The climb out of Minehead is a baptism of fire for travel-weary legs but the tracks are good, making it all possible from the saddle. It’s not until you leave the wood and contour around above the ocean that you realise just how high you’ve climbed. The rest of the Coast Path is relatively easy but you need to keep a very sharp eye out for waymarkers as you near the end of this section. To lose height on the wrong trail would be a tragedy. The resulting descent is a corker. The singletrack into Lynch Combe is incredibly sweet — if only it was longer — and the steep and stony drop to the road is good preparation for the even rougher descent from Dunkery later.
It’s time to climb again now, first on tarmac and then on a good track that gets you within spitting distance of Dunkery’s distinctive beacon. But it’s not that easy; the huge drop to Horner Water stands in your way. There’s no choice but to carry up to Stoke Pero — this is where you find out exactly how much is left in those legs — but after that, it’s an easy leg-up on the road to Dunkery’s long, broad ridge.
The main track leads easily to the top and, at 519m above sea level, you can be sure that you’ve got some descending to do from here. It’s fast and open to start with but, after crossing the lane, it gets rougher and rougher — testing your travel to the end stops and beyond. There’s one last ridge to hurdle before it’s all over. Easy forest tracks make simple work of the upward leg and a cracking final drop down Periton Combe returns you to the amusement arcades and chip shops of bustling Minehead.