Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Walking The Severn Way Stage 16

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Grimley to Worcester 
Only 5.5miles

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In this issue…

  • Pam’s egg and beans
  • Confronted by long-distance warriors 
  • First Orange Tip of the year
  • Does my head look big in this hat? 
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 us 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. 

As I write this in early June I’m aware that I’m once more way behind on writing the posts for this blog so when I write about the first vestiges of spring in the middle of summer please accept my apologies! Why does this happen? Why am I always behind? Well - it’s not my fault. Who was it decided there should only be 24 hours in one day and part of that you have to sleep?

Anyway… booted and footready? Let’s go!

On this strecth of The Severn Way walk we’re setting out from Grimley and this is where we ended  last week with no bus to get us back to the car you may recall. Funny name for a village isn’t it? Grimley. Not that enticing really. It reminds me of the tiny hamlet in north Shropshire, in fact it’s so tiny it’s probably just one house, but it’s known as GRUMPY! Unlike it’s name, however, it’s a little gem set in woodland, quite enchanting. Ooops - already digressing!

So… why is my first pic, one of a tin of beans? More about that later, we need to get cracking!

It’s a cool start as we leave Grimley - just managing 11 deg C but there are signs in the sky of cloud clearing so it should get warmer.

Following our river once more gives me a feeling of contentment, all’s well with the world and it’s just great to be out in the English countryside in spring is it not? So much to see; buds bursting into life, wild animals out and about enjoying the warmth after a very cold winter. And the not so wild are getting on with their important job of procreation…

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And look at this Mistletoe growing through a hawthorn tree. Isn’t it fab? Hard to think of it as a parasite but parasite it is.

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Oh… and there goes my first Orange Tip of the year - did you see it? Small white butterfly with orange tips?  There it is again. Just settled on the blackthorn flower to nectar. It came by so quickly but you could see it was a male couldn’t you? Why? Well, the female of course is void of orange. It’s quite often the case isn't it in the animal kingdom where the male is more attractive than the female? Take the various 'blue' butterflies - Common Blue, for example where the female is a dowdy brown and the male carries the stunning colour that gives it its name. Not so with the species Homo Sapiens of course, although if they didn’t take to make-up and have a penchant for pretty clothes would the female of the species be as attractive as the males? I wonder. Mmmmm... controversial perhaps!

Oh… and there’s the female Orange Tip. She’s just over there on the Jack-by-the-Hedge. If we get a little closer we might see her laying her eggs for it’s this plant that the caterpillars feed on. There… see?

The Lady’s Smock is in full bloom now and it’s good to see that back again... oh and there’s a couple of flies courting.

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Let's press on - too much dalliance this morning. What do you mean it's my fault?

Did you hear that strange noise ahead? It was like a cat mewing or even caterwauling but very loud and at a higher pitch. I’ve heard the call before but can’t think what it is. Maybe we’ll find out as we get closer.

It’s not long before we arrive at a charming little pub called Camp House Inn. The path meanders slightly away from the river to pass the front of the building when I suddenly realise what the noise was. It was a Peacock. There are several here - hens and cocks - in the grounds of the pub. Mystery
noise solved!
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The path then passes through a small campsite at the side of the pub and back to the river where we see the attractive but evasive Himalayan Balsam plant forging its way through all other vegetation to take its stronghold once more and to prepare itself for the advance on the riverside, like a savage army. It won’t be long before it reaches heights of six or more feet which often stops us dead in our tracks as it envelops the path. Pretty though when in flower and the honey bees just adore it! 

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We watch a lone rower going through his paces.

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And marvel at natures spring colours.
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It’s lunch time and Pam bizarrely, instead of going for lettuce and tomato is dining today on a hard-boiled egg and a tin of cold baked beans! Each to their own. 

We espy a tree in the meadow with a circular seat around it and sit down for lunch. I’m not happy though. It’s obviously used by people not aligned well with the countryside for at our feet is the mess of man, the plague of pleasant places. Litter. Strewn all around our feet. I urge Pam, who I have to say is reluctant, settled as she is, to pack up her beans and walk on a little further. And we do. But… it turns out a lot further for it’s some 30 minutes later before  a suitable spot presents itself. A lovely little flat meadow area with a few butterflies winging across. There goes my first Green-veined White of the year. 

Then out come the beans and egg for a second time.

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I think Pam’s new hat probably looks better on her than me! What do you think?

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Lunch over! Let’s get moving! As we drop back onto the path from our meadow lunch-stop we bump into a couple out for a stroll and get chatting. This is Mary and David who kindly allowed us to take a photo for the blog. Sorry it's been so long coming you two! They live in Worcester and often walk up river to the Camp House Inn.

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David explains that he has walked nearly all the long distance paths in England, Scotland and Wales along with some major routes in France, which is no mean feat! Are we impressed? You bet we are! Puts our meagre 210 miles of The Severn Way to shame, although Pam and I have completed The Heart of England Way (100 miles) and some years ago I back-packed the Coast-to-Coast from St. Bees in the Lake District to Robin Hood’s Bay on the north east coast. But then David and Mary can top all of that with an amazing variety of overseas treks including Tour du Mont Blanc, Annapurna Circuit, the climb to Base Camp of Everest, Machu Picchu and the Tunisian Desert all of which they tell us they enjoyed immensely. WOW! That’s walking for you!

I think this little canal boat is in need of a refurb don’t you? It’s called 'Bigiff' somewhat appropriately I reckon!

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This one definitely is!

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It most probably fell foul of a previous year’s flooding as this part of the river often bursts its banks. Take a look at this gauge. Can you see the brown line at about 15.75? That’s were the river in recent times has risen to!

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As we approach Worcester and the end of today's walk we are reminded of the stark contrast between town and country. I mean just look at the atrocious design of these flats. I know they have to be on stilts to rise way above the river but don’t they look awful. Oh… I hope Mary and David don’t live in one! I’m sure not, theirs I think would be a lovely house with a nice garden that sweeps down to the river.  

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Here we are at stage-end in the City of Worcester. We now have to cross the river by way of yonder footbridge in order to get to the bus station. The Severn Way continues along the east side of the river for a few miles but when we arrive at the road bridge a few hundred yards further on we will be parting company until the next stage of our Severn Way walk; Worcester to Clifton where we’ll be setting up camp for the next two stages. Want to join us? 

Catch you soon.

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