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architecture autumn autumn colours buildings River Severn sculpture Shrewsbury Shropshire townscapes trees

Walking the Shrewsbury Loop

Our county town, Shrewsbury, sits neatly and comfortably within a loop of the beautiful River Severn. Our hamlet, Plealey is just six miles south of the town, a very convenient distance for us as we are out in the South Shropshire countryside but a short distance by car to our county town.

As we came out of lock down, we decided to have a day off from gardening and go for a walk along the banks of the Severn, starting at the Welsh Bridge following the loop around to the English Bridge and back into the town centre.

We entered the riverside Victoria Quay passing a plethora of ugly signs and followed the quay with its rather gaudy hanging baskets and planters on the riverside fence. It is from the quay that The Sabrina, a pleasure boat, gives trips down the river for tourists and locals alike. On the left are fashionably popular eateries, including one of our favourites, The Armoury. A very popular riverside public house, The Boathouse sits on the opposite bank just before the first bridge that we pass.

We were surprised to see that the children’s playpark had been updated along a Charles Darwin theme, as Shrewsbury is the town of his birth. Along side the park was a new outdoor cafe with seats overlooking the Severn, so obviously we were tempted by takeaway coffees and cookies. Shrewsbury is famous as the home not just of Darwin but also Sentinel steam lorries and here we found one serving snacks and drinks to walkers passing by. We walked further along the bank-side path enjoying views through the bankside trees and hedges. Some of the willows have been sculpted by pollarding by previous generations who trained them in this way to get long straight whips of willow for basketry, a very important craft at the time.

The final picture in this set shows a lady pulling a canoe on a trailer, who we first spotted on the Welsh Bridge on the same route as us. We couldn’t work out why she was pulling it so far with a beautiful river alongside her. It was obviously hard work as she stopped frequently. It kept us amused!

 

Signs of an early autumn, golden dried leaves at the bases of the lime trees in the lime avenue, were prevalent As we walked further from the park we found these beautiful apartments in a converted brewery – what a view!

Shrewsbury boasts so many bridges of varied style and age.

    The oh so ugly railway bridge!

Our riverside walk was full of surprises, such as a clay tile piece of craftwork created by a local school, a beautiful modern building sat above the ancient town walls, the oh so steep St Mary’s Water Lane and a determined rose bush!

 

We enjoyed finding this piece of philosophy on a brick wall, before we reached the weir which was our point of walk’s end. Here we turned back and made our way back into the town for a well-earned coffee.

Although we have followed this route many times we still find it of interest!

Categories
countryside landscapes memorials National Trust photography The National Trust trees

Dawdling in the Derbyshire Dales – part two – The Manifold Valley

As spring tries tentatively to make its presence felt in the garden and the surrounding countryside we can enjoy looking back to a week spent in Derbyshire exploring the Dales.

Our first walk along the dales of Derbyshire while spending a week there in July took us to the beautiful little village called Illam. This is a village owned by the National Trust so has to remain unspoiled. They also own the hall at the head of Manifold Dale, where we found our essential feature of any day out, a place for coffee and cakes.

Once revived we made our way down to the River Manifold and took a footpath along its bank to explore the valley it had created through millenia of erosion. The Manifold is very much typical of Derbyshire’s little rivers, clear running, home to rare and unusual wildlife and picturesque.

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The wildflowers and grasses on its banks

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Sadly even in such a beautiful, peaceful place humans try to spoil it, scarring it with discarded drinks cans and take out coffee cups.

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Beneath this rock stack was a spring where the water from an underground stream burst out into daylight to join the Manifold.

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The trail we were following took us a short distance from the river along an old walkway beneath overhanging trees. This walk was designed as a “promenade” for the family and visitors of the house when in its previous glory. We were bemused to hear a mechanical humming noise getting louder with each step as we neared an avenue of Limes. We eventually worked out it was the humming of thousands of bees attracted to the sweet smelling, lime-green blossom.

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We were surprised to discover a memorial stone and fern garden alongside the track.

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As the path turned us back towards the house leading us over open parkland away from the river. Please enjoy sharing the views we saw along the way with us.

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We found a rocky outcrop where we sat for a coffee and some fruit and to take in the sights and sounds of nature all around.

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After enjoying our break with brilliant views we carried on across the open parkland back towards the house and the views just kept on coming.

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We were delighted to have one last look at the River Manifold at the end of our walk where we were amazed by this waterside plant with spiky flowers and huge rough leaves.

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I shall finish this wandering post along the valley of the Manifold with this little mini-garden created by Mother Nature, the greatest gardener of all! Our next post in my series from Derbyshire will explore Monsal Dale.

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Categories
architecture buildings Shropshire townscapes

The Architectural Heritage of Shrewsbury Part 2

This is the second post about the architecture of our county town. the photos for the posts were taken in late autumn.

Continuing our journey through the streets, alleys and pathways of Shrewsbury we move away from the station towards the river.

Firstly we go down a narrow steep road where these blue features against the beautiful red stonework of the old town walls caught my eye.

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Just to show that Shrewsbury’s architecture isn’t all about the past we next visit some 20th and 21st century buildings. The first picture shows the dreadful 70’s concrete monstrosity that is the town’s only multi-storey car park with a new building attached to its right. At its base is a row of bus-stops.

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When we have a close look at this new building we see that it is a hotel which is still to open. I prefer it to the 70’s building next to it, but we shall have to see how well it weathers.

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The reason that there are so few example of good modern architecture in our county town, is that so many residents are stuck in the past. Any proposals for modern architecture are strongly objected to by many. Below is a sad reflection of this where architects have tried to reflect the town’s medieval heritage. We just ended up with this mock half-timbered shopping centre.

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And now off to the riverside! The old centre of Shrewsbury is totally enclosed within a loop of the River Severn.

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Below is our wonderful new theatre and the new sculpture created to commemorate Charles Darwin.

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My favourite structure in this part of the town is this pedestrian suspension bridge. It is such a simple but elegant design and certainly invites you to walk over its gentle arching span. It sways as you walk across and the sway gets stronger the more people are crossing over.

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Categories
birds photography wildlife

A Cold Riverside Walk

A walk along the River Severn in Ironbridge, just a dozen or so miles from home, proved a lovely way to enjoy a frosty Sunday morn. the gorge here is so deep that the sun’s rays barely manage to peep over the top meaning unusual lighting and taking photos shooting into the sun. I only had my smart phone camera to hand so the glares across pictures were a revelation.

Very little wildlife shared the gorge with us, mallards and mute swans on the water and a buzzard hunting along the opposite bank floating slowly and gracefully through the tree tops . But we had been treated to a wonderful view of a bright rustic-coloured fox slowly crossing the road just in front of the car. This was no urban fox – the fox shown obsessively on TV programmes – all scraggy, bones showing and dull coloured – no, this was the real thing.

The frost was just showing signs of melting away forming sparkling droplets of water on the bankside vegetation.