Thank you Charlie, from Bashfords Farmhouse B and B, who gave me a lift back up that steep lane to Birches Corner to continue my progress along the Quantocks. I find I’m following a waymarked Macmillan Way West from the car park. A couple are just emerging from their van having slept up here, they are on their way back to Cornwall after a trip to Glastonbury to buy a brimmed hat for him. Three ladies set off with their dogs on a school reunion weekend, I follow discretely behind their nonstop chat. This is proper open heathland, yellow gorse and skylark country. Additionally beech trees border what must have been an old drove road. There are tracks everywhere but it is simple to follow one along the crest to the highest point, a trig point at 386m, curiously named Wills Neck. The visibility is poor unfortunately. Onwards easily along the undulating crest for another three miles or so with that freezing wind behind me. Lovely wooded slopes and valleys drop off both sides.
My way down Bicknoller Coombe could easily have been missed, there are no signs. Once out of the wind I stop for a snack, a cuckoo is heard [first of the year] and then seen in a nearby tree, buzzards fly overhead and sounds of a whistle from the steam railway below drift up. A small stream is followed all the way into Bicknoller village, some lovely little thatched cottages with tidy gardens, wisteria and roses complete the ‘English’ scene. A particular climbing rose with tight small yellow flowers is popular, I was not aware of seeing it before – probably Lady Banks.
I walk straight into the community store and order a coffee which is enjoyed in the sunshine. Just about everything can be bought in this little shop run by volunteers, hope it survives. As I walk small lanes through agricultural land I hear an approaching steam train and arrive just in time to see it pass. This is the restored West Somerset Line running over 20miles from Minehead to Bishops Lydeard run again by volunteers. I notice signs for The Coleridge Way, a feather quill pen, he wrote some of his major works whilst living in this area of Somerset.
The next village Sampford Brett has more picture postcard cottages and an unusual orientated