Monday, 12 September 2016

Day 19. M48 Travelodge to Severn Beach.

Saturday 10 September.

We had a good room at the Travelodge, with a bath, always a plus when walking. We left late, 10am, as we had not far to go. We thought it would be about 2 hours, in the event it was nearer 3 hours!

We took the pedestrian footbridge over the M48 to join a small road which then joined a short pathway to the A403. The pathway cut off a dangerous corner. The way beside the A403 was badly overgrown and made walking difficult beside a busy, fast road. Fortunately the exposure was short lived.

We found a signed turn off and headed across paddocks towards the Severn. Although the pathway was not too overgrown underfoot it was difficult to find and a lot of the stiles were broken. We finished up at the wrong side of a hedge. We eventually picked up a sign and I back tracked to look at the correct path. The stile pictures should now be in the correct order.

Shortly before reaching the road some of the stiles were really well hidden. The picture which just appears to show a corner of a hedgerow is actually hiding the next stile!   The following stile was easy to locate, but had a rotten top rail, and then we were at the road leading to the stop bank.

There were good views north to the M48 bridge and south to the M4 bridge (photos). We picked up the stop bank, after heading through the most overgrown path of the day (see photo of Shiel) and headed south to Severn Bridge. There were a number of gates across the stop bank but most people just appeared to walk around them, probably because the gates for walkers were overgrown with bramble and there were no fences anyway!

We passed a wetland with lots of birdlife and birdwatchers before we finally reached a concrete pathway/seawall which led all the way to the Severn Bridge. 

We had our photo taken by a friendly birdwatcher and then headed for Severn Beach and the train to Bristol to meet up with R's sister and brother-in-law.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Day 18. Berkeley to M48 Travelodge.

Friday 9 September.

We left our B&B at 9:30 am and took the footpath, south of Berkeley, back to the main road where we turned off the Severn Way yesterday. You can just see Shiel coming out of the gateway. The next picture, taken from the road, shows what we think are spherical mistletoe growths in an oak tree.

The road led to the now defunct Berkeley nuclear power station, shown in the next picture. We turned off here, on a hedge lined path with dangerous brambles at face height, back to the river. See photograph of Shiel going down the path.

The path led to the banks of the Severn where the next photograph shows the view to the far, western bank. With good resolution you would see a wind turbine, which was turning. It was a windy day, a head wind for us. The Sharpness turbine was still not rotating.

The next photograph was taken looking down the Severn. For a short way the stop bank was a concrete sea wall. The next photograph shows Phil, the first fisherman we've seen on the Severn since Sharpness. He said it was possible to catch flat fish and eels at present and cod in winter but he was still hoping to catch a bass.

There were lots of cows on the stop bank, see photograph, but they all moved off slowly as we approached. We also saw our first sailing boat today and a couple of houses on the stop bank that seemed to have been flood damaged. The house in the photo seemed to have an abandoned the lower floor.

We saw lots of signs warning of obvious dangers, see photograph, but none warning of dangerous overgrown paths or unstable stiles.

The next picture was taken looking south toward the Severn bridges, just before we reached the decommissioned Oldbury nuclear power plant where the next four photographs, which are self-explanatory, were taken.

South of the power plant we had to turn East, at a sailing club, to walk beside a small stream into Oldbury on Severn where we took refreshment at The Anchor.

We arrived at 2:15, a little later than expected, as we met Matt again. He is studying the flow of water in the Severn estuary. We also met him yesterday, before Berkeley, where he showed us how to open a farm gate, which appeared to be locked but wasn't. It had locks on it though.

After the pub we returned to the Severn via the south bank of the same stream. The view of the Severn bridges, shown next, was taken a little futher south.

Just before the M48 bridge the path headed inland, uphill, to the M48 services where the last 2 pictures were taken. We arrived just after  four pm having taken 6 1/2 hours to walk 19.9 km.

It was an enjoyable walking day, mainly overcast, with sun at times. We even had a few spots of rain but no need for wet weather gear. However at times we felt it would have been better with slightly less wind.

Tomorrow is our last day walking beside Sabrina. As we have things to arrange for our return to NZ we plan to finish the walk Severn Beach, the original end of the Severn Way. We've had enough of battling through overgrown paths in urban areas for this year.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Day 17. Frampton to Berkeley.

Thursday 8 September.

We left the Bell Inn at 9:15 am, and turned left toward  the Gloucester to Sharpness canal, which we were to follow for 7 miles. It was a sunny day, but windy and got windier as we approached Sharpness. Look at the water surfaces in today's photographs.

The first photo is a view north from the swing bridge at Frampton, note the sunny sky. The following photo was taken looking south from the towpath near the 7 mile marker. Note how far ahead Shiel is!

We've seen an abundance of blackberries this year and I've added a photo to prove the point. We passed about five people collecting them today, not many for seven miles of blackberries.

On the west bank of the canal we passed a hairy black horse but we don't know the breed, see photo. If you look carefully though you might just see the Severn river a long way away in the backgound. That is about to change.

The next photo is just to give you an idea of a typical canal view. It is followed by the picture of a swing bridge. Behind the bridge is a little bridge house and this is shown alone in the next photograph. We've passed a lot of these,
invariably adjacent to a bridge.

Passing through Purton we came to a ship's graveyard, described in the next picture, in a sign we photographed. To get to it you take a side path to the west of the canal, shown in the next picture. If you can resolve the seat in the photo, that is where we ate lunch. We were seated facing the river Severn, muddy brown water on the RHS of the picture. The grey blue water on the LHS of the picture is the canal. They are very close at this point, hence the graveyard. To avoid the Severn eroding its way into the canal wall a large number of defunct barges were filled with silt or concrete and beached on the east bank of the Severn last centuary. A list of all the vessel names is posted near to where we had lunch. One of the sunken barges is in the next photograph.

A bit nearer Sharpness we passed the remains of a railbridge (photo) that spanned the Severn. Two vessels trying to get to Sharpness in thick fog missed the harbour and ran into the bridge in October 1960. Although 19 years old at the time I can't remember hearing about it. Note how blue the canal water looks, and the rough surface whipped up by the wind. Note also the wall in the picture. It is shown better in the next picture. It acts as a final barrier between the Severn and the canal, or so it appeared to us.

The next photo shows the view down the canal to Sharpness and is followed with a view to the west, over the Severn (at the other side of the wall). Note the colour change.

The white house, in the next photograph was located at the end of the canal, near a gate to the Severn. We turned East at this point, behind the wind turbine, (which wasn't turning) shown in the next photograph. Perhaps it was too windy. I had problems holding the cell phone steady in the wind!

We continued east over a bridge which gave the view of Sharpness docks in the next photograph and walked up to join a road heading south through housing. We headed west from the road, over the railway line shown in the next photograph to join the Severn stop bank.

The next photograph is taken looking south from the stop bank. We could see two defunct nuclear power stations (Berkeley and Oldbury) and the Severn bridges in the distance. I cannot resolve the bridges in your low resolution copy but they are visible in the original.

The penultimate photograph, taken to the north, shows Shiel battling south into the strong SW wind.  It was good for walking but a tad on the strong side.

The final picture shows the river flowing into the Severn which blocked our path and where we had to turn East towards Berkeley. It was a little tricky but we managed to get a footpath all the way to the bottom of the street with our B&B in it. We are writing this in Perrots House B&B. We arrived at 16:05, five minutes after they open. About 6 hours 50 minutes and 18.5 km (measured from map).