In South Shropshire the little rapid river called the Onny passes through the market town of Craven Arms. To the south of the town the Onny passes through the Secret Hills Centre featured in an earlier post called “A walk in the grounds of “The Secret hills” published in April of this year.
For this short riverside walk we decided to pick up the river as it wove through farmland to the north of the town. We followed the River Onny starting from the road bridge to a footbridge, as it passed through pastures where cattle and horses grazed.
Along its banks like ancient old hunched men on a slow march were the remains of pollarded willows.
The river was shallow and fast-moving at first, rushing and bubbling over gravel and boulders. The water was clear enough to afford views of bright green ribbons of weed. Its character changed as we passed a weir where an unlucky fisherman cast his lure for trout.
From here the flow slackened and the water deepened allowing waterside plants to flourish.
Every tree along our walk seemed old, rotting or falling over. Their bark was deeply textured. Exposed wood has been bored into by insects and birds.
Walking on from the weir we enjoyed a view of Holford Church standing closely and comfortably with a clump of trees.
The riverside here moved through an area of damp land where floods often settled. Trees grew in sculptural shapes creating natural arches for us to pass under.
Leaving the trees behind us the Onny began meandering tightly through open fields where large flocks of Sand Martins swooped close to the water searching out insects and Linnets fed greedily on large patches of thistles with their fluffy seed heads.
The banks are eroding daily and now look as if huge bites have been taken out of them.
As we approached the bridge where our walk was to end we entered a wooded area and felt the air turn cooler. This bridge was a narrow footbridge. We looked over into the water searching for trout but saw only our shadows.
Along the edge of the path over the bridge the native Achillea, the Yarrow, had found a foothold and was successfully flowering.
From the bridge we could look back over the pastureland we had walked through. After a cool break in the tree’s shade around the bridge we made our way back along the river.
We had time to stop and appreciate the flora of the river banks, including a Dock whose leaves had been turned into a skeleton by a caterpillar of some sort.