Earl's Hill Walk
On Sunday 2 April, we took a fair trip out to Pontesford, SW of Shrewsbury, for a walk starting and ending at Earl’s Hill nature reserve, led by Alison and Lesley.
It was a beautiful spring day, ideal for walking, and the countryside round there is very pretty, with several hills, woods and ponds noted on the walk.
There are also a number of quiet lanes to walk along.
We also passed through the village of Castle Pulverbatch - unfortunately not stopping at the White Horse Inn
– before having a look at what is left of the motte and bailey castle
and then having our lunch on a very pretty and secluded bank
with a lovely view.
Later, we passed around Lawn Hill
before climbing back up to Earl’s Hill to finish the walk. All in all, a really lovely day out.
Staunton Harold Walk 19 Feb 2017
This walk, led by Jo and Peter, started from the beautiful grounds of Staunton Harold Hall, near Ashby de la Zouch. Lying in a green valley is the privately owned house, the church (National Trust) and the stables, now converted to craft shops, workshops, gallery and tearoom.
As it does lie in a valley, naturally we started off by doing a little gentle hill climbing and after reaching the top, walked along the Staunton Ridgeway.
The path has a number of unusual features including a ‘Look through the keyhole’ in the stone wall through which Peter could look back at the church. Honestly - that's what he was doing!
Also, there are 13 stiles, each bearing incised lettering. Stiles 1 and 3 bear a monogram and the date 1994, and nos. 2 to 12 show arts of a quotation from Hilaire Belloc (south to north) and Staunton Harold Hall’s owner John Blunt. (north to south).
Our walk then took us through a field of Highland cattle which, although fierce looking, seemed remarkably docile; Jenny even spent some time chatting to one, even managing to scratch its head. Rather her than me!
After a coffee break we carried on to the outskirts of Melbourne Hall estate, where we had time to ponder over the weir by the bridge over the lake.
Shortly after we came across a field containing a herd of Old English Longhorns (Pics 8 and 9) which were also fierce looking but equally docile.
After walking through the Breedon Priory golf course, we had a short but steep climb past the Bulwarks – remains of Iron Age earthworks - and reached the high point of the walk, the summit of Breedon Hill, 400 feet above sea level. Richard was obviously very pleased to get to the 13th century church at the top where we had our lunch stop.
We also found the historically significant church open to visitors and we all had a leisurely look around inspecting the tombs of the Shirley family.
Before we set off down the hill, we took advantage of the excellent views from its west side, near the beacon. There is a sheer drop into Breedon Quarry from here.
We then went down the hill into Breedon village and over a stream where we found masses of snowdrops. After that it was only a couple of miles over the fields to get back to Staunton Harold Hall.
Despite the cold and misty winter weather, 22 of us enjoyed a walk around Sandon and Milwich on Sunday 22 January 2017 led by Anne and Tony. Starting off from the car park opposite the Dog and Doublet public house, we walked up the hill to All Saints church which stands at the edge of the parkland of Sandon Hall, owned by the Earls of Harrowby since 1777.
There has been a church on the site, set high above the Trent Valley, since at least 1130. The views from up here are lovely. We then walked across Upper Park, which is the highest ground at Sandon, to reach Trentham Tower.
This pavilion, made from the upper part of the Belvedere stone tower from Trentham Hall, was moved here after Trentham Hall’s demolition in 1910/11. At the time, Lord Harrowby purchased it for £100 and it became known as Lord Harrowby’s Folly.
We were pleased to see that It's been restored since we were here last. We were surprised to find that there is a lock-up underneath the monument. Ed seemed worried that he might be left there!
Shortly after, we had our customary coffee break sitting on some convenient tree trunks.
Every now and again we have to stop to make sure that everyone is with us – as you can see 13 of us were waiting for the other 9. We haven’t lost anyone yet, but 10% wastage is usually reckoned to be the maximum!