Porlock (July 5th)

overcast clearing to hot sunny afternoon.
one train, one bus and im in Minehead by 12:30 for food and find the start line,

 met a couple there and our paths crossed many times during the afternoon.
Left along the promenade though there is an alternative straight up in the woods, the path soon ran of tarmac and into scrub easing upslope into trees, a while later it turns left in the deciduous woodland for the first real climb of this route, its uphill all the way to the days high point Selworthy becon (950ft) though the slope is gentle after leaving the woods for open moorland.

The views are now enormous across the Bristol channel Wales is clear to see beyond the herm islands, now starts the descent, gentle at first then very steep towards Hurlstone point, just short of the beach was a handy seat for pack of rest and check mapping, good move a left turn took us along a woodland stream, over a foot bridge to Kitnors tea shop in Bossington.

Lovely couple i met on first day who also enjoyed a tea shop.

From here Bossington beach was a short stroll and take the shingle ridge to porlock weir, i had checked tide tables so would be here when tide was out hoping to see the submerged forest remnants, this was disappointing but the breach in the shingle (1996) was plain to see.
Back in porlock for fish and chips, campsite is 100 yards from village centre, the church has only half a spire but i have not found out why . found emperor moth caterpillar on one path and swifts overhead.

The campsite was £7 and had a nice chatty owner, late evening store nearby made it pretty near perfect.

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Blue sky soon hot.
At porlock weir the path slips between an inn and hotel up path to meadows then into woodland. it is steep in parts but the winding route is a joy sometimes flanked by old walls and arches,

reaching the tiny village of Culbone and the opportunity to see its tiny church (rumour has it that this is where the missing upper steeple from Porlock was placed).

Said to be the smallest church in England the church seats about 30 people, and the chancel is 13.5 feet  x 10 feet , the nave 21.5 feet  x 12.33 feet  and the building has a total length of 35 feet . Services are still held there, despite the lack of access by road. The church is probably pre-Norman in origin, with a 13th century porch, and late 15th century nave. It was refenestrated and reroofed around 1810 and the spirelet added in 1888, with  further restoration in 1928. (a fine place for a pack of rest).

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Woody bay

The trail continued through an area susceptible to land slips, there were two well signed diversions so no problem.
Eventually got to Foreland point, the most northerly point of devon, while sat for a snack some small deer appeared grazing on cliff opposite.
Trail down to Lynmouth with its small harbour, cliff railway 


and tea shop where i took a long rest as the morning had felt tough.
Up the road to Lynton which has shops for supplies and surprise of the day my first sighting of a Humming bird hawkmoth.
Moved on to valley of the rocks 


which was well worth seeing though surprised it is also home to local cricket pitch, a large pen contained the famed feral goats which are penned for a health check. 


More wooded valleys and moorland along ever steep cliffs to here ,good day. 

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Great hangman

Misty rain on blustery wind.
I had to move uphill of the cliffs for levelish ground to camp on, ended up beside mound signed as Roman fortlet!,

sheltered by gorse i was dry and warm.
Morning , back along cliffs but soon found shelter descending into wooded valley of Heddons mouth which included a beautiful stone bridge.

Plenty more testing climbs and panoramic views along headlands eventually reaching great hang mans cairn of stones which apparently will be highest point of whole trail.

During the morning i saw  only two people, now head for combe martin and a pot of tea.

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Bull point

what a spectacular day.
Combe martin was pleasant for snack then back on the trail, at Hele i was by a water wheel drinking tea watching bumble bees collecting pollen, i had to think their bulging pollen sacks probably meant that a size for effort comparison meant i had an easier day than they did.

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That was part mail, lost path on way out of Ilfracombe, then found using compass, at Lee barman really helpful and made great coffee, the pub featured a whale on it’s sign and on it’s gate (pervious image). On reaching  bull point lighthouse a terrific wind got up accompanied by low cloud (fog), so  just had to rush pitching tent up as rain arrived fast and visibility dropped dramatically.

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Overcast lumpy clouds sprinkle of rain sunny patches.

My tent kept rain of but kit generally damp from yesterday so hope i can hang kit in a sunny  breeze later.
More steps and slopes along to Morte point for a snack with sheep for company, couple more miles of cliffs when suddenly woolacombe beach comes into view, its big with rolling waves and surfers , this looks an attractive change in walking surface.

Spot the sheep.

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