Wombling across Somerset
PUBLISHED: 08:00 15 June 2013
submitted Mark Whitchurch
This month’s Great Drive feels a little like a Womble adventure; starting with a relaxing walk on the Quantock Hills above West Quantoxhead and culminating in an underground adventure at Wookey Hole.
Breathe in the spring air and admire the vista of the Quantock Hills and Bridgwater Bay before saddling up and ambling along the A39 to Williton.
Turn right onto the A358 towards Bishop’s Lydeard and Taunton.
Winding its way along the southern edge of the Quantock Hills, this charming road provides stunning views into the coombs and hamlets with great names such as Crowcombe and Triscombe.
Unable to pass up a train spotting opportunity we pause at the West Somerset Railway to admire the trains and breathe in the smells of yesteryear.
With a whiff of coal and steam filling the car we continue on the A358 through Norton Fitzwarren and Taunton town centre with its majestic old town hall surrounded by interesting cafes and shopping opportunities.
Leave Taunton and pass under the M5 motorway to continue on the A358, turning left onto the A378 following a short stretch of dual carriageway.
Another typical flowing road of this beautiful area, the A378 ambles through Wrantage and the strangely named Curry Rivel to Langport where we pick up the B3153 heading towards Somerton.
Once the county town of Somerset and thought to be the capital of Wessex in Anglo-Saxon times, Somerton today is a relaxing place with some rather grand architecture.
Well worth a stretch of the legs to admire the Market Square complete with its historic Buttercross.
Join the B3151 and then the A39 in the direction of Street, passing more shopping opportunities at Clark’s Village and then travelling the short distance to Glastonbury with the imposing Glastonbury Tor beckoning you onwards.
Perhaps take a stroll around the Abbey if time permits.
Pick up the signposts for Wells and rejoin the A39 through the hamlets of Southway and Coxley.
I couldn’t resist a deviation to my journey at Wells Reclamation to admire the statues and wonder if the large guns in the entrance are actually for sale!
With lunch calling continue on the A39 into Wells, pick up the A371 and then the tourist signposts to Wookey Hole.
The Wookey Hole Inn is one of my favourite pubs in Somerset.
A welcoming gastro pub with a uniquely bohemian atmosphere, perfect for relaxing following a Great Drive.
Run by the same family for the past seven years, three quarters of all the food served on its interesting menu is sourced locally, including some rather special cider and mouth-watering sausages!
I suggest you book before visiting in the summer months.
Just a short walk to our final destination; the Wookey Hole caves and attractions are today owned by Gerry Cottle, once ringmaster and owner of Britain’s leading circus.
A polished attraction; the famous Wookey Hole caves, shrouded in myth and legend, are only part of the entertainment.
A Victorian Penny Arcade, Mirror Maze, as wells as Pirate Island Adventure Golf all added to the entertainment.
However it was the Circus school show that captured the imagination of our family, performed by the local children of Somerset. n