Day Two: 2nd May 2009
|Day Two Morning Set Off Wootton Dunkery Horner Porlock Evening Features Read Me|
On today's thirteen mile walk we ascended Dunkery Beacon which, at 519 metres, is the highest point in Somerset and on Exmoor. The first part of our route was along the Macmillan Way (West), dipping down to the sheltered village of Wootton Courtenay before climbing to higher things, namely the Beacon itself. We then descended through woods (alpine-like scenery) to the village of Horner with its tea shop and Packhorse Bridge. In another 1½ miles we reached historic Porlock - our destination. Our walk was one of contrasts - the wide open and exposed landscape of Exmoor and the lush green - almost cosy - valleys with their pretty villages nestling in the foothills.
Before breakfast, with just a glass of water to detox, I strolled up to Higher Town, where I took these views. Early morning strolls in the rising sun seem to exert a certain magic over yours truly - a magic which might just grab you too from these two pictures. Magic? Yes, tranquillity in an historic village bathed in gentle sunlight. Definitely to be savoured!
After breakfast three of us, Dolores, Dan and I, decided to head for Exmoor's highest point, Dunkery Beacon (only just over 0.5 km high). For my sins I was walk leader, since I suggested the walk, but despite this we reached Porlock safely! The wide expanses of Exmoor contrasted strongly with the neat villages, hamlets and lush green valleys that are the hallmark of this part of Somerset.
On the Macmillan Way (West) we descend into Wootton Courtenay, nestling in the lush green gently undulating landscape below Dunkery Beacon. Of courses, traditional churches reflect the historical context of a community, and so we paid a short visit to Wootton's place of worship. Interesting, but oozing less history than the Saint Michael's in Minehead's Higher Town.
Dunkery Beacon, as mentioned frequently before, is, at 519 metres, the highest point in Somerset and on Exmoor. As you can see here, the views are of the tremendous all-round variety. We tarried awhile to soak in the landscape, and soon realized that the Beacon was a popular destination. Then it was time to descend to another of those lush green, tree-filled valleys.
We then descended into the green valley of Horner Water (a river). As we went, we could still good views across to the Bristol Channel. The landscape was characterized by bright yellow gorse, silver birch and scots pine. This gave a sort of Alpine feel to surroundings. In Horner, we "took afternoon tea" at the busy Tea Rooms. Suitably refreshed we wended our way across the Packhorse Bridge, and around Crawter Hill into Porlock.
A thatched house guarded the way into Porlock. Here we had a brief nose around the old church, with its characteristically (for hereabouts) sawn-off spire, before catching the bus back to Minehead. The bus wasn't the open topper, but a common or garden single decker, but it got us back to Minehead in good time.
As mentioned, we still had time to catch the evening bus from Porlock to Minehead. Back in Minehead, we met up with John Edward's group who had done their walk along the coast from Minehead to Porlock. We had all worked up a good appetite and had a pleasant evening in one of the hostelries on Minehead's sea front. So ended our second day.