4: Somerset and Severn

Ruth’s Coastal Walk: South West Coastal Path section, July 2014 onwards
[Previous section South West Coast Path]

Somerset

Stage Route Overview Miles Total
150 Minehead to Dunster and Watchet Beaches and steam trains 9 1461
151 Watchet to Kilve Roads, woods, crazy rocks. 9 1470
152 Kilve, Hinkley Point to Stert Point Coast and deviations. 13 1483
153 Stert Point to Bridgewater Overgrown estuary 13 1496
154 Bridgewater to Pawlett Industrial landscapes 5 1501
155 Pawlett to Burnham-on-Sea Estuary walking 12 1513
156 Burnham-on-Sea to Brean Down and Brean to the River Axe Beach, cliffs and river walking 12 1525
157 River Axe to Uphill and Weston-super-Mare Roads, sewerage, then beach. 11.5 1536.5
158 Sand Bay to Middle Hope Beach and downs 9.5 1546
159 Wick St Lawrence and Kingston Seymour Bad paths and mad cows 14 1560
160 Clevedon to Portishead Coastal path 7 1567
161 Portishead , through Pill to the Clifton Bridge Ports, industry and river walking 13 1580
162 Bristol to Avonmouth to Severn Beach River, industry and the Severn estuary 15 1595
163 Over the Severn Bridge, to Chepstow Estuary and bridges 12 1607

Next section: Wales Coast Path

9 Responses to 4: Somerset and Severn

  1. John Bone says:

    Hello Ruth
    Wish I’d come across your excellent blog before trudging along the West Somerset Coastal Path last week, where I experienced all the same problems you describe. I’m nearing the end of my South Circular walking project round the south of England, much less ambitious than your own walk. (rather out-of-date blog at https://sites.google.com/site/southcircularbone/home). My twin guides have been Dave Cotton’s fine web-site at British Walks, which I notice you link to, and Andrew McCloy’s book Coastwalk; your blog has the great advantage of being recent. All the best for the rest of your walk, which I’ll follow with envy.
    Regards
    John Bone

    • Hi John, and what a great project! I’ve enjoyed reading your blog, and hope you manage to update it – it’s succinct and amusing. I share your view of Gillingham as the most depressing and run-down town on the whole coastline. When you’ve finished this trek, I wonder what you will do next? I recommend Pembrokeshire – maybe do a round Wales walk? Best wishes, Ruth

      • John Bone says:

        If I was a lot younger I’d have a go at the E9 Euro-footpath from Cape St Vincent in Portugal, up to Narva in Estonia … that would be a project. I (and you) have already done bits of it between Plymouth and Dover. Like you I’ve been very disappointed with the attitude taken by many councils to their footpaths; the poor waymarking on the Solent Way, Saxon Shore Way and most recently the West Somerset Coastal Trail have all left me spitting feathers. Complaints seem to go straight into the bin. I very much agree with your rule about walking in the present, although I do practice some of our choral repertoire along the way. Stay strong. John

  2. Peter Shaw says:

    Hi Ruth – I am an expat living I southern California and in retirement I have taken up long distance hiking. Next spring, I will be crossing the pond and walking the Welsh Coastal Path starting in Chester. When I get to the end, I plan to keep going to Minehead where I finished the South West Coastal Path last year. For non-wilderness hiking, I have resorted to just using my phone for navigation and I download GPS tracks and local base maps as needed. As I was searching for tracks covering the coastal section from Minehead to Chepstow, I happened upon your journal and may I say what a fine journal it is. You are a great writer and your photos are very creative – I wish my journals were as excellent reading as yours. Congratulations on the book as well. Also,thanks for adding maps to your journal as I was able to download them, combine into a single track and create a gpx track of your route from Uphill to Chepstow. I have managed to get all the information I need for Uphill to Brean (the new 33 cycle way) and Brean to Minehead on what seems like a completed coastal path section. My question to you is what changes do you think have occurred on the route from Uphill to Chepstow since you did this section in 2012? I know the England Coastal Path is due to open in 2020 which tells me they must by now at least have a path in mind that either needs building or improving but unfortunately, their status website seems rather behind the reality for a complete coastal path project due to open in just two years. For example, they show large sections of the South West Coastal as still needing to be negotiated but I know from experience the whole trail exists. Any help on places to look would be really helpful. I have searched on both Google Maps and Ordnance Survey maps for footpaths but from what I can tell nothing much has changed since 2012 and I see why you had some challenges on parts of this section. But given the imminent opening of the England Coastal Path, I have to believe that something has to have been done to improve this section. By the way, I have every intention of completing the rest of the England Coastal in the next few years and since I also did the Coast-to-Coast last year I hope eventually to be able to claim I have circumnavigated England and Wales. I sure would appreciate any help in locating the best route to get me from Uphill to Chepstow. Thanks again for a great journal read.

    • Hi Peter, and wonderful to hear from you. Best wishes for your walk around Wales. I’m sure you will enjoy it. You will find the first section (from Chester) rather boring, but it soon gets better. The section between Uphill and Chepstow is really difficult to navigate in places. I’m not sure how much has changed, but you might find some helpful routes described in the comments sections of my pages by other coastal walkers. This was the worst stretch (for me) and other people tried different routes with more success. https://coastalwalker.co.uk/2014/09/03/159pm-kewstoke-to-clevedon/

      • I share your cynicism about the England Coast Path, and can’t believe it will be fully completed by the end of 2018. There has been accelerated progress in the past few years, but they’ve done the easy sections and the rest will be hard.
        I was puzzled to, but I think I can explain why some sections of the South West Coast Path aren’t automatically designated as part of the new England Coast Path. The ‘rules’ for the England path include making sure there is a wide margin along the path for ‘roll-back’ due to coastal erosion. Many sections of the South West path are narrow and dont include a wide enough coastal margin to qualify. No doubt there will be lots of difficult negotiations with landowners.

      • Peter Shaw says:

        Thanks Ruth. I’ll have to get a side by side description and detailed OS or Google map to figure where these routes go. Unfortunately, the gps link provided in one response doesn’t work any more. But I’ll get there I’m sure. BTW, if you want to follow my progress, I’ll post a journal along with all my others on http://www.postholer.com/peters

        • Peter Shaw says:

          Ruth, I understand the erosion issue very well as there were quite a number of detours on the south west coastal due mostly to the cliffs giving way. Some were quite long and well away from the coast, but it was OK as they become the de facto route until the problem gets fixed. But I do hope they don’t try to be perfect first time around with the whole coastal path. These types of negotiations take many years, even decades, and in my humble opinion, they should push to get a workable route open on their 2020 schedule even if it does involve some road walking and leaving the coastline temporarily. Then, they can work the individual challenges to make it a better coastal path. If everything has to be perfect and in place before they announce an opening then it’ll likely never happen in our lifetime. Over this side of the pond, the Pacific Crest Trail for example just celebrated 50 years and it’s still got many issues with paths over private land and threats from development. It’s an endless and ongoing challenge because laws change, property changes hands, etc., and after that there is also the fact that nature totally ignores agreements in perpetuity.

          All the best to you,

          Peter

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