Brean Down and Weston-super-Mare

12/9/15 We decided to finish off Brean Down and stroll on to Weston. The bus journeys were getting longer and the walk was starting to get disjointed as there was no official path anymore. Once up on Brean Down, the advantage of being able to see the rain coming in didn't stop us getting wet again. It stopped by the time we reached the fort.

From here we could see where we had been, Wales and where we were headed.

Between us and Weston though was the river Axe. We followed a footpath down to where a ferry used to run over to Uphill. But to get to the other side is now a long bus journey.

 Uphill had a couple of pubs, but once back on what might be called a coastpath, Weston's large beach awaited.

Weston itself is like most bigger resorts with large bland pubs. It seemed like we had run out of what we were looking for, a coastpath with characterful pubs in distinctive settings.

Burnham-on-Sea to Brean Down

2/7/15 Another long bus journey back to Burnham and we were soon walking along the front. The coastpath has been extended to here now and hopefully there are more signs for it. We decided to walk along the beach when the road deviated inland.

In the background of this photo, you can see the rain coming in across Bridgwater Bay. We decided to head inland across the dunes and golf course to where I thought there was a pub. The pub had been demolished and we were soaked. We carried on along the road to the holiday resort of Brean.

It was the middle of the afternoon, but the cabaret singer was was packing them in at The Seagull Inn. We dried ourselves under the toilet hand-driers and watched with our pints of mild. This didn't feel like part of Somerset. We did try some of the other pubs/bars and this small area did seem quite unique for our coastal walks.

We were running out of time as we ascended Brean Down. We had been looking at this lump of rock for a number of walks, but once up it we had to head back for the bus.

Dunball to Burnham-on-Sea

6/15 We bused it back to Dunball knowing that we were unlikely to see many pubs on this leg. So we started in the Admirals Table again as the beer had been nice last time. Then it was a cautious walk across the dual carriageway to Dunball Wharf. This wharf is occasionally used by small coasters, but was deserted as we walked along the rivers edge and through the security fence at the end. Then it was back along the flood defenses looking across the mud to the other bank that we had walked along previously. The flat walk continues for some way on this bank of the Parrett. On the left we eventually pass Combwich again, on the right we appear to always have a large tower just a couple of fields away as sweep around it in a large arc. I think it is an old water tower. When we reach the mouth of the river, the amount of bird life increases and we also have to pick our way around some of the sluices that protect the Somerset levels beyond. Then it is a short detour inland along the Brue towards Highbridge before heading back to the sea and Burnham.

The Reeds Arms (sorry about the photo taken from the bus as we were leaving) is a Wetherspoons these days and the only obvious pub on the front. They had a cider festival on and we tried as many of them as we could. The staff though didn't know what they were serving us.

Combwich to Dunball

13/6/15 Bused via Bridgwater where the pubs were busy for 10:30 in the morning. We arrived in Combwich, skirted around the EDF wharf before coming out on the river bank. There had been some rain the previous day and the grass was still wet. The grass along the man-made river bank had been cut in places, but not along the footpath itself. So we spent most of the time deciding whether to walk the flat, overgrown, wet bit in the middle or the drier bits along the side. There are not many River Parrett Trail signs and even fewer walkers.

Above is an old bench to sit on and look at the mud. We walk in most directions at some time and resist the temptation to cut corners as the river winds its way from the levels towards the sea. We cross several clyces (sluices) and can't fail to notice that the tide is still out.

Eventually we do meet some other people and come across signs of civilisation, like the sewage works. The path starts to dry out. We clamber up onto the first road bridge over the Parrett in Bridgwater and then down the other side to return seaward. The path is now behind some light industrial units. It is overgrown and still wet on this side. After a while, it continues behind some houses and the grass had been cut. Next we arrive at a modern business park. There is a Harvester that we seek for refreshment. We have to settle for expensive, fizzy cider. The path has a gravel surface now as we wind our way out of Bridgwater towards Dunball wharf.

The path comes out alongside a busy dual carriageway. Opposite the entrance to the wharf is Marston's Admirals Table.

We have two pints of Pedigree (4.5%) for £6.60. Followed by two more as waited for the bus back to Bridgwater.

Hinkley Point to Combwich

16/5/15 Early bus to Stogursey meant a bit of trek to rejoin the path on the Hinkley Point diversion. I didn't want to just retrace our steps and so tried a different route. Not all of it was easy going.

So we were already a little behind schedule as we joined the 'alternative path' and waved at the patrolling security guards. Then we reached the coast and started to leave the power station behind.

The path is flat and on a good surface here. The flat scenery makes it difficult to judge distances. We head inland along some old sea defences for a bit and then emerge near what I think is the end/start of the West Somerset Coast Path. We didn't see any signs telling us that, but we could some new English Coastal Path signs continuing on towards Steart Point. Those signs led us to a field with various bird hides.

We went into some of the hides looking for something that might tell us where the actual Point is, but without success. So we decide to retrace our steps but this time we keep to the new English Coastal Path/Parrett Trail. It seems to be more of a cycle path, without any cycles. It is still flat and now we were walking into a stiff breeze. Eventually we come out on the banks of the Parrett.

Time is against us as we get into Combwich if we are to make the last bus. But there is just enough to get pints of Old Speckled Hen (4.5%) and bargain East Coast IPA for £4.40.

The barmaid said that we were 20 minutes from the bus stop where the bus was due in 20 minutes time. So we hurriedly downed our pints and I forgot to take a photograph. (So thanks to Ruth for the above). We leave the trail somewhere near Combwich Wharf.

Luckily the bus stop was only ten minutes away for fit, young walkers like us.

West Quantoxhead to Hinkley Point

9/5/15 Bus to near Bicknoller for a short walk along a road to rejoin the West Somerset Coastpath.

We hadn't approached West Quantoxhead from the correct direction on the last walk, but this time we did and strolled on past the Windmill to climb a short hill onto a forest track. The path skirts around the Quantocks on the inside of the A39 for a couple of miles before crossing it and descending back towards the coast.

The coastline here is mainly small cliffs with rock formations sticking out onto the beaches. The wind is behind us as we descend towards Kilve beach.

Shortly after that, Hinkley Point nuclear power station starts to become the conspicuous thing on the horizon.

After Lilstock, we end up on a rocky beach wondering where the path has gone.

The small rocks are interspersed with some bigger ones and large slabs in some places which make the walking a little easier as the tide retreats. Eventually there is some pristine sand to stroll on.

Soon after this the cliffs shrink enough for us to get back onto the path. Just in time as well as the path soon comes to an abrupt stop and gets diverted inland.

The proposed new reactor hasn't started to be built yet, but there is a massive amount of work being done over a large area. An 'alternative path' is signposted along the fence with patrolling vehicles looking at us every so often. After a mile or two, we decide to head inland to Stogursey. By cutting through some fields and past the local sewage plant, we manage to have time for pint in the Greyhound before the bus homewards.

Watchet to West Quantoxhead

4/5/15 Bus to Watchet for opening time. There were already several locals in the Pebbles Tavern.

Pints of Mad Apple (6%) and Uncle Dick's (7%) for £5.60 were a pleasant start to the day. The sort of place that could get noisy and busy with a good selection of beers and ciders. Just across the road is the Bell Inn.

We had pints of Butcombe Crimson King (4.3%) and Exmoor Hound Dog (4%) for £6.60. Nice enough pints in more of a relaxed family pub. Just round the corner is the West Somerset Hotel.

Only gassy Thatchers for us and not many customers, but at least we could play pool and the jukebox was good.

Time for some walking at last as we follow a footpath up the hill inland and out of town. We then cross the road and some fields as we descend towards Williton. We see one footpath sign and skirt around that town before going wrong somewhere and end up on the road into Doniford. We then have a choice of heading inland to try and find the path again, or head towards West Quantoxhead.

The Windmill Inn  is on the A39 in West Quantoxhead. Two pints of Tribute for £7 are alright. The pub is setup as a family eating place on a main road, but there is a small side bar with pool table and jukebox. As it is a bank holiday there are less buses, and so rather than walking on and having to then retrace our steps, we have another pint and walk a mile or so back down the road to another bus stop for the trip home.