Minehead 2017 - Sunday 27 August

Higher Tn Coast Acland Selworthy On Top Burgundy Harbour Evening Read Me

Our Walk to Selworthy

Our walk today took in Higher Town, with its nice views, the Upper South West Coast Path, with more nice views and Selworthy Green (National Trust) with its picturesque thatched cottages. Selworthy Combe allowed us to gain height again, before we dropped down to the Burgundy Chapel and the perhaps not so well known "lesser coast path". From here we reached Minehead Harbour via the tail end of the South West Coast Path.

We are enjoying afternoon tea at "Periwinkles" on Natural Trust's Selworthy Green.

We had an eventful day, which included the flower festival at Selworthy Church, and the steep descent (about 30° inclination) to the Burgundy Chapel. Our DIY Group Dinner at the hostel rounded off what had been a physically - and culturally - active day.

So here is what this page has in store for you. Even if you were not able to join us, here's your chance to find out how we enjoyed our nice CLOG August Bank Holiday Sunday walk. Then we had our nice DIY evening meal at Base Lodge to emphasize what a good time we all had had today.

Enjoy your browse!

Minehead - Higher Town

We started off via Minehead's Higher Town, just behind the hostel. For geographical reasons, Minehead's expansion left this part of the town largely untouched, thus preserving its pretty appearance for the delight of future visitors like us. Of course, we had a look at the 15th century church where Julie reminded me that one of the three Royal Coats of Arms was that of George II and not of William IV! It's always nice to have an historian on board! North Hill is probably the most affluent part of town. One house has a Japanese style gateway (Shinto Shrine?). We then reached the connecting path to the South West Coast Path.

Higher Town has preserved its pretty appearance over the centuries.

Saint Michael's Church contains has many interesting artefacts,
including this monumental floor slab
to a reasonably important - and seemingly pious - mediaeval lady parishioner.
Her "head gear" must have been the "dernier cri" of her age.

Many mediaeval churches in these parts have their long term residents. However, I couldn't find out who these in Saint Michael's are. Anyway, someone always seems to bring them some nice flowers.

Coastal Path

From Higher Town we reach the South West Coast Path by a connecting path, so obviating the need to drop down to Minehead Harbour. We stay on top. We take the upper South West Coast Path to Bossington Hill before turning eastwards again to the Acland Shelter. We have fine views across to Wales, the Rugged Path (which I'll do on Wednesday) and of course, towards Porlock Weir and the coastline towards Lynmouth. We enjoy the open country and the sunshine.

Here we reach the 90° angle in the South West Coast Path.
We have come along the "Bridleway Minehead".

Bright yellow gorse and purple heather characterize the landscape.

As we look across to Wales, we can also see the Rugged Path snaking away below us.

Here is the Rugged Path again.

We have Porlock weir in our sights ...

... and Julie points the way.

This is a fine "heathery" view of Porlock Weir and the coast beyond.

The view from Bossington Hill carpark is not quite so good anymore,
because the trees and bushes have grown since my last visit in 2009.
However, it's still a nice spot to have a "snack stop",
especially as benches are provided.

The Acland Shelter and our Descent to Selworthy

We then head for the "Wind and Weather Hut", also known as the Acland Shelter. This was erected in 1878 by the then local landowner John Acland for use by his family "on Sunday walks". From there we descend down a wooded Combe for which the OS® hasn't yet found a name. Despite this, after a nice woodland walk, we reach the small village of Selworthy. We enter the village between its distinctive white 15th century Grade I church to our left and the National Trust's famous Selworthy Green with its thatched cottages to our right.

From Bossington Hill, we make our way ...

... to the Acland Shelter (Memorial Hut on OS maps),
from where we shall descend through a wooded combe to Selworthy.

This is a "Wind and Weather Hut" (Acland Shelter) erected in 1878 by the then local landowner John Acland for use by his family "on Sunday walks". The dates (1939 -2009) of his descendant John Dyce Acland have also been recorded on another side of the shelter. On another side of the Shelter we learn that the Acland family had connections with Auckland in New Zealand; however the NZ "Auckland" derives from one George Eden, Earl of Auckland. (I note this because Jan wondered if there was a connection between the names "Acland" and "Auckland".)

On this side of the shelter, we find some more insight into why the shelter was built.

The nearby wooded combe provides some nice shade ...

... as we descend to Selworthy.


Selworthy village is an expression of the timeless ingredients of English rural life. I mean, the thatched cottages with their lime washed walls couldn't really be anywhere but in England. It's definitely National Trust territory. Selworthy Church, mainly 15th century, presides over this feast of Englishness.

If you like a little bit of background information, we can note that in 1828 one Sir Thomas Acland, owner of the large Holincote Estate, rebuilt Selworthy as a model village, to house the old and infirm of his estate. In 1944, the village and the surrounding Holincote estate was given to the National Trust by his descendant, Sir Richard Acland.

Here you will see what we experienced in Selworthy.

  Selworthy Church - A First Look

Selworthy's Grade I listed Church of "All Saints" is mainly 15th century and seems to have a bit of a Caribbean air, especially as the sun is shining - but no, it's Somerset, not Barbados!
(Unfortunately, the paintwork needs some urgent attention: hence the scaffolding.)

We take a look within ...

... but intend to return after we have had tea at "Periwinkles".

Before we go, we take a look at this monument which refers to the time when the British Empire started to "spread its wings" around the world. Of interest are also the conditions of the time (e.g. life span) and the style of language.

Near this Place
Is deposited the Body
late of Holyncote in this Parish
And also ye Body of HENRIETTA
his Wife
He was the Eldest Son, and Heir
of the same Place Esq:
By ELISABETH the Daughter
of Pixton in ye Parish of Dulverton
in this County Esq:
He died the 20th day of March 1730
in the 37th year of his Age

She was one of the Daughters
and Coheirs of JOSEPH COLLET
late of Hertford Castle
in the County of Hertford, Esq:
and sometime President
She died the 13th day of September
1727 in the 23 year of her Age

their only Daughter and Heir,
died the 16 day of December.
in the seventh year
of her Age.

The church entrance looks out onto Dunkery Beacon where we were yesterday.

  Thatched Cottages and Tea at "Periwinkles"

We enter Selworthy Green and make for "Periwinkles".

We enjoy our afternoon tea so much, ...

... that a second picture is in order to emphasize this!
Jan and Melissa enjoy their chocolate brownie with raspberries, as made by an award winning chef.

After a relaxing afternoon tea ...

... we take a stroll ...

... around the Green ...

... and absorb the atmosphere of a traditional English summer - as it used to be.

Flowers and thatched roofs, ...

... flowers and thatched roofs, ...

... and yet more flowers and thatched roofs.

I mean, how many flowers ARE there in an English Country Garden?

Then, with one last look towards Dunkery Beacon, we say that it's time to go.

  Selworthy Church - The Flower Festival

It's amazing whom you meet in Selworthy these days. I mean, this lady looks rather like the
"White Witch" in the "Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe"
(one of the Chronicles of Narnia written by C.S. Lewis, 1950-1956). The lion is here too.

Of course, the Selworthy Flower Festival is in full swing,
and the garland over the archway bids us "Welcome".

There's an archway of flowers inside the church.

The book is "Bella Tuscany" by Frances Mayes, and the reader has just put down her (I assume "her") glasses. I think the colours on the book cover are meant to be reflected in the colours of the pretty flower arrangement and the "jug vase". That's my humble interpretation, anyway!

This arrangement is entitled:
'Baptism of fire'
Matthew; chapter 3

It's certainly a splendidly fiery arrangement!

Now it's time to leave and say goodbye to Dunkery Beacon and to Selworthy.

We Seek the Higher Ground

After the cultural and gastronomical delights of Selworthy we seek the higher ground via the Selworthy Combe. As we ascend the Combe, we encounter some Exmoor Ponies. From the top, we have some more nice views to the sunny south of Exmoor. Later, from the South West Coast Path, we look across to the South Wales and, closer at hand, to the famous undulating Rugged Path snaking below us.

We encounter some Exmoor Ponies, peacefully grazing on the lush summer vegetation.

From the top, ...

... we get evening views of the South Wales coast ...

... and, on our side of the channel, of the Rugged Path snaking away below us.

Here we can look east. However, some flora attract Jan's and Julie's attention.

The Burgundy Chapel and the Lesser Coast Path

Julie wanted to return to Minehead via the harbour. We thus took the steep path down to the Burgundy Chapel ("rems of" in OS speak). The path had a drop of about 150 metres and in places had an inclination (my humble guesstimate) of about 30°. We made a slow and careful descent which we all mastered well - another bit of terrain practice fostering the gentle art of mind and foot coordination! After this exercise, we then reached the seemingly well used path (which could be called the "Lesser Coast Path") into Minehead. This was not initially the "South West Coast Path", with which we would meet up later at Greenaleigh Farm.

It's a steep descent to the Burgundy Chapel, but we master our descent well.

In 2009, I met a couple of mountain bikers who were told this was a good footpath, but the giver of the advice did not know that they were mountain-bikers and not walkers! I'm not sure if the bikers eventually managed to struggle up to the top of the ultra-steep and slippery path, CARRYING their bikes! Another example showing that mountain biking and walking aren't always equivalent!

The Burgundy chapel - or what's left of it - is believed to have been built by the Luttrell family, in thanksgiving for a safe return from the wars in Burgundy. Engagements such as this Burgundian engagement are what may have given rise to the Luttrell motto, namely, "what has been gained by war should be skilfully protected".

From the "Lesser Coast Path" we enjoy views - close to sea level - across to South Wales.

The path is mildly undulating.

Every now and then, gaps in the vegetation allowed us to admire the "cross channel" view.

More path

View with colourful foreground.

More view with colourful foreground.

More path until we reach the "ubiquitous" South West Coast Path.

Minehead Harbour

At Greenaleigh Farm we joined the tail end of the South West Coast Path. This brought us to Minehead Harbour with its holiday crowds and day trippers. We saw Minehead from a different angle, although I'd say that the view from Minehead Higher Town is - understandably - more far reaching. I had a quick look at Minehead Station, the terminus of the West Somerset Railway. We got to our nice DIY meal at the hostel in very good time.

Butlins and the Quantocks meet the eye as we enter Minehead from the Coast Path.

I wonder how many patrons of the "Ship Aground" have been on a nice walk.
The name suggests that ships aground were a frequent event in this part of the Bristol Channel.

Harbour, Butlin's and Quantocks.
The impending dusk is starting to give interesting lighting conditions.

Thatched houses lining the water front give a traditional local flavour.

The South West Coast Path (SWCP) starts here and continues all the way around Land's End until it reaches Poole, a mere 630 miles or 1014 kilometres.
The SWCP will ultimately be swallowed up by the England Coast Path.

I have a quick look at Minehead Station, where I find this LMS 0-6-0 4F parked. This class of freight locomotive was introduced shortly after The Grouping in 1924. This particular locomotive dates from 1926. All, just in case you are interested.
And why shouldn't you be? Curiosity drives the world!

Our Evening

We end our day with a DIY group meal. This was successfully masterminded by our resident cook, Adrian himself no less, aided and abetted by his capable assistants. The onion sauce was very good. Who made that? We had all enjoyed our day and our activities, and it was time to celebrate the fact. It was all well received! Adrian and company and all - Many Thanks!

Don't look too serious!

That's it! Raise your glasses!
To the cooks and to everyone!

I'll take another "piccy" for luck!
Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen!
Tomorrow awaits.