Silver Birch

…on Cannock Chase. There are forested areas, and there are wide expanses of heathland – the latter well-scattered with silver birches. On this chilly, clear and sunny January afternoon, the silver-white of the birches stands out against the blue of the sky. There are warm tones in the winter undergrowth of grasses, heather and bracken, but there’s little else – the leaves are long-gone, as are all those colourful toadstools we saw on our last visit. The bacon baps in the visitor centre are, of course, much as they were last time – just the thing for a cold day.

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Loamhole Dingle

A short walk from the “coke hearth” at the top of Coalbrookdale. Like several others in this area, the dingle is a steep-sided little valley whose stream feeds the Severn. Below the coke hearth, it’s mostly culverted – higher up, it’s a jungle waterway. The path – a board-walk for much of its length – follows the stream fairly closely – away from the path, much of the woodland looks impenetrable (we’re not going to try!).

Our return takes us through Sunniside – and just beyond, there on the skyline are the most unlikely creatures – alpacas, ostriches (emus?) and reindeer. Are we still in Shropshire?

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Murky Mersey…

…on a Thursday. 10 Jan: we’re in Liverpool. It’s not a photographic outing, though we should have a few minutes to spare around lunchtime – it might be worth taking the camera. Yes, it might have been – but the weather on Merseyside was unremittingly dull, a slight drizzle in the air and a cloud base barely above sea level. There are better ways, and better places, to enjoy lunchtime – put the camera away!

Perkley skyscapes

Weds. 9 January: a cold but bright afternoon. It’s far too good to stay indoors, and it’s been dry for a few days – we’ll head across the fields to Perkley and back. Shouldn’t be too bad underfoot. It’s wide open country here, at the northern end of the Wenlock Edge – with big skies…

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Quiet days

They’re welcome, after Christmas and New Year – it feels like we’re getting back to normal (whatever that may be). It’s very quiet up here, at the southern end of the Long Mynd. We’ve only seen two other people (but lots of sheep), and the weather is quiet too – not a breath of wind (nor any sunshine, contrary to the forecast). It’s also very cold, nevertheless it’s good to be out on these hills – an enjoyable start to the year.

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