S for Shrewsbury

Should we be up on the hills in the snow? It’s a bright but cold afternoon, with a biting wind – perhaps something a bit more sheltered. We decided on a walk beside the Severn in Shrewsbury, a route that in my mind was roughly S-shaped. Looking at the map afterwards, it’s a bit more than an “S” – not sure how to describe it. Inevitably, though the sky was mostly blue, the sun spent much of its time behind a (relatively small) bank of cloud.

MapView OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=349224&Y=312694&A=Y&Z=115&ax=349252&ay=312687

Munslow Mud

Saturday afternoon: we’re out on the Wenlock Edge, enjoying some winter sunshine. There was a moderate sprinkling of snow at home – perhaps there would be a bit more up on the edge? No such luck – just an occasional dusting to prove we were in the same county. Sadly, one or two short stretches of the (public foot)path have been deeply churned by tractor tyres and are almost unwalkable. In fact they are unwalkable. The only progress that can be made – very cautious hedge-hanging, slithering and clambering out of one rut into another – cannot be described as walking. We’ve walked these same paths and tracks in previous winters, and one or two stretches can get a bit sticky, but now they’re seriously damaged. (Did the local farmer get a new tractor for Christmas? One of those really huge, heavy monsters that completely fill the lanes? I hope it came with a rut-filling attachment…)

Mist on the Chase

It was more like fog at home, and might be worse further west. We headed east instead, for a walk on Cannock Chase, from Milford to the visitor centre at Marquis Drive (tea, sausage rolls, cake – we try to live life to the full). Our outward route followed, roughly, the old railway trackbed – not so easy at the southern end of the walk. Returning, we made our way to the Sherbrook valley, retracing our steps only for the last half-mile down the cutting. As forecast, the day gradually brightened, and the sun began to break through towards the end of this very pleasant ten-mile trip.

Map

Or view OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=398585&Y=317851&A=Y&Z=120

Another afternoon on the Mynd

Monday: the weather’s too good to stay indoors (and it can’t last) – we’re wandering on the Long Mynd, making the most of what little light there is in late November. The steep hillside path takes us quickly up into the sunshine, and by the time we’re coming back down Mott’s Road, it’s almost gone. Instead of the heavy clouds that shaded us yesterday, there’s lots of wispy cirrus, much of it forming from jet trails. And instead of that biting wind, there’s just a gentle breeze. Perfect!

Map

Or view OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=343240&Y=294746&A=Y&Z=120

To the Battlestones

We did this walk, more or less, this time last year – more or less. Late November is good on the Hope Bowdler hills, or perhaps it’s the other way round. A stubborn bank of cloud limited the sunshine on the ridge, though there was plenty of sunlight in the distance, and the wind was biting, briefly carrying a light shower of rain (that wasn’t forecast!). We sheltered, more from the wind than the rain, behind the Gaerstone for a few minutes, before descending the last of the ridge as the sun dropped.

Map

Or view OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=347350&Y=293596&A=Y&Z=120

Grinshill

It’s no mountain – just 192 metres (630 ft) above sea level at the summit – but it’s a great viewpoint for the real hills of Shropshire and the borders. Not that it was particularly clear, nor did the sun manage to break through, but it was a pleasant afternoon to wander through deep carpets of fallen leaves, sweet chestnut husks etc. (the many squirrels have dealt with the nuts). The deeply-cut former quarries are worth a few minutes’ exploration.

At Clive we wandered around the village briefly before taking to the stone lane in its deep cutting beside the church and headed the highest point. As we walked back to the car, our eyes were caught by a bright flash of green (woodpecker), then the red of a pair of fly agarics. Peer over the wall – there are some deep dark holes…