Tarr Steps and beyond……

After raining all night and through till about 10am it eventually stopped and left us with a grey day to make the best of. We decided to visit Tarr Steps, in the heart of Exmoor and take a walk from there.

This ‘clapper bridge’ is the longest of its type and has had to be restored a number of times over the years, after significant floods, most recently in November 2016 and is thought to pre-date medieval times. It is said to have been constructed by the Devil that he may use it to sunbathe on! Well no chance of him needing it today then!

The river is quite magnificent, looking both up and downstream.

Now this is the point at which my day started to go wrong, instead of following the circular route up the river and back down the other side, I felt we needed more of a challenge! So using Mr OS we headed up the hill away from the river and along Parsonage Down, with the idea of dropping back down to the river a couple of miles further along at Worth to rejoin the riverbank for our return.

We trudged up the footpath, which was becoming increasingly muddy in places (the first sign of things to come) and skirted around the curious sheep to get to the top.

Visibility wasn’t great, or probably worth the trek uphill! However we pressed on along the footpath over the downs, which was very muddy and churned up, with some large drifts of snow, gradually melting and making the ground worse, as I didn’t fancy admitting defeat and retracing our steps back through the mud!

If only! At Worth, where we briefly followed the road for a bit, until we had the choice of carrying on for a few more miles to Withypool (which I felt would be too far) or taking our planned route down the valley to join the footpath along the river. Now this footpath was seriously waterlogged and we were warned!

Now call me naive, but my understanding of a Ford, is generally a trickle of water, that excepting extreme times, can easily be crossed – Ha!

I seriously could have wept! Having clambered through the mud and unmelted snow to reach this – a full on river! Not a chance were me and Poppydog going to make it across – wellies! no I would have needed waders and even then I suspect the current would have been too strong.

So guess what? After some serious cursing, slightly more helpful than weeping, we had to retrace our muddy footsteps all the way back!!!!

I was so so glad to see Tarr Steps again, some 3 hours after we last saw them!

How cruel – even the tea shop had closed for the day!

We won’t be back.

Two thoughts of the day:

I really should know learn – I could have just done the circular walk three or four times over instead of wading along some footpath that probably hasn’t been walked, other than by sheep, since last October!

I need to refocus – beaches is what I am wanting to explore not muddy hills!

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