Mark Walks LEJOG Day 17 – Bristol to Berkeley

Hullo. How are you? I hope you are having a good day. I’m Mark and I’m walking from Land’s End to John O’Groats…

I started the day with a much larger breakfast than usual, figuring I would need the energy for the 18 mile walk to Berkeley. Or, at least, that’s my excuse.

Leaving Berwick Lodge, I joined the Community Forest Path, walking through woodland and gentle hills for the first few miles.

As I crested Spaniorum Hill, I had a good view across the valley and of the Prince of Wales Bridge, which spans the river Severn, taking traffic from England into Wales.

The walk was then a pleasant downhill ramble to the delightful village of Easter Compton, where I stopped a while to chat with a retired couple who were walking their dogs and wanted to hear about my trip. In return, the fellow recounted tales of long distance paths he had walked as a younger man. We swapped notes on Offa’s Dyke, Coast-to-Coast, the Pennine Way and the West Highland Way, which brought a grimace to his face as he recalled the ever present midges – “I can still feel the buggers biting me now!”, he cried.

From here, the walk was a low lying, easy, level stroll through fields towards the river Severn. The Severn is a vast river, running around 220 miles from source to here where it flows out to sea at the Bristol Channel.

Interestingly, the Bristol Channel was, until Tudor times, named the Severn Sea (and still is in Welsh and Cornish), which gives an indication of its scale.

Joining the Severn Way, I looked back at the Severn Road Bridge, the earlier and much smaller England-Wales crossing compared to the Prince of Wales bridge, but still mighty nonetheless.

The Severn is a tidal river with notoriously fast changing levels. The tide was out as I joined the path, giving the river a beach-like feel.

I will be following the course of the river Severn to the West Midlands in the coming days, so I expect I’ll get to know it quite well.

Passing through the power station on the banks of the river is interesting – the public footpath cuts right through the site, meaning workers have to exit one set of gates and enter another should they need to get from one side to the other.

The footpath continues along the ridge of river barriers – in some places an earth dyke in others concrete sea defences. Even when apparently significantly in land from the river, the dykes are still lined with flotsam, showing just how high the Severn can swell.

The final few miles of today’s walk took me away from the river and along well trodden public footpaths to the small market town of Berkley.

Berkeley is famous as the birth place of Edward Jenner, the originator of vaccination – he pioneered the technique in the 1700’s to protect people against smallpox. It’s hard to imagine a world without vaccines – what an extraordinary legacy.

Berkeley is also the home of Berkeley Castle, a magnificent 11th century pile that remains the home of the Berkeley family to this day. It is notable for being the location of the murder of Edward II on 21 September 1327.

I strolled around town for a short time, picked up some provisions and made my way to the hotel for tonight.


The Day 17 Vlog


Fundraising for MacMillan Cancer Support

As I walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats, I am hoping to raise £10,000 for MacMillan Cancer Support, who do such a wonderful job of supporting families through the most difficult times. If you are able to spare any amount and would like to donate to MacMillan, please do so through my Just Giving Page.


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One response to “Mark Walks LEJOG Day 17 – Bristol to Berkeley”

  1. Dee Atkins-Greig avatar
    Dee Atkins-Greig

    Glorious!

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