THE GEOPARK WAY. Bridgnorth to Highley.

The Geopark Way is a semi-waymarked 109 mile walk through the heart of the Abberley and Malvern hills, from Bridgnorth in the north to Gloucester in the south. The guide book has been written not only to allow you to follow the way but also to explain in detail the geology of 700 million years that you pass over. So there are Sandstone, Limestone , Volcanic and the Metamorphic rocks.  Geology lesson over.

Tues 9th July.

The bus from Wolverhampton to Bridgnorth was packed with concessionary travel carded trippers. Local knowledge gained from my fellow passenger allowed me to alight from the bus at the top of the Medieval town. First stop the castle remains …

The keep leans at an unlikely 15 degrees. behind is a church designed by Thomas Telford in 1792. There is a confusion of steps leading down to the lower town on the Severn or you could take the only inland funicular railway.

Found a great little cafe for a brew and a light lunch,  Olive’s Cafe by the the bridge over the Severn. A pleasant alternative to the organic cafes and wine bars  prevalent all around. Olive was quiet chatty and informative. Every one around here seems to have a friendly Brummy accent – lovely.

The walking started seriously as the heat of the afternoon built up, this was to be the pattern for the next week’s heat wave.  Mainly dog walkers and the occasional fisherman encounted on this stretch of the River Severn.

  Coming away from the river and into the woodland of Dudmaston Estate was a delight. Here  because of enlightened planting a hundred years ago there is a wonderful mix of trees now manged by the NT.

Particularly impressive are the ancient chestnuts.

Whatever the tree I was glad of the shade.   Arriving at Dudmaston Hall I realized I’d forgotten my NT card so couldn’t gain entry to the gardens and more importantly the cafe. Had to make do with a bottle of ‘Dandelion and Burdock’ purchased from the kiosk. Very refreshing – as many of my drink stops prove in this hottest week of the year.

A  walk along The Long Covert brings one to Hampton Loade  [ferry] where the foot ferry doesn’t seem to be in operation.

From here I climbed up the sandstone ridge to the village of Alveley and the friendly  Three Horse Shoe pub for further refreshment. This area is the site of extensive coal mining in the 20th century. The path I followed down to the river was the line of the coal tramway to link up with the railway on the north side of the Severn. All day I could hear the whistling steam trains on the preserved Severn Valley Railway but I never coincided for a picture. Likewise I could hear deer in the forests but never saw any. A delightful path led along the river to emerge at the Ship Inn, my accommodation for the night.

The Ship Inn.

The Ship Inn.

In the past this Inn was always popular with coalminers and day trippers from Birmingham. Now it is a destination for the well healed and the local fishermen. It proved to be an excellent overnight stop.

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