walking

Jo’s Monday walk : Loving Lagos

It’s not often that I venture to the western end of the Algarve but, when I do, the city of Lagos is a particular favourite of mine. I knew that my daughter loved it too, from a fleeting visit about 10 years ago.  What better excuse did I need for a bit of footloose and fancy free?

The old side of town is a warren of twisting and turning switchback streets, with fleeting glimpses of interest as you whizz around a harepin bend.  Lisa commented that she was glad not to be in the driving seat, but we put our faith in my valiant other half, and eventually we found parking, way up beyond the castle walls.  I had not realised that they were so extensive.  Following our noses led us to an interesting wall or two of graffiti.

Truth be known, these days some of Lagos is a little bit tacky with touristy shops and restaurants- a victim of its own success and having some of the Algarve’s most inviting beaches.  But I can overlook a street or two that resembles Albufeira because this is a very engaging place.  It has history and beautiful churches, and it has character in spades, if you go looking.

Peeping between the narrow streets, the spires of several churches catch the eye.  I knew Santo Antonio by reputation, but was a little disappointed not to be able to share the astounding architecture and elaborately gilded wood with you.  Photographs were forbidden, but I did manage to find a link.  On the main square, Santa Maria was much less elaborate, but still beautiful.

Lagos has a history stretching back over 2000 years.  Originally a Celtic settlement, it was colonised by the Romans (as Lacobriga), valuable to them for its fine harbour.  When the Moors arrived in the 8th century, they added fortifications of castle and walls, and established trading with North Africa.  Henry the Navigator made Lagos the centre of Portuguese maritime explorations in the 15th century, the caravels venturing further and further south along the west coast of Africa, hoping to find a route to India.  In 1434 Gil Eanes succeeded in rounding the cape but sadly, within 10 years, the slave trade was established.  Lagos has the dubious distinction of having Europe’s first slave market.  Prince Henry received one fifth of the selling price of each slave, helping him to fund further expeditions.

With the death of Henry, Lagos continued to receive shipments of goods and slaves but its role was gradually eclipsed by the rising star of Lisbon.  A string of forts was constructed along the coast to defend from pirates and neighbouring Spain.  Among them, Ponta da Bandeira Fort, which sits so picturesquely on the headland.  From 1576 to 1755, Lagos was capital of the Algarve, but the earthquake of 1755 destroyed much of the old town.  Some of the castle walls remain but many of the current buildings date from 17th century.

Knowing my tendency to linger by the sea, I was allowed only the merest glimpse of the fort before being whisked away to lunch.  The lure of white sangria just about did the trick.  Over lunch we discussed ‘where next’ and Lisa made it a mission to find for me the landmark ‘green building’ which appears in many images of Lagos.  We were, of course, permitted to dawdle by the odd shop.  Ingenious use is being made of cork these days- everything from tiny purses to sandals, with jewellery and even clever fans.  Eye catching balustrades and tumbles of flowers were duly noted.

Lisa was following Google maps (isn’t technology a wonderful thing?) in a haphazard sort of way.  There were simply too many distractions.  Crossing Praça Gil Eanes I could see just a snippet of Ribeira Bensafrim, the river that pours out into the ocean.  We climbed gently and found ourselves in a square looking at a very colourful building, which proved to be the living science centre. ( Centro Ciência Viva de Lagos)

A restaurant terrace looked out onto the marina and busy river.  No sign of the desired ‘green building’ but, as we retraced our steps downhill, there it was in all its glory.  How had we missed it?  ‘Azulejos e postais‘- Tiles and postcards, as it is now known, on Praça de Luis Camoes.

Close up the tiles were very beautiful, and the owner was delighted to discuss the restoration of his building.  Mission accomplished, it remained to find our way back uphill to where we left the car.  I hope you loved Lagos too, and enjoyed our ramble together.

I’m back in the UK now, so hopefully ‘normal’ service will resume, but I may be a while catching up.  Thanks so much for your loyalty, and for staying with me.  Once again I have a bumper bundle of walks to share, so do please find time to visit these lovely folk.  And if you’d like to share a walk with me, just follow the logo.  Many thanks!

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

Everybody should see this place once in their lifetime, so thanks, Lady Lee :

Santorini

While nobody does spectacular better than Debbie :

Slow and exposed walk along the Thames

Drake treated me to the warm glow of Autumn in a place that I love :

Colorful Autumn

And Elaine took me to her pretty home patch, too :

Early November walk by the canal

While Jill took me to a place that I’ve long wanted to visit :

Come explore Cadiz with me

And Cadyluck Leedy took me to an area that I don’t know at all!

Jo’s Monday Walk : Dinan, France

Liesbet has some spectacular photos, taken between house sits :

Southern Utah’s National Parks

And Violet takes me waterfalling

Inglis Falls

I did think Silly Back Lane an odd place name, but then I looked again.  Cheers, Jude!

Siblyback Lake

But then Woolly made me sad all over again :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk43_Gibraltar-Bunker

There’s something so distinctive about French windows and shutters.  And about Tobias; style :

Beynac, Part One

Beynac, Part Two

I’m really enjoying  Carol’s ‘close to home’ series, with their wonderful details.  Just look at these trees!

BYO Birdseed

Becky’s cheating a little bit with this one :

Glass, iron and steel at Kew

But on Friday morning I was sitting right here, waiting for the ferry to the Ilha.  Sunny memories :

A short stroll at Quatro Aguas

I have a gazillion photos to sort, including those from Lumiere in Durham last night.  Amazing stuff!  It’s forecast a damp week so it looks like I’ll have time to spare.  Whatever you get up to, I hope it’s a good week for you.  Take care!

 

 

 

Jo’s Monday walk : A whizz around Beverley

Many of you had never heard of Beverley in East Yorkshire when I shared my recent visit to its magnificent Minster.  I’m back this morning to give you a whistlestop tour of the town.  Hold on to your hats!

It was another of those whims of mine that took me there on a coach trip one September day.  The journey seemed tortuous and I wondered why I was putting myself through it, but immediately I set foot inside the Minster I knew that it had been worthwhile.

I glimpsed the spires as we drove into town and as soon as the coach doors opened I was off and beelining for it.  I found the Tourist Information office on Butcher Row en route, and grabbed a map with details of the Beverley Town Trail.  Patience not being my middle name, when I realised that it gave a choice of 4 local walks I threw up my hands and just got on with the job.  Straight down Highgate brought me to the gates of the Minster.  It was a grey old sky, not bringing out the best of the old stone, yet the building had presence.

Bowled over by Beverley will take you inside, if you missed it.  Glancing at the map when I came out, I continued around the outside of the grounds to Minster Yard South.  I was quite surprised to find a grassy paddock with cows grazing contentedly, here in the middle of town.  I knew that it was a market town, but still, a little strange?  The white phonebox set a smile on my face as I continued onto Eastgate.

I detoured, as directed, on Friary Walk for a look at the former Friary, but this was planted firmly in the midst of a housing complex, and I did not loiter.  Back towards Wednesday Market- what an endearing name for the square, peaceful on a Thursday, with pavement cafes and coffee drinkers enjoying the mild temperatures.  On along Butcher Row, taking more notice this time of an interesting mix of shops and eating places.

I stopped occasionally to consult the trail guide, which was full of fascinating snippets of information.  Medieval Beverley was a wealthy town with a diverse population of skilled workers.  Carpenters, armourers, printers, locksmiths, weavers, hatters, brewers, ropemakers- the list is impressive and comprises 39 different medieval guilds.  Do you know what trade a fletcher pursued?  No- nor me! (He made arrows)  The trail encourages you to look for signs of each, but time was precious.  I was heading for Saturday Market and a handsome Market Cross.

It surprised me to read that Beverley was once the 10th largest town in England, and one of the richest, based on the wool industry and the pilgrims who came here to venerate its founder.  The town dates back to 700AD, when St. John of Beverley founded a monastery on the site of the Minster.

Market Cross sits most elegantly at the heart of the square known as Saturday Market, surrounded by attractive buildings.  Did you notice two more white telephone boxes?  Saturday is the main market day here and I can imagine traffic coming to a standstill.  Just beyond the square you can see the tower of St. Mary’s Church, and that’s where I headed next.  As luck would have it, closing was at 4, giving me half an hour to explore.

St. Mary’s was founded in 1120 and the foundations of the early Norman building are still visible in places.  A notable feature of the church are the stone carvings.  The Minstrel Pillar is shown below but I missed the carving of a rabbit dressed as a pilgrim, dated around 1330 and said to have been the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s White Rabbit.  (You can see him on this link)  The vestry ceiling is painted to represent a map of the heavens, and reminded me of Polish churches I’ve seen.

Amazing to have such a beautiful church and the Minster in one small town.  The ceiling of the chancel is quite breathtaking and I was thrilled to be able to get close to the 28 wonderfully carved misericords.  And who can resist that humble donkey, waiting in the wings?

Take a breath!  The misericords next…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My time in Beverley was running out, and looking at the trail guide it seems I’d covered most of the 4 walks.  I was disappointed not to have found the Beck and its shipping heritage, but a bonus was the logically named North Bar Within and North Bar Without.  They sandwich North Bar, the earliest brick built town entrance in England.

Heading back to the coach, there was just time to stick my nose in the Coronation Garden, formerly owned by St. Mary’s Church, which explains the headstones.  The benches were empty but I couldn’t stop.

I grabbed a takeaway coffee and a few munchies and subsided onto the bus home, via the Humber Bridge.  But that will have to wait for another time.  I’m off to the Algarve on Wednesday and not sure exactly when I’ll be posting again.

Did you manage to keep up?  I hope you enjoyed it.  I’m onto my second cup of coffee and I’m hoping you’ll do the same.  Put the kettle on and have a good read.  All of these are worth it so please do visit them.  Thank you so much to everyone who’s taken part and kept me company all these weeks.  I’ll be popping in on you when I can.

Starting with an introduction- meet Nadja and her scene stealing photos of Austria :

The Maltese Valley

Fantastic memories of one lovely lady, from another!  Thanks so much, Becky :

An evening stroll for Jo

What would you expect to find at a zoo?  Violet had a bit of a surprise :

At the zoo

I adore dates, and here’s Jackie teasing me with date cake!

Matrimonial cake

Are you an early morning jogger?  Ju-Lyn has the nicest surrounds to tempt you out of bed :

Guess who I met at the Singapore Botanic Gardens?

Candy has some really lovely walks in Brittany.  This is just one of many :

A walk around Landerneau

Kathrin is determined to hike Half Dome one day, but this looks just as good!

North Dome Hike

Carol’s finally finished her English adventures.  What next?  I think I know :

The Last Afternoon

Woolly has a wonderful way with our feathered friends :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk38_Balyang-Sanctuary-2

Bringing a bit of desert heat our way, I wish I was looking over Drake’s shoulder :

In the sand

And with even more sand in the picture, this is a real beauty from Karen, if a little strenuous!

The Three Beaches Walk

Putting up a gutsy performance and us dilettantes to shame, I’m ending on a real high with Lexie :

High Tatras High

Ending on a high is always a good way to go.  Take good care of yourselves, and I’ll be back before you know it.

Jo’s Monday walk : Yarn bombing in Yorkshire

I do love a bit of enthusiasm, don’t you?  Last year, when the Tour de Yorkshire came to Thirsk, the celebrations included a colorful yarn bombing of the market square.  Flushed with success, they did it all over again this year, for Yorkshire Day, on August 1st.

In all honesty, I’d quite forgotten about it.  I was merely entertaining myself with a bit of a walk, my husband being hard at work in nearby South Kilvington.  With a little more foresight I could have chosen one of a number of walks, available through Thirsk Tourist Information.  But, as often happens, I opted to follow my nose, in the rough direction of the town centre.

At a mini roundabout I chose Stammergate over Long Street, and the gentle curve of St. James Green.  A sign in the window, “If you want the best seat in the house- move the dog”, made me smile.  I followed the dog walker down a narrow path and found myself on the banks of Cod Beck.  The name derives from Cold Beck, a beck being smaller than a river, and it runs deep between the banks of the stream, so is always fairly cool.  It flows from Cod Beck Reservoir at Osmotherley, on the edge of the North York Moors, for 22 miles, passing through the centre of Thirsk and finally joining with the River Swale.

It’s unusual to find a young woman, fishing on her own.  Not so unusual to find a small girl entranced by the tumbling waters of the weir.  A signboard tells me that this area is known as The Holmes, where a grove of straight stemmed willows were once used for basket making.  I turned back at the weir, heading for 15th century St. Mary’s Church, opposite The Marage, the site of a former fishpond and recreational area.

Unfortunately there was a service in progress in the church, so I turned into Kirkgate, discovering my first hint of yarn bombing at Thirsk Hall.

Kirkgate is also home to the World of James Herriot.  You may remember the TV series ‘All creatures great and small’, based on the books by James Herriot about the life of a vet in the Yorkshire Dales.  Thomas Lord, founder of Lord’s Cricket Club in London, was born in 1755 in the house on Kirkgate that now houses Thirsk Museum.

Thirsk is built around a large medieval market square, established in 1145, and the market continues to function every Monday and Saturday. Today it’s enhanced by something warm and whimsical.  Sit back and enjoy!

Wonderful, aren’t they?  I expect I’ve missed a few, but traffic and awkward angles didn’t help. The Tourist Information office is in Market Place, but closed on Sundays.  I wandered round into Millgate and found myself surrounded by ducks as I admired the bridge.  Once a corn mill was sited here, fed by a mill race and regulated by sluice gates.  All that remains today is the weir we saw earlier.

But inevitably I’m drawn back to Market Place.  It’s time for a cuppa, don’t you think?

It’s an interesting place and I hope you enjoyed our wander.  Do you have anywhere nearby where the yarn bombers have been busy?  The first place I ever saw it was Hunstanton in Norfolk, but since then I’ve even seen it in the Algarve!  And, of course, my favourite little seaside town, Saltburn, dazzles every year.  Let’s pop the kettle on now!  Time for a read.

Thanks, everybody!  Once again I have some wonderful contributions.  You never let me down. Please try to find time to visit these lovely people. You won’t be disappointed.  And if you can join me next week, that’d be great too.  Details, as always, on my Jo’s Monday walk page.

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

Absolutely my kind of walk!  Hell, it certainly isn’t, Jude!

A Walk to Hell’s Mouth

And it’s heaven on the beach, with Meg this week.  Wordlessly!

Wordless walk : Potato Point Beach at sunrise

Who’d have thought inland Australia could look like this?  A truly fabulous post from Miriam!

The Rim of Life : King’s Canyon

Did you know Jesh runs a challenge?  Join in, if you’d like to :

September Changes

Jackie’s off on another jaunt!

Food, Fuel, Lodging, Attractions

I’ve always wanted to visit Yosemite!  Marsha gives us a few tips on the National Parks :

What is One of the Most Popular Destinations in California?

And who hasn’t wanted to walk at least part of the Camino?  Andrew, I hope you’re paying attention?  Good luck to you, Jill!

Day five on the Camino de Santiago : Larrasoana to Cizur Menor

Liesbet gets into some strange places on this one!

Day Trips around Santa Fe, NM- Bandelier National Monument

Some folks are a bit lazy when it comes to walking.  Not you, Becky, of course!

A stroll between Lisbon’s three funiculars

Another post from Northumberland, by David.  And did you find that photo, Sue?

Craster- Dunstanburgh Castle- Embleton Bay & back again

Where’s Drake got to this week?  Take a look!

Down by the corner

Woolly brings us more heartbreak from France :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk36_Thiepval-2

And finally, are there any better cities for walking in?  Just ask Carol!

London Walking

That’s it for another week!  I’m off up to Durham with the group this morning.  Take care till next time!

 

 

Jo’s Monday walk : A sally round Seahouses

Recently I ventured further up the north east coast than usual, to the little harbourside village of Seahouses.  Over the border and into Northumberland, in fact.  Aside from the beaches stretching north and south, the main attraction of this village is the prospect of a trip to the Farne Islands, a well-known seabird sanctuary.  Boat trips run to the islands year round, weather permitting, and from April to October it is usually possible to land on one of the islands for a closer look at the wildlife.  Puffins are the stars of the show.

I strolled along the pier eyeing the queues, and smiled when I came to the ticket office for Billy Shiel’s.  The Shiel family have been running boat trips to the islands since 1918, just after the First World War.  They started the business to supplement their income from fishing, escorting a few keen ornithologists. Allegedly there are 28 islands out there, but many of them are submerged at high tide.

I was on a coach trip that day, and had opted to spend more time at Bamburgh, just around the bay, so no boat trip for me.  I carried on around the harbour, in the direction of the golf links. Something to eat, maybe?  Those views across to the islands are very tempting.

There was bunting up in the village, and I like a warm welcome, but I discovered there was to be a bike race the next day.  No matter!  I felt welcome enough as I strolled back through the village.  It’s typical seaside, with buckets and spades, crazy golf and a smattering of knick-knack shops.

Back at the seafront I survey the scene.  It’s a wide and wild vista.  The craggy shoreline and harbour, and off in the distance the mighty bastion that is Bamburgh, my next destination.  Will the weather hold out for me?  I do hope so!

There are lots more details on the National Trust pages about the Farne Islands, including how to get there.  I think they’re worth a trip.

I expect you’re disappointed not to have something to eat?  Fish and chips are a popular choice around here.  You might remember that a couple of Saturdays ago I posed you a question?  I totally forgot to give you the answer.  Did I have chocolate and almond brownie or creme brulé? I could very easily have eaten either, but let me tell you the brownie was delicious!  Many thanks for staying with me.  I do appreciate your company.  Time to put the kettle on now, and share a few walks.  If you’d like to join in, details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  You’re always very welcome!

………………………………………………………………………….

It’s a bit shivery, but undeniably beautiful where Amanda is this week :

Walking with Edmund at 760 metres

Bunkers on the beach!  Quite an unusual sight, from our man Drake :

Concrete nature

Come trainspotting in Hamburg with Lady Lee?

Holiday in Hamburg, part 2

You can always rely on Jackie for cake.  And the rest!

Wedding Cake

I love the diversity my walks attract.  How about some quilting with Violet?

263 times 120 feet

Things are looking a little brighter for Denzil this week :

La Foret du Pays de Chimay

I know nothing of Adelaide, but it looks like there’s plenty to know.  Please say hello to Anne-Marie :

Footsteps in Adelaide Walk Seven : Stepping Out along the Beach

And while we’re at the beach, look what Woolly’s found!

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk34-Logans-Beach-Whale-Nursery

Not too many walks today!  It’s been the Summer hols for some of us.  Time to dig the boots out again. Have a great week!

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Carding Mill Valley

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, and heaven knows, there’s been enough of it lately, but I want to dedicate this post to the memory of Kate, who many of you knew as Rough Seas in the Med.  Kate died on 13th August.  I don’t know the circumstances.  This came as an enormous shock to me, and I cannot imagine how her partner, Adrian, is dealing with it.  Kate was a very straight-talking woman, with a very soft centre when it came to animals.  She loved her native Yorkshire too, and would often comment if I featured it. Regretfully we never met, though I once did visit Gibraltar briefly.  My thoughts are with her family and friends.  I’m sorry to start your Monday this way, but Adrian is in no position to pass on such sad news himself.  Rest in peace, Kate.

Last week I brought you with me to Church Stretton, in Shropshire.  I promised that I had something a little special in store for this week.  I hope you will agree with me that Carding Mill Valley justifies that.

My own expectations were high.  Rising to a lovely sunrise and clearing blue skies, I could hardly wait to get started.  I was staying at Arden House, on the very edge of Carding Mill Valley, and the owner had kindly supplied me with map and suggestions.  An 8 mile circular, through the valley, up to the heights of the Long Mynd and back down through Ashes Hollow, was the walk of choice.  I wasn’t sure that I had sufficient stamina for this, but there was the incentive, at the 6 mile point, of a highly recommended pub.  My companion approved.

Church Stretton was known as a centre of the textile industry, using wool from its abundant sheep.  The carding mill was built in the valley in the 18th century, ‘carding’ being one of the 3 stages of processing the wool, followed by spinning and weaving.  Back then carding would have been deemed a job for children, using a hand-card, a wooden block with metal spikes, to remove and untangle short fibres from the wool.  The mill was closed and demolished at the beginning of the 20th century, but the name lives on.

Bypassing the National Trust centre, which didn’t open till 10, I headed up toward the reservoir.  A little hummock led to a viewing point for Bodbury Ring, Iron Age hill fort where, more than 2,500 years ago, Celtic tribes guarded their sheep and cattle.  The mill pools along this stretch used to feed water down to the carding mill.

You can walk all around the reservoir, catching glimpses through the trees, and even swim in it, if you wish.  Unusually this is encouraged by the National Trust, because it is beneficial to the algae in the water.  Continuing up the valley the walk becomes ever more beautiful, for this is August, the time when the heather blooms in an entrancing purple.

I had taken the top route, referred to as the Pipe Walk by National Trust, with wonderful views down to the valley.  Soon my mountain goat skills were going to be tested as I scrambled up and around the waterfall at Lightspout Hollow.  At this point I could have retreated down the valley, with a 3 mile walk under my belt and the prospect of refreshment on the roof terrace of the café.

The sky was darkening a little and there seemed a serious prospect of getting wet, but by the time I was up and over it had brightened again.  The instructions said to carry on uphill, bearing slightly to the right until reaching level ground. Michael was walking slightly ahead of me and I wondered what had caught his eye.  One of the most magical moments of the walk was about to happen.

Unconcerned mother, and uncertain child

I tiptoed gently past, before breathing out.  This wasn’t our only sighting of ponies along the walk but I had been totally unprepared to see a foal, so close to the path. Soon I reached Dr. Mott’s road, a path built by local people to enable the doctor to visit patients on the west side of the Long Mynd.  A left turn here will bring you to the gravel track of The Shropshire Way.  This is a popular stretch and people often drive up to visit the trig point, a stupendous viewpoint at 516 metres above sea level.  You can see for miles.  Look, there’s the Wrekin, in the far distance!

And now it’s downhill again, following the path signed for Ashes Hollow.  It’s another beautiful valley and it’s good to be alive.  And then I come upon these two young families, communicating with each other.  Heartwarming, isn’t it?

The ponies aren’t the only inhabitants of the valleys but they must be the most endearing.  My feet were getting tired and the end not yet in sight.

Finally, after crossing the stream a time or two, the valley bottom opens out and I am approaching the village of Little Stretton.  A pretty cottage, a camp site and a ford, and I’ve arrived.  And did you ever see a lovelier church?  With thatching too!

Best of all, The Ragleth, some excellent pub grub and a rest for the weary feet.  We won’t mention the evil wasp that turned up uninvited.  Suitably refreshed, the 2 miles back to Church Stretton could be undertaken, either along the road or following the old Cunnery drovers trail.  The other half failed to tell me that the second, more interesting option, climbed a hill almost vertically, to round the back of the village.

Thank heavens for interesting distractions!  The National Trust have a number of walks on their website, with many more details, plus instructions on how to get there.  I understand the café does good cake, too!

Another Monday, another walk!  Well, lots in fact, and I hope you have time to enjoy them.  Many thanks to all of you, for your patience and loyalty. If you’d like to join in, details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page, and you’ll be very welcome.

………………………………………………………………………

Something new to start!  How about a poetry walk with Frank?

Woolshed walk : moss march

Woolshed walk : the splash

Or, maybe, ‘no words’, with Meg?

Wordless walk : Glasshouse Rocks, Cemetery Beach

Hamburg does look an appealing city.  After all, it was good enough for the Beatles.  Thanks, Lady Lee!

Holiday in Hamburg

This lady has a bit of a food obsession, but she’s not alone.  Happy eating, Jackie!

Steakout

Drake does quite a lot of reflecting.  He’s such a thoughtful guy!

Reflecting bike ride

In case you suspected that Denzil might not be a dedicated walker, here’s evidence to the contrary :

Walking around a very wet Virelles

And something I know you’ll all love, from Carol.  No, she’s not meeting royalty!

Hello Harry

I hope that Kate would have enjoyed this walk.  I’m sorry if I’ve shocked some of you with the news.  I think we need to live our lives, before they’re taken from us. Wishing you all a peaceful and happy week ahead!

Jo’s Monday walk : Simply Church Stretton

Like many an aspiring writer, I’m going to start small on my recent visit to Shropshire.  Then I can build up to the really good stuff for next week’s walk. That’s the theory, anyway.  How well do you know Church Stretton?  Not at all? Then you’ll be happy to take a little stroll with me.

Much of my information is gleaned from Wikipedia, but I was already familiar with the concept of ‘Little Switzerland’.  Many years ago I attempted to coerce a small boy up one of the hills that surround Church Stretton, but he was far happier down in the valley.  As you drive the 13 miles south from Shrewsbury, the hills start to close in around you.  The local geology includes some of the oldest rocks in England, formed over 560 million years ago, and the area has been inhabited for thousands of years. ‘Stretton’ derives from the Old English for ‘street’, and ‘settlement’.  A Roman road, Watling Street, ran through Stretton Gap, as the dale is known, on a similar course to the current, busy A49.

It was a murky, grey day when I left the sanctuary of Arden House, hoping that the rain would hold off for an hour or two.  The handsome old shop fronts were immediately attractive and I wasn’t the only one to press my nose up against the windows.  There’s been a weekly market on the High Street since 1214, but a fire in 1593 destroyed much of the town.  Many of the half-timbered buildings date from that period.

My lovely friend Tish had advised me to look out for Entertaining Elephants, an ancient barn converted to a health food and eco clothing store, ran by her sister, another Jo.  And there it was, bang smack in the middle of the High Street.

Behind the Buck’s Head pub and the market place I had caught a glimpse of St. Laurence’s Church.  And just look at those apricot roses!

But first I lost my heart, just a little, to the most romantic of Tudor cottages. Unfortunately it wasn’t a ‘for sale’ sign that Michael was reading.

Some places have the most delightful back streets.   I was heading for the church but stylish headwear in a leafy window caught my eye, and the passionflower, of course.  The Tourist Information office, in a former school dating back to 1861, was closed, it being a Monday.

According to the Domesday Book there was a church here before the Norman Conquest in 1066.  It would likely have been a small wooden building. The Norman church we see today would have been built between 1110 and 1130. Sometimes a church really speaks to me, and so it was with this one.  A feeling of warmth embraced me as I gazed around.  Unusually the chairs were arranged in a semi-circle, increasing the feeling of inclusion. I loved the wall hangings and the ceiling art.

In case you’re wondering if we’re ever going to stretch our legs today, let me reassure you.  I had downloaded a leaflet of a walk in Rectory Wood before I left home.  This promised a ‘stroll in the footsteps of Georgian gentry’ which could be undertaken directly from the town.  The rain hadn’t yet caught up with us, and we were close to an entry to the wood.  It’s only short so, what are we waiting for?

You might have noticed that I come across Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown a lot on my travels.  It sometimes seems he was everywhere!  Rectory Wood once formed part of the grounds of the rectory in Church Stretton.  Around 1770 Rev. John Mainwaring created a designed woodland landscape garden, probably inspired by his friend Brown, who was known to visit the town.

It’s an atmospheric spot, with it’s yew-ringed pond, the ruined folly and an ice house. The shadows and reflections conjure mysteries in the woods. I stare into the pond, looking for answers.  But then the woods recede, and I’m back to the churchyard.

There’s more to see, if you have the time, but for now I’ll settle for putting my feet up in the luxury of my apartment.  I’ll leave you with a peep into Stretton Antiques Market, which ranges over 3 floors. See anything you fancy?

I’m hoping you’ll be back with me next week.  Carding Mill Valley is really a bit special, and I had the most gloriously sunny day to walk it.  Time to put the kettle on now and catch up with my walkers.

Many thanks to all of you who wander along with me, week by week.  It’s much appreciated.  If you feel like joining in at any time details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  You’ll be very welcome.

………………………………………………………………………………………

What nicer place to start rambling than a Scottish island?  Thanks, Anabel!

Arran – the walks

A bundle of fun images from Lady Lee :

Home is where the heart is

Another episode of ‘life chez Jackie’ :

Tea Time

Indra takes us back to colourful Hong Kong in 2010 :

Rock Art and the Color Green

I’m always keen to showcase something different.  Try photo walking with Aarti?

Will walk with friends @ Mumbai

I love an aerial view on life, especially when Drake’s in the pilot seat :

In the air

Walks don’t always have a happy ending, unless you’re Peter Pan.  Thanks, Susan!

Walking the Plank

I’m becoming addicted to Wordless walking.  Meg makes such a superb companion :

Wordless walks : Smuggler’s Cove, Carters Beach and Narooma Surf Beach

Woolly focuses first on the ladies caught up in this madness and then, a conclusion :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk32_Lochnagar-Crater-Pt3

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk33_Lochnagar-Crater-Pt4

Denzil has his ups and downs, but so long as it’s in beautiful scenery…

Walking around Viroinval

Eunice finds her walk a little boring, but the cloud reflections are lovely :

A Rivington ramble

It’s an English Bank Holiday next week so heaven help the weather.  I’ll still be here though, so have a great week and see you then!

Jo’s Monday walk : Bolton Abbey and the Strid

When the email dropped into my Inbox I was immediately excited.  It was many years since I’d been to Bolton Abbey, in the Yorkshire Dales, but I knew it had a special location.  An invitation to walk there in the company of some of my Algarve walking friends was a real cause for excitement.

I should explain.  In the Eastern Algarve there are 2 complimentary groups of walkers, dubbed the Strollers and the Striders.  The first ambles in a highly social way, with plenty of coffee stops.  The second covers the ground much more swiftly, in order to reach the goal of a substantial meal. You can belong to either, or both, depending on your ability. They are equally welcoming and a very nice bunch of people overall.  One thing they have in common is that they don’t walk in the hot Algarve summer months.  Many return to the UK, and that is how this walk came about.  I felt privileged to be a part of their first ever English walk together.

Meeting at the Cavendish Pavilion, we exchanged hugs and kisses before a quick catch up of news, over coffee.  The weather was much as it has been for most of this summer, and we all carried waterproofs.  Time to start out, before the skies opened.

The walk neatly follows the River Wharfe, dipping and rising through Strid Wood, a glimmer of sunshine sparkling on the water from time to time. It’s life affirming stuff, in one of the county’s greatest beauty spots, of which there are many.

The river chuckles along and we pause for a group photo, happy to capture the moment. A bench made from a felled tree has been liberally ornamented with coins.  We are approaching The Strid, the focal point of this walk.

The Strid gets its name from an Anglo Saxon word, stryth, meaning turmoil.  The river suddenly narrows, forcing the water through under great pressure.  The Strid was formed from the wearing of softer rock by the circular motion of small stones in hollows. It might be a stride too far to cross over at this point, and certainly dangerous when the water is high.

Strid Wood, with its sessile oak trees, wraps around us.  As we head towards the Aqueduct the rain begins to fall.  The oaks provide shelter until it lightens again, tree ferns and wizened stone faces looking on.

The Aqueduct is another interesting feature of this walk.  The castellations hide the pipes that carry water from the reservoirs at the top of Nidderdale down to the cities of West Yorkshire.

It enables us to cross to the other side, shortening our walk a little.  We don’t get too wet, but miss out on Barden Tower and the prospect of more coffee, and possibly cake, at the Priest House.  Yes, I can hear you sighing!  Another time!

Damp seats don’t have much appeal but I love the twisted, enduring trees and down below, the gurgling of the river.  Before too long we’re crossing the bridge back to Cavendish Pavilion, and the prospect of a meal and a sit down.

We sit outside initially, but soon abandon fresh air for dryness inside and, as the heavens open, are glad that we have.  We are still optimistic and, sure enough, the skies brighten so that we can undertake the short walk across the field to the Abbey.

The 30,000 acre Bolton Abbey estate is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. At its heart stand the Priory church and the ruins of an Augustinian priory.  From 1154 until 1539 the canons lived and worshipped here.  The church survived the dissolution of the monasteries and functions still.  It maintains a wonderful atmosphere.

I wandered the grounds, captive in the angles of aged stone.  Almost unnoticed the sun sneaked in to blaze glory on the scene.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We debated amongst ourselves to see if any one of us would brave the stepping stones. In the event, the icecream van won the day, and we watched the antics on the river, before safely crossing over the bridge.

 

One final uphill endeavour past the Welly Walk, a childrens’ adventure trail, and we were safely back to base.  Hugs, smiles and ‘let’s do it again next year, shall we?’  I think we might!  It just remains to give thanks to our wonderful organisers, Peter and Sandie.

Many thanks for your company on another of my ramblings.  I hope you enjoyed it. Details of how to get there are on the Bolton Abbey website.  As many of you read this I shall be thundering towards Shropshire so expect me to be tardy in my responses.  I will be back on Wednesday evening, and hope to catch up with you all then.  Meantime, put the kettle on and enjoy!

……………………………………………………………………………….

All the way to Israel with Lisa for my first share :

Dan Reisinger

Going north with Marion to a cool and interesting part of the world :

A walk from Helsinki’ s Market Square to Tervesaari island 

Kitzbuhel and that magical part of Austria has long been on my list, so thanks Lady Lee!

Our Austrian Trip

More rambling in style, with Jackie :

Cream of the Crop

What more can I say about the war graves?  Woolly says it better :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk31_Lochnagar-Crater-Pt-2

Meg has set up a great tradition of Wordless walks.  Join her for a stroll?

Wordless walk: Burrendong botanical gardens and arboretum

Can’t beat a bit of adventure up on the moors!  Come and meet Mackenzie :

Yarnbury

Have you noticed, Drake is good at telling ghost stories?  Must be his Danish heritage :

A different ghost story

Isn’t life strange?  Here I am, heading for Shropshire, and what does Becky find?

Exploring Ironbridge Gorge, a World Heritage Site

And even better, six delightful words on her other blog :

I can’t possibly sit down here

Join me next time on Jo’s Monday walk?  Have a great week!