…down the lane for a leg-stretch, a welcome outing after a day of domestic duties. The sunshine is bright and fairly low, bringing out the detail in the hedgerow vegetation. The tricky bit is avoiding flare in the lens…
There are a dozen or more in the lane – then a few more beside the path along the Edge. After Stokes’ Barn, there are lots – count them! We’re into three figures, and then as the path opens into the field… ‘Hundreds’ will have to remain the grand total – no chance of counting them! A short, but colourful, leg-stretch on the Edge near Much Wenlock.
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An exploration… We start at the English Bridge and walk along the riverbank, downstream, then head back along the canal path. The canal’s long gone, but the Canal Tavern’s still there. Along the way, we pass the ‘Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings’ – the main building, dating from 1797, is the grandfather of skyscrapers, apparently. Passing over the railway station on the unusual Dana footbridge, we return to the riverbank, crossing the river by the Welsh Bridge and the Porthill footbridge. The Porthywaen Silver Band are playing a Welsh medley (Men of Harlech and Myfanwy, among others) at the Quarry bandstand. We move on through the quieter backstreets to return to the English Bridge and back to the car – home for tea!
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A Saturday evening shortie – from Bedlam car park, over the hill through Hodge Bower and down into Coalbrookdale. New Road in Ironbridge helps avoid the busy Wharfage, and leads to the churchyard, where there’s a seat with a view over the bridge (perfect place for a chocolate stop).
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There’s no shortage of colour in the hedgerows now – the willowherb, mallow and thistles are especially eye-catching. And tonight there’s a bonus – a common blue damselfly posing very considerately. It’s the 1st of July today – the wheat and barley are ripening rapidly – by the end of the month, the harvest will have begun.
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Could do – the clouds are threatening. We’re out for a morning wander – the forecast says thundery showers later, but do the showers know they’ve go to wait until after lunch? In the event they behaved themselves, providing us with some dramatic skies but no rain …
… until after lunch – here they come!
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Monday 27 June: Perhaps not exactly forgotten – ‘unexpected’ might be a better description, ‘previously unseen’ even more so. We’ve walked this way, along Shirlett Lane, many times – all very familiar (and none the worse for that). Perhaps it was that familiarity which prevented us from noticing more distant hills, some 35 miles to the south, peeping over closer uplands. Let’s have a look with the binoculars – yes, those are the distinctively-shaped Malverns. Why have we never noticed them from here before today? Returning to the car, we look to the Welsh border hills. Another familiar sight, this evening they’re bathed in pastel sunbeams. What an attractive horizon!
An afternoon at Amerton, on the occasion of their annual steam gala. On this occasion, no fewer than seven steam locomotives were in action – two Bagnalls, four Wrens and a Sirdar – on the not-very circular 2ft gauge line. For more on the event – and lots of photos – visit ‘Small South Staffs Steamers‘ on Geoff’s Rail Diaries.
Another warm afternoon – some shade would be pleasant. Benthall Edge woods will provide it – and on the way, we can check out the orchids near the hall. Someone (NT, presumably) has now put up a sign pointing the way to the ‘Orchid meadow’, and in the scrubby wooded area where many of the orchids grow, they’ve mown a maze of ways for walkers. There are thousands of the eye-catching flowers, of the common spotted variety, and plenty more in the unmown meadows nearby. After the colourful display, the bluebell wood and the Edge woods provide welcome shade and coolth (is that a word?).
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It’s not really long enough to call a walk – barely two miles, but that’s enough on the warm evening of the longest day. On the south side of the river we follow the old Severn valley railway track – cool and shady – before crossing the bridge and walking up the Coalport branch track as far as the china works.
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