Yesterday was the second of my resumed monthly walks with my friend Zoe, though sadly the pub lunch at the end will not resume until next month – hopefully. We started from my house, and followed a route I had done once before, many years ago, but which I had not felt able to do more recently as I didn’t want to venture alone along that part of the route which lines the River Brue. It is now populated with somewhat scruffy residential caravans, past which I would not wish to go alone. There were many more caravans than shown here.
The walk was a little longer than planned, as what we did for a time clearly did not fit with what was on the OS map. I had had no problem with this when I had previously done the walk. Perhaps we were just chatting too much. I think I know now what went wrong, and am tempted to go and check it out sometime, but…
The walk was on a very local patch of the Somerset Moors, a.k.a. the Somerset Levels, though technically those are off to the west, bounded roughly by the M5 motorway. Over the centuries from Roman times they have been progressively drained, turning from marshes into pastureland. (The Draining of the Somerset Levels, by Michael Williams is fascinating on the subject.) They abound in ditches and rhynes (pronounced ‘reens’) and if you can help it you don’t set off across a field unless you know for sure that you will not be cut off at the other side by a water course too wide to leap across. (Moors, levels, rhynes explained here.)
A much enlarged clip from the above picture will show how the local authority is meeting the obligation placed on it by the government to provide sanitation for the caravan dwellers during the pandemic, as part of its campaign to get the homeless off the streets. This is to end after 17th May.
Glastonbury Tor accompanied us throughout.
Having passed this caravan I turned round to take a photo of the mattress lying among the branches of the tree, and the solar panel.
No wonder the road patches had seemed fresh!
Difficult not to stop and watch little lambkins. West Pennard Hill in the background.
When we caught sight of this swan it was way off, but when it caught sight of us it swam purposefully in our direction.
And swam purposefully away from us once it saw we had nothing to give it.
It was around here that we started to suspect we weren’t quite sure that we were where we thought we were. Still, it’s a nice bridge, of sorts.
We stood looking at this flock for quite a long time. After all, we had to make sure that each of the four lambs dispersing from playing together managed to find its right mother.
It this point I thought we were on Ponters Ball, a local earthwork of unknown age and purpose. Glastonbury is, in effect a peninsula, surround by Moors, formerly marshes. This earthwork marks the fourth, non watery, side of the peninsula. The earthwork did not particularly impress Zoe, who had not heard of it before I drew it to her attention as we made our arrangements.
In any case, I was wrong. This was Ponters Ball, reached ten minutes later. Looking southwards,
and here northwards. Zoe was a little more impressed. And from here on we knew exactly where we were.
Some furry creature has come to a sad end, at the hands – or more probably claws of a feathery creature
We were well and truly on the homeward stretch now, here entering the grounds of Millfield Preparatory School.
Tennis practice. And we also saw equestrian practice, but were too close for comfortable photography … and the battery of my phone – I had not bothered with my camera as I didn’t expect to take any photos – was running out.
Just enough juice to take one last picture of the Tor.