Today I went to recce the southern most section of the Community Forest Path to which I admit I set out a bit late. That meant I was out in the midday sun - mad dogs etc. Full force of the sun, bring it on. Sun blocked up to the max - factor 372 - I headed up over Maes Knoll to pick up Path in Norton Malreward.
First shock of the day - actually the only shock, and to be fair it really wasn't really a shock as such, I digress - there is a grass airstrip on the outskirts of that fair village. Lived in Bristol all my life and I never knew it was there - but then why would I? Slap my thigh - just not hard.
Anyway, the route wound its way around in fairly straight lines across to Pensford - Oxymoron type thing, alert. For much of this section of the path, starting just before Pensford, the route kind of followed the river into keynsham.
After Pensford came Compton Dando - and strange looks from people sipping beer in the Compton Inn, thinking, 'what's that nutter doing running in the heat of the day?' - did I care, did I sh#@.
From there it was along the river to Keynsham where I cut from the CFP and headed home. From Keysham I headed along a bridle path I didn't know existed all the way to Horse World, avoiding quite a lot of road - always a bonus.
In all I covered about 15 miles and 1,300 feet of ascent. It wasn't the fastest I've ever run but I was trying to condition myself for the LAMM which is why I loaded up my running ruck sack with 3kg of weight plus 2 litres of fluids. Obviously by the end I was down to just the 3kg but it surprised me how much difference a few pounds make.
The most striking thing about running the Community Forest Path, though - and it was a lovely scenic run, don't get me wrong - is the almost total lack of, what I like to call, forest. Yes, there were some trees dotted along the hedge rows. In places, the odd copse or two. And at one point possibly a 'wood' - see blue bells pic - but come on, forest? I think not. It was a nice run though.
The bridge near Chewton Place