The sunshine is warm, but the air’s cold today. Fortunately, the outdoor tea area at Benthall Hall is sheltered from the breeze, so we’ll enjoy our al fresco refreshments without a shiver. The bluebell season is just beginning, the chestnut leaves are emerging (they remind me of pale green cormorants drying their wings) and the oilseed rape is brightening the fields – sunshine even when the sun’s gone in…
We’ve been on a brief (and fairly limited) exploration of railways in Cheshire, focusing on the town of Northwich, whose railway station still looks like a railway station, complete with canopies (on ornate iron columns) and a Joyce (of Whitchurch) clock, which has stopped. Almost exactly 40 years ago – April 1979 – I was on a railtour which also stopped (briefly) at Northwich station. Standing beside the old loco shed was a line of tank wagons, which I guessed were used for storing fuel for diesel locomotives. Look at the middle two – how old are those frames? What were they originally used for? There’s an estate of modern houses where the loco shed stood. I wonder what happened to the wagons?
More photos on Geoff’s Rail Diaries: “More Cheshire Lines”
It’s in Wellington, Shropshire – a “rare suburban villa and mini-estate” according to the National Trust. We’re exploring this property on what began as a grey afternoon, though as we left the house, the cloud was clearing. An interesting place – a former owner seems to have been obsessed with clocks… The trees in the avenue are Wellingtonia – they’d have to be, wouldn’t they?
I’m trying out some new kit – an hour in Ironbridge might be worthwhile. Wow – it’s busy! Oops! – after the first few photos, I’ve accidentally sent a “creative” effect which has over-cooked the colours. I’ve tried to tone them down a bit, but really they’d benefit from a bit more tinkering. It’s hardly worth the effort – I could take them again (on a quieter day…) if I wanted.
Monday 1 April: another old favourite – walking from Aston Munslow, up onto the crest of the Wenlock Edge, and back via Munslow and the path across the fields. There’s no-one else about today – it’s very quiet up here. More signs of spring’s advance – the first bluebells are starting to appear, amongst the primroses, violets and celandines.
View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=351170&Y=287796&A=Y&Z=120
It’s a landmark for miles around, marking the highest point of the Wenlock Edge. At the top of Flounders’ Folly. we’re 80 feet higher! Benjamin Flounders, a Yorkshireman, had it built in 1838. After falling into disrepair, the tower was renovated by a local trust in the early years of the millennium, with a new metal staircase. It is open to all who wish to take in the magnificent view from the top (and who are prepared to make the 500 ft ascent from the parking area) once a month – usually the last Sunday, also on certain high days (appropriately) and holidays. Today being the last Sunday in March, we’ll pay it a visit…
View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=345895&Y=285041&A=Y&Z=120