most challenging of climbs on this walk was literally just around the corner; leading up through a field of dumbstruck cows and further still through the Rodney Stoke Nature Reserve.
It wasn’t long after that before I found myself returning to Priddy in search of the West Mendip Way, which would act as my main return route.
But I’m trying not to spend too much time on the Mendips, as I’ve signed up to walk thirty-miles of this area in June. Most of the route should cover the West Mendip Way (it’s linear, rather than circular) so it might be an idea to try and leave some of those gates un-opened.
My more recent walks have seen me head out as far afield as Wiltshire and I’m looking to continue to step out as far and away from home as possible.
Walking 20 miles around Bath in September wasn’t easy, but with regular walks and hill-climbs each weekend in the run-up, I felt prepared and I didn’t hurt too badly the following morning. Thirty-miles does intimidate me, when I think of it as being an extra 50%. It could be 12 hours of walking so, if I’m to keep my practice up, I need to keep doing long walks and if that means covering new ground then, well, you’re going to have lots to read about in 2014! 😉
I felt quite certain that the black cow below was the same bull that ran at me on another walk in Rodney Stoke. It looks identical; it gave me the same stare and it even had the larger brown cows with it…
Thankfully, this was spotted on private land as I followed the country lane beside it.
To see my entire set of photos from this walk, please click here.
Thank you for reading and all the very best for 2014!
- Day 7 – Mendips & Wells (overseasandland.wordpress.com)
- Cheddar Gorge. (lizziecarter1994.wordpress.com)
- 6. Uphill to Brean (britishcoast.wordpress.com)
- Coldplay stun pub revellers with intimate gig (breakingnews.ie)
- Country diary: Wrington, Somerset: People here have given up teasing (theguardian.com)