A Walk along the Dee

It was another lovely evening and time for some exercise. We decided to take the riverside walk following the tidal waters of the River Dee up to Tongland Bridge. A three and a half mile stroll along a level path felt doable and would take us around a couple of hours if we didn’t stop too many times to take photos.

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“While looking towards the north the scene is truly delightful, the banks of the river, from Tongland to the sea, being peculiarly rich in natural beauty. In the foreground is the river sparkling in the sun’s rays, and winding like a silver thread among the green meadows; while the grounds around Compstone, sloping gently to the river’s margin, are clothed with plantations of great freshness and beauty.”

Rambles in Galloway, by M. McL., Harper.1876.

The tree-lined Dee Walk begins at the end of the Kirkcudbright bridge and continues upstream alongside the river.

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At the end of the walk several paths lead off back into town, but carry on across the open grass and then after crossing a wooden footbridge (3/4 mile) turn left and walk along the flood embankment by the riverside hedgerow.

Unfortunately it was low tide, so the walk wasn’t as picturesque as it may be when the river is in full flow. Mud banks aren’t the prettiest of things, but still it was a lovely sunny evening and the wet mud glistened silver in the late sunlight.

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Several abandoned boats provided photo opportunities

And a cormorant standing out on the sand bank drying his wings

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There are good views over the reed beds and the odd bench provides a rest and chance to look back at the town.

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Just before the Bridge, there is an attractive strip of deciduous woodland, with some steep drops by the river side.

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And finally we reached the bridge. Which proved very difficult to photograph because of all the trees and scrub in front of it. This is a Thomas Telford design with three Gothic-pointed arches. The crenellated towers and the corbelled parapets are the work of Alexander Nasmyth.

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We returned to the town by retracing our steps, though we could have followed the road back as there is a roadside footpath. There we picked up some excellent fish and chips from Polarbites and took them back to our cottage to eat.

If you enjoy a walk, short or long, then you may enjoy visiting Jo’s Monday Walk where you are in for a treat.

After the rain…

After driving from the Lake District yesterday to Dumfries and Galloway in southern Scotland, we hit heavy rain. Settling down to watch the women’s final at Roland Garros, we resigned ourselves to the rest of the day indoors as we watched the mizzle turn to drizzle and people with umbrellas passed by.

But, unexpectedly, as Maria Sharapova took the crown yet again, the sun came out, so donning raincoats (just in case)  and armed with cameras, we ventured out to explore our new surroundings.

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reflections-3and what a pretty place it is…

The Magic of May: A Stroll Along the Bread Walk

“May comes sweet and complete in every detail.
Along every lane and hedgerow bank
spring a thousand small and seldom
considered things – Nature’s embroidery,
to finish off her festal robe to perfection…
Such hedgerows in May are everybody’s garden…”

~ Flora Thompson in A Country Calendar

On Sunday when the sun was shining I thought I’d grab the camera and go for a walk along the Bread Walk, which is a walk alongside the River Teme, here in Ludlow. After the pavements of London it made a nice change to have the earth beneath my feet again, well not literally of course, though I do like bare-foot walking on grass or sand.

I have mentioned the Bread Walk before in my first ‘Guide to Ludlow‘ and basically it was an early form of the dole, where unemployed men were paid in bread and blankets to re-build the pathway, destroyed by flood, so they wouldn’t drink away all their wages in the inns on their way home.

We’ll start by walking through the Broadgate, the only surviving gate in the town (there were seven) and have a nosy at the container flowers grown outside the cottages in Lower Broadgate – they are kind of rivals in the Ludlow in Bloom competition held each year. I have to say they are looking good. But judging isn’t until June so these beauties will be long gone by then.

Now across the Ludford bridge, past the Charlton Arms, no stopping for a pint just yet, and round the corner, up the steps to Whitcliffe Common. The steps are very dry, which is unusual because I thought there had been rain whilst I was away. Anyway, dry is good as they can be slippery when wet with all the mud and leaves.

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Onto flat ground and time for a breather as we admire, yet again, the view over the town. I don’t think I shall ever tire of this view. And today there is something different about it as the May Fair is in town and you can just about make out something on the horizon called the ‘Explosion’ which swings people around like a giant mixer.

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From here you can continue on the flat and across to Whitcliffe Common, and through the woodland, but we have done part of that walk before. Today I’m going down more uneven steps onto the path beside the Teme.

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There’s always something different to see along this walk, wild flowers, birds, ducks, dogs swimming, sheep across the river in the paddock now with their lambs, reflections in the still water and the sound of birds trilling in the trees trying to make themselves heard above the rush of the mill weir.

Today there is some debris caught at the top of the weir, and two Labradors enjoying a swim.  Looking up to the top of the cliff everything is a vivid new green – ferns and trees unfurling their spring shoots.

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If you look ahead you can just glimpse the castle and Dinham bridge where the walk ends. It is a very short walk. Dandelions line the path here, but further on we’ll find some different wild flowers.

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Above us is another path leading up to the common through the broadleaf woodland. The foliage is so lush at the moment it is difficult to see anyone. But look carefully.

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The path curves around past clumps of forget-me-nots and alkanet (both members of the Boraginacae tribe) and patches of wild garlic amongst nettles and dock leaves and blackberry brambles.

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forget-me-notAs we reach the end of the walk there are two pathways leading up to Whitcliffe common. Packhorse Path known locally as the Donkey Steps, climbs steeply ahead of you through the woods. So called from the long-established folk tradition that it was used by packhorses to carry ore from the Clee Hills to the ironworks at Burrington.

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Packhorse Path
Packhorse Path

The Mortimer Trail which is signed through the woods to your right is a long-distance footpath established in 1996. It runs for 30 miles from Ludlow castle to the centre of Kington in Herefordshire.

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The River Teme powered several mills in the past controlled by a series of weirs. It remains a clean river, clear well-aerated waters support a healthy population of fish and aquatic insects. These are fed upon in turn by birds such as kingfisher, dipper, grey wagtail and heron which will sometimes be seen from the Bread Walk.

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We are now at the end (or beginning) of the Bread Walk and to return to the centre of town you need to cross the Dinham Bridge.

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Where you will get the classic Ludlow view of the castle and the Dinham Weir, which is the only place where I have seen a heron.

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And if it is open, the Green Café on the Millennium Green serves a good lunch, but sadly not today.

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Now head up Dinham where the Dinham Gate (demolished in 1786), a medieval postern gate with a chamber over an arched entrance through the town wall, faced towards Wigmore and Wales.  Look out for a hedgerow of lovely fragrant lilac and then follow the old town wall back to the castle square.

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The Walk:mapSource of information from the Ludlow Civic Society blue plaque (Dinham Gate) and the information board commissioned by the Trustees of the Friends of Whitcliffe Common (Whitcliffe Common)

I’m combining Cee’s Which Way Challenge with Jo’s Monday Walk  again this week as they  complement each other.

Join in with Cee’s challenge  and  view other ‘Which Ways’.
and take a look at Jo’s Monday Walks over on Restlessjo’s blog where you are in for a treat and I guess I should also link this post to Ailsa’s Travel Theme which this week was Rivers.

Travel Theme: Rivers

Ailsa of “Where’s My Backpack?” is up the creek without a paddle – or in other words, would like to see RIVERS this week. If you would like to join in with her challenge then please do. Everyone is welcome.

Having shown several images of my local rivers, the Teme and the Corve, this week I have a couple of shots of the River Severn in Shrewsbury, where it loops around the town almost creating an island.

Above (header) is a photo of the Boathouse. It is situated on the fringes of Frankwell and Kingsland, beside a recently refurbished foot-bridge (below) that carries walkers into Quarry Park. In mid summer the patio buzzes with joyful chatter and clinking glasses as patrons sit with a view across the Severn as it snakes its way through the town.  Surprisingly there aren’t many pubs by the side of the river and this is probably the best. 

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The ‘Sabrina’ is available for gentle cruises along the river through Shrewsbury, a nice way to see the neighbours.

Have you taken a river cruise in England?

Sunday Stills, the next challenge: Bad Weather

Ed is a truck driving photographer from Tennessee who hosts a photography challenge blog called Sunday Stills here on WordPress.

This week Ed would like to see any BAD WEATHER pics.

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And what better weather photos to show you after all the rain we have experienced in the UK this month than floods – these are the River Severn overflowing in Shrewsbury.

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