With the benefit of an extra hour in bed, a dozen cheery walkers assembled on a chilly, but bright sunny morning in the woodland parking area on the Mendip Hills above East Harptree.
Before setting off, David gave us an excellent introduction to the walk, including what we might see and advice that we would be tackling gradients of up to 40 per cent! The first landmark was the 70ft Smitham Chimney, the only remaining part of a lead smelting works, which extracted lead from previous slagheaps, in use between 1867 and 1875. Leading downhill , through the narrow, fern decked Harptree Combe (a Site of Special Scientific Interest), we passed under a splendid Victorian aqueduct, which carries water from the Mendip Hills towards the reservoirs which still supply the Bristol area to this day. Reaching the level valley floor, we crossed fields and eventually made our way to the steepest part of our walk, the climb up to Hinton Blewett, where we were rewarded with magnificent views over the Chew Valley and the mountains of South Wales in the distance. This was also the opportunity for a well earned breather and picnic lunch stop! The afternoon saw us crossing further meadows, with plentiful mushroom supplies, some of which were collected (for the cooking pot?), and on through some pretty settlements. The final stages of the walk were gently uphill, with far reaching views bathed in the beautiful autumn sunshine. We arrived back at the starting point to bid our farewells and set off home feeling a little weary, but well exercised.
Thanks to David, for organising the walk, to Monjurul and John for the photos and all who came along to make it such an enjoyable day.