Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Walking The Severn Way -Stage 20

Monday, 18th October, 2010
Tewkesbury to Norton
Only 7.2 miles

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In this issue…
  • A spot of Elvering
  • A load of bull x 2
  • New walkers virtual and actual
  • 1st of 3
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

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Tewkesbury is a fine place to visit especially if you’re into ancient architecture as the town is host to some 200 listed buildings in the centre alone. A walk along the length of the High Street to the Abbey is definitely worth it - a splendid example of an excellent design and first-class building techniques that some of today’s architects  would do well to take note (not wishing to sound too much like Prince Charles of course who dislikes most modern urban architecture).

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Anyway… detour over! 

Boots on?  Ready to rock ‘n’ roll? Let’s get cracking with just over 7 easy miles to go today to a village called Norton where we’ll catch the 16:08 Stagecoach bus back to our start and our hotel in Tewkesbury. We’re staying here for 2 nights and then moving on to Gloucester for a third night enabling us to do 3 stages of The Severn Way in 3 days - an easy 21 miles. You all know by now we don’t do arduous! Nice and easy, enjoy the scenery, marvel at nature - take our time.

Ready for the next adventure? Here we go…

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This huge field just across the channel in Tewkesbury is known as The Severn Ham and is owned by Gloucester County Council, the grass for which is sold each year to the highest bidder. Looking at the number of sheep here I’m not sure there’ll be much left.

I mentioned ‘the channel’ above because it’s an odd thing… as the River Severn reaches Tewkesbury a thin branch sneaks off and skirts the town on the west side. This is called the Mill Avon. The River Severn loops around the other side of the Severn Ham and then rejoins the Mill Avon to the south effectively making the huge Severn Ham meadow an island. So although we follow the waters’ edge through Tewkesbury it’s not the River Severn - that’s way over there beyond the sheep and the tree-line.

Oh… and they’re the Malvern Hills once more in the background. We’re soon to be leaving them behind for good as we head further south and ever closer to our journey’s end.

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Ah yes… something else to tell you… our Yorkshire friends Gary and Rossy are joining us today and intend to continue tomorrow and Wednesday if the weather holds out. It’s certainly looking good so far.

Rossy by the way is pronounced Rozzy. Only Rossy knows why she spells her name Rossy and not Rozzy (short for Rosalyn) but they’re strange folk in Yorkshire - I should know Pam’s one of them!

Anyway Gary and Rossy (Rozzy) are staying in their very luxurious motor home and intend eating with us each evening in the hotel restaurant. There’ll doubtless be a few glasses of vino consumed, hopefully not too many leaving us with 4 big headaches the next day. We’ll see!

I also want to mention a ‘virtual walker’ Glenna from the USA who asked if her 2 daughters and 5 friends can come along too. You know what? Of course they can, as I’ve said many times the more joining us on this fabulous journey the better. So a BIG welcome to Glenna and family & friends and if you want to invite others along just send them to the blog at and don’t forget to tell them to pop in their email address top right so they don’t miss any of the stages.

Apart from a bit of pleasant chat and banter it’s a fairly quiet start to the day and in brilliant sunshine too as we amble along the side of ‘our river’ once more. But then, and quite suddenly, a very low jet roars by just on the other side of the river taking us instantly out of our tranquil mode. So fast. So quick, and so loud!

The leaves are just turning to orange and brown as we reach mid-autumn here in the UK and the bright sunshine makes for a wonderful mix of colours everywhere we look.

Soon we come across about fifty Canada Geese basking in the sunshine and as we approach they all somewhat reluctantly take flight, almost one-by-one, in order to get out of our way. Anyone following from Canada? Are there any Canada Geese left in Canada or have they all migrated to the UK? You probably call them something else, let us know.

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And now another obstacle. You see all those cows? Well just the other side is the corner of the field and stile that we need to cross. Now Gary, Pam and I are not that bothered about these usually friendly bovines but Rossy’s not so sure. Hope you’re all OK with them. We’ll see if we can move them gently out of the way. Oooops! Do you see that brown beast lying down on the right? That’s a fully-grown bull that is - complete with ringed nose! And the cows are his harem! Best be careful!

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The cows slowly and somewhat reluctantly move away but the bull refuses to budge. Instead he just looks at us as we pass within inches of his head. He just watches us intently whilst continually chewing his cud. Quite a friendly and docile fella really! Do you think he’s looking a bit tired?

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Now we don’t know what this shrub is but it has lovely delicate pink flowers/fruit so if anyone knows please leave a comment below.

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And I think this is Borage - there were loads around and a few white-flowered ones too. I’ll email a pic to fellow Wrekin Forest Volunteer ‘Penny The Plant Lady’ to confirm or otherwise - unless, of course, you know?!

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Near a village called Apperley we meet a tranquil pool - the river is still on our right so we have water both sides of us for a stretch.

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Mistletoe. Lots and lots of Mistletoe.

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Oh… and I’ll tell you what else we’re finding an abundance of in these parts and that’s apple trees - everywhere we look we see them wild and cultivated. This has to be a wild one but the fruit is rosy red and nice and sweet. We meet up with two lady walkers and share our booty!

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On reaching a bridge over the river we can’t help noticing not one but two pubs on the other side. Let’s investigate. Fancy a quick pint? The one on the right doesn’t look open but the other one - The Haw Bridge Inn - certainly is. So here’s Gary tucking in to a well deserved pint whilst Rozzy (sorry Rossy!) wishes she hadn’t packed sandwiches for lunch as the menu looks quite enticing. We mention the other pub across the road to the landlord and we’re told it doesn’t open very often - not much competition there then!

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Onwards - come on! Much as we’d like to, we can’t stay here all afternoon - let’s keep moving!

What’s with all the bulls today - another happy fella just watches as we stroll by.
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It’s not long before our stomachs tell us it’s time for another rest so let’s stop awhile. Time for the obligatory lunchtime photo. Actually this shot isn’t as straightforward as it might appear. I set the  camera for self-timer and rest it somewhat precariously on a post giving me 10 seconds to get into position before the aperture opens. Well… on the first attempt, just as the camera clicks, it falls off and lands on my rucksack which fortunately, more by chance than design, I’ve left just at the bottom of the post. A post which has a large and very hard concrete base so it would have almost certainly smashed the camera had the rucksack not been there!

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We’re nearing the end of this stage of the walk now and are just about to leave The River Severn to catch our bus back to Tewkesbury when we reach yet another pub - The Red Lion, in a wonderfully remote spot. We do have time to spare today but…


it’s closed!

Spotted near the pub:

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Now there’s something you don’t often see. Does it mean anything to you? Well I know that Elvers are baby eels and there is a good market for them if you know where to catch them. I’ll try and find out more.

We have to walk almost 2 miles off route today to catch the bus in Norton but despite two stops (one in the pub) we arrive an hour early and just miss the earlier bus. Nothing much else to do but sit in the bus shelter. It’s odd, but there’s no seat in here, so we’ll just have to sit on the floor by the road and do a spot of people watching, but I guess there are more people watching us than we watching them, well I guess we do look an odd bunch don’t we? Some of us still in shorts in October and others in summer sleeveless tops!

Ah… here’s the bus at last and right on time.

Catch up with you VERY soon!

Paul Watts and Pam Greenwood

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Paul e Watts said...

Can anyone confirm the plant Borage (pic above)?

Any Canada Geese in Canada?

Anyone know what Elvering is?


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