38 Miles Cycled
1307 ft of Climbing
After 3 long days in the saddle tackling the hills of Cornwall and Devon, I was looking forward to an easier day as I hit the Somerset Levels. Feeling suitably refreshed after a good nights sleep I set off out of Taunton on the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal. Passing the home of Somerset County Cricket I headed along the NCN Route 3 canal towpath. I do like cycling along towpaths as there is always interesting things to see and today was no exception.
Riding the Taunton to Bridgwater Canal Cycle Route
I cycled a few miles out of Taunton on what was a very sunny day and I came to a clearing with a seated area. There was a display board that gave a history of the Chard Canal. The Chard Canal’s life was short-lived but the board gave an interesting insight into what was an amazing feat of engineering back in 1842 when the canal opened.
Cycling Along the Taunton Stop Line
After spending a few minutes learning about the history of the Chard Canal, I set off again heading for Bridgwater. I then came across another interesting find, the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal has a number of war defenses that now lie derelict. I have always been fascinated by such things and to find one in such good condition was a bonus. Again I stopped and took a look around, the pillbox was full of litter, beer cans, and who knows what but it was interesting all the same. I later found out that the pillboxes formed part of the Taunton Stop Line, a World War II defensive line that was designed to stop the advance of any enemy fighters in the event of a German invasion.
The route carried on up the canal and I eventually reached the outskirts of Bridgwater, my planned route skirted the town but I used this as an opportunity to visit Halfords to purchase a new inner tube to replace the one I had used the day before. I also got some lunch and sat in the square where I was treated to ringside seats of a near mass brawl in the town centre. Not my usual Sunday lunchtime entertainment and I left the town wondering what Bridgwater was all about.
Cycling on the Somerset Levels
From Bridgwater, I headed North leaving the canal and on to quiet country roads of the Somerset Levels through places like Cossington and Yarrow. This was by far the flattest part of the ride so far, I had the sea and the M5 to my left and the constant view of the Mendip Hills ahead of me. Although it was flat it was by no means easy, a strong wind was coming in from the West and as the route made its way North, it was not straight and I often turned right angles into the wind which made it hard going.
My original plan was to cycle to Bath today and stay with family, but due to the stops along the way time was running out. The wind and tired legs were starting to get the better of me so I decided on a change of plan.
Out came Booking.com and I managed to book an amazing hotel, well when I say amazing, it was better than an Airbnb and it cost less. I booked a room at the Webbington Hotel and Spa, at £59 for bed and breakfast it was a really good deal, And as today was my birthday I cut short the day and then enjoyed the pool facilities, steam room, and sauna. The hotel was on my route and situated at the foot of the Mendip Hills. I also treated myself to a slap-up meal and enjoyed the view from the roof terrace looking out across the Somerset Levels and the M5.
Today was a much shorter day but this is what this journey was all about, a little bit of site seeing and a last minute hotel booking made it a very good day.