Benthall and the bridge

It’s back! The bridge (at Ironbridge – yes, that one) has been wrapped up all year. The major refurbishment is almost complete, and apart from one small area just above the water-line, the wraps are off.
I’m taking a round-about route past Benthall Hall, walking down to the bridge from where, if I time it nicely, I’ll be getting a lift back…

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=366610&Y=302296&A=Y&Z=120

Common spotted

Orchids – in gay profusion! We have a decent crop in our back garden – a dozen flower heads (it’s probably a sign of neglect…), on plants which just arrived, quite unexpectedly, a couple of years ago. If they’re in bloom, the wild ones must be blooming too. The land near Benthall Hall is now looked after by the National Trust, though whether they’ve done anything to encourage them, I don’t know. Whatever the reason, there are hundreds – ones and twos and small colonies in the meadows, and in the little area of scrubby woodland, great clumps of them. They’re mostly common spotted, varying in colour from almost white to a deepish purple, but amongst them are a handful of (late) early purple orchids. Quite a sight!

Benthall Hall NT

Spring at last

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.

Benthall Hall NT

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=365085&Y=301511&A=Y&Z=120

Wenlock to Benthall…

…and home for tea. It was a last-minute decision – let’s go to Wenlock on the bus (the no. 18 double-decker – top deck, front seats) and walk back – via Benthall Hall for refreshments, of course. It’s not the most encouraging weather photographically – there’s some sunshine, but also some grey skies and a shower or two (which we weren’t expecting). It’s a pleasant outing anyway, calm before the storm perhaps (Aileen is coming tonight, apparently)

Benthall Hall NT

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=365070&Y=301486&A=Y&Z=120

Orchids galore

The wild rose is in bloom now, and very attractive it is, with almost-white and decidedly pink specimens. I’m wandering near Benthall Hall on a fine June afternoon. There’s woody nightshade beside the pool, and several orchids (common spotted) in the grass nearby. In the meadow beyond, there are several more amongst the buttercups and daisies. Then, in the scrubby grassland beyond, there are many more – a clump of several large heads catches my eye – and finally there’s a patch of maybe a hundred flower heads. Quite a sight!

The fields here are in the care of the National Trust, part of the Benthall Hall estate.

Benthall Buttercups

It’s a beautiful afternoon – too good to stay at home, too warm to walk far in the sunshine. If we leave the car at Benthall Hall we can do a circular walk, much of it in the very pleasant woodlands of Benthall Edge and nearby. It’s lovely down in the woods today, as the song goes, but we must leave them to walk back through the fields towards the car – fields full of buttercups, yellow in all directions.

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=365735&Y=302716&A=Y&Z=120

Walking back…

…from Much Wenlock to Broseley, after a ride on the no.18 bus. The spring lambs are out and about, but there’s not much gambolling going on – it’s too cold, despite the warm (but intermittent) sunshine. It’s not very quiet either, especially between Wenlock and Benthall Hall. We passed more people than in our last half-dozen walks – mostly teenage schoolchildren on some kind of organised outing – and a dog near Wyke was noisily expressing its displeasure at being kept in a cage. I think I would too.

View OS map in Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=364895&Y=301456&A=Y&Z=120