Five years ago, my husband and I moved from Taunton to the wonderful village of Spaxton, set on the edge of the Quantocks. In the grand scheme of things it wasn’t a big move, but Somerset is the most diverse county and with so many hidden treasures to explore, it felt like we’d arrived in a whole other country.
I am so lucky to live here, I cannot imagine living anywhere but Somerset. It really is the most wonderful county, with such diverse landscape - from levels and hills to the rugged Jurassic coastline, all unique and all breath-taking.
I have been riding for 30 years and for 26 of them I was lucky enough to share my adventures with Star. Sadly, due to old age I recently lost her, but over the past five years we got the chance to discover and explore the wonderful Quantock Hills together. Riding gave me the opportunity to see some wonderful views and wildlife you wouldn’t normally see if you were on foot.
There are so many wonderful walks and places to explore on the Quantocks, but my all-time favourite riding route starts in the valley at Cockercombe, where you head up through peaceful woodland to Triscombe Stone; taking time to stop and enjoy the views across the Blackdown Hills and catching a glimpse of the wild ponies and highland cows which are often seen grazing here. Then it’s on to Dead Woman’s Ditch to take in the views of Somerset’s rugged coastline and the Bristol Channel and then back down through glorious woodland. Apart from the views, there is diverse flora and fauna to enjoy and an overwhelming sense of peace and tranquillity.
Nowadays you will mostly find me and Poppy (my Jack Russell cross terrier) on the Quantocks or exploring Somerset’s Jurassic coastline via the South West Costal path. Poppy is possibly the most perfect walking companion, aside from my husband. She may be 12, but she has boundless enthusiasm and energy.
I feel very lucky working for GTH in their Professional and Agricultural team at Sedgemoor. It not only means I’m close to home, but through my job I get to meet a wonderfully diverse mix of people (mostly farmers) who all work in, live and love the Somerset countryside. It’s pretty perfect because they know the best local walks, the nicest country pubs and where the tastiest cider can be found!
The Quantocks is classed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and while they may not be vast, there is still plenty of choice. The Coleridge Way, named after the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, is perhaps one of the best known, but there are plenty of exciting finds for the enthusiast. The land is made up of (mostly) heathland, but oak woodlands, ancient parklands and farm land provides a diverse mix of flora and fauna and the views from Glastonbury Tor, to the Blackdown Hills and across to the Gower Peninsula are stunning.
For those wishing to explore the Quantocks, visit: https://www.quantockhills.com/