Sunday, 17 August 2008

A walk on the wet side...

Feeling depressed at not being at the Bird Fair, today's blog is a walk over the Mendips. To be accurate a 2 hour walk up Black Down, Rowberrow and to the trig point at a heart pumping 1068 feet, and a 30 minute slippy slide back down.

I last did this walk in the spring of 2007, whilst taking part in the RSPB/Mendip Hills AONB breeding bird survey. At the time I said I must come back her and have a walk, little knowing it would be 15 months later. Where does the time go.

My walk began at the bottom of Burrington Combe (in North Somerset), the top of the Combe is in Somerset proper like. Starting quietly enough along and up Link Lane, the tarmac road soon peters out into a muddy track and after the recent monsoons, a very wet muddy track.

Meet Bill. Bill is a dog and out for a walk. Bill's dad, Doug and I frequent the same working establishment, so very odd that the first person I should meet was Doug, hot footing it home to purvey a Sunday finest with all the trimmings for Mrs Doug and the little Doug's. Notice how clean Bill is, apparently today he's been avoiding the puddles.

After this brief interlude of employment camaraderie, my walk continued along the woods, where a single Raven could be heard cawing, before the track turned left and up a hill. Or if you are as unfit as me a cliff, obviously. However just before heading up the hill, the track became alive with Gatekeepers on Ragwort, must have been about 100 in one area, staggering.

Onwards and upwards McDuff, I plodded through the sloshy wet bog. Luckily the rain was keeping off, but there was a keen wind. Which meant that bird life was scarce, a few Linnet, a single Meadow Pipit and a few Carrion Crows. I did though startle a Roe Deer just in front of me, which shot off through the bracken well before the camera could be up and out for a shot.

Sadly though even though it is mid August at this height, Autumn's fingers are gaining a grip.

Rowan and Sloe (Blackthorn) are all now in ripe fruitfulness

Whilst Heather Calluna vulgaris and Bell Heather C. cinerea (slightly more pinky one in the middle) in the left hand photo are in full flower, with the Yellow of the Gorse, who can say moors are bleak and dull.

At last though I made it to the summit, over 700 feet from where I'd begun. If you enlarge the left hand photo, in the distance is Brent Knoll (a remnant volcanic plug), the Bristol Channel and in the distance the Brendon Hills and Exmoor. Not a bad view if I say so myself, even on a dull blustery day like today. Which was good, not that many people up there.

From the other direction, Burrington Coombe opens up it's Limestone gash in the landscape.

Finally on the way down, two more insects, a very worn Speckled Wood on the right, but does anyone know what the Bush Cricket on the left is? I don't. Not a bad walk considering I was only 15 miles from the centre of Bristol. Oh and enlarge the photos if would like a better view.


  1. What a great walk. Well worth the climb for the view. Amazing that you saw so many gatekeepers (who said ragwort should be pulled up... not me!). Wish I'd made the effort to go for a walk today, instead I watched olympics, olympics and more olympics. Think I'm totally olympic-ed out now!

  2. A grand walk for sure considering all the lovely pictures you took.

  3. Thanks Jane and Oldcrow. The views, while not spectacular, are fabulous from up there.

  4. Burrington Combe is a great place for walks and as you say - so close to Bristol! The photo of the black labrador could be Lucy - they're very similar! Miranda