Good Friday. Good weather. Bright blue sky sunshine and light winds. Perfect.
The South West Coast path is a long distance footpath of some 630 miles from Minehead to Poole. Over the years we have walked all of the path (and also kayaked all the way round too). On this occasion we were just walking 20 miles from Lynmouth to Minehead. Minehead is where most people start and there is an official starting point with a Sculpture.
We crossed the bridge over the East Lyn
and on the South West Coast Path began our ascent to Countisbury Common. We were rewarded with a wonderful view back to Lynmouth. You can see why the Victorians named the area ‘Little Switzerland.’
This section of the Coast Path journeys over dramatic cliff paths and along farm tracks. It is the beautiful wooded combes with stream and waterfalls which gave way to views of the coastline and across to the Welsh coast.
A few miles from Porlock the path enters Culbone woods which are home to the rare Sorbus tree which is only found in this area. It is among the rarest trees in Britain. Culbone village can only be reached on foot and is two miles (uphill) from Porlock Weir.
Culbone Church is said to be the smallest parish church in England. Services are still held there despite the lack of road access. It is a Grade 1 listed building.
On our descent to Porlock Weir we encountered several people – young and old – who looked as if they regretted their decision to walk to Culbone Church. Most people seem to underestimate just how far two miles is.
Porlock Weir was splendid in the afternoon sunshine. The small village around the harbour is a popular visitor attraction. The port has existed for over a thousand years.
Continuing our walk along the South West Coast Path from Porlock Weir. The path is routed across the saltmarsh behind a natural 6000 year old shingle ridge which extends for 4 kilometres along the West Somerset Coast. In a storm in 1996 this shingle ridge suffered a catastrophic failure which allowed the marsh to be inundated with salt water. The storm created a new tidal lagoon which is still developing and changing from farmland to saltmarsh.
At low tide the remains of a submerged forest can be seen on Porlock Beach. The area was several miles inland until the sea level in the Bristol Channel rose about 7,000 to 8,000 years ago.
The site provides a special habitat and is visited by grey heron, lapwing, shelduck, curlew and teal as well as a wide range of migratory species.
Towards the village of Bossington there is a memorial on the marsh to the memory of United States airmen whose Liberator plane crashed into Bossington Hill in 1942.
The path rises from sea level at the village of Bossington to 240 meters in a short distance so it is quite a hill but once up there the views are superb.
The path continues over Selworthy Beacon and along the cliff top before reaching woodland and descending to Minehead. There is evidence of human occupation here since the Bronze Age. It now has a population of about 11,000. Points of interest are the West Somerset steam railway and the Butlins Resort.
The track for this walk can be found HERE.