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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

The Road to Goodshelter

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas MARCH. 17, 2021

[228-365] 17th. March 2021- I thought I would use this opportunity to take the tidal road to Goodshelter because the far end where it reaches East Portlemouth is closed for repair after a landslide. This means there is a better chance you will not meet another vehicle coming the other way.

I half regretted it because the road is very narrow, very steep in parts, very twisted with sharp right hand bends and high hedgerows, muddy and at the moment heavily potholed.

What I hadn't reckoned on was the fact that for the last six months all traffic to the far end must go from this end so the multiple large construction projects were all using this route.

Even on a good day Goodshelter is a hamlet designed for boats not cars. In some circumstances it would probably be quicker for me to get there by boat from our creek, but it is also a route where you don't get to change your mind. Goodshelter is the only place wide enough to turn the car around so it's all or nothing.

Although you start out in Southpool in another creek at sea level and get to Goodshelter in Waterhead creek also at sea level you have to get up to the top first to get there. Those bare hilltops in the distance are Dartmoor. You drive cautiously and note where there are passing places in case you need to reverse and then you cross your fingers. There and back I only met one vehicle, a large delivery van and it was me that had to go back. I met it at a wider bit but the bulge in the road was on my side and it was a foot drop into black mud and I wasn't going to risk it, so I had to reverse about 200 yards/metres to a gateway where the van squeezed past. Vans are the worst because the driver usually doesn't own it, so is not as worried about the odd scrape.

On the plus side there are probably more primroses in the hedges along this route than anywhere in Britain and they are at their peak at the moment. The road is so narrow and the hedges so high that this photo was taken by me from the driving seat with the flowers about 18 inches away. I was cogitating about where I could stop the car to get out and take a photo when it suddenly occurred to me that I didn't need to.

Cogitate- think deeply about something; meditate or reflect. 1560s (transitive); 1630s (intransitive); from Latin cogitatus, past participle of cogitare "to think".

This is Goodshelter and that is the road in the foreground, coming down the hill on the left and going through the creek to the right. The creek is at low tide, otherwise I wouldn't be able to take the photo without waders on.

These canoeists/kayakers are exploring Waterhead Creek which is an arm off Southpool Creek. I would tell you something about Goodshelter but Google has nothing, not even a one line entry in Wikipedia.

This is Southpool below with it's stepping stones and ford. I was standing by the ford when a Landrover drove through it, only he crossed the bridge to do it which seemed strange, until I realised he was washing the mud off his wheels.

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