Tuesday, 1 July 2014

A summer walk in Somerset

We've been picking the brains of the Sea Champions team as they spend lots of time out and about by our fabulous coastline. They've come up with some great walks for you to try this summer.

Here's the first of four walks, the Poets' Walk in Clevedon, Somerset, walked by Patick Joel our South West Sea Champions Coordinator.

Distance: 2 miles

Parking: Turn off Old Church Road to find parking at the Salthouse Car Park.

The walk: From the car park take the steps up for first views over the Marine Lake, and then up to the left to climb Wain’s Hill. Soon enough, you’ll find a stone folly with arched windows. Look through the one on the right for this view of Clevedon Pier, known as ‘the beautifullest pier in England’ by the poet Sir John Betjeman. As you make your way towards the point you’ll be following in the footsteps of Coleridge, George Gissing and WM Thackeray, and up here you can also find remains of a Napoleonic battery and an Iron Age fort!

Looking out over this view of the old town harbour and the mouth of the Land Yeo river 180 years ago, the Anglican minister John Ashley and his son wondered about how inhabitants of Flat Holm Island would ever get to church… By 1839 Ashley’s first chapel on a ship set sail to criss-cross the channel. Today the Mission to Seafarers continues, serving sailors in 240 international ports.

As you work your way back down the hill you’ll see the gate to the ancient church of St Andrew –Norman architecture, built 900 years ago. A good poem to read here would be Tennyson’s In Memoriam AHH, written for his friend who is buried here…the one with the famous lines: 'Tis better to have loved and lost, Than never to have loved at all.’

Places to eat: As you make your way back down the hill to the car park you can look forward to tea and cake at one of the cafes facing the pier – in fact there’s even a cafĂ© at the end of the pier itself!

A view across Clevedon Pier on the Poets' Walk, Somerset. Image: Patrick Joel

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