Carol and James led a group of 9 walkers to Ham Wall RSPB reserve, near Glastonbury, to see the Starling murmurations.
After a sunny and cool afternoon, the temperatures dropped sharply after the sun went down and warm clothing and woolly hats were the order of the day.
The reserve was popular, with many visitors armed with cameras and binoculars, and they were not disappointed as tens of thousands of Starlings swept in from all points of the compass and put on a spectacular show.
The group repaired back to the Crab Apple in Clevedon for a meal and drinks and discussion of the events of the day.
Report and Photos by Jeff Eastmond.
Lower Failand - 24 January
After last minute changes to scheduled walk eleven of us turned up for a replacement walk around Lower Failand. Turned out to be quite an adventure. We met several interesting people on our way. Paul Amos, at his organic farm, (Lower Failand Organic Farm who sell produce at Farmers Market in Clevedon) chatted for quite a while about his beautiful beasts. Then further on we learnt all about treasure hunting from some enthusiasts, apparently they find quite a lot of Roman coins in the area.
Just under 5 miles, although we did ‘deviate’ slightly from route show on map. It took us through some muddy fields, woods, paths and lanes. The views over Portishead and Avonmouth were excellent even though it was overcast. We rounded everything off with an excellent meal at The Failand Inn.
Report by Philip Humphries
Photos by Philip Humphries and Jeff Eastmond
Backwell - 6 February
10 of us left Strode Car Park making our way to Backwell. We parked in the car park at Backwell Football Club for Our walk of about 4.35 miles.
On leaving the car park by the football pitches and out around some lanes to the Main road crossing and continuing up some more lanes to fields where the new water pipe was laid. Making our way over to Backwell tip. Crossing the busy road nearly to Backwell Church. We then took some tracks up to Badgers Wood taking the steep path by the side of the quarry. A slow pace was needed, eventually getting to the top with good views overlooking the quarry, while having coffee.
We made our way over to the Jubilee stone and then through the new gate into the field stopping to take in the view. On reaching the far end of the field we had to make a hasty retreat to the bottom of the field because we were being chased by a muck spreader! Coming out of the field making our way down the track to the church, in and around the church and more fields back to the main road. Then back to the cars for a pub lunch at the Jubilee inn at Flax Bourton.
Report and Photos by Philip Humphries
Wraxall - 21 February
8 members congregated for our 3 mile walk to and around Wraxall.
Parking in a side road on the outskirts of Nailsea, we walked across the fields towards Wraxall and ascended the hill to the Church, where we had a break and look around the Churchyard. After walking up part of Wraxall Hill, we turned off the road and went through some ancient woodland above the village and round The Sidelands before descending back to the main road near to The Battleaxes.
A stroll through the housing estate below the pub and across the fields back to our starting point was followed by some of the participants returning to The Battleaxes for lunch.
Report and Photos by Jeff Eastmond
Registered Charity No: 263374 - Founded in 1970
Crook Peak - 1 March
With mist obscuring the view beyond the end of our garden at 8am, it did not seem a very favourable day for a walk to Crook Peak. However, by 9.30am it had cleared a little and four intrepid walkers met me at the Strode Road car park.
When we arrived at the base of Crook Peak 40 minutes later the visibility had improved a little. The climb began with a short walk into the picturesque village of Compton Bishop, listed in the Domesday Book as Comtone and the property of the Bishop of Wells. We briefly visited the ancient Church of St Andrew where there is a fascinating board listing of all the vicars since the year 1312 in the south doorway.
We then followed a gradual climb on a good path to the Peak, which is 191m or 627ft high. As we made our way up, the sky cleared a little and there were views back along the West Mendip Way. When we reached the summit, Brent Knoll, Cheddar Reservoir and Nyland Hill were appearing out of the mist.
A shorter path was taken back down to the cars. The walk took just over two hours. We then drove to the nearby New Inn at Cross where a very good lunch was had by all.
Report by Ross Janes
Photos by Ross and Mike Allison
East Clevedon - 15 March
On a very blustery morning six well waterproofed members met at the Old Inn and set off on an exploration of the eastern part of Clevedon.
The first landmark was the recently restored memorial in Walton Road which some of the group saw for the first time. Plodding up Strawberry Hill we remarked on the variety of architecture and the obvious age of some of the houses. Then the mud began as we turned left into the Fir Wood walking as far as the Cinder Path behind Highdale Avenue, where we were greeted by another member as we admired her garden.
We passed the Council Offices and made our way by the hospital to Meadow Road over the river into Kingston Avenue. Turning left again we took the underpass to reach the far side of Northern Way to Brookfield Walk.
More mud crossing two fields to the cider apple orchard, originally a millenium project and now carefully maintained by the Woodcutters for Wildlife. No sign of blossom as we stopped for coffee break but worth a visit in May.
Skirting the dividing ditch we reached the large field alongside the motorway and braving the wind and drizzle we skirted the field and reached the Land Yeo again, but failed to see any water voles.
Thankfully gaining the shelter of Northern Path we made our way back to our meeting place, agreeing that it had been a bracing but worthwhile morning!
Report and Photo by Liz Byrd
Aust and Northwick - 3 April
Eight of us met at Strode Road Car Park and drove to Old Passage, for the start of our 6.25 mile walk. First we walked to have a look at the old ferry crossing, a little nostalgia moment for some. A ferry had been operating at this point since Roman times.
We moved on to look at the famous cliff by the Severn Bridge where plenty of fossils can be found, and on to the Old Severn Bridge where we could get a different view of the Severn plus the new bridge.
Moving on from there we walked into Aust and picked up a track crossing many fields to Northwick.
The Church At Northwick collapsed because of the soggy ground. The Tower still stands for the delight of gargoyle fanciers.
We left Northwick and crossing the busy main road making our way back to the River Severn. On reaching the banks of the Severn, sunshine left us, for a very heavy downpour of iced rain, where we got very wet. Making our way back to our cars, then onto The Boars Head for a enjoyable lunch. A thoroughly enjoyable day had by all.
Report and Photos by Philip Humphries
Hotwells and Floating Harbour - 18 May
13 of us caught the X6 bus into Bristol to start our walk at the Pump House, the first of 14 places around the Cumberland Basin and the west of Hotwells.
We were fortunate as eager volunteers were in the Underfall Museum and some of us were able to ascend in the lift demonstrating how the hydraulic system in the Floating Harbour operated. There was also a vessel [the Svanskar - ed] winched up for refurbishment outside.
We proceeded past the disused locks and the used one, across the roads by the high metal bridge to our furthest point, the locked entrance to the lower station of the Clifton Rocks Railway, returning via Freeman Place and Albemarle Row to the Hope Chapel and Dowry Square, where we were fortunate to see a family going into the house once occupied by Humphrey Davey.
Then to The Cottage for our pre-arranged and enjoyable meals. There were a few drops of rain while we were inside but not enough to bring everyone in with us.
After lunch, 4 returned to the Underfall Pump House to see the operation of the pumping system which kept the Harbour hydraulic system pressurised whilst the rest of us walked along the harbourside to the swing bridge, near where we were again fortunate to see someone bungee-jumping from the top of a large crane, part of a festival going on over there.
We caught the X7 outside ‘We The Curious’ and were surprised by the route it took - apparently due to road works in Wraxall.