Friday, 20 February 2015

Canal Capers 23

Out with Phil from the Old Gits CC exploring the canal system between Bridgewater and Taunton. Went down in Phil's 4X4, with our bikes in the back, to North Petherton where we parked up near to the canal side cafe at Maunsell Locks. From there we headed south towards Taunton.

Maunsell Lock

This was the starting point for today's expedition. This is the view heading south towards Taunton at the start. Although the path looks nicely tarmacked, it soon deteriorated when it turned to grass. Overnight rain had made it very wet and muddy and soon we were skidding about all over the place. Lucky not to fall in the water at this stage.

Somerset County Cricket Ground

One of the first sights we saw at Taunton was the county cricket ground. The club was founded in 1875 and is one of the 18 clubs that make up the domestic cricket structure. Interestingly, this club has never won a County Championship, the only club to hold that dubious honour. A nice location for the ground, only a stone's (or cricket ball) throw from the town centre.

Pain et Vin sandwich bar.

In the town centre of Taunton it was time for a tea break. Rather than use one of the main stream places in the town centre, we found this quaint little place up one of the many side streets.

Somerset Space Walk

This canal is home to an instillation called the Space Walk.  Designed by a local man, Pip Youngman, it demonstrates the scale of the solar system in an interactive way. Centred around the sun at Maunsel Lock, the planets are located in either direction at a scale of 530 million:1.  From Pluto to the sun is a 6.8 mile walk. Below is the plaque marking Jupiter.

Taunton Stop Line

During the second war world the route of the canal (don't get too excited any dentists reading this) was employed as part of the Taunton Stop Line, a defensive line which followed the course of the canal and railway from the mouth of the River Parret, to Seaton on the south coast.  Permanent bridges were also mined. There was a belief that Germany may invade Britain from Southern Ireland, a neutral country.  This is one of the many pill boxes that we saw today.

Time for tea!

We did not make Bridgewater when we headed north from Maunsell Lock, turning round after about 4 miles. After loading the bikes in Phil's car, we retired to the cafe at the locks for refreshment. Thanks to the waitress for taking the photo.

A good ride, in good weather, on new ground. Worth visiting again to do the remainder of the canal into Bridgewater. Covered a fraction under 23 miles today.


  1. Hi Ken, Good to see you getting out and about, a little further afield. I notice the local cake comes in a good size - worth the effort just for that!


  2. It did Mick. Unfortunately, I did not have any!