There are plans for a continuous coastal path to link Minehead to Brean Down. Until then, coastal walkers must find their own route. But I don’t anticipate any problems as I walk from Burnham-on-Sea to Brean. My map shows a footpath/cycle track running along the beach. And its a lovely morning for a walk on the sands.
I wave goodbye to the shortest pier in Britain, and head northwards.
Brean Down is a finger of land pointing out to sea, just visible on the horizon. But my most immediate landmark is a weird white tower on stilts, standing marooned on the sand.
Later I learn this is one of Burnham-on-Sea’s three lighthouses, and the only one still functioning.
Apart from the usual dog walkers, my other companions this morning are the wide sands and rolling brown waves. Behind the distant blocks of Hinkley Point Power Station is the high ground of the Quantock Hills – and I look back along the coastline of West Somerset towards Watchet and Minehead, both lost in the haze.
I pass an occasional fisherman. Such an active sport!
The sands are called Berrow flats, and merge with Brean beach at the far end. It would be a great place for a holiday, if only the sea wasn’t so shallow, the tidal range so great, and the sand so brown.
The waves look as if they are made from frothy chocolate.
In places the sand takes on the consistency of mud, furrowed with strange patterns from the tide. Sandbanks provide resting places for gulls and wading birds.
With few distractions I make rapid progress. Slowly I draw nearer to Brean Down. And ahead on the sand I see a row of parked vans and someone on the beach is flying… a kite?
As I get nearer, I realise it is a model airplane. With the sun behind it, I fail to get a decent photograph. But when I draw level with the row of vans I can see there is a collection of remote-controlled planes. A gathering of enthusiasts. Some planes are huge.
Further along the beach and I see a group of walkers coming towards me. A rambling club on an outing? But they have a lot of dogs with them.
As I walk through them, I realise they are all beagle hounds. I wonder if this is regular get-together.
The northern end of the beach seems more popular with holiday makers. Or perhaps it’s just that people are waking up. Some brave souls are even prepared to paddle, although I think this trio would be more comfortable on the football stands.
The beach doubles as a car park and a bridleway.
Officially it is also a cycling route, but I have yet to meet a cyclist. My husband refused to cycle here, claiming the sand might damage his precious bike. The horses are enjoying it.
And, with the wind blowing stiff from the sea, I meet a solitary kite surfer. He is having trouble controlling the kite. I watch for a while, but he is still struggling to control the beast after ten minutes and I have walking to do.
Then, onwards. I pick up my pace. Brean Down is looming ahead.
And as I draw nearer, I see a long and steep flight of steps. That’s the way to the top. I’m glad I had lunch first.