Keeping the legs well-stretched – a walk down to Ironbridge and back, to have a closer look at the work going on at Bedlam furnaces and the bridge itself. Tea and cake too!
Tuesday: We’re exploring in the southern part of the Clee hills – Magpie Hill and Titterstone Clee, and Clee Hill itself (Cleehill – all one word – is the village). The curiosities are many, not all easily explained. Who would think to name a place “Random”? Then there’s the three-forked pole – shropshirehistory.com quotes a map of 1571 which described it as a “A fforked pole neare to a place whence on old Stone Crosse stood formerly”. Those space-age mushrooms on Titterstone Clee (there was once a rocking or “teetering” stone) are not quite what one would expect, though, visible from miles around, they aren’t really unexpected. But those brick-built figures of eight – what were they for?
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That’s all this little excursion was, on a grey and windy afternoon. Lots of bright autumn colours in the hedgerow leaves, but they’re blowing about in the wind, making photography difficult. Plenty of sloes though. Given that the little sour things were the main objective, with leg-stretching a close second, it was a successful trip…
Not just parasols (one of which looks more like a sombrero), though their size makes them rather obvious – there are all kinds of fungi up on Brown Clee at this time of year, from the mundane to the weird and wonderful. It’s a very pleasant afternoon to be out on the hill – barely a breeze at first, with a blue sky and white fluffy clouds. Later, the sunshine becomes rather watery, but it stays dry, and the light’s just right for those monster mushrooms as we return to the car.
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…is tremendous – a wide panorama taking in the Wrekin and Wenlock Edge, the Clee and Stretton hills, the Stiperstones and Breidden, the Berwyns and, in the far distance, mid-Wales peaks. Is that Cader Idris on the horizon? It’s far too good for a hill that needs no climbing – it must be very gently uphill from the car park, but we’re not going to have to stop to get our breath back…
There’s a little snack bar back at the car park, which closes about 5 minutes before we arrive back at the car. Next time perhaps?
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We’re walking down to Ironbridge this afternoon, past some of the sculptures which once stood at the power station (now closed). If we follow the paths through Workhouse Coppice we can then descend through the woods to the bridge. The busy Wharfage takes us to the antiques centre (one of us is looking for a gift – the purpose of this little outing), then we’ll head back to Broseley up the steep Bridge Road. We’ll have to shelter from the rain first – there are one or two showers about…
Shropshire was once noted for its damsons – they seem to grow everywhere. One of the saddest sights is the windfalls rotting in the gutters. Few people seem to want them today – what a shame!
…and home for tea. It was a last-minute decision – let’s go to Wenlock on the bus (the no. 18 double-decker – top deck, front seats) and walk back – via Benthall Hall for refreshments, of course. It’s not the most encouraging weather photographically – there’s some sunshine, but also some grey skies and a shower or two (which we weren’t expecting). It’s a pleasant outing anyway, calm before the storm perhaps (Aileen is coming tonight, apparently)
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