Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Backpackers Exmoor weekend

Quite a way to go but the forecast was good and, sometimes, you just have to get out. Starting from Porlock, I went up Doverhay, the lane next to a car park off the main street, through woodland and then across Doverhay Down to a lane which led west down to Pool Bridge campsite where I met up with my companions for the weekend. Most had already been backpacking for a couple of days.


My tarp is on the right of the photo above. There was no pub nearby so we all turned in quite early.

Next morning, a group of us set off along the track that goes west above the campsite, down to Lucott Cross, by Larkbarrow (where we stopped for lunch). We had been planning to camp overnight at Hoar Oak but it was thought to be boggy so we headed for Farley Water where we found a very nice pitch next to running water.



 Next morning, we joined the Two Moors Way up to Cheriton, then aiming for the cafe at Watersmeet for second breakfast. Following then the path by the East Lyn River, we stopped for refreshment at the Rockford Inn at Rockford. At Brendon, I parted company with the others and took the path through access land to County Gate, taking the bridleway across the road going east, shortly afterwards joining the inland South West Coast Path, passing by Culbone Church, eventually reaching Porlock Weir.


The Bottom Ship pub was open so I downed some excellent fish and chips and a pint of Exmoor bitter. I then headed off to find somewhere to spend the night. There was no-one about and I found a good pitch between Porlock Weir and Porlock.



Going out of Porlock, I was filling my water belt with water from a stream when a fellow passing by warned me off the water (although I would have filtered it). He lived nearby so invited me into his house for tap water  and also a glass of squash, which was very welcome. Trail magic like this is always welcome. He (Damien Crossland) showed me some of the items he makes as a wood turner so let's give him a plug at www.taxusturn.co.uk



A breakfast and coffee stop
From there I followed the Coleridge Way to Webbers Post and then the Dunster Path to Brockwell and Wootton Courtenay, stopping for lunch in a field where I was approached by a very tame pheasant of a type I'd not seen before. I later identified it as a Reeves's pheasant.


Through Timberscombe, I went through woodland to Dunster where I spent some time in a tearoom enjoying a cream tea, watching the world go by. Had a look round the Rohan outlet shop and then took the Macmillan Way West and then into Minehead via a bridleway, on the way coming to the rescue of a lady and her young son. They were staying at the nearby youth hostel and some time earlier had come out for a walk without a map or compass and hadn't a clue where they were. The light was fading and, to be honest, I struggled to find the YH, there being so many paths in the woods here. However, we eventually found the YH and I felt a great sense of relief!

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