Monday, 13 June 2011

Walking the Severn Way - Stage 24

Monday, 23rd May, 2011
Upper Framilode to Frampton on Severn
Only 10 miles

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In this issue…
  • Windy loop
  • The ever widening River Severn
  • Recharging all our batteries
  • Beautiful Yellow Shell 

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 


Sandwiches packed?
Flask of tea?
Sorted and Booted?
Let’s go!!!

Today could be a circular, but then it might not be! Whilst you’re putting on your boots allow me to explain;

We’re walking the Arlingham Peninsula starting from Upper Framilode and finishing at Frampton on Severn which is 9 miles and I’ve managed to find a bus that will take us back to Upper Framilode. But here’s the thing; If you look at the map the map our route follows the inside of the loop formed by the river, but it’s only a mile from Frampton to Framilode where we are now (car park of the Ship Inn in Upper Framilode), so by adding an extra mile to today’s walk we don’t need to keep to a schedule to catch the bus - and what’s a mile after you’ve just walked 10? What do you think we should do?…

Arlingham Peninsula map

I agree, let’s walk, if we get to Frampton in time and our legs are tired we’ll catch the bus. Let’s just see how we go. We could, of course, ignore the peninsula and shortcut across! NO NO NO! That would mean we haven’t walked the whole of the Severn Way and that would be awful!

So… let’s get cracking… 

This is the charming little village of Upper Framilode which hosts the Ship Inn,  a delightfully typical English village pub.

Severn Way Stage 24 230511 001

As we head along along a path to the river we’re aware how windy it is andin fact as we approach the river and the wide open expanse we’re almost blown over. The whole of England seems to be under high winds at the moment - I’ve just heard from my letting agents who look after my property in Leicestershire that an arched wall has just crashed down and needs urgent repair. Suddenly our tent at Slimbridge seems very vulnerable - hope it’s still there when we get back!

Walking along a grassy glade now, we’re joined by swallows who seem to be playing with us, dashing in and out and all around us, but, of course, they’re not entertaining us at all - they’re just going about the business of surviving, eating up huge quantities of midges and flies as they dip, dive and swoop inches above the ground.

The scenery here is bleak, flat and very windswept but it doesn’t detract from the amazing sight of ‘our’ river which has now grown to over 250 feet wide and on this leg we’ll see it widen even more as it forms the massive estuary that is the Bristol Channel.

Severn Way Stage 24 230511 012

The path occasionally passes behind a hedge or two giving us a few minutes respite from the relentless south-west wind.

Lunch today is at the end of a lane which sites the Old Passage Inn which comes to us recommended from a fellow traveller. It doesn’t appear to be open at the moment but I guess we’re a little early yet. Never mind, we have our sarnies and flask of tea and there’s a bench just on the riverside affording a view across to the village of Newnham. It’s a bit exposed and within a few minutes flying out of our grasp go Pam’s sandwich bag (twice), half the ham on one of my sarnies, my cup of tea and Pam’s rucksack! All retrieved eventually I may add.

As we set off again the wind is so high it almost lifts us off our feet at times! We’ve been walking headlong into it for a few miles and then as the route turns towards the east we’re blasted side-on. Eventually the loop that is the Arlingham Peninsula leads to better and faster walking as the wind pushes us from behind.

At a small swing-gate, an even smaller nettle patch is given enough protection for me to see and indentify 4 species of ladybird; a 2-spot, the immigrant Harlequin in one of it’s many guises, the commonest UK ladybird; the 7-spot and a nice 22-spot too.

Severn Way Stage 24 230511 015

Severn Way Stage 24 230511 013

Further on as we enter a very welcoming tiny copse. I  spot something flying around the hedge and getting very buffeted as the wind forces its way through the foliage. It’s a lovely Yellow Shell moth.

Yellow Shell

We sit behind a hedge for wind respite and to recharge our batteries which is when I realise that I should have recharged my camera battery before we set out today. It’s dead! What’s worse is the fact that my back-up battery which I always carry to cover my forgetfulness is also dead! So no further pics today. Pam remonstrates with me and bemoans the fact that we can’t get any photos of the ever-widening river as it loops around the peninsular.

We eventually arrive at Fetherne Bridge, Frampton on Severn way too early for the bus, due to our eagerness to plod on quicker than usual to rid ourselves of the relentless wind, I guess. It’s just a mile along the road to our start at the Ship Inn, so we may as well  walk to complete the circular, it’ll be quicker than waiting for the bus. It will make it 10 miles today but you all OK with that? We’ll take this path through the orchard to miss out part of the road.

With just 20 minutes to this stages’ end it starts to rain, so on top of the buffeting wind all day we get a bit of a soaking at the final furlong! But all is not bad - the Ship Inn is open and looks very welcoming.Who’s for a pint?

Catch you all soon

Paul and Pam


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