Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

Goblin Hunting…

It’s been almost three-weeks since I actually did this walk, on one of two days I happened to have booked off work. I’ll save you from your disappointment now though – there were and are no goblins along this route, or any other, for that matter (at least, as far as I’m aware). This post is about Goblin Combe; a valley filled with tall trees and rocks that has always been within walking distance of home. It wasn’t until a group walk earlier back in February (led by someone else) that I revisited this area for the first time in many years, despite it being less than half-a-mile away. I’m not sure what kind of fear was preventing me but I wanted to re-explore it for myself and it was also convenient in the sense that I wouldn’t have to start my van; the fuel costs were non-existent (I do spend a bit extra with all this driving around to different locations).

As a kid, I would venture up here with friends on our bikes to climb the rocks just beyond the trees in the next photo. No harnesses; no specialist footwear and I only remember slipping on the one occasion, which left a painful, scarred impression of lines all down my stomach.

A few years before that; I went head-over-heels in a pedal-powered go-kart on the day before our school photographs were due to be taken… At the age of five, you don’t really care about how you’re going to look when the photos come out but we still joke about the incident today.

This fence has barely progressed since February.

On another occasion, when we were walking through on a very ‘British’ day, I can recall attempting to jump and then wade my way through a particular boggy section of footpath, only to leave my trainer behind in the mud! I didn’t return home with two clean socks that evening, either.

Entering Cleeve Wood in North Somerset.

But I barely recognised the woodland, when I first entered Cleeve Wood recently.

My camera’s lens is still scratched and the application of toothpaste didn’t go any way towards improving this!

You’d think that, after visiting several woodland areas, you might become bored of the same scenery; as if one group of trees will look no different to any of the others you’ve already passed.

Taking blurred photos with a scratched and toothpasted camera lens almost makes these trees appear ‘enchanted’!

What I found most appealing about this area was how quiet it was… A major A-road is only a stone’s throw away but deep inside and amongst the trees, it cannot be heard.

Entering the woods of Goblin Combe.

I left home with a printed map that I download from the AA’s website. It’s a little daft that I should need a map to navigate my way around an area so close to home; perhaps even more so, that I would put my trust in an organisation who, in my opinion based on past experience, ‘could do better‘, when it comes to offering an on-foot guide.

Time to climb!

I began by following the map but once I reached the entrance to Goblin Combe’s woods and noticed the maps printed on each of these large notice boards; I decided to create and follow my own diversion, in order to take a look at a few areas of interest; most notably, Cleeve Toot, which has is often mentioned by a writer in the village magazine but I previously had no idea as to what it was.

After five-minutes and many vertical steps, I turned left at the junction ahead and passed through several small groups of very different trees.

At the next, I turned right to begin a rather circular route around to Cleeve Toot and back. Along the way, I noticed a kissing gate leading in to an area suffering from extreme overgrowth.

Paddles are provided for you to wade your way through the overgrowth to the site of a former limestone kiln.

But, as I was wearing shorts that day, I decided to continue on and around! 😉

Before reaching the other side, I caught a glimpse of a deer before it sprinted off deeper in to woods. Keeping left, I passed this unspecified wooden structure that clearly provides shelter for some form of activity group – I was a little worried I’d accidentally rambled in to the nearby paintball site but that is a little further north of this!

That was my lunch stop. With wood on the brain of course, I couldn’t help but to analyse this structure and to take note of the fact that the pitch of this roof is supported by only one tree at each end. You can see how the rafters are notched, even though is not the kind of practice that would be deemed acceptable for a private property of residence.

While sat there, I was able to take in to account the extreme sense of solitude one could find in these woods. I hadn’t passed a single person on this walk (even though it was a Tuesday). I couldn’t hear the nearby passing traffic (only weeks after my ears were irrigated). Ignoring the barks of the not-too-distant dog kennels; my ears were accompanied solely by the sounds of nature (…Plus the occasional aeroplane).

Cleeve Toot, at last!

On my return path to the top of the steps I climbed earlier, I realised that this area was a former settlement and my mystery as to the whereabouts and ‘What is it?’ of Cleeve Toot was now solved. There are several signs just liked this one in these woods and you don’t see them often in any other. I think it’s a great addition and I did stop to take note of some of the carvings that border each page.

I also began to recognise the terrain, which meant we’d briefly passed through a section of this area with the walking group in February.

As a woodworker, I feel I should pay closer attention to this…

It was at this point that I decided to turn right and pass through a broken wall; following the Warren Walk, as indicated by the blue waymarking arrows…

It was there that I emerged at the very top of the cliffs with a rather breathtaking view over the local area.

It’s quite something to think that you can see the Mendip Hills from here and then, to realise that, in all my visits to that area; I’ve probably been looking back at Goblin Combe, just unknowingly!

Bristol International Airport is on the other side of those trees.

Of course, the planes were suddenly unavoidable at this height. I can only begin to imagine how disturbing it must be for residents of Cleeve Hill Road living directly under the flight paths. I’ve lived beside the airport and I barely notice them pass by in the day but they were loud up on those cliffs, to say the very least.

As I continued to meet up with the AA’s route further ahead, I left Goblin Combe via the nature reserve and passed an area very close to both the paintball place and also a company I used to work for. I was descending down through the trees on a route that must’ve been very close to Wrington, before meeting up with some muddy paths that almost took me on to Congresbury (I’m sure something growled at me as I passed one of the bushes…).

At last, Crook Peak came in to view – just! 😉

I eventually crossed a green field and rejoined the road where I started, with runs right through the combe from the A38 near Redhill.

Entering Congresbury Woodlands.

I continued along this road for about fifteen minutes, which is longer than my preference, before turning left (south) and heading in to the privately-owned Congresbury Woodlands (as it turns out, I also know the man who owns this land).

…Yes, it’s almost that time again! :-S

Walkers are permitted along designated footpaths but warnings are in place as this is an area where shooting events do take place further in (I assume it’s either pheasants of clay pigeons).

Entering King’s Wood.

I passed around the dog kennels before turning right, off the road and down in too a wooded area known as King’s Wood – not to be confused with another area near Winscombe that I have otherwise frequented on walks up to Crook Peak.

I don’t know enough about geography or plants to be able to tell you anything in great detail but the scenery here was unlike any woodland I’d crossed before. It reminded me of the setting for the film Predator! 🙂

Over the bridge and I was leaving the woods a little earlier than I’d hoped. It was short but sweet but, with it being so close to home, I can easily return here to explore more another time.

Upon reaching these luscious green slopes, I realised that I was now coming to the very end of the walk, before descending past familiar rocks of the walk back in February and discovering a path that leads directly to the main road and home (I’d only previously seen it from the other end).

Well, I’ve included a lot of photos here and I know that I uploaded 75 in total to my Flickr account – all of which you can view by clicking right here. At some point, maybe even this autumn/winter; I think I will try and devise a group walk in this area. I must’ve covered between five and six miles so it would be perfectly adept as a 1 Boot for starters.

Thank you for reading.

I welcome your thoughts.

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