Wayward Wanderers Walking Group

Blackborough-Sheldon

January 18, 2010, prb, Comments: 1

Good weather and good turnout


Firstly your humble webmeister has to eat some  humble pie.  The grid reference given in the programme for the start of the walk was wrong.  That is my mistake and is an unforgivable slip up.

I know one group went wrong as a result, although they made the proper start in time.  I just hope there were no other misdirected souls who did not manage to get there.  If there were, please accept my humble and abject apologies. All grid references will be double checked in future!

Blackborough was once a key source of whetstone, used extensively in the 18th and 19th centuries to sharpen farmtools.  The industry declined however, quarry operations ended, and the village ran down somewhat as a result.  Now it has largely recovered, the views from the west-facing scarp slope it clings to  making it a desirable place to settle.

Blackborough Church was demolished in 1994 because it was structurally unsafe, so now all that is left is the graveyard - with still tended graves.  A poignant sight. 

From here we first struck up into the wood above the houses of Blackborough, walking then roughly parallel with them in a southerly direction to the other end of the settlement.  Here we dropped down to the road, and walked back along it to the junction, where we took the Kentisbeare road downhill past the house that was once the Ponchydown Inn, to a footpath on the left. 

This led us across fields that were wet and sometimes very muddy, to the hamlet of Saint Hill, where one of our number surprised us (and herself!) by uprooting the post signing the footpath we were about to leave.  After a hasty repair, we made a short inspection of the chapel and its small graveyard with extensive views to the south-west, .........

......where many miners and their families lie, before heading uphill, back up the scarp slope and, after much heavy breathing, to the plateau.  Some took advantage of the thoughtfully provided seat part way up......



Adjoining the lane as we climbed we came across a field housing a number of llamas, one of whom passed the time of day with us.



On the plateau we headed north east alongside Newcombe Errish Plantation, turned into Drift Lane and then took the (wet) Church Lane bridleway to Sheldon.  On reaching the church, we struck off through the churchyard and then through yet more mud and bog northwards towards the Higher Northcott riding establishment, and Sheldon Hill.

Now on the northern edge of the plateau, we had to scramble down the steep slope through the wood to the lane below.  Here a glorious view to the north towards Culmstock unfolded, .....



......although the most notable feature was the long valley side to the east - gorgeous countryside!   

Our next notable waypoint was the alpine chalet holiday complex at South Farm, which we skirted before heading through more muddy fields.  We carefully avoided the field entrance where, on the recce, one of the leaders had gone up to his knees in semi-solid mud/cow slurry, and made our way down to the hamlet of Bodmiscombe.  This was the physical low-point of the walk, the remainder consisting of a long and, it has to be said, a fairly tedious drag back up the lane to Blackborough and the cars.

In all we covered some 5.7 miles.  Most seemed to enjoy it, despite the mud.  This may, however have been mainly because it was a delight to get out into the fresh air on a reasonable day after the enforced incarceration imposed by the wintry weather of recent weeks - indeed, some pockets of snow were seen to remain, in spots shielded from the south.

The route followed has been uploaded to GPSies, and, for now, I think I have taken over the mudmeister title from Phil.


Comments: 1

Jenny
January 23, 2010

Hi there, No problem but I tried to join the walk but failed to find you all. I ended up down a one way lane with a small ?Baptist church and a small cluster of houses. There was nobody there and only two cars. Looking at your blog looks like I might have been in the wrong place? The tiny lanes were a bit confusing though. If it is okay will try and join you for another walk.


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