March winds or April showers?

A bit of both today – a stiff breeze blowing light showers across the countryside. Walking past Hurst Farm and on towards Shirlett, it would have been good to complete the loop to Shirlett Lane and return to the car down Round Hill – but I suspect we’d still be floundering in the mud (we had a drop of rain last night). Instead, where the track ends, we’ll turn and retrace our steps. The views are different in the other direction…

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Greater spotted

We’re wandering around Attingham this afternoon. It’s a dull grey day, so the scope for photography may be limited. The woodpeckers are having fun, bashing their brains out in attempts to attract mates. One drums noisily in a tree nearby – can we see him? No – until he flies to another branch, and our eyes register the movement. Can the camera see him? We’ll try! He may be a greater spotted woodpecker, but he’s certainly not easily spotted…

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Spectacle of Steam

Saturday 18 March: “More working steam locomotives in one hour than anywhere else” – that’s what the website says, and that’s what the people at Statfold provide. One 18″ gauge former industrial loco – and no fewer than fourteen 2′ gauge locomotives in action. What they can’t guarantee is the weather. The showers were heavier and more frequent than I’d expected. I should mention one more locomotive – 12¼” gauge Victoria on the latest attraction, the Mease Valley Light railway. I visited it towards the end of my intended stay – and got very wet…

Visit “Statfold Showers” on Geoff’s Rail Diaries for the full story, and lots more photos

Impasse II

Same as last week! About a mile and a quarter along Rowe Lane there’s a huge puddle. We’ve met it before, after heavy rain, and last time we got through, but this time it seemed deeper and there was no way along the verge – the hedge would have pushed one of us in (and I’d have been in trouble)… So we’re retracing our steps to head across the fields to Holdgate, and apart from new views, we see one (sadly, dead) fox, one hare (very much alive and too fast for the camera), two herons (flying over) and a tree full of cormorants. We also see the back of Hall Farm at Holdgate, which seems to be built around the remains of a castle, complete with arrow slits (loopholes?) for archers. Like last week’s flooded ford, the puddle did us a favour!

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Cardington kites and rainclouds

Sunshine and showers! An afternoon in the vicinity of Cardington, walking up to Willstone, where the red kites provided quite a display for us, then along the lane to Chatwall. Five minutes on the chocolate seat – and then it rained. We didn’t get very wet, and we’re reasonably waterproof…

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Seasonal signs

It’s grey and breezy, but this time last week we had several inches of snow, while today it’s a springlike 11C and very pleasant around the Willey lanes. One doesn’t need to look too closely in the hedgerows to see many signs of the coming season – primroses and celandines, and the leaves of bluebells and garlic, whose time will come in another few weeks

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It’s a regular route for us – until we come to the ford. The mid-week snowfall has been melting rapidly since yesterday, and there’s no way we can reach the footbridge over Bullhill Brook. “Let’s try the path through the fields, and hope it’s not too muddy”. It isn’t, and it proves to be a very enjoyable way through pleasant farmland. Ascending through the woods, a couple of deer quietly trot away from us (no chance of a photograph). Now we’re on the quiet road from Kenley, with views to Wenlock Edge, heading back to the start.

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