Common spotted

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

Watermills in border country

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…)

National Mills Weekend

Video on Youtube: Court of Noke and Wrickton mills