We woke up having not been trampled by cows which is always a nice thing to wake up to, and when we crossed into the next field we were treated to actual eyehole fodder which I don’t believe had been a thing since we got back on the trail. Or maybe it had been but I was prioritising retaining as much skin as possible whilst doing battle with brambles. But anyway, Mendip Hills, yes please.
The trail we’d been using veered off on a no doubt spectacular loop through Cheddar but we just wanted to make as much progress as possible today so we fucked that off in favour of heading cross country to Axbridge. Obviously with Somerset being Somerset we had to go hunting for the footpaths, and we had to give up on one which had a fuck off great big barn built on it. We battled through though and once there we got on the Strawberry Line cycle path.
Okay, so, it’s a disused railway. Back in the day the train used to bring Strawberries from Cheddar to Yatton where they’d be loaded on trains bound for London. It was closed in the 1960’s, and in the early 80’s they started converting it into a cycle lane and footpath. A local woman told us it was because a young lad was knocked off his bicycle and a coach nearly ran over his head so they were forced to explore the option of a safer cycling route, but that sounds very specific and I can’t find anything about that from a cursory Google search.
Whatever their reasons, it’s fantastic. Yeah yeah, I hated cycle paths not that long ago but this one made our day so much easier and so much more enjoyable. It’s flat too, we just cruised, plonking our arses down on the occasional bench because as wonderful as it is for the mental health not to be battling through overgrown fields and broken stiles, it fucking batters your feet.
Winscombe was a lovely little oasis of joy, not least on account of an actual, functioning public toilet which hadn’t been shut down by vandals. There’s a Co-op here too so we reenergised with a Red Bull and a packet of crisps. I’ve tried so hard to be healthy but fuck it, I got ill anyway and I’m pretty sure pickled onion Monster Munch are one of your five-a-day somehow or other.
Eventually, after covering several miles really quite rapidly for us, we rocked up to Yatton and sat down at the Strawberry Line Café for a spot of lunch. Are spuds one of your five-a-day? Because I had a jacket one with cheese and baked beans. Beans are pretty good for you despite the extra farting they’re meant to cause but it’s Tarrant that’ll have to deal with that. You never mind your own brew do you? This café though, it’s very much worth supporting. They’re a community run not-for-profit with the focus on creating opportunities for adults with learning disabilities.
After Yatton we had a few more footpaths to deal with that were in surprisingly good nick, but we encountered four building site CCTV devices that trip when they sense motion, shine a light on you and a voice announces, “This is security! Your presence has been detected! The owner and police have been informed!” or words to that effect. Fuck right off, cut-price Dalek. It’s a public right of way. I’ll walk up and down here all fucking day if I want to. Utter pricks.
We climbed over a padlocked gate and carried on through the fields with waymarks confirming we were allowed to be here, then climbed over two more padlocked gates. Oh my word, honestly, hopefully we’d be out of this county tomorrow. The soul crushing roadside walk we had all the way into Clevedon was preferable to the vast majority of footpaths we’d encountered since Minehead.
If you’ve read the end of yesterday’s post you’ll know why we opted for a hotel rather than a wild camp and I regret absolutely nothing. We hung out in the bar and shovelled the wings of many dead chickens into our chops, washed down with delicious, cold motor impairment beverages. We’re struggling to find something within budget for tomorrow night so we might have to camp, but today was so chilled and enjoyable I think I might be alright to face a bit of the unknown tomorrow. Only if I absolutely have to of course.
Washbrook, Somerset to Clevedon, Somerset, England
Stayed at: Walton Park Hotel, Clevedon
Useful shit to know…
- Toilets are definitely at Winscombe and on platform 2 of Yatton train station. I believe there are more in Sandford but I haven’t seen them.
- There’s a drinking water tap outside the bogs in Winscombe. Aside from that you’ll pass close to enough businesses who’ll fill up your water, even if you have to leave the trail to find them.
- Definitely do check out the Strawberry Line Café if you can. It’s very much worth supporting.