Bleadon Levels, Brean Down, Brownie 127, electricity pylon, Flat Holm, Limekiln, Powder house, saltmarsh, Severn, Steep Holm, T-pylon, teal, tidal gate, Uphill, Uphill Hill, Walborough, Weston-super-Mare
First Friday of the month, so it was time for my next walk with Zoe, and her turn to organise. She chose the nature reserves and environs of Uphill, which is just south along the coast from Weston-super-Mare. For uninteresting reasons my camera was hors de combat for most of the time, so these photos were taken on my phone, with one exception. Despite apparently threatening skies, the weather was kind to us, not too cold, not too windy, and the sun even came out for a short while.
From where we had parked our cars, we set off across a not very interesting golf course, and arrived at the beach. Despite my September holiday in Cornwall, I couldn’t actually remember the last time I had been on one, (though in fact I had crossed one at Marazion, as I walked back from St Michael’s Mount). We looked north to Weston.
We looked out to see the sea. Which we couldn’t, but saw Brean Down, Steep Holm, (owned by the Kenneth Allsop Memorial Trust) and, faintly in the mist, Flat Holm (which I’ve just learned is part of Wales, and managed by Cardiff Council).
And we looked, and then walked, south.
At about the level of Brean Down we left the beach but continued parallel to the sea.
You’d think that the mound ahead gave the area its name, but “The manor is recorded in Domesday Book as Opopille which derives from the Old English Uppan Pylle meaning “above the creek”. The Pill is a tidal creek which joins the River Axe near where the river flows into Weston Bay to the north of Brean Down. The Pill is connected to the Great Uphill Rhyne which drains the moors to the east of the village.” (Wikipedia)
Whatever it is called, there is somewhat less of the hill left now. The sun came out as we reached the old quarry…
… and the old limekiln. The panel explains that this was a particularly fine example of the species, which were mainly built between 1780 and 1850, and that at the time lime was used for liming acid soils, as a basis of mortar, and for whitewash.
The nineteenth century powder house was considerably further on. Its explanatory panel told us that explosive stores were usually situated well away from quarries, in case of explosions caused by sparks or other sources of flame there.
At one point I looked back over my right shoulder to see Brean Down, now well behind us.
Ahead the sun was low and bright, almost too much for the eyes, as it reflected off the briefly tarmac-ed path. I mused on the fact that you would never have taken a photo straight into the sun at the time of my grandmother’s Brownie 127.
In the course of our relatively short walk we found ourselves on at least three different nature reserves: Uphill Hill, Walborough and Bleadon Levels. At this last, we turned right in the direction of the sea, for a hundred yards – or metres – or so. Had we continued south at that point we would have taken this path.
It would have been foolhardy to attempt to cross the saltmarsh to get nearer the sea.
We started northward again toward Brean Down.
Taking great care to avoid puddles – specially as I had forgotten to put my wellies in the car – it was nevertheless possible to raise one’s eyes to look inland from time to time, and to see Uphill Hill, the quarry, the Old Church of St Nicholas, and a beacon lit for various national celebrations. It is what remains of an old windmill, and probably 18th century, says Wikipedia.
Ahead lay the dock area which we had passed on the way out.
I obliged my camera into action to zoom in on these very small ducks which flew into our view. They are teal.
Beside us in due course appeared the creek (right to left) used, when the tide is in, by boats wishing to leave the dock. That silty mud, swept down the River Severn from the Welsh mountains, is why walking on some parts of the beaches in the area is so dangerous.
This sliding wall of concrete beyond the dock is explained …
… by its label.
We stopped at a café by the docks for a coffee, and in my case a custard tart as well.
It was a 15-minute walk back to our cars through the village, during which this pretty bridge from road to a private garden caught my eye.
On my drive home across the Somerset Moors (Levels), trying in vain to avoid a long detour caused by a road closure, I noticed first an enormous erect pillar, with further bits bits lying on the ground by it, which I assumed was to end up as a new wind turbine – nice and blowy I thought in that vast open space. I couldn’t stop to take a photo, but as I went along I saw more of them, more elaborated, and it became clear that, while they were indeed to do with the generation of electricity, they were not some new design for producing power by centrifuge, (I’ll patent that I think), but a new model of electricity pylon.
In due course I was able to stop for a photo.
More information, by the National Grid, about these new T-shaped pylons can be found here, including a two-minute video of one being erected. It shows how monstrous they are in size – though they are apparently a third less tall than the traditionally lattice shaped pylons. They will carry electricity produced at Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station.