DUNSTER
CIRCULAR

Minehead 2017 : Monday 28 August


Our Walk Macmillan Dunster Castle Church Coast Evening Read Me


Our Circular Walk to Dunster

Our walk this Bank Holiday Monday was a nice fusion of exercise and history and culture. We started off in Minehead and soon reached the Macmillan Way. Striking east, we reached Dunster by mid-day. There was time to look at the "wool" church before we reached Dunster Castle.




Dunster Castle was our cultural aim of the day.

Now the Castle kept us occupied for a good 2½ to 3 hours. It could have been longer, but how much could we mere mortals (e.g. like me) absorb. There was so much to take in. However, there was still time for afternoon tea at the Victorian Tea Rooms in Dunster. This gave us strength to "complete the circle" by walking back along the West Somerset Coast Path to Minehead. Our evening meal at Fausto's awaited us, thus ending another fine day. Indeed, a fitting end to our Late-August CLOG away break.

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 Monday walk. A nice combination of exercise and culture! Then we had our nice evening meal to emphasize what a good time we all had had in Minehead in 2017!

Enjoy your browse!


Dunster by the Macmillan Way

We headed south out of Minehead, along one branch of the Macmillan Way West. This branch actually starts in Minehead where the South Coast Path (SWC) finishes (or starts), in other words at the SWC "big hands opening map" monument down by the harbour. We didn't of course have to go that far, because this branch of the Mac Way goes close to the hostel. We followed the Mac Way up to the southern ridge, where, instead of going to Wootton Courtenay, as on day one (Saturday, 26th August), we took the other branch of the Mac Way, going east.

From the ridge we enjoyed nice views over Minehead, especially Higher Town. There were also good views towards the Quantocks. However, Dunster remained hidden from view in the Avill Valley, until we espied Dunster Church.




We stop for a breather, ...




... and then continue ambling along, ...




... through the woods ...




... until we reach the ridge above Minehead.




Minehead Higher Town is laid out before us like a miniature model against the backcloth of the Bristol Channel and the South Wales Coast.




More of Minehead comes into view, with Butlin's now appearing on the right.




To the east, we can see as far as the Quantocks.




Near Grabbist Hill we drop down through the forest, and finally we see Dunster Church.


Dunster Village, Church and Castle

In the Middle Ages Dunster Village was the centre of the local wool trade - a sort of Mediaeval Business Centre. Nowadays it prospers because tourists wish to soak up some of that rich history. After our ridge walk from Minehead we enjoyed some of this history that seems to exude from Dunster's every pore. First we visited Dunster's grade I listed church - a building not to be passed by! However, it was the Castle that was the essential ingredient of our Dunster visit - and we were not disappointed! This was nicely rounded off by a visit to the Victorian Tea Rooms just by the Yarn Market in down-town Dunster.




Coming off the ridge we still had a little way to go as we negotiated the thriving allotments which provide a pleasantly creative pastime for "Dunsterians". Eventually we reached one of the church gates. Now if you click on the picture you also can have a look around this historic church with its close connection to Dunster's erstwhile ruling family, the Luttrells.
I hope you enjoy your visit as much as we did!




Coming out of Dunster Church was like a step change
from the world of the past to the world of 2017.




However, somebody's gleaming pride and joy temporarily takes us back to a more recent past.
Does this classic hail from the 50s or the 60s?




We stroll past Dunster's traditional houses,
and eventually we reach the Mill Entrance of Dunster Castle.




Dunster Castle was the ancestral home of Dunster's ruling family from 1376 until 1976.
Click on the picture to have a look around this grand edifice,
and just soak up the history and the culture as we did!




On leaving the Castle by its main entrance, the "Gatehouse",
we head for Dunster's main street, ...




... busy with visitors and locals alike.
The Conygar "folly" looms up in the background.




Here's the Yarn Market, opposite which are the "Victorian Tea Rooms".




We all take tea or coffee as appropriate.
Considering that we are in the West Country, for some it's actually a cream tea.




I tried to get everyone in ...




... but that awful awning post. Sorry!




As we leave town, we pass the "Luttrell Arms"...




...which looks "rather up-market".
Well, with a name incorporating "Luttrell", what might one expect!


Along the Shore to Minehead

We returned to Minehead by the West Somerset Coast Path, already designated to be part of the English Coast Path. On our late afternoon walk the wide open nature of the sea, sky and shore nicely counter balanced the hills and woods of our morning walk. Steam trains, holiday chalets, round pill boxes and juniper bushes featured on this, the last stretch of our last CLOG walk this sunny August Bank Holiday. And very nice it was too.




To reach the shore we have to cross the track of West Somerset Railway. Here is Dunster Station, exuding an air of rural tranquillity. Minehead Higher Town rises up in the distance.


          

The West Somerset Coast Path (WSCP) meets the South West Coast Path at the "map monument" down by Minehead Harbour. Nice ammonite! We take the WSCP as far as Minehead Station.
Eventually, the WSCP and the SWCP will both be part of the English Coast Path.




Once on the path, as we head towards Minehead,
we enjoy the wide open space - sea, sky and shore.




Occasionally we look back at the receding Quantocks.




There are over 200 of these private chalets along this part of the shore line. We spoke to one of the owners who said that in his younger days, about 50 years ago, he bought his chalet for 800. Nowadays, these chalets change hands for about 100,000 (yes 100K). Yearly ground rent puts you back 1,500. These were his words anyway. However, these chalets (accommodating 6) appear to be much in demand, and so far, flooding from high tides has never been a concern.




Suitably enlightened about how some folks spend their leisure time, we continue on our way, ...




... occasionally looking back at a view which now includes part of the line of chalets.




We pass some of these round WWII pill boxes,
with their walls attractively embedded with local stone.




Some CLOGgies have eschewed an afternoon walk, returning instead by steam train, taking the last train of the day to Minehead.
Behind, is the ridge from which we descended in the morning to Dunster.




Most Juniper berries are blue, but some, like these, are orange. I don't think that there are enough berries to start a new brand of drinks - Minehead Gin.




Minehead's distinctive hill comes into view. Melissa wanted to have a swim, but the tide was very far out, uncovering a large beach punctuated by a number of rocky pools. Considering that tides can come in very quickly, a swim in the Bristol Channel unfortunately looked a tad risky.
However, we had had a good day, and soon it would be time to go to Fausto's.




As we came into Minehead, we passed Butlin's Skyline Pavillion. It was built around the turn of the century and can be seen many miles away. That was probably the intention of its owners.




Now you know when we got back to Minehead.
However, we still have plenty of time to get to Fausto's.




I take another look at Minehead Railway Station. Why, it's that engine again!
Of course, this prounouncement is made with apologies to ITMA.
And, what's more, if you read the description of our walk yesterday,
you'll know all about this iron steed.


Our Evening at "Fausto's"

We all got to our communal evening meal with plenty of time to spare. Our event was at Fausto's Italian Restaurant in down-town Minehead and close to the hostel. As we have come to expect, it was well organised by our resident Master of Ceremonies, no less than Adrian himself. Everyone even knew what they had ordered! Anyway, it was an excellent way to round off what had been a successful CLOG August Bank Holiday away break. Thanks to Adrian and thanks to everybody! Walk leaders and participants!




Raise your glasses, everyone!




Now Fausto's daughter kindly takes two pictures ...




... so that I can appear in my own camera! Many Thanks!



        And so it's Goodbye until our next CLOG away break!
Thank you Adrian!  Thank you event organisers!
Thank you everybody!