Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Poacher Turned Gamekeeper

My sister Katie and I, along with the delectable but excitable Millie, decided to go for a stroll down to the pub at Compton Dando. "I have a lovely route planned," I said as we climbed over a gate and hauled the dog over with us.

Katie stopped in her tracks as she spotted, at the other end of the field, a herd of cows grazing. "Did you hear," she said, "about that bloke who got stampeded by cows when he was walking his dog?"
"No," I said.
"It was the dog, it spooked the cows and they stampeded and killed him."

I hastily clambered back over the gate, swiftly followed by the other two and we set off down the road. "We'll find a field without cows," I said.
Sluice control at Chewton Keynsham
We walked down to Chewton Keynsham and over the bridge at Chewton Mill. As we rounded the corner, Millie spotted some cows next to fence and promptly went beserk, barking for all she was worth.

The route clearly needed a radical rethink so I pulled my OS map out of my rucksack.

The detail on the Explorer Range is pretty impressive. Fences, pylons, trees and boulders are marked, in fact the detail is awesome. Cows in fields, however, were not marked. What to do? We decided to stick to lanes and woodland and heading west out of Chewton Keynsham, we turned onto what looks like an old drovers lane. Apart from the remains of a dead deer, the walk was pleasant enough. We emerged onto Charlton Road and immediately turned onto Charlton Field Lane and then Slate Lane.

On the right is the forty hectare Wooscombe Wood, planted in 1993 by a local farmer, althouh it encompasses older woodland trees within it. It is one of a large number of new woodland which have been planted in the Forest of Avon area. (see more here).We trotted through the wood, fairly confident that we would see no cows in here. Sure enough, only the occasional squirrel and wood pigeon put in an appearance.

At the end of the wood we crossed some empty fields and headed down another minor road and then down Lady Wood. The bluebells have all gone over now, beautiful as they are, they sadly don't flower for long.

As we emerged from the wood a couple of locals out walking their dogs were stood chatting. They nodded hello and then one of them looked at my feet. "Sandals!" he said, incredulously. "I never wear anything except boots out 'ere. It's full of snakes, it is." I looked around the meadow. Seeing my sceptical look he nodded vigorously. "Full of them!" he said.

"Er, I'll remember that next time," I said.

We wandered into Compton Dando and fetched a pint each at the Compton Inn. "Blimey this looks different," Katie exclaimed. "Last time I was here all the tables were formica and the pub was called The Poacher!"
"Almost," said one of the other customers. "It wasn't The Poacher, it was The Gamekeeper."  
Poacher or Gamekeeper, they served Butcombe which I like and Doombar which Katie likes. Mille got water which she assured us was her favourite drink so the pub had three very satisfied customers.

Lych Gate at St Mary's church, Compton Dando

Route here

No comments:

Post a Comment