17th July – Gordano to Aust Service Station

20180717 Crossing the Avonmouth bridge
Crossing the Avonmouth bridge

Tuesday

Today was a surprisingly good day considering that it started crossing the Avonmouth Bridge and continued through the outskirts of Bristol.

20180717-blaise-castle-c18-folly.jpg
Blaise Castle, an eighteenth-century folly

After a large breakfast I left Gordano at 7.15 via a convenient path to Easton in Gordano, thus avoiding the lethal motorway roundabout. Having crossed the Avon, suburbia was almost immediately left behind with the route passing Kings Weston Hill, Blaise Castle, Blaise Hamlet and Henbury. From Henbury I crossed the M5 and then Spaniorum Hill before dropping down to Easter Compton. As the Fox was open I stopped for a pot of tea.

20180717 Blaise Hamlet
Blaise Hamlet

From Easter Compton I followed the road to Pilning. The guide route was described thus ” The paths are little used and mostly invisible, the cattle can be worryingly inquisitive and the footbridges overgrown and thorny.”  Not a great recommendation!!  Even he suggests using the roads.

From Pilning the way followed tracks and field paths, via Holm Farm and Bilsham Farm to Aust and the Boar’s Head. I arrived at 1.45 and stopped for lunch with only around another mile to complete.

For once the paths had been fairly well kept and maintained which made a huge difference to the enjoyment of the walk.  Approaching Aust I was pleased not to have had any more bovine experiences.  Coming to the penultimate field I was faced by a common problem: cows with calves, and in this case, a bull.  Naturally this was a large field and I needed to cross it diagonally.  I sorted out my poles and started to cross.  The cows decided to come and see me and the bull tagged along.  Luckily he was not at all interested in me, and stayed at the back of the herd.  One cow was particularly persistent and I was delighted to get through the next gate.  I should perhaps explain that cows make me nervous these days, as two years ago I was butted by a large Friesian and badly bruised.

Old Severn Bridge                        New Severn Bridge

Aust Services is a poor place now with only a WH Smith’s, a Costa and Burger King.

As it is only 4 miles to Chepstow I could easily have finished today.  Catch 22 again.

Tomorrow I am going to lie in and then amble over the Severn and collect a hire car to get me back to Wantage and a break until next Monday.

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