Thursday, 30 August 2012

Two Men and a Dog, Again

Parking in the village of Arley,
DB, a friend and Meg the Dog stopped for coffee at a nice tea room in a pretty spot on the edge of the River Severn

Meg was in and out of the river and parts of the riverbank were very muddy in places.
The quayside in Bewdley

They stopped at a nice spot along the river for a pint, before following the footpath back to Arley on the other side of the river. 

The remains of an old railway bridge.

A quiet stretch of the river.

Victoria Bridge takes the Severn Valley Railway over the river.

The round trip walk was about 10 miles, part of the path was slippy, muddy and overgrown and other parts of the path were in good condition and very well walked.

Have fun, we are!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Lazy Sunny Afternoons

Even though they’ve been few and far between this summer we’ve had some gloriously sunny days, on a few of those days we’ve been exploring towpaths far and wide. 
Of course, this entailed driving down some narrow winding country lanes.
Looking back up one of the sets of steps we used to reach the towpath.

This heron danced around just a few feet in front of us for ages, we were amazed at how close we got to it before it flew away.

The bridge supports on either side of the canal are all that remain of one of the many local railway lines that were closed during the 1960’s.

Long term moorings conveniently located close to a pub, which sadly, was closed when we were there.
Old lock keepers cottages, although I assume they're private houses now.
Everywhere we went there were masses of wildflowers.

and best of all it was quiet, very quiet and mostly we had the towpaths to ourselves.
Have fun, we are!

Two Men and a Dog

One sunny afternoon, DB, a friend and Meg the dog headed off to the pretty little village of Overton-on-Dee (Owrtyn in Welsh).   Overton-on-Dee is a small town not far from Wrexham in North Wales. 
Overton was granted a Royal Charter in 1292 by Edward I. The churchyard of St Mary the Virgin is renowned for its ancient yew trees which are thought to be between 1,500 and 2,000 years old.  They are one of the Seven Wonders of Wales which are celebrated in an anonymous rhyme.
Pistyll Rhaeadr and Wrexham steeple,
Snowdon's mountain without its people,
Overton yew trees, St Winefride wells,
Llangollen bridge, and Gresford bells.
In 1992 Overton celebrated its 700th anniversay with a royal visit from the Queen who planted a new yew tree.
Meg gathered an admiring crowd as they followed the footpath

down to the River Dee where Meg enjoyed herself splashing about in the shallows.
 Their walk took them past the old mill and weir at Erbistock

and continued along the river,

before heading back to the pub in Overton for what they tell me was an excellent pint of Joules before heading home.   The walk was about 6 miles from start to finish.

As for me, where was I while they were off enjoying their walk?  I was busy working!

Have fun, we are!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Lilleshall Abbey, Shropshire

Many times on our travels we’ve driven past a narrow winding country lane at the top of which stands a brown heritage sign pointing the way to ‘Lilleshall Abbey’.   I’ve said ‘Let’s go’, DB has always replied, ‘Not now we haven’t got time’.   Well a few weeks ago on a gorgeous sunny afternoon we finally found time to turn down that lane and visit. 

The lane winds up and down between hedges and trees before another brown heritage sign points you to the Abbey ruins partway down a narrow farm track with a small parking area.

The main entrance to the Abbey church.

Founded by Arrouasian Cannons in the mid 12 century and later absorbed into the Augustinian Order, Lilleshall Abbey is built of deep red triassic sandstone and lies on the edge of Abbey Wood about a mile south of the village of Lilleshall which is reputed to date back to Saxon times. 

Inside the main Abbey church.

The name Lilleshall is believed to originate from ‘Lillers Hill’.   Liller was a servant of Edwin, King of Northumbria and it is thought the village was given to him for services rendered to the Crown.  The village is also mentioned in the Doomsday Book as having a population of about 150 people.

A beautifully carved ceremonial doorway.

Owning extensive tracts of farmland, water mills and other properties, including the right to charge tolls on Atcham Bridge over the river Severn, Lilleshall Abbey prospered for 400 years.

King Henry III is said to have twice visited the Abbey during hunting trips in the area.

In 1538 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under King Henry VIII Lilleshall Abbey was closed and the lands granted to the Cavendish family who later sold them to James Leveson of Wolverhampton.
This archway is one of the entrances to a narrow passage, called a slype or parlour,  that once had doors at each end.  The passage may have given access to the canons infirmary and it's thought was used as a place where important matters could be discussed without breaking the cloister rule of silence.
Two spiral staircases remain, one of which you can climb to the top, it even has some 19th century graffiti on the wall at the bottom.   Although I’m not over keen on climbing this kind of stair case, up is fine, as for down, well, let’s just say I prefer to have someone in front of me.
There is even some 19th century graffiti on the wall at the bottom of the stairs.
There is a nice view of the Abbey pond from the top

During the English Civil War the Abbey was fortified for King Charles I by Sir Richard Leveson and besieged by Parliamentarian troops in 1645. 

Reputed to be haunted, the Abbey has been visited by various ghost hunters over the years including the famous ghost hunter the late Elliott O’Donnell. 
Visitors have reported seeing what looks like the figure of a monk passing from the church to the sacristy; others have heard soft footsteps along the path from the cemetery.    During the 1930’s a boy who lived in nearby Abbey Cottage couldn’t sleep because of strange noises during the night, one of which sounded like someone turning the pages of a large book. 

I'm glad to say that as we visited on a lovely sunny afternoon, we, thankfully, neither saw nor heard anything remotely spooky.

The site is now administered by English Heritage entry is free and this year it is open from April to the end of September.

Have fun, we are!