Wayward Wanderers Walking Group

Coleford Circular

April 26, 2010, prb, Comments: 1

Short walk; showers avoided

This was a recce walk, the route to be followed being from one of the books giving details of good local walks, and not previously walked by the leaders.  We all met at the New Inn in Coleford. Besides, its reputation for good food, this pub is also known for its famous tame parrot, Captain.  He was in his cage by the bar while we were there, although since the cage door was open it may be assumed he is free to come and go as he wishes. 

After welcoming another prospective member, we set off from the car park.  From there our route took us north, soon leaving the lane for a well-used track.  After crossing the Tarka rail line this turned to the east.  After Tapps Farm it went through the hamlet of Knowle , and eventually,  about a mile from the railway bridge, we met a county road.  

Here began the least satisfactory part of the walk.  Our passage on the road was constantly interrupted by vehicles, unusually so for a minor road.  Soon, however, as we approached the entrance to one of the County's civic amenity sites, we realised why.  We had nevertheless no option but to continue southwards on the road for about  three-quarters of a mile.  Eventually, though, we were relieved to see a track leading off to the right, to South Coombe farmhouse.

This stretch, the southern leg of this roughly square route, proved to be the most attractive, as these pictures of the farm, below,  show.

Just past the the farm we paused around the fallen branch of a very sick tree for a photo-call.  The path then dropped down to a little stream.  Fortunately, although there was no bridge, we were able to cross this quite easily in the dry and without getting our boots muddy, the recent dry spell having managed to dry up many of the paths and tracks in the area.

The path then took a fairly straightforward route, following the hedgeline on our right.........
.........in a southwesterly direction for about 1km.   Part way along  we came to a flock of ewes with lambs.

Unexceptional, you might say, but then we saw a little lamb huddled down against the hedge, by itself away from the flock, and shivering.  We guessed it was not well because it did not attempt to move despite the group milling around it.  

Saint Bev then stepped in. Gently stroking its head, and fresh from her pig-rearing course, she made a medical diagnosis of its condition.  She was rewarded by the animal getting up and running slowly down the field towards the main flock, but it did not seem to find its mother.   We decided then that nature was best left to itself and moved on.  

A little later the "straightforward" route caught us out.   We passed through a field gate and struck up the slope half right, none of us having seen the waymark on the gate post directing us to to the left!  Soon, though, Mr GPS realised something was wrong and alerted the leader.   After kindly running back to the gate to search for any confirmatory sign, he immediately spotted the waymark we had missed earlier.  The rest of us then trooped back and we then continued on the route we should have taken.  

All along this stretch the views forward were of quiet and unspoiled rolling Mid Devon countryside, of which this is just one scene:

Our field route ended as we came onto a lane by Penstone Barton.   Here the egg-eaters among us made a bee-line for the box with eggs for sale standing on the wall in front of the farmhouse.   As luck would have it, while this transaction was taking place the farmer came down the lane with his two noisy dogs.  After he had enquired if we had enough eggs, Adrian took to opportunity to ask if he owned the sheep and lambs in the field we had passed.  On the affirmative, the news about lamb No 6 was passed on, including the symptoms identified by Bev.  In response the farmer told us the shepherd would be down shortly and would look out for the lamb.  So, I think we felt happy that we had done all we could for the poor mite.

The remainder of our route was along this lane, but it was quiet, the hamlet of Penstone and the railway that we passed under all made for interest, and there were some pleasant views to enjoy.

Since the sun had by now beaten back the clouds this stretch was particularly enjoyable.

Soon we reached Coleford village.  At the crossroads we admired this fine old dwelling with the prominent porch, ........
......old enough, so its owner told us, for stock to have been housed on its ground floor, with human living accommodation above.

Then, a turn right and shortly we came upon the main frontage of the New Inn, and the end of today's walk. 

This was a short walk, the track registering 4.1 miles, although since that includes the route error,
even that overstates things.  Still, its good to have a gentle walk every now and again. 

Our thanks go to Bev and Adrian for coming hotfoot from the pig-rearing course in Wiltshire to lead it.  What is more the showers kept away while we were walking.  It was fortunate that the last one came to an end just as we decided to leave the pub at the start.  As always those who kept their weather-proofs on all round should be thanked for the rain-free insurance this provided for the rest of the group! 

The route, including where we strayed from the path,  has been uploaded to GPSies and can be found at the following URL:

Comments: 1

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