Wookey Hole to Haynes Motor Museum

Glastonbury Abbey

Glastonbury Abbey - Credit: Archant

WORDS: Mark G Whitchurch

The new Bentley Continental Speed Convertible

The new Bentley Continental Speed Convertible - Credit: Archant

Somerset’s most active classic car club took off on its annual Mendip Tour, with 150 vintage and classic cars spanning 100 years in the life of the internal combustion engine winding their way across Somerset. Our steed for the day looked a little modern compared to the rest of the assembled machinery at the start of the tour in the grounds of Wookey Hole but we were made most welcome.

Following a line of beautifully-restored machinery, we left Wookey and headed to the A39 to pass through the historic city of Wells and on to Glastonbury.

Passing through its bohemian centre, we enjoyed glimpses of the Abbey on the left and picked up the A361 to skirt the base of the Tor and enjoy the meandering style of the road for a couple of miles.

Taking a right hand turning signposted for Baltonsborough, we joined a tranquil network of lanes through Coxbridge and then Baltonsborough itself to the B3133 at Keinton Mandeville.

This pretty village became famous in the mid 19th century as the source of Blue Lias stone in the days when it was on the London to South West stagecoach route.

Turning left onto the B3153 and passing over the cross roads with the A37 at Lydford-on-Fosse we continued on the B3153 through Alford with the River Brue running through it.

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Onwards towards Castle Cary, turning right onto Dimmer Lane to pick up the single track road of Cooper’s Ash Lane that neatly leads to the B3152 and then turning right again and picking up the A359.

Continuing south on the A359 we finished our journey at the Haynes Motor Museum at Sparkford.

Initially based around the eclectic collection of cars assembled by founder of the prolific Haynes motoring manuals, the collection has continued to grow since it was opened to the public by the then Land Speed record holder Richard Noble in 1985. Now it is fresh from a £5million makeover, which includes a new frontage and café facilities and the museum is ready for another 40 years of service.

From its vintage motorbikes to its collection of Formula One cars and the stunning red room packed with all manner of exotic machinery, this now charitable trust is a superb experience for all the family, not just those with petrol in their veins.

There is something for everyone.Wonderfully-restored machinery is complemented by plenty of entertainment for children, some educational, as well as an extensive outdoor play area.

However for me it was John Haynes’ own 1931 Model J Duesenberg, one of only eight made and the only one outside the United States, which captured my imagination.

A good dose of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue piped over the sound system to help me to savour this majestic car.

The 2014 Mendip Tour took place to raise funds for charity Riding for the Disabled, based just outside Wells.

This is an extremely well organised annual event. n

More details can be found at candhmotorclub.co.uk