Vernal equinox

Or was it yesterday? Whichever, we’re at the start of the lighter and warmer half of the year, and next weekend, the clocks go forward (at last!). The plants in hedgerow, forest and field are certainly springing into life and flower, with total disregard for any dodgy viruses the human race may be affected by. The wind (from the east) is chilly, and the sunshine less bright than forecast, but it’s good to be out on Wenlock Edge.

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Finding the Pyramids

A fine June afternoon – bright sunshine, white puffy clouds (and the chance of a shower? No, surely not?). It’s a sausage-shaped walk, where our outward route, below the crest of the Wenlock Edge, is only 100 yards or so from our return – but also lower by a similar extent. The path through the trees is very pleasant, with the sun at our backs, but the return along the ridge is more open – and here are the pyramids! They’re orchids, dozens of them, scattered here and there in the dry grass beside the path. With plentiful pink and white wild rose, honeysuckle and (as we used to call them) “dog daisies”, it’s a colourful part of the world.

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Topley and The Speller

Another afternoon that’s too good to waste… We’re starting at the top of the Rushbury to Beambridge road, where it crests the Wenlock Edge, and walking around the rotund hill at Topley, along quiet farm lanes and tracks. Our return takes us through Upper Millichope and intriguingly-named “The Speller”, just one part of more extensive woodlands hereabout. It’s attractive country too – walking uphill, back towards the edge, we’re in deciduous territory, where the sunshine dapples the undergrowth. Lastly, buttercup meadows lead us to the track along the edge, back to the start.

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The Folly

It’s a landmark for miles around, marking the highest point of the Wenlock Edge. At the top of Flounders’ Folly. we’re 80 feet higher! Benjamin Flounders, a Yorkshireman, had it built in 1838. After falling into disrepair, the tower was renovated by a local trust in the early years of the millennium, with a new metal staircase. It is open to all who wish to take in the magnificent view from the top (and who are prepared to make the 500 ft ascent from the parking area) once a month – usually the last Sunday, also on certain high days (appropriately) and holidays. Today being the last Sunday in March, we’ll pay it a visit…

Flounders’ Folly

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Distractions

Weds. 5 September: The London and North Western Railway used “Blackberry Black” paint on its locomotives – black with just a hint of colour. It’s probably that hint of colour in the fruits that makes them attractive to eat – a hint of something tasty, perhaps, and at present they’re ripe and juicy in great profusion in local hedgerows. They all had to be sampled, and as a result, we probably took a little longer walking around this enjoyable route on the quieter side of Much Wenlock. It’s not just blackberries that are fruiting – there are all kinds of fruits and berries ripening nicely, though we didn’t try nibbling the sloes or the crab apples, and certainly wouldn’t touch the toadstools. There were just a few sugar-sweet damsons within reach too…

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