The Walled Garden

Too warm for anything very energetic… A wander around Attingham Park, focusing on the colour in the walled garden.

Attingham Park NT

Buildwas and Cressage

Beside the Severn in Shropshire: a brief visit to Buildwas abbey, and a stroll along the river bank near Cressage.

Buildwas Abbey EH

Earl of Mount Edgcumbe

5043 Earl of Mount EdgcumbeSaturday 13th: ex-GWR Castle no 5043 is hurrying through Wellington, Shropshire – 8 minutes early – on its way back to Tyseley, Birmingham. Even if the sun has gone behind a bank of cloud, it’s still a fine sight for an August evening.

Lightspout Ridge

There’s an obvious and inviting route up this ridge, prominent above the Cardingmill Valley. It’s one of those paths which become fainter as height is gained – it’s quite a pull up to the rocks at the top. Beyond, the path is very faint, walked mainly by the four-legged locals, I suspect, and for a little while, I’m wallowing in luxuriant purple heather. The ridge is unnamed on the OS 1:25000 map, but I find myself looking down into the Lightspout Hollow, whose waterfall is a mere trickle in this summer weather. Perhaps this is Lightspout Ridge? (above the reservoir, it’s “Cow Ridge”, but that doesn’t seem an adequate description). A more obvious path now takes me down to the path above the waterfall, where, having met no-one since beginning the ridge path, I’m back amongst the (relatively speaking) crowds. I’ve done this short walk on my own – the others will be in the tea room, so I’d better not hang about now…

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=343450&Y=295043&A=Y&Z=115

Wilderhope

This Elizabethan manor house in the Wenlock Edge’s Hope Dale, is a National Trust property – and a youth hostel. The steel-framed bunk beds may look incongruous in these timber-framed rooms, but it must be a great place to stay. We’re just passing, however – an hour is sufficient to explore the rambling and disorientating building, truly a 3D maze. Outside the house, Hope Dale is unbelievably quiet, and very green.

Wilderhope Manor YHA
Wilderhope Manor NT

Rhiw and Vyrnwy

We’re in mid-Wales: after our visit to the Rhiw Valley Light Railway, near Manafon, we drive along very pleasant back-roads to Lake Vyrnwy. It’s not natural – the reservoir supplies water to Liverpool – but it’s very enjoyable to gaze across its waters to the remarkable fairytale castle (more properly known as a straining tower) and the green hills beyond. It’s also good to spend a little while in the RSPB hide, mere yards from the end of the dam, where the birds are just inches from the glazing. It’s easy to take pictures of them, but very difficult to take good ones – the glass is not totally transparent, the light is tricky, and the birds spend most of their time with their heads in the feeders. There are more good things here – rather fine ice-creams from the cafe next door…

For more on the Rhiw Valley visit, check out August in the Rhiw Valley on Geoff’s Rail Diaries.

Mid-Wales

Lesser spottedRhiw Valley - JackA day out: a visit to the 15″-gauge Rhiw Valley Light Railway, and a few minutes in the RSPB hide at Lake Vyrnwy. The RVLR’s “Jack” and “Powys” are easily spotted, trundling around the fields beside the Rhiw. The woodpeckers are, of course, lesser spotted. More to come…

Knighton to Bucknell

We left the car at Bucknell railway station, and caught the 1052 train to Knighton, all of 4.25 miles away (though we’ll walk more than twice that to get back). That ought to be “Knighton International” – the platforms are in Shropshire, the town (and the first few yards of our walk) in Wales. Crossing back into England, we’re soon looking down on the Teme valley, beside Offa’s Dyke, before turning right at an upland crossroads (crosspaths?) to head through high breezy grassland which ends at Bucknell wood. The descent through the woods towards the village (every bit as quiet as Clunton and Clunbury, Clungunford and Clun, apart from the occasional train) is much more pleasant than might be imagined – a good walking surface and lots of variety. There were showers about, which we mostly managed to avoid – it didn’t feel at all like early August, but it was a good day to be out on these lonely hills.

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=332260&Y=273831&A=Y&Z=120

Beside the Severn: Atcham

It may look tranquil, but the old A5 is still a fairly busy road. Beside it, the older bridge, dating from MDCCLXXVI, is pedestrian-only, a pleasant way to cross the river. We’re just enjoying some fresh air and a change of scene for a few minutes on a cool late-July evening, and we haven’t really earned a pint on our way home, but who cares!

Oxford: a short stroll

It wasn’t easy, and I realise I’ve missed some of the better-known sights – after a few minutes, I found myself avoiding the crowds. A return visit, perhaps, one day – in the middle of winter?

For the rail journey photos, see “An Outing to Oxford” on Geoff’s Rail Diaries

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