Sunday, 3 August 2008

Ubley and Blagdon Lake

St Bartholomew's, Ubley

The walk involves a complete circumnavigation of Blagdon lake. It is said to be 5.75 miles, but seemed a mile longer - perhaps it was just hot. It begins in Ubley, at the Parish Hall and initially goes through part of this pretty village past the medieval church made of red sandstone.

Leaving the village, you soon come on this chimney which was part of the former mill.

The next stage of the walk passes through farmland and woodland, with glimpses of the lake on the left from time to time. This is pleasant enough, but a bit frustrating. Eventually, however, while still in the woods a short detour leads to a delightful flower meadow with the first unencumbered views of the lake. A nice place for a picnic.

Soon after this comes the best phase of the walk where you follow a winding lakeside path and then a lane which runs along the top of the dam which marks one end of the lake.

From here, another lane continues around the end of the lake and the you take the aptly named Dark Lane (sunken, over-arched by trees and dark indeed) up towards the centre of Blagdon and then round towards the church. The church was rebuilt in the early twentieth century and is notable for its 116 foot high tower, apparently one of the tallest in the country.

Beyond the church, Grib Lane has some of the loveliest views over the lake as a whole.

The final section returns to Ubley across more fields.

Rating: Four stars. A bit frustrating a first, but rewarding in the end. An awful lot of fields and styles.

From: Sue Gearing – More Mendip Walks (Cromwell Press.

Map: Explorer 141 (Cheddar Gorge & Mendip Hills West).

Blagdon Lake

The lake is man-made. It is the result of the Bristol Waterworks Company (now Bristol Water) building a dam across the river Yeo between 1891 and 1899. The dam, which extends up to 175 feet below ground, was built by hand with materials being brought to the site by a purpose-constructed rail line.

The lake covers 44 acres and is relatively shallow: the average depth is 14ft. It is famous for its trout fishing (it has been used for this since it first opened) and it also still provides a main source of water for Bristol.


We noticed a pair of cormorants and some crested grebe.

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