We leave the pub in Uphill in pouring rain. But soon, by the time we reach the beach, the rain stops and the clouds begin to clear. Out comes my camera. Ahead, across Weston bay, is the beautiful Brean Down peninsula. I can see where I sat and ate my snack yesterday. The island beyond is Steep Holm, the last English outpost before the Welsh coast.
Weston-Super-Mare is a couple of miles away, up the beach. Yesterday, this section of sand had kite surfers, but today it is deserted, apart from us and the occasional dog walker.
The tide is far out, leaving a huge expanse of mud below the sand. A yellow notice warns us the mud is treacherous.
I really enjoy this section of my walk today. And it’s fun walking with my husband for company. The only other people about are dog walkers.
Hubby likes to stride ahead, faster than my preferred pace. So, to keep him in check, I make him walk behind me. He gets his revenge by taking photographs of my rear view.
At one point, he carries my rucksack sack for me. And gets ahead again as we approach the outskirts of Weston-Super-Mare.
I do wonder what people find attractive about Weston-super-Mare. The view from this end of the beach is underwhelming. Mud. It’s not really seaside, at all. More like a river bank.
We pass by decaying walls and unattractive hoardings, behind which – my husband informs me – is a sand sculpture display. But you have to pay to go inside.
Meanwhile, out on the sand, a beach patrol vehicle moves up and down on the edge of the mud, looking for sinking people.
I have to confess, the pier at Weston-super-Mare is very nice: elegant and not covered in tacky neon-lighted amusements. You have to pay to go down it.
And, beside the pier, we find what people come for: donkey rides and other amusements.
Now this is a surreal sight; a horse pulling a train engine. (There are several of these horse-drawn trains, all looking suspiciously like characters from the Thomas the Tank Engine books.)
A big wheel on the promenade. A big dipper behind it. The bland façade of a chain hotel.
But it is not until we reach the far end of the beach, that I see something really attractive. A piece of land jutting out into the sea, with some really nice buildings and a collection of picturesque fishing boats in front. This is the recently refurbished Knightstone Island, linked to the main beach from the promenade, and it has a continental look to it. Italian?
In front of Knightstone Island is the Marine Lake. This is an artificial seawater pool with a safe beach (no mud) and water deep enough to swim in.
You can walk across the sea wall that holds the water back. It looks very wet and has a coating of slippery seaweed in places, which means that water must cover this concrete walkway during high tides.
This is Glentworth Bay. Overlooking the sea, at the far northern end of Weston-Super-Mare, are some rather stately Victorian houses, a reminder of when this area was a fashionable bathing resort.
We walk around the sea-front at Anchor Head, and I take a photo looking back towards Knightstone Island. You can see the concrete wall holding back the water in the Marine Lake, some new apartments, and the older buildings on the island. Behind Knightstone, the white structure of the pier is visible.
Somewhere near here, in a little alleyway, we find an image on a wall.
[Later when I do a Google search, I can find no reference to this particular image being connected with Banksy. But it does look like it might be his work. I did find a photo of the same wall on Flickr, taken in 2011 and before the extra graffiti paint was added. The little boy was holding a chain stick, or nunchuck in his hands.]
Now, I don’t know about you, but I find the wording rather odd.
Danger. Fall to below risk.
What??? Why do people writing signs seem to lose their ability to use normal English?
On the other side of the fencing is Birnbeck Island, connected to Weston-super-Mare by a precarious looking wooden walkway. The place has been left to fall into ruin, although the lifeboat station is still used. It looks like something out of a horror film.
This afternoon gives me the first clear view of Wales on this walking trip. It has been too hazy before. I use my zoom lens to take a photograph of Cardiff, identifiable because I can see the great struts of the Millennium Stadium.
I can’t wait to reach Wales and start walking the wonderful Wales Coast Path.
But first, I need to complete my walk up the Bristol Channel. And now it is time to head for our B&B, somewhere in Kewstoke, a village/suburb just to the north of Weston-super-Mare. Onwards.
I was anticipating a difficult walk along the coastal road – narrow, with no pavement and surprisingly busy with traffic. But my husband was here earlier, and he discovered a footpath running parallel to the road, through a woodland area along the base of Worlebury Hill.
This is a wonderful walk. The trees are old and varied. We have occasional views across the road to the water.
We climb up to Kewstoke Road and enjoy more fabulous views across Sand Bay and Bristol beyond.
The B&B is newly opened and situated next to the lovely Parish church. The garden looks over Sand Bay and is a great place to sit and enjoy the last of the evening light.
Your can read some of the history behind Weston-Super-Mare here, and how it developed from Roman times into a fishing village, then became a thriving area of calamine mines, turned into a fashionable Victorian sea-bathing spa, and eventually became the family holiday resort we know today.
Miles walked today = 11.5 miles
Total distance walked = 1,536.5