Basset Hound Walkers March 2018

I have been out to the start today Saturday and the road is thawing fine. With not even a frost forecast and a dizzying temperature rise to +8ºC, I expect to see some of you in shorts. There will be two magnificent huge boy Bassets with us: as they've driven all the way from Germany it would be a great disappointment not to run the walk. Hope you agree.

This will be just the second time we've walked here, making this our 104th walk. Last March it proved to be a pleasant four mile gentle stroll among the fields and woods a few miles south of Taunton, five miles off Junction 25. And with a pub lunch stop. This time we should be joined by a family with their two Bassets all the way from near Frankfurt, who have been watching our videos. They will be staying five nights not far from Taunton, so it would be nice to have a good turnout.

This Wednesday, 28th Feb, I did the walk which proved to be very firm, no mud and with a light sprinkle of snow to make it pretty. Bitterly cold in the open, but much of the walk is in the much more sheltered woods. However Sunday's forecast - amazingly - says a heatwave of +7ºC (Well it doesn't actually use the term heatwave, but that's close enough for me.)

Most of the walk will be on well managed fields with a generous grass headland left where a crop is planted. We will stop for refreshment (bowl of soup + a pint?) at the Farmers Arms, about halfway round. By luck or just good planning the last hundred yards lead through the stream, bottom right, so our hounds should be quite clean at the end.

We start from the hamlet of Thurlbear, near Stoke St Mary, 1030am start as usual. (Click on map to enlarge).

Map Thurlbear

To reach the start. (SatNav of Thurlbear school is TA3 5BW).

If coming from Devon way or Bristol, the easiest way is to leave the M5 at junction 25, head south on the A358 to Chard/Ilminster - favourite road for speed cameras. After ¾ mile you will go onto a dual carriageway and after ½ mile turn right (pic below) signed to West Hatch RSPCA Animal Centre* by the Nags Head thatched pub. If you reach some traffic lights up a hill you have gone past it. (This traffic light junction is called Thornfalcon or Knights Texaco garage).


Now on a minor road, after one mile turn right (see photo below) signed to Stoke St Mary. Turning

This is a narrow road but with passing places. Ignore first turn to right but take next one signed to THURLBEAR. Drop down the hill and take first LEFT (hidden signpost) see photo below. (If you ignore this you will arrive in Stoke St Mary: retrace).Turn left

After less than half a mile you will enter the hamlet of Thurlbear with the village school on the left, and a long wall on your right and the church another hundred yards along (see 2nd photo above on right). Park anywhere you can along here, meet at the church.

If coming from Chard/Axminster direction then you will come up the A358 to the Thornfalcon traffic lights when the turn left by the Nags Head will be very soon afterwards.


Below, photo on Wednesday. Very pretty.


* This RSPCA centre is where they de-oil sea birds whenever a tanker runs aground. Seems an odd place to do it, but there you go. It's the only time this quiet corner of Somerset gets on TV.


Above Thurlbear church (no services now) soon after the start of our walk. Below is where you can park along the verge - here just by the school - or further along by the church (tower just visible).



View of Taunton

Vale of Taunton Deane with the Quantocks in far distance.



Taunton Vale

Below: My Matilda in winter garb, at 13½ yrs still enjoys a good walk.



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