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Sunday, 23 September 2018

Somerset Coast Path - Brean to Bridgwater

Salt marsh

A walk along the Somerset Coast from Brean to Bridgwater

This walk starts by taking one of the many paths from the coast road through Brean to the broad sandy beaches that dominate this area. In this instance it uses the path opposite the Unity Holiday Camp, the name being taken from the former farm whose land it sits upon.

The England Coast path uses the beach all the way through to Burnham-on-Sea passing the iconic low lighthouse, a wooden structure that sits on stilts on the beach at the north end of Burnham. It is just past this landmark that one may find the path cut off by the tide. Don't attempt to go through to the sea wall ahead as there is no public access. Instead, take the path through the dunes and follow the track indicated on this route.

From Burnham the path follows the estuary of the River Parrett which rises some 37 miles away at Chedington in Dorset and is tidal for the majority of its course to the sea. All along this coast are the reminders of an industrial past. Burnham pier, which is no more than a stump these day, once was the railway terminus where both freight and passengers could be loaded onto ships. Burnham station was just across the road and what is now Marine Drive was the route of the od railway line from Highbridge. Reminders still adorn the roadside. The station sign. The old signalbox. A semaphore signal.

Soon after, as the path negotiates the marshes around the River Brue there are more reminders of the railway. This area was the Highbridge Wharf and used to house the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway locomotive works. The works closed in 1930 and the Wharf is now no more than moorings for pleasure craft.

From this point there is a lengthy section following the winding estuary river where little is seen other than the wide open landscape. Make sure you have plenty of water and food. The grass river banks provide plenty of opportunity for a picnic.

Bridgwater town cannot be seen until one is in the town, its presence maske by the industrial outskirts. Dunball presents the first encounter of urbanisation where the path enters the old Dunball Wharf area and more reminders of its railway history with lines still sitting in the concrete ground. This was once a busy area and part of the Port of Bridgwater. As one will notice during this walk, the river is devoid of craft in the modern day and the docks and the railways are all just another chapter in history.

NOTE

This is a walk summary intended to provide the user with just the essential information in order to navigate the walk route. Fully detailed information notes, refreshment stops and walk features are not included in this. A full write up will be included in the near future.

Brean to Bridgwater Walk - Essential Information

Walk Statistics:

Start point
Brean View in OS Map | View in Google Map
End Point
Bridgwater View in OS Map | View in Google Map
Total Walk distance
19 miles
Walk difficulty
moderate
Terrain
Beach, prom and defence banks
Obstacles
Just past the Burnham lighthouse, the beach may become impassable at high tides - if this is the case follow the route as shown on the map.
Just beyond the River Brue marsh, there is a kissing gate and two path choices, one descends down to a concrete prom by the waters edge. Avoid this as it is rough and suffers from incursion at high tide, take the path along the top of the defence bank.
At Dunball walk through the industrial area following the yellow marked route that has been painted on the ground

Maps:

The following maps and services can assist in navigating this route. The links include published hard copy as well as online plots and downloadable GPX route data for importing into navigational software and apps.

Ordnance Survey Explorer Map
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Online Ordnance Survey Route
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Online OpenStreetMap Route
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Online Google Route
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ViewRanger App Route
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GPX data for route (download)

Details of Accommodation used when performing this walk

Accommodation:

Unity Farm, Brean Sands, Burnham-on-Sea Camp site View in OS Map | View in Google Map
Website
Description
A family oriented holiday park with entertainment, static caravans as well as touring pitches

Transport:

Details of public transport that is required for the walk

First Group - Bus Service
Service Details
21 - First Group 20 Service linking Weston super Mare, Brean and Burnham on Sea
Timetable
First Group - Bus Service
Service Details
21 - First Group 21 Service linking Burnam on Sea, Bridgwater and Taunton
Timetable

Walk Data

Date of Walk
2018-09-09
Walk Time
06:00 to 14:00
Walkers
Griffmonster, Kat
Weather Conditions
clear day, sunshine

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