FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Time to switch to Plan B!

Posted in England, Somerset by folkestonejack on June 12, 2011

A small tug on the curtains this morning quickly confirmed that the forecasters threat of prolonged and intense rain had come true. I quickly wrote off a plan to watch the heritage freight pass through Washford and settled down to a relaxing and tasty breakfast at the White Horse Inn.

I hadn’t really come to Somerset with a Plan B but luckily one more or less wrote itself for me. On my walk to the inn on the first day I had passed the English Heritage maintained Cleeve Abbey which I now turned to for some intellectual stimulation and a bit of shelter from the rain (being roughly mid-way between the inn and the station).

The gatehouse at Cleeve Abbey in the rain

The gatehouse at Cleeve Abbey in the rain

As I hadn’t done my homework I had no idea what to expect from the abbey and was soon quite amazed by its fascinating history and the sights that it contained. Amongst the many points of interest was an incredible carved wood ceiling featuring some faintly menacing wooden angels, though I have to confess that I have been somewhat influenced by the terrors of the weeping angels in Blink on Doctor Who! I think they would have been somewhat more comforting to the original inhabitants…

However, the most wonderful sight of all at Cleeve Abbey was the heraldic tiled floor which is under the cover of a tent at the back of the abbey. A quick dash through the rain got me inside to marvel at the designs. Overall, I would recommend a visit on a good day when you can wander round the grounds and take a look at a more relaxed pace (rather than a series of sprints between doorways in heavy rain!).

Heraldic tiled floor at Cleeve Abbey

Heraldic tiled floor at Cleeve Abbey

Once I had completed my visit I headed on to Washford Station where I caught a service hauled by the Crompton on to Minehead and then back to Bishop’s Lydeard for the connecting First Great Western DMU shuttle to Taunton.

I can’t have been particularly observant when booking my trains as there are two services to London that leave Taunton ten minutes apart. The second gets in to London almost an hour later than the other. Yep, you can guess which one I was on! Still, it was an interesting journey from Taunton to London via Bristol…

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