July 3 – From Combe Martin to Frome

Via Porlock, Dunster and the Quantock Hills

Hi from 1066 – Medieval Mosaic

We had a house sit fall through at the last minute so we decided to go to the same sort of area and arranged an Airbnb for three nights in Frome which is a nice equal distance from Wells and Bath which we had been looking forward to visiting. Today we are travelling from Combe Martin to Frome, a distance of 105 miles and about two and a half hours. We don’t have to be there until around 5 pm so we have plenty of time to meander.

We left J, T and Alfie about 10 am as Mike had mostly packed the car yesterday. We had a lovely time in Combe Martin and hope we will be invited back as Alfie is a real character.

We decided to take the coastal route and headed to Lynton again. Unfortunately, there are not many church micros to do in this direction but it is very scenic looking out over the Bristol Channel with clear views of Wales. We stopped at Countisbury and made an easy cache find at the St John the Evangelist church there although I did have to wait until a family moved off as it was right on the Coastal Path and there were a few people about as it is a lovely day. The little church is always open for people to seek shelter and for quiet meditation. St John the Evangelist had a lovely wooden coat of arms for Gulielmus IVBritt: Rex (William IV). We also found a travel bug which we took so that we could help him on his travels around the world.

Our next stop was Porlock which is a quaint little village which only has one geocache in it so after our visit to the church we went to find this one trying to avoid the muggles on the way. St Dubricus is a 13th-century church with a very fine altar and gilded reredos. It also has a late 15th-century alabaster tomb to John and Elizabeth Harington. There is also a tomb to Simon FitzRogers, a crusader.

Around lunch time we arrived at Dunster Castle so although we visited there just before Christmas we decided to have a summer visit too since it is a National Trust property and costs us nothing as we have just renewed our subscription for another year. We had a picnic lunch outside the castle and then went inside for a quick visit. We visited a secret garden which had been closed on our last visit and it had some amazing fuchsias which I knew Barb would like to see. The dahlias were all in flower too. We also visited the village with its large yarn market.

Next, we went to Dunster Priory, an English Heritage property. It was a Benedictine monastery established around 1100 and we spent some time looking around. The abbey part is completely demolished probably from the time of the dissolution of the abbeys with only the base stones remaining while the actual monastery is in quite a good condition.

On the road again we drove over the Quantock Hills, Somerset until we came to a lovely church on the bend of the road which we couldn’t resist. It is St Etheldreda at West Quantoxhead. We came across St Etheldreda (also know as St Ethelthrith or more commonly as St Audrey) when we were doing research on the princesses from the Queens Robing Room at Westminster Palace, a couple of years ago. St Etheldreda (AD636-679) was the daughter of King Anna, king of East Anglia and his wife Saewara. After being married twice St Etheldreda built a large double monastery at Ely in ADA673 where she was the first Abbess. The church features a lovely painted organ and floor tiles with coats of arms on. The roof is supported by stone corbels carved in the shape of angels playing musical instruments.

We finally arrived in Frome and found the Airbnb easily. R greeted us and showed us the room over the garage so while we were in the house we were also separated from the rest of the family, with a King size bed and our own bathroom and shower. We also had a small fridge and tea making facilities and breakfast goodies including crumpets and even a bottle of prosecco. We were very happy and comfortable and it was only a short walk into Frome town to restaurants. We had a nice Italian meal. On our walk back up the road, we found a geocache behind a sign without using the GPS.