A Willey circuit

We’re circling the Willey estate (have to circle it – can’t go through it. Private. Keep out) on a fine, still November afternoon. There’s some bright sunshine early on, lighting the remaining leaves and the odd bit of bracken. Later, as we pass the medieval old hall and head up through the woods, the sun is dimming, and we’re into the gloom of late afternoon.

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Ice-cold in Coalport

I exaggerate – but a friend said there had been snow in Wellington this morning. We certainly wouldn’t have wanted to be caught in one of the morning’s sharp showers, but the afternoon would be bright and sunny (and cold, and it will be good to stay out of the wind…). Yes, the weather forecast was right. The colours are so much better at this time of year, aren’t they? There’s only one problem – the tea shop in the youth hostel is closed during the winter months. We’ll have to make do with chocolate (it’s what camera bags are for, isn’t it?)

Mucklewick mud

Friday 10 Nov: One of us felt we should visit the Christmas fair at the Bog Centre – it would be quieter, perhaps, than the Saturday and Sunday. While we’re out there, a walk would be in order – it’s bright and breezy, with plenty of sunshine and just the odd spot of rain in the wind every now and then. We set off with no firm route in mind, and ended up with a route that was decidedly unfirm. The last few fields were seriously soggy – it was “pick your way very carefully” territory. If the Christmas fair was relatively quiet, the walk was even quieter – we saw no-one from leaving the Bog until we returned a couple of hours later. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone else on Mucklewick Hill. I’m not complaining…

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Beech and birch…

…on Cannock Chase. It’s a perfect late-autumn morning, ideal for a walk over the Chase, to the visitor centre for lunch. We’ve earned bacon baps today, though the real reward is the colour in the remaining leaves, especially when seen against that clear blue sky. There are few left on the silver birch, but those on the many beech trees which line the edge of the coniferous forest are glowing in the sunshine.

Cannock Chase Visitor Centre

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On Dinmore Hill …

… lies Queenswood, an area of managed woodland with, at its heart, an arboretum – just the place for an outing on a cold but sunny day. It’s a popular spot – there’s a party of very small schoolchildren gathering leaves, numerous young mums and offspring, and the inevitable dog-walkers, but away from the autumnal specimens and the viewpoint (too hazy today for really good views) it’s quiet, and very pleasant too.

Queenswood & Bodenham Lake

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Late October on the Mynd

Friday 27 October – a bright sunny day, far too good for staying at home, so we’ve packed a picnic… It’s very busy in Church Stretton, but we soon lose the crowds – the Pike provides a quick way up onto the hill, at the top corner of the golf course. At this point, we attempted to follow the path clearly shown on the OS map, which is a mistake, as it doesn’t exist. The clear, easy-to-walk path is 100 yards to our left, higher up the hill. At least its quiet along here…
We take our lunch break by the pond, near the top of Mott’s Road, before heading to the summit, then returning to the car by Townbrook Valley. It’s a bit quieter down here – and finally, we time the tea room to perfection… A good day out!

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