After a lovely sunny day and having spent most of it sitting in front of a computer I decided to go for an evening walk. First instinct was the seafront, but in the end drove over to Sand Bay. We parked at the bus stop car park, though I think it has a proper name. We walked towards Sand Point.
Living in Weston-super-Mare and not being allowed to travel due to Covid-19 restrictions, we often make use of the seafront for our allowed exercise. It’s not as though we never walked there before, but now with limited choices, and only so many times you can walk around the area where we live, it’s nice to pop to the seafront. Its a short drive to the seafront from where we love and it was easy to park close to the seafront. This time we parked at Knightstone Island and popped some money in the meter.
I think for me one of the big changes over the last twelve months in the various lockdowns is how little I use cash now. Before the pandemic I would use cash for the parking at the station (though to be honest more often than not I would use phone parking). I would use cash for buying coffee or snacks. I would even use cash for larger purchases. However with the pandemic my use of cash declined dramatically as mainly I did less, bought less and moved much more to contactless payment.
It was a beautifully clear day, the sun was shining, and it wasn’t too cold. The tide was well in and even the ferry moored at the side of Knightstone Island was floating, something I don’t think I have ever seen happen before.
Generally we don’t see the sea, as the tidal range in Weston is so huge that for most of the day the sea is some distance away. Today as we walked along the seafront, it was high tide.
We walked all the way along the seafront to the old hospital and back again. When we turned back we had in the wind in our faces and it was hard going walking back and felt much much colder.
But soon we got back to the car and headed home for a coffee.
A regular haunt of ours for a Sunday stroll is Sand Bay. I was surprised to findthis week that there was a bundle of new double yellow lines so we couldn’t park on the street. The first car park was full, but we managed to find a space in the other one. These car parks use to be free to use, but are now pay and display. Not too bad in some respects as it was £1 for two hours. So I say regular, but it had been June the last time we had been there!
Though it was cold, it was still nice enough for a walk along the beach.
The tide was out and it was actually quite challenging to see where the sea was.
I think next time (with the right footwear) we might walk along Sand Point. The last time we did that was in 2016!
I didn’t think it had been that long since I last visited Lynmouth, as we walked around the town, but checking my photographs (which is always a good indicator of when things happened for me) I realised that the last time we had visited Lynmouth was in 2011. Was it really nine years ago we had driven along the A39 along the coast to this pretty North Devon town? I felt we had been there more recently.
So it was a sunny Sunday in September when we thought it would be nice to visit Lynton and Lynmouth again. Once we were all ready we set off, Waze gave us directions via Tiverton and then up the A361, which in theory, though longer in distance, would be quicker than travelling along the A39. I am not quite sure it was. However I thought I would give this route a chance and it would be different. If we didn’t like it, I would drive back along the A39 past Minehead (which in the end is exactly what we did do). Driving this route I was reminded of our journey home once from the Barnstaple area many years ago where we got delayed by some trucks loaded with the huge blades of a wind turbine. The turbines always look small, but that’s because they are far away. Driving next to one reminds you how big these things are.
It wasn’t too long before we were directed by Waze off the A361 and onto the A399 and we headed towards Lynmouth.
What was nice, was as we passed Woody Bay Station we saw the Lynton & Barnstaple steam train. I had read about how the heritage railway now had a replica of the trains that use to run there in the 1920s before it closed and along with original coaches, looked very much the way it did when it was operating as a commercial railway. I would certainly like to visit there again in the future. Though we hadn’t been to Lynmouth since 2011, we had been to Woody Bay in 2014, but even that doesn’t feel like six years ago!
The road into Lynmouth is quite steep and narrow, but with care we got through the traffic and parked cars. Arriving at around lunchtime it was a little challenging to find somewhere to park, as the car park was not only quite full, but our car is quite big and the spaces didn’t seem big enough. We eventually found a space right at the end of the car park (typical).
You could tell how thing have changed since we last came, as I paid for our parking using an app on the phone! We grabbed our packed lunch and headed to the beach. Continue reading “Lovely Lynmouth”
It’s been a while since I last went to Burnham-on-Sea. We walked along the seafront before walking on the beach itself towards the Low Lighthouse.
Burnham-on-Sea was busier than I thought it might be, but the weather was lovely for September.
We walked along the seafront, past the short pier, it’s so short!
Having reached the end of the promenade we walked down onto the beach and started walking on the sand. On the beach we could see the Low Lighthouse. The Low Lighthouse is one of three lighthouses in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, England and the only one which is still active. It is a Grade II listed building and stands on the foreshore.
First lit in 1832, the Low Lighthouse was run in conjunction with the onshore High Lighthouse for then next 137 years. Following improvements to the High Light, the Low Light was then deactivated in 1969; but it was then re-established in 1993 (when the High Lighthouse lights were permanently discontinued). The Low Lighthouse has long been known as ‘the Lighthouse on Legs’.
It was a lovely walk, in the sun and on the beach. In the end we had to turn around and walk back otherwise we would run out of time on our parking.
The last time I had been down to Brean was literally the day before lockdown. We had gone for a walk along the beach and were maintaining our distance from people, but from the news it was apparent that this wasn’t the case on Weston beach.
So as it was a sunny, but windy, day we drove down to Brean to walk along Brean Down. We parked the car in the National Trust car park, and did think that at £5 for the day it was a bit expensive, maybe a reason to become a National Trust member again.
We walked up the steps, which was hard work, I should try and get fitter I think.
On the beach someone was doing some art, a star of somekind we thought. You could only really see it from the top of Brean Down.
It was quite busy, even though it was mid-afternoon and the car parks were quite full.
The tide was out and going out.
As we got to the headland we could see the old fort. Brean Down Fort was constructed in the 1860s as one of the Palmerston Forts to provide protection to the ports of the Bristol Channel, and was decommissioned in 1901. During World War II it was rearmed and used for experimental weapons testing.
Over the last few months we thought we wouldn’t be going on holiday at all because of Covid-19 and the lockdown. We had thought about going away in the UK, we looked at York but it was proving expensive and things we wanted to do weren’t open. At the end of July we checked a few sites and found that we could book a Eurocamp holiday relatively cheaply, especially compared to the UK holidays we had been looking at. We did wonder about the impact of Covid-19, but the story in France appeared to be less risky than in the UK! So we booked the holiday and five days we were driving down to Folkestone to catch the Eurotunnel.
Whilst we were staying at the La Croix Du Vieux Pont campsite we drove over to visit Château de Pierrefonds. It was a short drive and there was a free car park close by where we parked.
The Château de Pierrefonds is a castle situated in the commune of Pierrefonds in the Oise département (Picardy) of France.
It is on the southeast edge of the Forest of Compiègne, northeast of Paris, between Villers-Cotterêts and Compiègne.
This was a fantastic looking and in some ways fantastical looking castle. We hadn’t booked in advance, so we couldn’t go into the castle, but we did walk around the castle and admired it.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions if we wanted to go in, we had to buy pre-booked timed tickets on the internet. Oh for the days when we could just walk up to a castle or an attraction and walk in.
The Château de Pierrefonds includes most of the characteristics of defensive military architecture from the Middle Ages, though it underwent a major restoration in the 19th century.
In the 12th century, a castle was built on this site. Two centuries later, in 1392, King Charles VI turned the County of Valois (of which Pierrefonds was part) into a Duchy and gave it to his brother Louis, Duke of Orléans. From 1393 to his death in 1407, the latter had the castle rebuilt by the court architect, Jean le Noir.
In March 1617, during the early troubled days of Louis XIII’s reign, the castle, then the property of François-Annibal d’Estrées, who joined the “parti des mécontents” (party of discontent) led by Henri II, Prince of Condé, was besieged and taken by troops sent by Richelieu, the secretary of state for war. Its demolition was started, but not carried through to the end because of the enormity of the task. The exterior works were razed, the roofs destroyed and holes made in the towers and curtain walls.
The castle remained a ruin for more than two centuries. Napoleon I bought it in 1810 for less than 3,000 francs. During the 19th century, with the rediscovery of the architectural heritage of the Middle Ages, it became a “romantic ruin”.
Napoleon III decided to commission architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc to rebuild it. He applied his architectural designs to create the ideal château, such as would have existed in the Middle Ages.
The Château de Pierrefonds has been classified as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture since 1848.
The castle was used as the setting for Camelot in the BBC series Merlin.
As well as the castle we walked around the village.
With all the beautiful weather we decided to take advantage of it and go for a walk along the Kennet and Avon Canal, well part of it anyhow.
The Kennet and Avon Canal is a waterway in southern England with an overall length of 87 miles, made up of two lengths of navigable river linked by a canal. The name is used to refer to the entire length of the navigation rather than solely to the central canal section. From Bristol to Bath the waterway follows the natural course of the River Avon before the canal links it to the River Kennet at Newbury, and from there to Reading on the River Thames. In all, the waterway incorporates 105 locks.
The two river stretches were made navigable in the early 18th century, and the 57-mile (92 km) canal section was constructed between 1794 and 1810. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the canal gradually fell into disuse after the opening of the Great Western Railway. In the latter half of the 20th century the canal was restored in stages, largely by volunteers. After decades of dereliction and much restoration work, it was fully reopened in 1990. The Kennet and Avon Canal has been developed as a popular heritage tourism destination for boating, canoeing, fishing, walking and cycling, and is also important for wildlife conservation.
We decided to do the walk as my eldest had gone on a school trip (as part of curriculum enrichment) in 2015 and had recommended it to us.
We caught the train to Avoncliff Halt.
Seriously this is a halt, and the platform is only big enough for a single carriage, so we had to make sure we were at the front of the train. Originally opened in 1906.
What looks like a road bridge is in fact part of the Avoncliff Aqueduct.
The Avoncliff Aqueduct crosses both the Wessex main line and the River Avon.
It was built between 1797 and 1801
There was this lovely house alongside the canal.
Very peaceful walking along in the shade. Though to be honest there were a fair few cyclists and other walkers as well.
Quite a few boats as well.
This is the Dundas Aqueduct, again built between 1797 and 1801.
The aqueduct is also the junction between the Kennet and Avon Canal and the largely derelict Somerset Coal Canal. The short stretch of the Somerset Coal Canal still in water forms Brassknocker Basin, used for boat moorings, cycle hire and a cafe.
Whilst we were walking along, two military helicopters, probably on their way to RNAS Yeovilton flew past, relatively low. One was a Puma, the other a Merlin.
As we got near the city centre of Bath, we went through two amazing tunnels.
Overall quite a trek, but great weather, lovely scenery and rather peaceful.