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A Knighton Walk – We’re on edge!

A Knighton Walk – We’re on edge!

Another sunny day – time for another walk. This time we are starting at Offa’s Dyke Centre and walking to just past Nether Skyborry and back on a circular route.

We started from the Offa’s Dyke Centre and this shows the park at the back of the Centre. We set off along the visible path which is actually part of the Offa’s Dyke Path.

Just as we entered the park we saw this rather fine Chestnut Tree in flower.

A little further along the path (still In the park) the grass on the left-hand side was covered in Buttercups and Daisies.

We soon reached the point at which the path divides, the left-hand path leads to a section of Offa’s Dyke, should you want to see that, but we wanted the right-hand fork which follows Offa’s Dyke Path down to the River Teme.

That right-hand path leads to the top of these steps so down we go.

The path levels off briefly, crossing a grassy area, and the bank on the left is the section of dyke mentioned earlier

The path then goes downhill again for a short while to where we turn left still following Offa’s Dyke Path.

We then leave the wooded section into the open where we walk alongside the River Teme for a short while. The hill in the distance is Panpunton Hill.

Leaving the riverside we cross the River Teme on this footbridge

and cross the railway line. There is very good visibility on this crossing as the line is straight for quite a good length and it is very easy to see a train if there is one.

On the other side of the railway line we go through a gate and continue on the path.

The signpost at this point is pointing along the Offa’s Dyle Path, back the way that we have come and off to the right to continue on Offa’s Dyke Path. We, however, are taking a different direction. You should be able to see a very small figure (another walker) in the centre of the picture which is where we are heading. On the left of that figure you may be able to see a patch bare of grass which is the path we are following.

The path continues slightly uphill past a trough and goes through the gate ahead. The gate is held closed by a chain which can be unclipped and, after passing through, do not forget to shut the gate and clip the chain back together.

This section of path passes through this meadow and heads for the far right corner of the field where there is another gate which is very similar to the one we have just passed through..

On the way we passed a number of Hawthorn Trees in blossom. There were also some Bluebells below right.

On the far side of the second field we pass close to the River Teme and start uphill again.

This uphill section is neither long nor steep.

We do, however, soon reach this point where the path appears to go through a tree. That is because the path does go through a tree. When we had a lot of rain earlier in the year it was enough to cause part of the bank on our left to collapse taking the tree with it so that the tree has ended up at an angle although it still appears to be growing. We had to detour around the tree on the right.

On the other side of the tree the path runs along the top of a cliff and you may be able to see that there is quite a drop down to the river. Bearing in mind that we have just seen evidence that this ground is unstable you can see why we were on edge in both senses of the word.

A short way on we saw a number of bright blue Speedwell flowers. Very pretty.

The path continues for some time at about this level. Do you get the impression that Amanda is trying to lose me?

Then we saw some rather attractive Red Campion flowers. There are a lot of wild flowers of various types along this route.

We reach a point where a small stream cuts across the path but what you can’t see is that the path this side is very steeply angled towards the stream but you’ll be sorry to hear that we both made it without getting our feet wet.

Shortly after we saw this splendid example of a coppiced tree and coppicing should not be confused with pollarding.

At this point amanda saw a strange old geezer suffering from OldBufferitis trying to get over a low, very simple stile and making a real meal of it. This is the start of a short section of path which we have named the Assalt Course as there are a number of obstacles to be negotiated.

Just the other side Amanda spotted this Jews Ear fungus (Auricularia auricula-judae) which I had missed comletely. The latin name translates to “Judas’s Ear” and is also known as Wood Ear or Jelly Ear.

The strange old geezer made a second appearance when we had to clamber over a fallen tree and made a miserable attempt at making it appear difficult.

There aren’t many choices with this one. Either you clamber over it or crawl under it. We chose the former.

Finally we reached this gate where we left the wooded part and emerged into the open. This gate has an interesting closing mechanism which I haven’t seen before. I won’t attempt to explain it but I managed to work it out so you should also be able to if you attempt the walk.

You may just be able to see a gate in the far hedge in the right half of the picture. It’s above and just left of the left-most sheep. That’s our current target.

On our way to the gate we passed quite close to one of the locals.

When we finally reached the gate we stopped to look back at the view. That hill on the left with the mast on the top is Garth Hill and we have walked on Garth Hill a number of times.

We left the field via a gate and emerged onto the road. The route we are going to take now is from that gate towards and behind the camera which is back towards Nether Skyborry and, thence, Knighton.

It was a bit of a puff going uphill to Nether Skyborry but we managed and the gate on the left had a nameplate on it which read ‘ Nether Skyborry’.

A little further along the road we had this rather nice view of Knighton.

Eventually we reached the point at which Offa’s Dyke Path crosses the road. This view is looking back the way we have come and the gate on the right gives access to Offa’s Dyke Path up Panpunton Hill. The gate on the left takes us back towards Knighton to the point at which, earlier on the route, we branched off the Offa’s Dyke Path.

There is a choice here of going through the gate back to Knighton which will mean the total length of the walk will be three miles or of continuing along the road to Knighton Station and then right along Station Road back into town which would mean a total length of four miles.

We went back home after a delightful walk with a lot of interesting features. We have done it before and we’ll probably do it again.

A Knighton walk – what a rush!

A Knighton walk – what a rush!

It was nice and sunny this morning with the forecast that it would cloud up around lunchtime so we decided on a little walk before that happened. It was cool with a cold wind but still pleasant enough.

We left our house and went via the secret path (I’m not telling you where that is because it’s secret) onto Larkey Lane and thence to Ffrydd Road where we turned right, away from the town. After a short walk we turned up the little lane that goes up to Knighton Golf Course but only for a few yards when we turned right along a public footpath through Great Ffrydd Wood.

That’s when we encountered the rush. Wood Rush in fact. All that ‘grass’ in the picture below isn’t – it’s all Wood Rush.

In the next two pictures you can see the flower heads lit up in the sun.

We followed the current path to a point where it doubles back the way we came but traverses diagonally uphill. At this point we hopped over a stile into a field to try and photograph the Victorian Elan Aqueduct which used to carry carry water from the Elan Valley in Wales to Birmingham. The aqueduct, built in 1896, is difficult to see because of so many surrounding trees and in these next views one of the arches is visible plus part of the horizontal stone structure.

We then went back on to the path through Great Ffrydd Wood and continued uphill. It is a pleasant but long and winding path through the wood and eventually leads back onto the Knighton Golf Course road which, incedentally,is a private road but is also a public right of way.

We finally emerged onto open ground above Knighton. The far hill in the top picture is Kinsley Wood and the open ground on the very left is Panpunton Hill.

The next view, from the same viewpoint is of the Teme Valley running toward Ludlow. The red tree at the foot of the slope appears in both pictures.

Finally a rather nice view of St. Edwards Church, Knighton. This is a Victorian Gothic rebuilding of an earlier church of which the medieval west tower is the only surviving part.

That was the end point of our little walk so we went home.

A walk in the woods.

A walk in the woods.

Another nice sunny day today so we went for a walk in Kinsley Wood. We noticed many Bluebell plants around but only some in flower with a lot not even showing buds. There were some, however, that were in bloom.

A little further on we found some Coltsfoot with quite a lot of them in flower.

Then just a little further we found a patch of Coltsfoot both flowering and gone to seed with heads a bit like dandelions but instead of being spherical they were flat.

The next wild flower to be found was Yellow Pimpernel, like little five pointed stars, which is to be found in damp woodlands. Yep! Kinsley Wood can be DAMP.

There is also a plant called “Scarlet Pimpernel” which is bright red but tends to appear a little later and is an arable weed. A little further along the path we came across this Broom. This is a yellow flowered shrub a bit like Gorse but Broom doesn’t have spines. It does, however smell like Vanilla.

There is some bedrock exposed in a few places which is rather thinly bedded like most of the rock around here and, consequently, is rather friable. It is Silurian in age, when there were a lot of trilobites around, but I don’t think any have ever been found in this area.

We were now approaching the point at which we started and were now in the coniferous part. This wood is mixed deciduous and coniferous and some of the coniferous trees are rather tall.

One strange thing about this wood is that, in four years, we have yet to see any birds in it.

Still, it was a nice walk and we were back home in time for lunch.

Covid-19 Lockdown: Day 736

Covid-19 Lockdown: Day 736

Needless to say we haven’t travelled anywhere that isn’t local but that doesn’t mean life is in stasis.

One thing that has changed since my last post is that all the surplus water has gone and, in particular, the mud has dried so that one does not sink in up to the ankles in sloshy, sticky mud. There is no water running along Kinsley Road. Spring has finally sprung.

There is a lot of Butterbur growing on the banks of our brook as you can see here. This is on our property.

Our Magnolia Tree is in full bloom.

We have been going out for the occasional walk down by the River Teme and there were some sheep on the other side, some of them with little lambs. This is one of the sheep having a drink. Forget the saying that sheep will drink only from still water because that water was moving quite quickly.

A little further on and the large shingle bank with the river passing both sides used not to be there. There are large lumps of the bank, still with grass on them, laying in the river.

Lesser Celendine is out in force at the moment.

and there is also some Blackthorn blossom. It’s not Hawthorn – too early for that.

On the way back along Kinsley Road I saw a number of other flowers both wild and cultivated,

Suddenly, after a few warm sunny days, there seem to be lots of butterflies around. Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Orang Tips, Small White, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue and Comma.

I had thought of giving you a tour around our garden.

But that is as far as I took it because I couldn’t hold the camera steady enough. I need a gimbal. Who wants to see our garden anyway?

How to wear out a pair of old legs very quickly.

How to wear out a pair of old legs very quickly.

As today was dry I decided to try part of a walk that Amanda and I have done before. I say ‘try’ because although soon after we first moved to Knighton we walked from the town, up Panpunton Hill (which is VERY steep) then along the ridge and up to the top of Cwm Sanaham Hill I’m not sure that I could do all that with my current state of health.

So I decided to cheat by driving to the top of Kinsley Wood and start the walk from there which cuts out the ‘climbing Panpunton Hill’ bit. That left me with a 4 mile return walk with plenty of ups and downs. Amanda is not joining me on this one as she wants to get some gardening done.

Having parked the car I set off. I had been walking for a while when I arrived at this point and looked back.

If you look carefully you will see the path (bright green) curving round to the right and eventually disappearing over the brow of a hill in the distance. This is part of Offa’s Dyke Path.

I pressed on and eventually reached the junction where the path from Five Turnings, a very small hamlet, crosses Offa’s Dyke Path. The next picture, again looking back towards my starting point, shows the footpath sign. The yellow pointers indicate the Offa’s Dyke Path and the plain white ones indicate the path from Five Turnings.

I walked on further to the point shown below which gives me a good view of Cwm Sanaham Hill. Um, err, oh! I’m supposed to be going to the top of that one. The path can be seen curving right out of the picture because it follows the side of that valley in front until we meet the valley floor coming up which saves me a very steep climb down followed by a very steep climb up. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any slopes it just means that they aren’t as steep as they might have been.

After much grunting, heavy breathing and sighing I do finally make it to the top and to prove it here is a picture of the trigonometry point on the summit. I stopped for a breather and telephoned Amanda to let her know I’d reached my objective (she worries a little y’ know).

The only snag with this is that I now have to do it all again in reverse. On the way back I stopped to take this photograph just because I liked the lighting effect.

Not long after the above I stopped to take a photograph of Offa’s Dyke itself. There is quite a long run of it here akthough it isn’t as high as it is in some places.

At this point there is a gap in the dyke and the end of the dyke in front is shown by the shadow. The rough ground on my left is the continuation of the dyke behind me. You may notice the inevitable sheep.

I short while later I saw two large black birds fly across my route, at some height, and from the calls they made I would guess that they were Ravens but I’m no bird expert so don’t quote me on that one.

I finally made back to the car after a walk of 4 miles, which took me 2 hours and 20 minutes with an elevation gain of 832 feet. Cwm Sanaham Hill is 1342 feet high ( and feels it).

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the local leg shop to buy a new pair – my current ones have had it.

It’s all too much.

It’s all too much.

Rain that is!

We, like some other areas, have had a lot of rain recently and I discovered the results of that recently when I went for a walk.

I went down to the River Teme as I often do but when I got to the riverside meadow I found this:

That is a body of water, next to the river, about the size of a small lake which shouldn’t be there and my normal route goes through that water. I didn’t really want cold, wet feet so I detoured inland slightly to here:

This is the stream which is feeding that lake and that stream shouldn’t be there either. The shallowest part of the stream was a couple of inches deep (and about 4-6 feet wide) so it wouldn’t get into my boots if I walked through it which I did. Having done that I didn’t expect to have to walk through any more water.

WRONG!

That water was running along and across Kinsley Road. Again it was only a couple of inches deep so I could walk through it in my walking boots without getting my feet wet but I’ve not seen it like this before. I need to practice my ‘walking on water’ skills a bit more.

Would someone please turn the tap off before leaving?

Judge for yourself.

Judge for yourself.

Yesterday we went to Presteigne a small market town about 10 miles from us. We also went there back in the summer and photographed this ochre coloured building which is known as “The Judges Lodging”.

It is open as a tourist attraction and entry is by payment of a small fee. However this Saturday was an open day (free entry) and there was also coffee and cake available at a very modest cost and if there is anything that will pique my interest it’s the availability of cake.

This building consisted of a police station, cells, court room and judges apartment all rolled into one and was built in 1829. It was once called ‘the most commodious and elegant apartments for a judge in all England and Wales’ by Lord Chief Justice Campbell in 1855).

We first visited the Dining Room because of its opulence and splendour (or was it because that’s where we were given coffee and cake?)

After finishing our refreshments we went through to the Parlour (literal meaning – talking place) where there was a large christmas tree. There were no christmas tree lights because they did not exist in Victorian times. In both these rooms there were proper wood fires burning in the fireplaces; vey cosy. All lighting was either by oil lamps or gas and this building has both.

After seeing these rooms we went upstairs and the decor in the stairwell was typical of the times.

Needless to say the bedroom was furnished as befits a judge.

This was, after all, a place of work and this shows the court room with the public stalls right at the back. The judge, naturally, had his own entrance direct from his lodgings.

After dark the court room was lit by gas and the next picture shows the ‘Gasolier’; rather like a chandelier but with gas instead of candles. At this time incandescent gas mantles hadn’t been invented so the light came solely from the flames and I can tell you that that makes it very uncomfortable because the flickering flames act almost like a stroboscope.

The servants quarters were in the rather dingy basement together with some cells for the prisoners.

I have not included all that we saw here but more will make its way onto the web site at some stage. It was a very interesting visit.