Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Walking the Severn Way - Stage 25

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Tuesday, 24th May, 2011
Frampton-on-Severn to Purton
Only 5.28 miles
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In this issue…
  • Biggest Green we’ve ever seen
  • Swinging bridges
  • Sharing a pint at base camp
  • Phoning for a cab is sometimes not that easy 

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!!!
Spring boarding from our tent based at Slimbridge today sees just a short walk - a little over 5 miles, so it’s a breeze! And the sun is shining for us too so that’s an extra bonus.

We start today in the charming village of Frampton on Severn which has the enviable distinction of owning England’s largest green. For overseas readers of the Follow My Walks blog a ‘green’ is an open and frequently mowed grassy area usually in the centre of a village and used by the community for picnics, exercise, games, gala’s etcetera. So this is the largest in the country resplendent with it’s own pond.

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Frampton has some charming cottages and accompanying English country gardens

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And, of course, the charm would not be complete without a typical English country pub or two…

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Walking along the superb Gloucester and Sharpness Canal we soon arrive at Splatt Bridge and our designated lunch break shared with Mrs Mallard and their lone chick. Mr mallard is close by but I can’t help wondering what happened to the rest of the family.

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Splatt Bridge is a swing bridge designed to accommodate road traffic and barges - there are many of these along this fine, well-maintained and well-used canal, some are automatic, but many like this one are hand-operated.

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The bridge forms a road breaching the canal but when barges and boats want to get through the road is literally swung to the side to allow access to water traffic. On the manual type this is done by turning a wheel linked to a cog system which moves the road aside.

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I’m sure this type of bridge is not unique to the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal but In all my travels throughout this fine land it’s the first I’ve ever seen.

Pam seems to be bent on running route marches these days setting a blistering pace that even saw a jogger following us for the last 3 miles! I don’t know about you but I’m struggling to take photo’s, write notes, inspect interesting flora and fauna, navigate and keep up with her at the same time! Can someone hold her back please!


We soon arrive at another bridge of the same ilk. This one is Patch Bridge and marks our campsite at Slimbridge. There’s a lovely pub here called the Tudor Arms - fancy a pint? Come on - let’s linger a while and enjoy a quiet bevvy, and in the glorious sunshine too.

The pub is actually at the head of the campsite which runs alongside the canal. The Slimbridge Wildlife and Wetland Centre is just down the lane but we’ve no time to visit today, perhaps some other time?The pub has a great menu for both lunchtime and evening but we’ve brought our sarnies haven’t we? So we won’t be partaking of their fine fare I’m afraid.

Let’s get cracking again! There’s no rush but we can’t spend the whole afternoon sampling the  beer here, delicious though it may be.
It’s not long before we arrive at Purton which boasts yet another swing bridge and marks today’s stage end. Uncharacteristically we have to call for a taxi here as the bus service around these tiny but charming villages and hamlets is very sparse - there are just 2 buses each day, both unfortunately too early in the day to fit with our walking strategy.

I take my mobile out of the rucksack to make the call to a local taxi firm that I’d previously sourced online only to find that there is no signal here1 Not a rhizome! I spot a telephone box but having previously had problems getting these things to work for me I walk over to the guy who’s in charge of opening 
and closing the swing-bridge. 

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He’s the Duty Bridge Keeper and on hearing of my dilemma he picks up his landline phone in the cabin, asks me for the number and even arranges the taxi for us. Now that’s what I call a public service! We sit in the sunshine for about 30 minutes and then we’re whisked back to our days’ start and our waiting car.

See you tomorrow? OK! We’ll grab some tea at base camp and I guess it won’t be long before we hit the sack.

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