Cronkhill

It’s only open to the public six days a year – and as today is one such, we thought we’d better go and have a look. The 2nd Lord Berwick, of nearby Attingham Park, had it built for a friend, a little over 200 years ago. Gosh! – here he is in person, looking sprightly despite his years, explaining those things which might not be obvious. John Nash designed the house to be a little corner of Italy in the Shropshire countryside. Is that Vesuvius over there? (No, it’s just the Wrekin).

Attingham Park Estate: Cronkhill NT

Flying Fox

…was the first A3 I “saw”, too many years ago. There are no A3s at Foxfield (which is probably a good thing), but lots of retired industrial steam locomotives, fighting-fit and ready for action. Sadly, it’s not the best of days, but at least it’s stopped raining (mostly…), and we’ve time for a quick look. Visit Foxfield – a flying visit on Geoff’s Rail Diaries – now!

Church Stretton to Craven Arms

We’d thought of doing this by using the train, leaving the car at Craven Arms – then realised we could make the same journey free of charge using our bus passes… An interesting trip too – not entirely along the A49, the Minsterley Motors 435 service uses some very narrow lanes through Wistanstow and Bushmoor. Who’d be a bus driver in south-west Shropshire?

Starting out from the bus stop in Church Stretton, we aim for the top of Ragleth Hill for lunch. We’d have got there quicker if we’d spotted the waymark roundels at the foot of Poplar Drive. Later, after lunch, we find ourselves taking another little detour at Hatton Wood, where the correct path isn’t the obvious one. Soon mended. After the Apedale prairies, we’ve another short climb ahead of us, onto the Wenlock Edge beyond Wolverton. It’s a very enjoyable walk through the trees along here, before we drop down to Strefford and follow the Quinny brook, and later the Onny, back to Craven Arms. On the sound principle that these things come in threes, we take yet another wrong turning where, once again, the obvious route is the wrong one. By the time we arrive in Craven Arms, we’ve earned those ice creams. But what an enjoyable walk! Plenty of variety, and a perfect day for it.

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=344805&Y=288161&A=Y&Z=126

Buses and brewery locos

Just published to Geoff’s Rail Diaries, an illustrated account of yesterday’s fun at, and near, the Chasewater Railway. Visit “Second Childhood” for the full story.

Eccentric crankshafts

We’ve been to Chasewater today – for the “Burton Breweries Locomotives Day”. Some of those locomotives – and some of their associates who had nothing to do with brewing, are amongst the  strangest standard-gauge railway locomotives around. Illustrated are 15099 “Morris”, and the former Worthington’s no 21. Morris is nearly 100 years old; no 21 will soon be 90. Both appeared to be well into their second childhoods, having great fun pushing troublesome trucks around all afternoon. More photos (to include Colin McAndrew, old Birmingham buses etc.) will be published to “Geoff’s Rail Diaries” in a day or two.

Chasewater Railway

The Coalport walk

“We can have tea and cake at the youth hostel…” A walk down Pound Lane to Coalport, on a warm afternoon.

July on the Edge

A short wander along the Wenlock Edge in early July. The scenery is rather drab at this time of year, on a warm, still but grey afternoon – however, there are other things to point the camera at. The many butterflies are too busy to pause and pose; the floral colour is easy to deal with. It may have been a short walk, but we felt we’d earned our ice creams (not that ice cream in July needs any justification…).

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=361490&Y=300316&A=Y&Z=120

Round the bend at Shrewsbury

After yesterday’s walk in the hill country, we went for an almost-level walk this afternoon, following the Severn downstream from the weir to below Belvidere bridge. The river follows a looping course here, so that, though we’ve walked getting on for five miles along its bank, it’s only about a mile and a quarter back to the car when we leave the water’s edge. Starting from the abbey, we head for the footbridge and the weir. At first it’s fairly busy, but as we move away from the built-up area there are fewer people about, and it’s very pleasant and easy walking. We enjoy brief glimpses of a couple of kingfishers as we approach the railway bridge at Belvidere. We don’t see them again, though we do see two or three trains humming along. Our return from the river takes us past the Column, where Lord Hill surveys the scene, looking smart after a recent wash and brush-up.

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=351360&Y=313231&A=Y&Z=120

Clee and Magpie

If there’s a preponderance of pictures with blue skies below, it’s because we’ve not seen blue skies for a while. After the heat of the previous week, last week was cold, damp and thoroughly miserable. This afternoon’s break in the clouds demanded an outing (it’s raining again, on-and-off, as I write…). It wasn’t just sunny and warm, but the air was clear – the Brecon Beacons, our usual yardstick for clarity, stood out on the south-western horizon as we explored Clee Hill and Magpie Hill. Industry once thrived on these wind-swept grasslands, and quarrying continues to this day, though the associated railways are long-gone, their trackbeds providing good walking routes. Elsewhere there are the remains of small coal mines (what are those 8-shaped brick-built structures?), traces of aerial ropeways, a curious “three-forked pole”, a red kite, a curlew, skylarks, a farm called “Random”… There’s never a dull moment up here!

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=360140&Y=276741&A=Y&Z=120

Rain, steam and 15mph

Marchlyn on the passenger

We’ve been to the Amerton Railway today, for their steam gala. We should have gone yesterday – we picked the wettest day for weeks. Despite the rain, which wasn’t always heavy, we had a most enjoyable afternoon. For more pictures etc. visit “A rainy day at Amerton” on Geoff’s Rail Diaries.

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