Saturday, 18 April 2009

Day 13 Friday - Taunton to Westonzoyland

Walking 8.30am to 5.30pm
Distance walked 17 miles (of which four were off-route (see below))
Distance left 875 miles

I left Taunton, continuing along the towpath of the Taunton & Bridgwater Canal and very pleasant it was too.

I reluctantly left the canal at Charlton, crossed over the railway bridge and followed a field path alongside the River Tone for a while. Thinking it might be easier going, I went on to a drove road at Knapp Bridge which took me north-east to a road; over this there was another drove road over Curry Moor, then rejoining the River Tone and crossing the railway lines up to East Lyng. The drove roads were not always easy, being deeply rutted in places. They would have been more difficult had they been muddy; as it was, the recent dry spell made them not too bad. I'm not sure if these drove roads are rights of way. They aren't gated from the traffic roads, nor are there any "Private: Keep Out" signs. Anyway, there was no-one about and it was preferable to the alternative which was a mile or more along the A361.

At the village of Moorland, it became clear that I had made an error in planning my route. I was almost in sight of Westonzoyland when I realised that there was no bridge over the River Parrett here (grid ref. ST338328). My only option was to walk two miles south-east to Burrowbridge, cross the river there and walk two miles back on the other side. I must check my tomorrow's route very carefully to make sure this doesn't happen again!

The bridge at Burrowbridge

On an information board in the village it states that Westonzoyland was the site of the Battle of Sedgemoor in 1685, the last time that Englishman fought Englishman on English soil.

Much of today's walking over the Somerset Levels has been quite tedious even without the unexpected diversion and there is more of the same tomorrow. An early start is called for as it will be an eighteen mile day.
Later ... On looking carefully at the map, I've discovered a footbridge over King's Sedgemoor Drain that I hadn't noticed when planning this route. I can cut through to the footpath leading to it from the back of this site and just climb over a barbed wire fence. This new route is just fifteen miles. In one fell swoop, three miles has been lost. To top it all, Caroline, who owns the site isn't charging me as I'm walking for charity. I'm feeling better already.

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