A lay day out exploring the eastern side of the West Midlands Day Ranger area. Visit “A January jolly” on Geoff’s Rail Diaries for the illustrated full story.
Another day of clear blue skies! We’d better make the most of this fine weather – tomorrow, and the next few days, will be dull, apparently. So we’re off to Linley Hill, for a circular walk via Norbury, ending with a stroll down the avenue of beech trees. They’re a notable local landmark, and for many years their shapes have enhanced this grassy ridge. Sadly, those that remain are near the end of their lives, having been planted in 1740, and have reached that stage where they’re no longer very graceful. Only a few years ago (see our last visit, “Linley Beeches” in January 2012, when the weather was rather more dramatic too), their wind-blown shapes spoke of the weather in these parts. Today, it’s the fallen branches and broken trunks which speak more loudly. Replacements have already been planted, but it will be many years before they take on the appearance of their predecessors.
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A walk from Cleehill village (again), across the empty grassland to the dereliction (“it’s creepy!”) on Magpie Hill, then back via the three-forked pole and Hoar Edge, down to Rouse-Boughton Terrace and along the old railway track. It’s hazy – there’s been fog further east, I think, but not here. The sky is blue and clear – not a single cloud, perfect for the display provided by three red kites, high above the quarry as we near the end of our wander.
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There are many steps in Bridgnorth – it’s a pretty three-dimensional place. I suspect there are a few cavemen too, if the truth be known. There are certainly remains of cave dwellings, and one or two houses have incorporated caves which are still in use. It’s a good place for a wander on a bright January afternoon, and away from the main roads and shopping streets, it’s pleasantly quiet.
Sound delightful, don’t they? The tiniest of hamlets, below and on respectively (guess which!) low hills a mile or two to the west of Bridgnorth. Last time we were here, it was foggy (see “It’s foggy!“). Today, we can see for miles!
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The ecclesiastical link is pure coincidence. Langley Chapel seemed a good (and interesting) place to start, and the hamlet of Church Preen (whose church cannot be seen from the through roads) marked the half-way point. It’s a circular walk, entirely on very quiet roads (six miles, five cars, two horses), as last night’s heavy rain will have made the fields and paths really soggy. It’s very pleasant out too – clear air, just a light breeze, sunshine – what more could one want?
We’ve been to Langley Chapel before – for more photos, visit Langley Chapel
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We’re trying some paths we haven’t walked before: the bridleway over Nordley Common, a relatively-new permissive path next to the main road, and a little-walked path beside Linley Brook. As might be expected, there’s some mud on the bridleway, nothing we can’t cope with. There’s a bit of a pool on the permissive way – we’ll walk around it. The way beside the brook is something else. It’s a jungle! Just the barest trace of a path, which in places is perilously close to the brook, wet and extremely slippery… Tricky. One of us slipped (away from the brook, fortunately) and sat in the mud, and is still grumbling… Will it be worth trying in summer, when it might be drier underfoot? Or will the jungle be even less penetrable? (Will we bother to find out?)
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