Sunday, 22 April 2012

Pixie led in the Mendips

Today's objective was Maesbury Castle near Croscombe. The forecast was a bit mixed so we didn't plan to go too far. Maesbury Castle is about the highest point of the Mendip Hills and the views are meant to be spectacular. It is an iron age hillfort and a scheduled ancient monument.

Leaving the car in Croscombe we walked up the gorge through Ham Wood, stopping to pick some wild garlic on the way and to admire the new spring growth.

The sides of the gorge were ablaze with bluebells ( the English type), red and white campion, deadnettles, celandines and of course violets. The recent wet weather has sent all the plant life into a growing frenzy and you could almost hear them.

At one point we passed very close to the old Somerset & Dorset railway line which ran over this viaduct.

The climb up Ham Wood is long - over a mile but the gradient isn't too steep so it is a pleasant walk. The early sun had given way to clouds and now rain so on with the wet weather gear.

At the top of the hill the path meanders across fields and it was somewhere up here that it all went very wrong.....

Our path took us past these chaps who were as interested in us as we were in them and were happy to pose for the camera. Love their fringes - I wonder if the owner trims them?

By now it was raining quite heavily and none of the features on the map seemed to match the actual location we were at.  Time to get the sat nav from the bottom of the day pack and check if we were where we thought we were.

 We weren't!

OK no problem. That is what a sat nav is for after all. We set out  confident that the castle wasn't far away.  10 minutes walk later and doubts start to grow - yes that is the same viaduct only now we are on top of it rather than under it!

Perhaps if we'd turned our coats inside out we'd have reached the castle! As it was with water dripping from our noses we decided to call it a day and head back down the hill for a late lunch in the village. The castle will have to wait for another day. A small consolation was the weather was so bad that there wouldn't have been much of a view from the top anyway...
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