A short walk on a long day

It’s the longest day of the year today – it has been one of the hottest too, though we managed to keep comfortable on a very pleasant short walk at the south end of the Stiperstones ridge, with a visit to the top of Black Rhadley. It was (relatively) cool in the woods, and on top there was a good breeze blowing. We celebrated with half a punnet of English strawberries (we’d eaten the other half at lunchtime!) – best strawberries I’ve had for many years too. There are other berries up here. The birds have obviously been eating something bilberry-coloured – but it will be a good few weeks before they’re ripe. In between the baby bilberries, we spotted interlopers, which I reckon were crowberries. Didn’t try them… We certainly wouldn’t have tried the fine fungus we’d found in the woods earlier. A common earthball with a stalk? Is there such a thing?

The tea / cold drink and cake at the Bog Centre were good, as ever.

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=334995&Y=296626&A=Y&Z=120

A go-slow on High Vinnals

It’s too warm! As we drove away from the Forestry Commission car park (Black Pool, not at all like Blackpool), the car said the air temperature was 26C. It touched 29.5C on the way home – it must have been cooler under those tall pines. That’s why we headed for High Vinnals this afternoon – we could be sure of a reasonable amount of shade on the (necessarily) gradual ascent. There was just enough of a breeze on top too, so that we could stop for a little while and enjoy a most extensive view of the Welsh hills. We returned to the start by the grassy Hanway Common (the sheep seem to like it). There’s a comfortable seat at the top, from which we watched a couple of buzzards – then two red kites swooped over our heads (from behind – hadn’t seen them coming). The bright sunshine picked out their colouring, but as (almost) ever, there wasn’t time to zoom and focus. Leaving the common at its foot, the path passes the eponymous Black Pool. It’s certainly an appropriate name…

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=348535&Y=271700&A=Y&Z=120

Bannister’s Coppice and the waggonway

When we walked in Bannister’s Coppice in late October, there were deer everywhere (see “Oh deer“). Will there be any today? More accurately, will we see any today? Yes, if we’re quiet and careful, though they’re shy at present – there’s a mother with a very young-looking fawn, which sneaks through the bracken and across our path, while we stand still and silent. We return by the track up from Seven Springs Farm, which I’ve realised is the route taken by a pre-railway age (1824) waggonway, from Gleedon Hill quarry to the Severn. Once again, there’s no-one else around.

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=362890&Y=302881&A=Y&Z=120

Easthope greenery

We’re walking from the National Trust car park at Presthope, through the fields to Easthope and back along the old railway track. There was a “halt” at Easthope, just by the bridge – but we never had a chance to ride on this line. It closed to passengers in the early 1950s; freight from Longville ended in 1964.

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=357385&Y=296311&A=Y&Z=120

Grey sky, red kite, Brown Clee

The sky may be uninspiring, but it’s a fresh-feeling afternoon, and the weather forecast thinks it should stay dry. A track follows the contours around the northern part of Brown Clee – we’ll join it at its northernmost point and follow it round to the west, then walk over the top of the hill and down the other side. We can then use the eastern arm of the track to get back to the start. A red kite is overhead briefly; sheep are everywhere, but there’s no-one else to be seen today. Do they know something we don’t, or is it the other way round?

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=359685&Y=286976&A=Y&Z=120

Scarlet fields

Just occasionally, at this time of year, the eye is caught by a field of brilliant red – thousands upon thousands of poppies. We saw these yesterday, not far from home on our way to Statfold. We’d better go back and have a look today.

After the poppies, one of us (who hadn’t been with me on Friday afternoon) decided she’d like to see the orchids near Benthall Hall. That huge clump is still standing, of course. “How many are there?”. I’d underestimated on Friday. “167”. It wasn’t easy – they kept moving around in the stiff and unseasonal breeze. I’ve no idea what the little bright orange flower is, growing nearby, but it seemed worth a snap…

Statfold; 1 megapost

Saturday 10 June: the latter is nothing to do with the former. This just happens to be the 1,000th post on this blog (which started life just over 11 years ago, on Blogspot*). What better way to celebrate (given that I noticed quite by chance that no. 1,000 was approaching) than a coincidental trip to the Statfold Barn Railway, for the June open day. It was a lazier day that usual – not good weather for photography (though the rain held off), and the increasing numbers attending make photography more and more difficult too, in more ways than one. It’s still a great day out though!

Statfold Barn Railway

*I moved the posts across to WordPress

Orchids galore

The wild rose is in bloom now, and very attractive it is, with almost-white and decidedly pink specimens. I’m wandering near Benthall Hall on a fine June afternoon. There’s woody nightshade beside the pool, and several orchids (common spotted) in the grass nearby. In the meadow beyond, there are several more amongst the buttercups and daisies. Then, in the scrubby grassland beyond, there are many more – a clump of several large heads catches my eye – and finally there’s a patch of maybe a hundred flower heads. Quite a sight!

The fields here are in the care of the National Trust, part of the Benthall Hall estate.

Morville to Broseley

“If we go to Wenlock on the bus, we can take a Shrewsbury – Bridgnorth bus as far as Morville, and walk back”…  True, though the bus from Shrewsbury was more than 20 minutes late – we nearly gave up (I blame the ongoing road works in Shrewsbury – no fun at all). We’ve walked most of the constituent parts of this route on previous occasions, but never joined them together. It’s very pleasant wandering on this warm 1st June afternoon, and once we’re away from the main road at Morville, it’s very quiet too. Most enjoyable!

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=367450&Y=297876&A=Y&Z=120

Royal Oak

Thurs. 25 May: a visit to Boscobel House. It’s where King Charles I hid in the oak tree in 1651. The oak’s no longer with us, but a descendent is there for visiting. It’s looking decidedly tired, though beside it stands its successor, grown from one of its acorns and planted there 350 years later by the chap who may one day be King Charles III. We have to bide our time outdoors, until a guided tour has finished, and then we can explore this interesting old house.

Boscobel House (English Heritage)

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