I’ve achieved two milestones. I’ve walked over 300 miles. And my two little feet have tramped right though the South West of England. I feel pretty good about that.
The day before yesterday I set off to walk from Compton Martin, at the foot of the Mendips, to Bristol. Although it was familiar territory for me, (I lived in this area for 11 years), the perspectives were new. I used to walk and cycle quite a lot when I lived in Somerset, but I’d never walked to Bristol on footpaths and lanes before
It was a delight to see lakes and hills from different angles, and to see the big city draw nearer. The moral of this story is – wherever you live, try a different route or path, because you’ll see something new.
Walking out of Bristol yesterday was easier and more pleasant than I’d expected. Who knew that the city has so many footpaths, quiet lanes, and leafy little woods? I heard more birdsong than traffic. I will attempt to do a separate blog post with my route, in case any one is doing something similar. Avonmouth (industrial zone) wasn’t so pretty, but it was still oddly peaceful, if a bit spooky.
And then to the Severn Estuary with its two impressive bridges. I stayed the night in a little B&B situated between the two bridges. And then today I got up early and crossed the Wye Bridge, which is the M48. Luckily the bridge was closed to traffic, for maintenance. It was a wonderful experience to smell the salty watery early morning air, and feel like a new chapter was beginning.
Which it was. Once over the bridge I was in Wales. Chepstow – and the start of Offa’s Dyke Path. It’s been a fabulous day, walking up the Wye valley. I left coastal walking behind at Barnstaple. But now I’ve a river to follow for day or so. And a green stunning winding beauty at that.
Also, I am really appreciating being back on a National Trail. (We have 19 of these special long distance trails in England and Wales, and they are a national treasure). Two reasons why I’m happy about this:
1) Much easier to navigate. National Trails are very well signposted. It sounds lazy, but it takes a lot more time to fiddle about following a map and stringing various footpaths together. Footpaths are frequently marked on a map but non existent on the ground. Or barricaded with barbed wire and the like.
2) I’m not on tarmac anymore. From Bridgewater to Chepstow a fair percentage of my walking has been on hard surfaces. I spoke too soon when I previously blogged about my miracle foot cream. My poor feet have complained at the macadam bashing. Today Offas Dyke Path, by contrast, has been glorious mud and grass and soft tracks. Bliss.