A crisp drive across scenic Somerset
PUBLISHED: 09:00 31 January 2014
This month we embark on a coast to coast cruise, taking in the most scenic roads in a roofless car with a style from yesteryear
WORDS: Mark G Whitchurch
We start our journey off-shore in the Bristol Channel at the head of the beautifully-restored Victorian pier in Clevedon, where you can admire clear views of the Welsh coast before togging up and setting off for another charming coastal resort.
Leave Clevedon’s Victorian splendour via the B3133 through Kenn and Yatton to cross the A370 in Congresbury to remain on the B3133, reaching the A38 in Langford.
A brief spell heading south on the A38 takes you to the Churchill traffic lights, where it’s left onto the A368.
Double back on yourself to arrive at the B3124 and turn right to rise up through Burrington Coombe and enjoy the fast sweeping highway that crosses the Mendip Hills.
The welcoming golden bracken of Blackdown sharply contrasts with the bleak looking farmland crisscrossed with dry stone walls.
At the junction with the B3135, turn left heading for Green Ore, where it’s right onto the A39, descending into the city of Wells with its majestic cathedral beckoning you onwards.
Maybe pause to admire the quaint architecture of this medieval city before picking up the A39 again, now in the direction of Glastonbury.
Past the Tor and the Abbey and onwards towards Street and the B3151. Pass through Compton Dundon and the hamlet of Copley to skirt Somerton and join the B3165. Cross the A372 to remain on the B3165 in the direction of Martock.
Go through the beautiful architecture of Martock, once home to royalty and a thriving clothing and glove making community.
At the A303, continue south by joining the A356 and head for Crewkerne, another one of Somerset’s stunning market towns where the town centre is lined with interesting shops to tempt a pause in your trip.
With journey’s end in sight, pick up the B3165, sign posted for Lyme Regis.
The B3165 weaves its way across miles of beautiful country roads lined with farms, fields and avenues of trees, all the key ingredients to making a jaunt through the countryside a memorable occasion.
Cross over the A35 to continue on the B3165 and follow the signs the short distance to one of my favourite seaside locations in the South West; Lyme Regis.
Park by the ‘Cobb’, if you can, take a stroll around the harbour wall and along the prom to admire the brightly-painted buildings and crashing waves.
Order fish and chips in paper, and sit on the seafront to breathe in the sea air. A perfect end to a truly great drive!
The Morgan 4/4:
This is the quintessential British sports car, designed to embark on idyllic Great Drives across our county and beyond.
Encapsulating all that is great about the British motor industry from a golden era matched to modern mechanicals that are carefully chosen to maintain the feel of pure classic car motoring without any of the mechanical woes.
The Morgan’s swooping, flowing design is straight out of the 1930s, when all cars had their own look and personality. The prominent chrome grill, flanked by bug-eyed headlights flows into that long bonnet with hand crafted louvres.
A delicate windscreen and a taught rear end complete the ‘coke bottle’ effect that is then encased with graceful, flowing wings both fore and aft. Wire wheels complete that iconic classic car profile.
Whilst the model tested was fitted with a 1.6 litre Ford engine, performance was more than lively and the experience full of thrills.
There are more powerful versions, including a V6 Monster fitted with a Mustang engine, but the little 1.6 litre four-cylinder motor perfectly suited the experience the characterful Morgan was eager to provide.
Open the tiny door and slide into the biscuit leather lined interior, ensuring you get your knees under the steering wheel. The evocative view over that handcrafted bonnet, your legs in a forward facing position and its racing style pedals give tantalising clues to the motoring experience that lies ahead.
No driver aids, just man and machine. The experience is just so pure!
I felt myself driving faster and faster like Toad of Toad Hall! With every bump and undulation in the road, the Morgan flexes to find its own path aided by its compliant chassis and ash framed aluminium bodywork, as well as regular inputs from the steering wheel.
It all feels very organic! The bark from the exhaust was again just right to give you a rounded experience of classic car motoring but with a level of refinement provided by modern engineering.
With limited luggage space within the cabin, no radio, cramped shoulder room and the need for ear defenders at speed on the motorway, I found the Morgan so appealing that I made the chaps at Morgan an offer, as I really didn’t want to give the car back!
But alas, I need to keep saving, but one day, one day, when I drive to the Morgan factory to pick up a car I won’t have to take it back again!