Commons and gutters

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Catherton Common, then Silvington Common, but first, Cramer Gutter, appropriately the low point of a wander around this strange area to the north-east of Magpie Hill. Remains of old bell pits abound, and there are former squatters’ cottages everywhere. The paths are not always obvious, but the sheep seem to know where they’re going. Perfect for a cool, bright and sometimes sunny October afternoon!

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Two good walks

We walked about 11.5 miles today – that’s roughly twice the usual distance, and we had two lunch breaks (plus an intermediate stop on a comfortable bench in St Giles’ churchyard at Barrow), so perhaps it works out at two good walks. I’m putting my feet up (metaphorically) this evening anyway. We’ve got to make the most of fine weather in this unsettled period – as I write, the rain is coming down yet again.

Ahead of the rain

1st October: there will be showers this afternoon – perhaps we can dodge them? The next couple of days look like being rather wet, so we’d better make the most of today. We’ll hedge our bets with a route where there’s plenty of shelter… Sure enough, there are a few drops getting past the trees down Ned’s Lane, and a few more, with the sun behind them, along the Smithies lane. Otherwise, our luck’s still with us.

There are some truly splendid toadstools amongst the trees – some fine colonies of smaller specimens, and later we find some huge things like seriously-warped dinner plates. Some people would be able to put a name to them. Some would even eat them, I suspect. Not me!

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Lunch at the Packetstone

Tuesday 29 September: another day that’s too good to waste! We’re ready early, so we’ll take a mini-picnic and find somewhere suitable to eat it. Perhaps Pole Bank? Perhaps not – it’s crowded! (That’s a relative term. There were perhaps 20 other people, plus bikes, dogs etc) We’ll keep going! Our original intention was to walk to the Packetstone, out on the ridge between Callow Hollow and Minton Batch, and it was there that we found dry, if not especially comfortable rocks to sit on. A picnic place with a wonderful view!

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From Black Pool car park, up through the forest to High Vinnals, then out across the top of Hanway Common and down to Richard’s Castle (or what’s left of it), partly in Shropshire and part in Herefordshire. We walked this way about 18 months ago, on a fine, bright spring day (see “High Vinnals and Richard’s Castle“). Today’s a fine, bright autumn day, and it’s good to be out once more on these hills. High Vinnals is no great height (375m / 1230ft) but it’s a wonderful viewpoint, offering a tremendous panorama of the Welsh border country.

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Spring in autumn

The harvest has taken the barley that was growing in these fields. The land has been ploughed, harrowed and re-sown – and next year’s wheat or barley (hard to tell at this stage) is starting to come up. There’s the green sheen of spring in this early autumn landscape! In the hedgerows, the season is more obvious.

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Stretton Westwood

We walked this way two months ago, trying some new (to us) paths on the Wenlock Edge, just a couple of miles from Much Wenlock, We’re extending the route a little today, which adds distance but not much more interest. It’s a hazy day; despite the clear blue sky and sunshine, July’s colours are long gone, and the autumn leaves are still mostly ahead of us. Nevertheless, it’s good to be out – infinitely more enjoyable than long drives down busy motorways…

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