I remember the impressive spire of the Church of St. Mary from the last time I was here in 2017. That time I was heading north up the east side of the estuary but today my path is up the west bank of the River Parrett ……………………if I can find a way out that is….
….after a few confusing directions I end up by the canal, which I cross over a narrow metal bridge and then skirt the marina up to the main road following the England Coast Path sign.
Walking under the A39 I remember what fun I had trying to get down to the river last time I was here but this time it is straightforward. I soon leave the town behind, although the opposite bank is lined with office blocks, a hotel and further up the industrial estates of Dunball Wharf .
My trail – the River Parrett Trail is well marked and takes me through a series of gates through fields with grazing sheep. One of the gates sports a stern message.
I meet no-one for miles and the landscape is flat and almost monochrome – it is a little soporific walking in the hot sun. This is why I am slightly taken aback when I come to a gate that is obviously part of the trail, but is locked with a combination lock. I dither for a minute and then just climb over – why would anyone do that? The next gate is the same so I climb over again, hoping that the next gate won’t be the one I can’t hop over. Very strange.
My next tremble is when I come to a sluice with no obvious route around it…..until I notice a path off to the right with another locked gate – I am beginning to feel a letter coming on…..
This overgrown path takes me down alongside what could be mistaken for a piece of modern art and indeed I can’t see its purpose.
By this time I have realised that, unlike the South West Coast Path, this section of the England Coast Path is not used very much. My assumption is confirmed when I go through the next gate (not locked thank goodness) and am faced with the “path”. Perfect for twisting an ankle.
By this time I can see my destination Combwich (pronounced Cummitch) quite clearly but as I approach the village I am directed off left down to the road where re-surfacing is going on.
I ask for directions to the pub, up past the church and then down to Combwich Pill.
There is one other person in the pub where to my surprise Leonard Cohen is being played. I order a plate of chips and a drink. This has been a short, uneventful walk – Damian arrives tomorrow for the long one.
Distance: 8 miles