Bridgwater to Burnham on Sea – 13.6 miles (215.6 total)
Today’s walk was part of a new one for me, The England Coast Path, following the River Parrett towards the Bristol Channel then continuing to Burnham on Sea.
I am told that Bridgwater is the main distribution centre for the South-West. This must be the reason, then, that all the roads are lined with modern industrial and warehouse units, sporting yards full of containers. Every main road was as busy with traffic as any city I have visited. I found it extremely difficult to find a route through this urban, light-industrial, sprawl to link up with my intended path along the river. Eventually I squeezed between a Premier Inn and the police headquarters to escape the labyrinth of commerce and strike out for freedom.
River Parrett – not the prettiest
Once discovered, the ECP, didn’t excite me. It still meandered through works’ yards, requiring me to be ever vigilant lest I had an unexpected encounter with a rogue forklift truck. Eventually I did leave the built-up area but not the traffic.
My plotted route took a short cut, by way of a public path, to eliminate some unnecessary walking. This was a bad mistake. The recent rain had saturated the low-lying fields and I found myself walking through mud and standing water. It would have been impossible to navigate without the aid of GPS. Even with it the path had been removed at a country vet building. Before rejoining the ECP I had to negotiate two fields which can best be described as ‘paddy fields’. My boots and trouser legs were soaking and covered in mud.
The day itself was overcast with showers so that didn’t help my mood. I met very few human beings today, but one chatty dog walker I did get talking to was happy to point out the new Hinckley Power Station being constructed in the distance.
Burnham on Sea was a pleasant surprise at the end of my walk. Yes, it’s a seaside town with amusement arcades, fish & chip shops and the like, but it is clean and friendly and populated by… people.
I felt better once I’d had a coffee and done some washing in my hotel room. The sun even peeked out for five minutes. Only two days to Bristol, fingers crossed.