At The Zoo

LETJOG – Day 12: Saturday 29 May – CHEDDAR to BRISTOL (20 miles)

As with all great plans, things can go wrong on the ground, and Plan B must come into action. Booking accommodation in the Cotswolds, just as pandemic restrictions are relaxed, at short notice, and during a sunny half term week, has proved impossible, and when my supposed booking for Monday was cancelled last night I made the decision to alter my proposed LETJOG route. So I am now intending to take a slightly more westerly course, up through the centre of Bristol and thence, eventually, to Gloucester, rather than walking to Bath and up the Cotswold Way. A shame, because I love the latter path, having completed it a couple of times previously – but sticking to the LETJOG task is all important here, and needs must.

So, as for today’s walk: after a large family breakfast in our apartment in Bridgwater, Rachel drove me back to yesterday’s end point in Cheddar, and we walked the first mile or so together through the town. In fine weather, and on my own again, I climbed the steep Mendip scarp, up and along the path above the high cliffs of Cheddar Gorge, for wide-ranging views southwards over Cheddar town and Reservoir, and back across the Levels of yesterday’s walk, to the distant haze of the faraway Quantocks. Through Black Rock Nature Reserve, the path alternating with the fragrance of bluebells and then garlic, before a fairly testing trek over rough woodland and farmland, eventually decending through Blagdon and down to its Lake. Up again, climbing the second Mendip ridge, then down, for refreshment in Winford, before a final ascent through fields of buttercups, to the crest of the third ridge. Sat here, for a water break, I lingered a while to absorb some unfamiliar, and quite amazing, views over Bristol to the north, taking in Clifton Suspension Bridge, and beyond to the Bristol Channel, the Severn Bridges, and South Wales on the far horizon.

The Gorge, Cheddar and the Reservoir
Bluebells above the Gorge . . .
. . . and garlic, at Black Rock
Looking over Bristol, from the final Mendip ridge

At last, down into Bristol centre, for three miles of urban walking to Temple Meads, and thence by train to Cardiff, in advance of my Rest Day, to re-join Rachel and Alistair, at Chris and Mima’s new home. For the four of them today, their ‘better offer’ had been lunch, and the tour, at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm at Wraxall, owned by Mima’s grandparents. I hope that pleasure will await me at a later date!

Rachel, with Esmarelda

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