Hilary Binding Memorial Walk

22 April, 2018 - 13:30
The Hawn


In April we enjoyed our second Hilary Binding memorial walk. In cool and cloudy weather our little group spent a happy two and a half hours walking from Dunster station to Blue Anchor station along the West Somerset coast path.

After crossing the railway, we reached Lower Marsh with its medieval manor house before following the river Avill through the marsh to its now artificial outlet to the sea flanked by World War II pillboxes and early 20th-century beach chalets.

At Dunster Beach we explored the Hawn, sadly only mallard and Canada geese were in residence, and the sandy turf home to many tiny flowers such as the marine forget-me-not and other sea tolerant species although most were only in leaf so early in the year. The abundance of life along these few miles of fragile coastline illustrates the resilience of nature, including humans.

We left Dunster Beach over the concrete spillway, full of Exmoor rain, and walked along the low and crumbling red sandstone cliffs, which have recently yielded up Roman pottery. Here more robust plant life and even a few pine trees line the path across the ancient embankment, partly natural and partly man made, that protects the low lying fields of Carhampton from the sea. Plants included the edible sea beet and radish and the highly poisonous hemlock, the tree mallow, waving reeds and flowering thorns.

Among the pebbles toadflax was in flower, but the attractive young leaves of the sea poppy and clumps of sea campion promised many more flowers later in the year. Out to sea a cormorant sat on an old fishweir post drying its wings. Several steam trains kept us company on the landward side as we walked, their route lined by more pillboxes, a reminder, along with the many cliff falls, that the coastline is vulnerable as well as attractive.

Finally, we reached we reached the old boat landing area at Bradley Gate where the path gave way to the road along Blue Anchor’s promenade and the railway station with its traditional signal boxes and old camping coaches.

The South West coast path is an easy form of access to the coast, most of the stretch we walked is wheelchair and buggy friendly, and can be highly recommended for a pleasant walk at any time of year.

Depending on demand we may have further walks next year. If you would like to go on one of these walks contact VCH@swheritage.org.uk