Mendip Varieties

It was forecast to be mostly overcast with rain in the afternoon. Bob led us north and we soon climbed Windmill Hill to enjoy the first of many fine views on the walk. The route curved east, past Ladymeade Farm, north of the A38 and we passed near the impressive, 255 hectare, School of Veterinary Sciences of the University of Bristol at Langford. We turned south along Maysmead Lane into Lower Langford and paused to admire the architecture of an almshouse built in 1887 by Sidney Hill of Langford House. We travelled east through the village and crossed the A38 to take a path south across well-managed countryside and orchards to Upper Langford. We crossed the road near Springhead Farm and took a path, which soon climbed through the woods and joined a good, stony lane between Dolebury Warren and Mendip Lodge Wood. We joined the Limestone Link east and before Sidcot Swallet, we turned south for a long climb over Black Down to a gate for a well earned morning stop. We descended the stony track to Tyning’s Farm and turned west on the West Mendip Way. This was a first time for me, but brought back happy, distant memories for Richard. We continued along Lippiatt Lane, but then continued along the road through Shipham, crossed the road and took a grassy path to Winterhead. Here we turned south and climbed to re-join the West Mendip Way. This turned south west to reach Winscombe Drove, but we soon turned off this track to climb south to Callow Drove. It was now hot and humid and we took a welcome lunch stop, while a few other walkers passed by.

We turned west, and paused to admire the view north before descending through the woods to meet up with the West Mendip Way again. We crossed the A38 and continued up slopes towards Wavering Down, but at Hill Farm, we turned north to descend to the impressive St James the Great church at Winscombe. Bob showed us the new gates, with their modern design. We turned east to cross fields of long grass and joined the Strawberry Line for a flat walk into Winscombe and lunch on the site of the old station. Here we met Jenny Williams, whom, I had first met on Richard Denby’s walk from Burrington in January. With an old friend, Sharon, she was retracing the walk, using the description in my walk report. Refreshed, we continued north up to Sandford, where we turned east, crossed the road and up into Sandford Wood to enjoy a winding, single file path along the northern fringes. We reached the Ski Centre, passed under the run-off area and continued along a wide track, where Bob explained the rules of Disc Golf, showing us the net for the Frisbee type disc at one of the holes. We crossed a stile north and took a path across fields, which emerged at the end of Hilliers Lane, where we had parked our cars. We arrived back at 4.15 pm, after an enjoyable walk along many new paths for me; of 16 miles with 2,235 feet of ascent.

Bruce Young