59. Lynton to Minehead

My final day walking the South West Coast Path! It was going to be a long one and as I wanted to finish early I made a very early start. I parked up in Lynton and began walking at 5:40. It was light but cool and overcast, my ideal walking weather. Lynton was very much still asleep as I climbed up towards Countisbury Hill with the path running close but just below the main road.

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Looking back at Lynton from Countisbury Hill

I look back towards Lynmouth which is bathed in a sea of alpenglow from the early morning sun. The path passes over The Foreland with its lookout shelter and I descend with the path and maintain my height when the path contours in and out of each small coombe.

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Culbone church

I enter a wooded section that Iwill be in for about 3 miles. There is little to see along this wooded section as I take the preferred lower SWCP path route. Not too sure why they have an alternative route here. At Coscombe I pass Sisters Fountain, a small spring beneath a man-made cairn and a rough-hewn slate cross. I know from my maps that I have now crossed the county boundary, where I say goodbye to Devon and hello to Somerset, the county I will finish my walk in.

I am now in Culbone Wood, with the path gently rising up and down. I decide to visit the smallest complete parish church in England. Culbone Church, or to give it it’s proper name St. Beuno’s is a beautiful little church and well worth the detour.

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Getting closer!

After passing through Worthy Wood I drop down off Porlock Hill to Porlock Weir. I pass some cottage’s with their occupants cooking breakfast. My tummy rumbles when I get the smell of bacon frying.

The next three miles will involve walking across the flat marshy area of Porlock. There are a number of opportunities to take your own route across this area, although i play it safe and follow the official route which skirts in land across a few fields. I pass a memorial to a WW2 aircraft crew that lost their lives after their Liberator bomber struck Bossington Hill and came down in the marsh.

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Finished!!

It had decided to rain for a short while as began my final climb on the SWCP up onto Bossington Hill and Selworthy Beacon. I noted a newly constructed sign that advises me that Minehead is just 5 miles away. As I pass over Selworthy Beacon the sun comes out, surely an omen? The path gradually loses height gently off Selworthy, zig-zagging down a well made path. I emerge onto a tarmac path and pass the small harbour. The iconic sculpture of hands holding a map which mark the start/end of the SWCP comes into view. I arrive at the end 7 hours after setting off from Lynton. As when most great challenges are complete a small sense of deflation sets in mixed with relief and a sense of achievement. I ask a chap passing to take a photo of me at the finish. I walk towards the clock tower at Minehead, noting that I have just begun walking the West Somerset Coastal Path!

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Its not over yet. Another journey, another day
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The expensive ride back

I walk into Minehead and go a couple of pints of Doom Bar at the Wetherspoons as I have about an hour to kill to cathc my bus back to Lynton. The bus arrives and I am amazed to see it is a vintage bus from the 40’s/50’s. The bus takes the scenic coastal route because it cannot make the steep hill at Porlock. The scenic route does involve some tight corners which the bus has to reverse back for. I was also amazed to have to pay £10 for a return ticket, as single fares were not available! Hmmmm!

 

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Vintage bus

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the SWCP. I had visited many many places I had never seen before and perhaps never will again. My favourite section had to be Cornwall.

Distance today = 21.5 miles
Total distance =   883.5 miles

 

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