Saturday, 28 March 2015

West Mendip Hills - Murvi Rally Mar 2015

Last weekend we took our newly acquired Murvi Motorvan down to Cheddar for the Murvi Owners Club AGM Rally. As 'newby' owners we were intrigued by the enthusiasm for this particular motorvan fit-out and found the group welcoming and informative. We picked up many tips and answers to our questions.

Happy Murvi Owner

Murvi Vans everywhere!

Our home for the week
This is a new area for us and so the opportunity to walk/run over the Mendips.
On a lovely day, I took the uphill paths direct from the Cheddar Bridge Touring site where we were and headed south up to the top overlooking Cheddar Gorge.
Here is a selection of photos taken.

Early daffodils

One of the many disused limestone quarries - this one at Black Rock
Worked out slag from the Victorian lead mining at Velvet Bottom (!)
Old pits from the lead ore extraction - here at Blackmoor

To my surprise, this pot-holer suddenly appeared. Apparently, this is a capped entrance to a limestone cave system
This whole area around Charterhouse was an important lead mining area from Roman times until the 19th century. The remains of old lead workings can be seen around Velvet Bottom and Ubley Warren which are covered with 'gruffy' ground, a local name for uneven mined ground. The area contains worked-out mineral veins known as 'rakes', black glassy slag heaps, round stone-lined 'buddle' pits used for washing the ore, smelting plants, old flues and a complex network of dams and leats.

Although hard to identify, this looking at a Roman Fortlet established during the 1st century to protect the local lead (and silver mining)

Spring gorse flowers

Signs of lead mining
Locally called a 'rake', where the lead ore seam has been worked

Signs for the times

After heading south, I reached the southern edge of the West Mendips at Westbury Beacon.
This photo is looking up to a tumulus on the top - the highest point here at 272 m (892 ft)

Looking over to my next climb on the edge

You've guessed - an airfield is here on the top
The gliding club

Coming in to land

Looking down through the haze to Cheddar - with the reservoir behind

Back down in Cheddar at the Market Cross which dates from the 15th century.
In the 16th or 17th century it was enclosed with a hexagonal arch structure. It was rebuilt by Thomas, Marquis of Bath in the 18th century

Enjoying a pint of Butcombe Real Ale - after my 13 mile walk with 2300ft of climb

A lovely sunset through the surrounding campsite trees - rounds off a great day!


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