Stunning South West: Nine Springs
Yeovil, a town just like any other in the UK. Old buildings ripped out in the 50's to make way for newer, much uglier buildings. A town that springs up from nowhere, in the middle of the Somerset countryside. Locals tend to look on visiting Yeovil as a necessary evil, but hidden away behind a gym complex is Nine Springs Country Park.
|Who knew there were waterfalls in Yeovil?|
Nine Springs, so named after the 9 springs you can try to find whilst wandering through the lake and streams hidden amongst the greenery. The park is around 127 acres in size, making it the largest country park in Somerset. At the same end as the gym, is the Nine Springs cafe to start, or end, your walk with a refreshing drink, at the other end there is a play park for children and a lake-- tho' I believe Environmental Health have now stepped in and said you are no longer allowed to feed the ducks. Dogs are also no longer allowed around the lake, however an alternative route has been made for dog walkers in the area.
|The first spring, and its super clear water|
|Tiger is waaayyy too busy sniffing to pose|
There are various trails around Nine Springs, including a bicycle trail that takes you along what was once a railway line. Various hiking trails, some take you winding up and up until you hit Aldon (the next village along- dog walkers please note you need a licence to walk your dog in Aldon), or Summer House hill, and Wyndham Hill. We name things originally here, Summer House hill, of course, being the site of a Summer House of one of the big estates here. It is believed the park was designed as part of Aldon estate using the natural springs already here back in the early 19th century.
Mum, Tiger and I wound up over one of the hills, parking closer to the PC World end of the Yellow Brick Road, and clambered down to the streams. It's been years since I've tried to find all nine of the springs here, and I'd totally forgotten about the park- it's always the way with things on your door step, isn't it? Thinking of it as a place parents use after shopping to coax children by taking them to the park after (or before to tire them before strapping them into their pushchairs).
|The trail leading around the springs and streams|
Tiger had never been here before, and he bounded up and down the hill whilst Mum and I slowly clambered up it, looking at my Mum as if she was mad for not having run up and down like he had- my dog is 9 going on 2, I swear. We crossed the trail and came across the first stream. Tiger hates water, and instead of crossing the ford he jumped over it. We turned left, and realised we should have turned right after ambling around finding approximately zero springs!
When we eventually got back to where we started, we turned right and stumbled upon 3 springs immediately. As well as 3 large dogs. Tiger is super small, and hasn't got a clue. I'd already put him back on the lead as we had to cross a causeway. Of the three dogs two were swimming in the spring water (which I'm not even convinced is allowed) and the other, still off his lead, was barking. Which is a sure way to upset Tiger. I waited for the owner to move along the path before even attempting to cross the causeway with Tiger. It was worth the crossing tho' because this was where I found the spring I remember from my childhood. So I stepped in and drank from it!
|Finding the springs!|
Nine Springs is fairly easy to get to, you can park along any of the car parks along the Yellow Brick Road (oh yes, it exists and in Yeovil, no less), as the locals call it. This is the footpath leading along the park from PC World on Lysander Road as far as Yeovil Pen Mill Railway Station, so you can always get the train into Yeovil and walk to the park following that. Buses into town stop at the central bus station, and you can join up with the Yellow Brick Road behind Cineworld.
Have you any hidden gems where you live?