Friday 3rd August: We were here on a cold day in March, when there was a welcoming fire in the grate. Today, the dark shady corners of this old house are pleasantly cool on a warm afternoon.
We’re at Attingham, where there will be some colour, and some cooler shady places where we can wander. It’s more colourful than we expected! The deer have found some shade under the trees in the park, and we’ll find some cool at the end of our walk – we’ve earned ice-creams, though we haven’t walked far today.
Orchids – in gay profusion! We have a decent crop in our back garden – a dozen flower heads (it’s probably a sign of neglect…), on plants which just arrived, quite unexpectedly, a couple of years ago. If they’re in bloom, the wild ones must be blooming too. The land near Benthall Hall is now looked after by the National Trust, though whether they’ve done anything to encourage them, I don’t know. Whatever the reason, there are hundreds – ones and twos and small colonies in the meadows, and in the little area of scrubby woodland, great clumps of them. They’re mostly common spotted, varying in colour from almost white to a deepish purple, but amongst them are a handful of (late) early purple orchids. Quite a sight!
Benthall Hall NT
A good day out – the steam-hauled “Welsh Marches Express” (see “Steaming through Stokesay” for more pictures and video), followed by visits to Herefordshire and Shropshire watermills, open to the public on “National Mills Weekend”. We’ll have lunch out too, in the black-and-white village of Pembridge.
The mills are:
Staunton Mill, at Staunton on Arrow (Herefordshire)
Court of Noke Mill nearby (with mill-wheel turning)
Wrickton Mill, near Neenton, Shropshire (also with a turning wheel)
Charlcotte iron furnace, near Neenton (no, not a mill, though its bellows were water-powered – many years ago…)
Video on Youtube: Court of Noke and Wrickton mills
A short wander around Attingham Park, on an afternoon of (some) bright sunshine and a cold wind. The walled garden provides a little shelter, and there’s lots of cultivated spring colour. Outside, in the woodlands, there are more natural seasonal highlights, with bluebells and cowslips brightening the shade.
That’s Moseley Old Hall, near Wolverhampton, an interesting place to explore on a cold and decidedly damp afternoon. Originally half-timbered, it was later encased in brick. King Charles hid here! It’s dark inside – very dark, in places – but we’ll do what we can.
… at Attingham – a wander around indoors on a cold afternoon.