Monday, 29 March 2010

Walking The Severn Way Stage 14

Sunday, October 25th, 2009
Bewdley to Stourport-on-Severn 
Only 4miles
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In this issue…
  • Rock Caves
  • River Lodges
  • Death of an Admiral
  • Meeting The Bingies
Hello and welcome along again to the next stage of our meandering stroll alongside the River Severn, through some of the most beautiful countryside of Wales and England tracing the whole of its length right from the source at Plynlimon high up in the Mid Wales mountains to its end at the Bristol Channel. Join me now for 210 miles of the stunning River Severn Way with its wonderfully diverse scenery, its fabulous flora and fascinating fauna.

Click here to see how far we've travelled to date.
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What a beautiful place Bewdley is! In fact back in medieval times this is how this quant little town got its name, it was called Beau Lieu; French for Beautiful Place.

Close to where this picture was taken is the site of an ancient ford which was a major crossing place for travellers before the bridge was built in 1472. The waterfront is graced with fine houses and old warehouses now converted into tasteful-looking apartments. A fine springboard for our next stage of the ever-changing vista that is The Severn Way…

So… ready to go? Sandwiches packed? Well-booted? Let’s do it!

Today is the shortest stage of the walk to date: Just 4 miles. Due to lack of suitable buses and/or trains it meant either 4 miles or 12. After some discussion where I favoured 12 miles and Pam wanted to opt for 4 we arrived at a diplomatic solution - a compromise; we do the 4! I know my place!

We finish today at another charming settlement by the river at Stourport-on-Severn.

Although it’s now the end of March 2010 as I write this (yes I’m still behind but this one brings me right up to date) it’s late autumn 2009 as we walk this stretch and it’s still warm enough for me to don shorts and tee-shirt although a little light rain as we leave Bewdley sees me throwing my waterproof on for a few minutes. After that the sun pushes through a small grey cloud and we’re in the late warm sun again. In fact looking at my rucksack thermometer I see we’re at 22 deg C so it’s really lovely for the time of year. Winter, however, has to be just around the corner.

It’s not long before we arrive at Blackstone Rock across the other side of the river. There are caves here hewn out of the sandstone hundreds of years ago and used as dwellings for hermits. It’s said they were also used by travellers to stay in whilst waiting for high waters to recede in order to ford the river into Bewdley.

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OK - enough of the history lesson - let’s move on! There’s been a fair amount of rain just recently so steady as you go - the paths are muddy and we don’t want anyone ending up taking a mud bath like Pam did on the last stage!

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We stop to admire some of the lodges on a holiday park by the river. What a fabulous setting and raised high enough above the water line to prevent flooding. The River Severn often bursts its banks at a number of lowland places along it’s route to the Bristol Channel. We’re quite taken by these and wonder if it’s worth delving a little deeper, but that’s for some other time.

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This is a beautiful view of Ribbesford Woods on the other side of the river. I think the gorgeous colours of autumn are epitomised here in this photo. Isn’t it a stunning scene? The leaves are turning colour and floating to the floor, it won’t be long before the deciduous trees are bare and rather cold-looking but for now they are still in their autumn splendour.

The butterflies are also disappearing, many of them just die as their own flight season ends and as it gets colder of course they can’t fly and don’t survive. A few species migrate to avoid the harsh UK winter whilst a few others hibernate as adults and re-emerge in the spring. The Red Admiral is one of these, hiding away quite often in our garden sheds. The one below, however, won’t be making it into hibernation - it skimmed the river’s surface a tad too close and found itself in the drink. Too far out for me to rescue I’m afraid.

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And so… time for lunch - what have you got in your butties today folks? Cheese? Egg? Ham? Can we share? My jam ones are not looking that interesting today!

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I think this is a willow tree which has at some point in the past had quite a dramatic coppicing but since then it has pushed up new branches right out of its crown.

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Standing here on this little fishing platform I can still hear the steam trains from The Severn Valley Railway but as we’re heading further south they become more distant and will soon disappear altogether.

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It’s actually turned out to be a really warm day - and a very pleasant 4 mile stroll which for me finishes far too soon. About 10 minutes away from our stage-end at Stourport-on Severn we are met by The Bingies an affectionate name for The Binghams. Allow me to introduce you to them; Pam’s daughter Caroline, hubbie Steve, 5-year old Jack and 7 month old Annabelle. We then walk the remainder of our pleasant 4 miles in their company to catch the bus back to Bewdley to collect the car.

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Stourport is another place of interest which deserves more time for exploration than our bus timetable will allow but I’ll try to give you all a run-down at the start of our next stage which will hopefully be end of April/early May so just 3 or 4 weeks away. Stay with us - we’ll be back soon with pics of our new tent and campsite where we will be launching the final stages of our Severn Way walk.
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Annabelle enjoys the ice cream at the end of the walk more than the walk itself we think!

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So… this is the last write up of the 2009 stages. YES! Finally the writing has caught up with the walking! Must do better for 2010! 

We have yet to continue our treks for the 2010 stages of our Severn Way walk but we’re working on using the tent as a base to springboard probably 3 stages within a 4 - 5 day stopover. The reason for this decision rather than find a way to Point A of the next stage and walk to point B, returning to point A to take a bus, train or collect the car, is that we’re now getting some 40-50 miles from home making it increasingly difficult to get to the start of a stage, walk the distance, return to start and find our way back home all in one day. So the tent will turn many of our remaining stages into mini holidays which we’re really looking forward to, in fact Pam’s buying herself a new sleeping bag online as I write! 

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Walking Companions 

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We'll make them most welcome. The more the merrier! I know I've said before that I quite like walking on my own but you're so quiet I hardly notice you're there! Walking The Severn Way together it's really only at the end of each stage you tend to make a comment, and talking of comments... Don't forget to leave one below; help, advice, silly banter, words of encouragement are all very much welcomed and I know then you're definitely following us along the enchanting Severn Way!

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Click collage below for Stage 14 Slideshow .

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