Poppies and peacocks

Taking a closer look beside the path from Barrow to Wyke and back. There are poppies in the wheat and barley, and more butterflies than we’ve seen for a long time. Most are nervous, taking flight before we’re aware of them, but others are prepared to pose, too interested in a spot of nectar to worry about passing snappers. Our walk is delayed by refreshments too – the blackberries are ripe and juicy!

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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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Around the estate: Barrow, Willey and Shirlett

They sound like a firm of solicitors, don’t they? Wednesday afternoon: we’re walking around the Willey estate. Sadly, there are few public footpaths through this pleasant patch, and a significant part of the route is on roads – very quiet ones, apart from the B-road from Barrow. There’s a fine crop of blackberries along the field edges, though of course the devil’s in them now. The clouds begin to thicken as we make our way through Willey, and though we weren’t expecting rain, we have to shelter for a while (still plenty of leaves on the trees). It soon clears, and we head on up through the forest to Shirlett, where one or two more extensive views open up.

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Barrow, Willey and Shirlett

It’s dry and bright, a good afternoon for exploring. It would have been sunnier too, if we’d not been tied up earlier in the day. There are three stretches of road walking en route – the first, the Wenlock to Broseley road, is fairly busy, but there’s ample verge to hop onto when needs must, and it’s downhill… The other roads are very quiet, and quieter still, respectively. And away from the lanes, there’s just the birds, twittering and rustling in the undergrowth. It may be half-term, but there’s no-one else about.

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