14th July – Bicknoller to Bridgwater

Saturday 14th July

031 Masons Arms Williton

The Mason’s Arms, a 16th century inn, at Williton was very comfortable and I had an early breakfast and was back at Bicknoller by 8.20.

032 SW from Quantock Ridge
South-west from the Quantock ridge



Today started with a 250m climb up onto the Quantock ridge.  The views were magnificent and justified the hard work. Once on the ridge it was easy walking over Thorncombe Hill and Black Hill before dropping down to Triscombe Stone.

035 Somerset Levels from Lydeard Hill
Somerset Levels from Lydeard Hill


The route then goes over Wills Neck 384m, the highest summit in the Quantocks, before unusually not going to the summit of Lydeard Hill but contouring its north slope. Leaving the Quantocks behind I dropped towards Bridgwater across farmland. Here there was the normal problem of paths being nonexistent on the ground or deliberately not maintained. Only in Devon have they been basically passable.

040 Enmore School 1810
Enmore School, 1810

Eventually I reached the road to Enmore and stopped in the village to look at the school. This was established as the first free elementary school in England in 1810 and is still in use. The Tynte Arms provided much needed liquid refreshment.

From Enmore I choose to follow the lanes to Bridgwater via Andersfield and Goathurst. This was uninspiring, but quick, and I reached Bridgwater at 4.00pm and my guesthouse for the night, just in time to see England lose to Belgium. The Admiral Blake Guest House is homely and welcoming but not in the most salubrious part of Bridgwater.  Walking up to the High Street it was noticeable that all the shops had steel shutters.

I am planning another early start tomorrow as it is 20 miles to Cheddar with little opportunity to cut corners and lots of extra miles possible if some of the route is impassable.

13th July – Luxborough to Bicknoller

20180713 Brendon Hills
The Brendon Hills on a gloomy morning


Today I crossed the Brendon Hills leaving the Exmoor National Park behind at Monksilver.

I had a late start at 9.00am after a fine breakfast at the Royal Oak. I changed my plan last night when I discovered that the pub had drying facilities so took the opportunity to get some clothes washed. When I was on Ride-Stride-Glide, my John O’Groats to Land’s End trip, my brother Alan took care of all the support work, but this time it is down to me.

20180713 Peacock Butterfly
Peacock butterfly

Today’s route was a third less than yesterday in distance but with around the same amount of climbing. Basically it was a roller coaster of ascent over ridges before descending to river valleys.

A steep pull up from Luxborough was followed by the descent into Roadwater. Two kilometres of up hill later I went downhill to Monksilver where I had tea at the the pub.

20180713 Church at Nettlecombe
Picturesque church at Nettlecombe

Travelling on to Bicknoller involved another up followed by the inevitable descent. Somehow I missed a turning off of the main route. I was very pleased that I had made an error as I had assumed that the bus stop I wanted would be in the village. However, it was on the main A358, just where I joined, it and a bus arrived within 5 minutes at 3.03.

Five minutes later I was at Williton looking for the Mason’s Arms.

Tomorrow is a much longer day, 25k with 580m of ascent. The good news is that I can get just under half of the climbing done in the first 2km ascending to the main Quantock ridge.

20180713 Main Quantock Ridge
The main Quantock ridge in the distance