Dunkery Beacon one day, Selworthy Beacon the next. 30th December 2014 dawned clear and bright over Exmoor, so we figured we might as well head high again, only this time on foot.
We walked from Porlock down to the bottom of quiet leafy Bossington Lane, where Bossington Hill loomed ahead of us. From Bossington car park we crossed over a stream and into woodland at the foot of the hill.
We climbed gradually, first through the trees and then past tufty grass and bracken around the side of Bossington Hill. Even at this height, we had fabulous views across the calm sparkling waters of Porlock Bay. Straight ahead of us was Hurlstone Point, but instead we began the ridiculously steep climb up the cleft between Hurlstone Point and Bossington Hill. The path had been churned up by cattle, so it was hard-going in areas, but soon we could see the signpost at the head of the combe and made the final push for the top. It was then only a short walk further along the grassy top to Selworthy Beacon.
We paused at the beacon for a quick bite of lunch, surrounded by huge gorse bushes in full winter bloom and fabulous panoramic views across the Vale of Porlock to the thickly wooded valleys and the moors beyond. The sound of galloping hooves alerted us to a small band of wild Exmoor ponies just down the path from us.
Next, we crossed over the top of the combe and into woodland, following well-sign-posted tracks on a steep descent into Allerford. The woods were pretty devoid of bird life at this time of year, but we did enjoy watching a flock of long-tailed tits (Aegithalos caudatus) as they passed excitedly through the trees.
We came out of the woods at Allerford, over the much-photographed packhorse bridge next to a pretty cottage. Built as a crossing over the River Aller (from which the village gets its name), the bridge is thought to be of Medieval origin. We were rapidly losing the light, as the sun had already disappeared behind the hills.
From Allerford, it was a relatively short walk down to the 16th Century unaltered Lynch Chapel and back along the roads to Porlock, where we stopped at the Top Ship Inn for an early evening drink.