Sunday, 20 January 2013

Batcombe Hollow

There may be a slow thaw on but there is still plenty of snow on the ground and although the main roads are clear, anything not thoroughly on the beaten track is "interesting" to say the least - options today are therefore somewhat limited so it's local  only.

We are fast running out of "local" but there are one or two left. Batcombe Hollow is a combe we had yet to climb although we have visited the upper parts a time or two. It's about midway between Wells and Cheddar and today, because of the snow, the main road was very quiet. It's amazing how a blanket of snow keeps the traffic at home even when the roads are quite clear.

Anyway it is a steep but relatively easy climb up the bottom of the combe to the first of the two menhirs ( standing stones).

 This is the south stone. It stands on the side of the valley and is easy to spot as the path goes right past it.

We had the valley to ourselves apart from this herd of cows.

Have I ever mentioned I don't like cows? We had to pass right through the middle of this herd to reach the stone - I was ever so brave! And armed with a stout walking pole which I didn't need here but was very glad of when we got higher and the snow got deeper.

The only was of course is up and the climb got steeper and the snow deeper. At places where it had drifted it was up to 18" deep.... Mostly though it was only a couple of inches but still surprsiingly hard work.

Finally the second menhir, the north stone

Slightly dubious about this one. It has obviously been part of a wall at some time and has had holes chiselled presumably for a gate.

So which came first? The positioning of the stone which was then used much later for a boundary or was it erected deliberately as a gate post? I would have thought that there would have been easier ways to erect a gate post so perhaps the position is ancient after all.

Whatever it's origins it has a lovely position looking down the valley and past a small ( frozen!) dew pond. Those are the Somerset Levels down below all covered with snow.

This landscape isn't normally as monochrome. A grey mist hangs over everything blending the ground with the sky.

Not much more climbing to do before we rejoined the path through the nature reserve and headed back down into Draycott itself.

Just in time to head  to the pub for a well earned glass of cider and some lunch.
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