Happy Hour

LETJOGDay 9: Wednesday 26 May – DULVERTON to WIVELISCOMBE (15 miles)

Three very good things happened first thing this morning, and these proved to be portents of a marvellous day! First, surely one of the finest breakfasts in Exmoor, cooked by Margaret at the Winsbere House B&B – and a big thank you, very much appreciated, for your kind support of LETJOG and of the three charities. Second, a short diversion to Exmoor (gin) Distillery, where I was greeted first by the enticing aromas of the botanicals and then by Nicola and Chloe for a cheery chat and photo, before being duly despatched with two miniatures for transportation to John O’Groats! And then, thirdly, the sun came out!!

Starter for two!

Next it was a matter of retracing my steps back through the Dulverton rush hour, and thence, with time today for a further detour, up to the top of Haddon Hill and along the ridge for some fine views across the rolling green hills and valleys of west Somerset. All in all, today has been a truly delightful walk, virtually all of it off-road, and with my sunglasses and sun-hat making their first appearances on my northward trek.

Caught in the Dulverton morning traffic.
Living the Exmoor dream.
The sunken track down into Wiveliscombe, with tantalising glimpses across the distant landscapes on either side.

Reaching Wiveliscombe in mid-afternoon I could not pass by the opportunity of a tour of ‘Somerset’s brewing capital’. Hancock’s started brewing at scale in the town around 210 years ago, once giving work to over 200 people, and the chimney of their former brewery still stands proudly above the town. In its pomp the brewery despatched barrels from its basement stores direct to the cellars of 27 pubs in the town via a network of tunnels. Today, above ground, the brewing tradition is continued by Exmoor Ales, and by Cotleigh Brewery where I passed a very pleasant half-hour with owner Steve. Vowing to return to this fine town, I made my way finally to the White Hart for dinner and an early night, and my sincere thanks go to proprietor Simon for his support of my LETJOG challenge.

Hancock’s former brewery premises, still dominating the Wiveliscombe skyline.
About to sample an Exmoor Ales ‘Stag’ bitter . . .
. . . and a refreshing ‘Swifty’ beer from Cotleigh Brewery.

4 thoughts on “Happy Hour

  1. Brilliant stuff, Nick. And the weather’s looking pretty good for the next week at least. Hope the legs – and feet!!! – are bearing up.


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