Walking on a windy day

Willey and Linley: we walked this way before Christmas (see “The depth of December“) – a route which was good underfoot when the fields were soggy. After last night’s heavy rain, the field paths will again be worth avoiding. It’s cold, and with a strong westerly wind, a bit of shelter would be good too. So we’re returning to the quiet roads linking these hamlets, stretching our legs and making most of the (fitful) sunny intervals – the sun is pleasantly warm when it’s allowed to shine. (Just for variety, we’re doing it clockwise – last time, we walked widdershins)

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A Tale of Four Bridges

There’s a cold wind, but it should stay dry. Maybe there’s a chance of some sunshine? Not really – certainly none of the deep blue that we had between the morning’s sharp showers. Down in the valley, walking between Ironbridge and the Coalport bridge, it’s sheltered and pleasant enough. To avoid what would have been a very muddy path, we’re crossing the Severn twice more – using the Jackfield memorial footbridge and lastly, the new “Free Bridge” – that’s four metal bridges in a row, all significant in their own way.

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Rails and pools

Wednesday 27 Feb: We’re enjoying the last day of the warm sunny spell, walking from the top of Coalbrookdale to the pools at Dawley, in part following the route of old pre-railway age wagonways. We’ll cross (on public footpaths) some real railways too – the disused line to the power station and the soon-to-be-reconstructed line from Horsehay. The various pools, dating from the same era as the wagonways, are likewise associated with the early iron-making industry in these parts. They look pleasantly rural in the bright sunshine.

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Wood and stone: Clive and Grinshill

The morning’s fog has cleared, though it’s still quite hazy north of Shrewsbury. We’re following our usual route, with variations – out by the path around the south side of the hill, turning back at Clive and heading for the “summit” (just 630 feet, or 192m), then back through the old quarries. It’s a popular spot, especially on a fine sunny day.

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Bannister’s and Traps

Saturday 23 February: A walk from Wenlock, on a fine dry afternoon. It’s almost “fine sunny afternoon”, but an approaching weak weather front takes the sunshine away (it didn’t get far – there was clear blue sky not too many miles to the east). The woods are quiet – there’s no wind. In Bannister’s Coppice, a rustling to our left reveals a herd of deer, perhaps 20 or more, well-hidden and impossible to photograph. There aren’t any deer in Traps Coppice today – just hundreds of pheasants, whose likely life expectancy is probably very short…

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Highest in the county

We stood  above everyone else in the county at about 2.45 this afternoon, when we gazed out from Abdon Burf on Brown Clee, Shropshire’s highest point (1772 feet, or 540m). It’s a good place to be on an afternoon like this – positively springlike, it would be a crime to stay indoors. It’s quiet too – despite being school half-term week, we saw just four other people while we walked. Wonderful!

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In Mortimer Forest

We’re walking from Ludlow into the hilly forest to the south-west, a route which takes us into Herefordshire, via the delightfully-named Sunnydingle Cottage to a summit at High Vinnals. 375m (1230 feet) is no great height, but the view is tremendous. That is, it would be, if it wasn’t for the showers of light rain here and there (no, the weather isn’t being as friendly as we’d expected). We return past Mary Knoll House, slithering downwards on the slippery clay, back to very welcome tea and cake, just right for the journey home.

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