A beautiful day! We’re wandering around Benthall Hall and Edge – it’s warm and sunny in the fields, while the woodlands are pleasantly cool. A couple of weeks ago, the bluebells were at their best, but they’re past it now – as is the oilseed rape, and the tatty peacock on the brambles. Perhaps we’re past our best too? Who cares! Maybe, like the emerging orchids in the scrubland, the best is yet to come…
The bluebells are out with a vengeance on the lower slopes. The sky’s blue (with puffy white clouds, and the distant hills are blue (remembered…). And there’s hardly anyone else out (were there a couple of matches going on today?). A cuckoo makes its presence felt, and just off the north end of the hill, there’s a pair of red kites wheeling and diving. It’s good up here – shame to have to come down again.
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We’re following what has become a favourite route – from Much Wenlock, down through Homer to Bannister’s Coppice, and back along the old waggonway route. There may be some deer about, and perhaps some early purple orchids? Down beside the brook, there was a group of perhaps a dozen deer, well-camouflaged amongst the trees, and only visible when they moved (away, of course). There were a few more in the field when we left the coppice – they didn’t hang around either.
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…via the Burwarton estate road and Boyne Water. On a day like this, it’s against the law to stay in, apparently. Everywhere will be busy; Brown Clee might be quieter than places with ice cream vans and tea rooms? It probably was, though there were lots of cars parked where usually there might be one or two others. We didn’t see many of their occupants – perhaps ten in total. It’s quiet here – just the odd lark (ascending), hardly a breach of the peace. It’s warm too (jackets and jumpers not required – at last!), with a pleasant light breeze, and though the sky is clear the air isn’t – this is not a day for extensive views. Nevertheless, it’s a great place to be on such an afternoon.
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We’re wandering around Coalbrookdale, enjoying a bright afternoon and the fresh spring growth. Lots of wild garlic in the woods, forget-me-nots, clean white stitchwort, and brilliant green leaves on the beeches.
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Friday 20th April: It’s too good for indoor chores. Lots of other people had the same idea – the little NT car park was full – though we only saw three others as we walked these quiet fields and woods. Little more than a week ago, it seemed spring would never come, but there’s no doubt now.
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After lunch, the clouds cleared (as forecast) and instead of rain, warm sunshine fell on Shropshire’s sodden fields. We’d better make the most of it, it may not last… The no 18 bus to Much Wenlock gets us started, on a route which we’ve chosen in the hope of avoiding the worst of the mud (by avoiding field paths, a policy that nearly caught us out on the very quiet road near Wyke). Leaving Benthall Edge (last gasp of the Wenlock Edge) we find ourselves at Benthall Hall, where it’s warm enough to sit outside, in shirt sleeves, for tea and cakes… Suitably refuelled, it’s not far home now.
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