Sunday, 19 April 2009

Day 14 Saturday - Westonzoyland to Rodney Stoke

Walking 8.10am to 4.55pm
Distance walked 15 miles
Distance left 857 miles

I cut through from the back of the site to my intended footpath this morning and even found a section of fence where the top strand of barbed wire was missing. A nice start to the day.

The path was well waymarked and I found the bridge over King's Sedgemoor Drain without difficulty. It was a very tranquil scene. I took a photo as a swan began to swim across.

I went through the village of Sutton Mallet. The hill up to it was my first for a while or so it seemed.
The path through the small patch of woodland on the approach to the A39 south of Catcott was not at all as shown on the map. I had to unload to climb over a barbed wire fence out of the wood into a field. There was a stile but not all where it should have been according to the map.

I went through Catcott and then took the track around the back of Canada Farm. This made delightful walking through the Shapwick Heath Nature Reserve. There was then a stretch of road walking into Westhay where I stopped for a pint at the village pub, a very unpretentious place. A gamekeeper was talking about how good his dog, a brown and white spaniel, was at retrieving rabbits and pheasant and a couple of old boys were talking about, "putt'n the taters in tomorrer".

I then entered the Avalon Marshes, with reedbeds and areas of water which is home to migrating birds. There is a visitors'centre. The area is full of history. I had lunch in a large hide looking out over the water and reedbeds. There were lots of swans around and a couple of grey heron but not much else.

My newly devised route took me through the village of Theale, along a lane and over the narrow River Axe, following this north for a short distance before heading straight along a field path and then a lane into Rodney Stoke.

The church at Rodney Stoke

I'm camped on a site behind the pub. It's a proper site with hook-ups but there's only a caravan, a VW camper, a family tent and me. The shower/loo facilities are verging on the luxurious. A small purpose built block containing four spacious unisex cubicles with shower, loo and washbasin. To cap it all, the pub serves Butcombe beer, brewed locally, which is excellent.

The VW camper, known as "Roadrunner", is owned by Ken and Teresa, who I got talking to in the pub. It's an early aircooled T25 which they love dearly. Teresa gave me £5.00 for my charity. They were very good company.

Today has been a good day. Much of yesterday was somewhat dismal and I expected today to be more of the same but far from it. The countryside has been really lovely.

Rodney Stoke nestles at the foot of the Mendips. I thought I'd be starting tomorrow with a steep climb up to the West Mendip Way but I've found on the map a lane that not only cuts a corner but also avoids the climb (as I've realised that it was an unnecessary climb - neat).

I apologise to those of my readers who are not so interested in the detail I am giving of my exact route and facilities along the way. In planning this walk, I read accounts by others who had posted on line and sometimes I felt there could have been more practical detail.


  1. Hi Geoff,

    Really enjoying your blog. Love all the details about the people you are meeting. Look forward to reading the book!



  2. teresacambell@btinternet.com19 April 2009 at 21:17

    Hi Geoff
    Kind of you to give us a mention.. we're looking forward to following your progress... Good luck and hope the weather is good to you.
    Teresa & Ken

  3. I'm very interested in the detail of the route, so thanks for keeping us in the know!

  4. Don't apologise about the detail, it's what I would've written if I knew what I was talking about when I did my walk.

    Keep up the good work. Make the most of it!


  5. I'm interested in all the detail too, albeit belatedly reading :-)