On Wednesday there were buckets of rain and wads of mist so after a quick stock up of torches and batteries for our final night’s treat we set off to see if the Quantocks were more in tune with a gentle ramble. As you can see from the photos it wasn’t any better. Fortunately we were in the vicinity of one of my favourites – the Carew Arms and it was just about lunchtime. I told my son the two front rooms seem to be the local’s choice and we usually went in the one facing the garden so as not to incommode them. So we went in the right front room. What son takes note of his Mum?
We decided to have a reasonable meal as MTL was preparing a cold collation for us to have later - before our evening expedition. Tom and I both chose a pasta dish – large for him and small for me but then I blotted my copy book by ordering a chocolate mousse with biscuits. The mousse was an enormous helping and I nearly drowned in it - in spite of foisting spoonfuls on the three nearest mouths. The biscuits were brownies so not surprisingly a few hours later I passed on the cold collation.
We were to be in the Horner car park for . Horner Water valley has ancient woods, a packhorse bridge, a delightful tea garden and has been much enjoyed over twenty odd years by all ages of the family. Horner Wood has ancient oak trees some of which could well be 1000 years old. It follows the river valley down to the village and the wood is unenclosed allowing sheep and wild Red deer to roam freely. Wildlife abounds but bats were our quarry and the preponderance of midges was bait enough.
Nigel – a National Trust warden gave us a lengthy chat about all kinds of bats and then we set off with some quite small children included in the party. This comforted me - as surely the walk would not be so long through the muddy rocky terrain liberally scattered with horse manure, with little legs to consider. But it was a tricky walk in the gloaming before we crossed a bridge into a delightful grassy dell. Did I mention we were bat detectives and the big boys had detectors which made an exciting ratatattat when bats were around?
It was mesmerising gazing up at the tall trees through a canopy of black lace and eventually we saw brief glimpses of fluttery black scraps. Later we moved down to where the waters met and with a lamp shining on the water we saw what resembled flying stoats darting over the water like quicksilver. I was dreading the walk back in the dark with pitfalls all over the pace but my son firmly grasped my arm and grandson shone the torch and eventually we were safely back in the car park with no damage apart from wet boots. The funny thing was the car park set all the detectors off and Nigel said we could have stayed there but I doubt I would have had the same feeling of elation if we had.