Chase again

That’s Cannock Chase, of course. The forecast implied there would be more sunshine than we had before lunch; afterwards, things improved a bit. At least it’s not raining, and it’s generally dry underfoot too. We’d hoped for more autumn colours, and thought there might have been a good crop of toadstools… The visitor centre, half-way around our wander, is reliable for a simple snack lunch (bacon baps) – and it’s good to be out on a day like this.

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Via Random

We’ve left the car at Cleehill village, and we’re heading for the spooky remains of industry on Magpie Hill. It’s a grey day, and the air’s cold – it’s also clear, with views extending to the Brecon Beacons. Recent rains mean that, away from good surfaces, there’s no shortage of mud, so today we’re mostly on hard-surfaced tracks across this remote hill country. The outward route takes us past the curiously-named Lower Random Farm, on what was once a mineral wagonway, disused for more than a century. Inevitably, the sun breaks through when we’re in the car heading homewards; unexpectedly, it’s raining (again!) as we near home.

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A toadstool trail

It was going to be an arboretum amble, but the fungi were much more fun! Bodenham arboretum on a (rare) fine sunny afternoon, where, after a light lunch, we’re following the perimeter path to enter the arboretum from the far side. There’s a ball on the path, and just yards away, an intensely interested dog. Having kicked the ball once (and seen a superb retrieval), we have a determined companion. Are we playing with him, or is he playing with us? A couple of times, just before a kick, he makes a quick grab and runs off, and there are occasions when I’d swear he’s placing the ball just to see if we can spot it.

Given good weather, there’s much to be said for autumn. The colours are wonderful, but the variety of shapes and sizes (and sheer number) of fungi, is really what gains our attention today. And, of course, that dragonfly…

Bodenham Arboretum


We spent some time in the arboretum at Bodenham, near Kidderminster, this afternoon. The autumn leaves were colourful, as one would expect, and this year’s crop of assorted fungi exceeded all expectations, both in number and variety. The star of the visit, however, was this dragonfly, flitting around one of the pools, and from time to time landing on a nearby block of stone. More photos later…

Bodenham Arboretum

Lanky Lines

Wednesday 9 October: we’re having a day out on a Northern Rail day rover, exploring (mostly) lines in Lancashire – via Wigan and Preston to Blackpool, for a walk along a blustery prom, then out to Colne on a soon-to-be-history class 142 railbus. There are some showers around – quite hefty ones inland, over Pendle Hill – but we’re lucky, we don’t get wet. We head for home via Todmorden and Manchester, where the walk from Victoria to Piccadilly provides the opportunity of a well-earned (!) pint.

For a few more rail – and tram – photos, visit “Another Northern Day” on Geoff’s Rail Diaries.