Sunday, 22 April 2007

Charterhouse (in the Mendips)

"Gruffy ground" (the remains of mining activity) at Charterhouse

A regular weekend walk, built into a visit to Somerset. The walk starts in a one-time mining area, going back to the Romans, near the village of Charterhouse. The route climbs from there and then bears east along a long ridge overlooking Chew Valley lake. It goes on via new woodland to the village of Compton Martin and then swings back. There are fine views and some lovely walking. The only let-down is that there is a mile and a half along a (quiet) road towards the end.

Chew Valley lake

From: More Mendip walks by Sue Gearing (Halsgrove).

Map: Explorer 141.

Rating: 3 and half stars.


Another couple arrived to start the same walk, from the same book, moments after us. (An obvious risk of relying on walk books, but not something that has ever happened before.) We dawdled to let them pass thinking we would rather follow than lead. However, they took the wrong line in the first large field and we went ahead - feeling it must be admitted a bit smug. We amused ourselves for much of the rest of the walk by monitoring the size of our lead.

However, later in the walk we were deep in conversation about summer holiday plans, and over-confident about how clear the route and the directions were - and found we had strayed from the route ourselves. Our followers were out of sight, but perhaps they experienced the joy of schadenfreude. We had our Explorer map with us and were able to work out more or less where we had ended up and before too long got back on track. Always carry a map!

Part of the walk was on "permissive" paths. I know this means the landowner has given permission, but there is no right of way - but why not "permitted"? Permissive puts me in mind of, well, the permissive society, the 60s, dalliance. No sign of any of this, though. Probably just as well. A cartoonist could have a field day.


We stumbled on this wonderful Victorian folly near the end of the walk. The plaque under the gable says that it dates from 1869 and was the work of John Clarke, builder, of Blagdon.

For once, not a single butterfly - but it was dull and windy. But we did see some nice marsh marigolds:

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