…of a sunny afternoon, before the weather goes rapidly downhill again. We’re following Pound Lane to the Severn, then walking upstream as far as Jackfield. Our usual routes home will be very muddy; we could walk up beside the road, but that’s not pleasant, and there’s a bus due…
There could be one or two showers this afternoon, the forecast suggested. The clouds were dropping unsubtle hints too. We’d better not stray too far, and preferably somewhere where there might be shelter. We’ll walk down to Coalport – if it rains, we can enjoy our tea and cakes indoors. A few drops began to fall as we approached the old railway bridge at the bottom of the lane – ten minutes later, it had cleared and we were on our way again. Fed and watered at the YHA cafe, we’re heading back up the dingle, where the wild garlic is still flowering, and to those with a sense of smell, making its presence known…
There’s a cold wind, but it should stay dry. Maybe there’s a chance of some sunshine? Not really – certainly none of the deep blue that we had between the morning’s sharp showers. Down in the valley, walking between Ironbridge and the Coalport bridge, it’s sheltered and pleasant enough. To avoid what would have been a very muddy path, we’re crossing the Severn twice more – using the Jackfield memorial footbridge and lastly, the new “Free Bridge” – that’s four metal bridges in a row, all significant in their own way.
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Friday 2 November: it’s still half-term for the local schools, but the rules say the cafe closes at the end of October… At least the benches and tables haven’t been taken away, so we can sit for a few minutes and enjoy a small amount of chocolate, sufficient for the long pull back up the hill. The sunshine is very pleasant, but the day’s changing as we approach home.
…is an old-fashioned little pub in Madeley. Just opposite the Blists Hill museum, it’s a bit of a time capsule in its own right, one of the last of the original home-brew pubs. Within walking distance too, not far off one of our regular routes. So instead of tea and cakes at Coalport, we’ll have lunch at the All Nations. Remarkably, it’s warm enough on this beautiful sunny day to sit outside (we’ll pay for it over the next few days…).
Suitably replete, we’ll follow a wonderful woodland way back to the “Free Bridge”, before rejoining our usual route homewards.
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It’s a regular: walk down to Coalport, for tea and cake. But it’s too warm for tea and cake – we’ll have ice creams instead. We’ll vary our return route too – Corbett’s Dingle (locally known simply as “the dingle”) can be impossibly muddy, but today it’s dry, and pleasantly cool and shady on this warm afternoon.
We needed to call into the shops in Ironbridge – “We could walk down, have lunch and walk back the long way”. We did! It’s not warm, but we soon warm up, and it feels pleasant after last week’s Siberian snowfall. There’s a possibility of showers, apparently, maybe of hail or snow – and yes, there’s hail (which bounces off) and a little rain (which doesn’t). After the rain, the skies clear – to reveal more shower clouds approaching. We’d better not hang around.
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They were an unexpected bonus – we hadn’t realised the hostel cafe was open, and despite the cold, there was enough sunshine and shelter for us to sit outside. Other than the café, a couple of lambs and some catkins, there are few signs of spring. We’ve got some cold weather to get through before things warm up.
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…and Jackfield, Madeley and Ironbridge. The sky is clear blue, but the temperature is barely above freezing and there’s a stiff northerly breeze. The sheltered valley and south-facing slopes might be the best places to aim for, and there’s plenty of interest on this short leg-stretch.
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