A wee wander after work to stretch the legs and explore the nearby landscape. I ended up getting sorted pretty last minute so I didn’t have a particular route or area in mind. Instead, I drove myself to a nearby village – Pucklechurch – which looked to have a decent amount of footpaths and greenery surrounding it, and went from there.
I often use the app and web app Komoot to plan and track my little adventures. In this case, Komoot came in handy as – with no route in mind – I selected a nearby “highlight” – Brandy Bottom Colliery (what a name!) – and routed a circular path to and back from it. This was only a little jaunt – about 5km or 1 hours worth, but this fit perfectly before the setting of the winter sun.
I began the tour parked up at the Rose and Crown pub, sneakily avoiding the relinquishment of my patronage to hit the nearby footpaths. I first routed over a large field, the first taste of the muddiness that was to come. Though it wasn’t too bad here, I took a step off the path to the less churned up areas of the field.
Stepping through the quaint hamlet of Parkfield, I turned off onto another path and quickly encountered a horse-churned mud bath of a field. This was quite an adventure: with no solid pathing, my luckily-waterproof trail shoes sank to their limit as I skipped and invariably slipped across the disarray. It is my belief that the horses native to this field quite enjoyed the spectacle of my struggles.
Jumping a stile to escape the slop, I got turned around and walked right past the occupied shed of a rather surprised man. Upon recognising my error and mumbling an inaudible “sorry”, I turned down the correct drive to a further stile preceding a steep but thankfully less muddy hillock. Joining a more formal path, I squelched past flocks of birds investigating and presumably dining upon the rubbish of our lives. In this case the trash was piled high and was being covered in dirt by JCBs scooting around the rubbish ridges. Past this mess, I rolled into the destination – Brandy Bottom Colliery.
The remains of the Brandy Bottom Colliery demonstrate our industrial past, with ruined buildings once applied to the coal industry of the area. I ended up not spending much time at the Colliery as the light was fading and I needed to get back, so don’t have much to say on the place! But it was a window into history that I should probably do better to remember and respect.
The theme of the walk – mud – continued as a turned back towards Laffy (my van). I just caught the glimpse of the setting sun across the tops of the rubbish peaks and so scampered up a nearby hill to get a better look. This scramble didn’t particularly pay off mind, as the sun was nearly gone and not all that impressive. My route took me into a huge barren field and then directly across it, with a strange feeling of openness surrounding me as I headed to the other side.
The final section had me head towards a road which lead back to the pub. Thinking myself clever, I instead headed up a nearby canopy covered path for a more scenic route back into and through the village of Pucklechurch. Turns out this was a terrible idea as the recent weather had completed waterlogged the sun-starved path. As I tip-toed through, regretted my decision more by the second, the sun fully set and put me in darkness – further adding to my predicament. Nevertheless, I pushed through, nearly swimming, back to the village. A short jaunt along the road and a quick interaction with a friendly dog later I was back at the pub, bee-lining for the warmth and transport of Laffy.
All in all, a great little walk! Oh, and I saw some deer! (This is a very rushed ending)