We are heading back to the Blackdown Hills today. From Cadeside CAMC we take a short trip down the M5 leaving at Junction 28 to pick up the eastbound A373, just after the Keepers Cottage pub we take a turning on the left sign posted to Sheldon and then follow this road, Broad Road as it heads on to the western side of the Blackdowns and park at a car park, Grid Reference ST095068.
There is a chilly feel to the day as we leave the small car park along a level track heading north through Knowles Wood. We soon reach a Woodland Trust sign welcoming us to Rhododendron Wood, however the plantation has been cleared and there are few rhododendrons left.
On reaching a junction of five paths we take a track that leads steadily uphill through the trees and then leads besides a field to reach a minor road.
Turning left along the road for a few hundred yards we then take a right to enter Forestry Commission land at Blackborough heading along a broad track.
On reaching a bench with stunning views we stop to admire the vista.
Resuming our walk we take a left turn to join a footpath along the edge of a plantation on Blackborough Common. The plantation is in the process of being cleared so there are warning signs telling us not to leave the path. Just after the footpath turns to the right we reach an ordnance survey trig point, this is the 122nd I have bagged.
We now continue along the path ignoring a footpath on our left to enter an area of mixed woodland.
This leads us to a track where we turn left to follow it, we stop to admire the view , which has been recently revealed due to the felling of trees.
Chatting away we continue along the track until I realise we have missed the footpath turning. So we complete a full circle and go around again. Looking closely at the map and the OS App on my phone we come to the point where the footpath should head downhill, however, there are no obvious signs and I head through the roots of the recently cleared trees to arrive at a significant drop onto a forestry track. It is clear that if there was a path it no longer exists. So we reappraise our planned route and head back towards Blackborough Common where we take the footpath, now on our right leading down a track to Combe Farm. On reaching a road we turn right and then within a few yards we take a tight turn along a lane heading towards Bodmiscombe.
On reaching Bodmiscombe we turn right and leave the lane taking a footpath leading by the farm to a gate and then heading uphill through a field of pasture. After entering another field we follow the path along the hedge line to reach a stile leading to a hedge lined path that reaches a driveway of South Farm with it’s holiday cottages and fishery. We turn left and walk up the drive to a road where we turn left.
Our route now follows this country lane as we circle around Sheldon Hill to reach the village of Sheldon.
After walking through the village we continue on the lane to reach Drift Lane Cross where we turn left to reach Westcott Farm then left again to walk along the lane to pass Southcott Farm to arrive at Sheldon Cross. Here we turn left and walk along the lane to reach the driveway to the Devon and Somerset Gilding Club. We join a footpath that heads along the tree lined driveway.
The path then runs between hangers before passing an area where gliders are stored. I have never been in a glider and nothing that would tempt me to try it. I find it hard enough to be in a plane so climbing into something without an engine, for pleasure, is totally out of the question.
Following the footpath signs we walk along the edge of the airfield, ignoring a footpath that leads off to the left we reach the western end of the airfield and go through a gate onto a path in a wooded area to reach another gate.
We follow this path through the woods and shortly before a car park make a short detour to the right following a route through the dead bracken to reach the Black Down OS trig point, this is the 123rd I have bagged.
We return to the footpath and turn right to a car park where we turn left and walk the short distance down the hill to reach our starting point. Our walk has covered just over nine miles and the light is fading when we reach the car and it starting to get chilly. It is time to head back to the caravan for a cup of tea and a warm up.
To follow our walk you will need Ordnance Survey Outdoor Explorer 128 Taunton & BlackDown Hills; and 115 Exmouth & Sidmouth
4th January 2019
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2019)