Sunday, 2 April 2017

Edstone (a day of spring firsts)

The West Warwickshire walking club have picked out circular walks that start at each of the minor stations between Stratford and Worcester.  Some of them, such as The Lakes, are request stops. The walks are seven or eight miles long with options to take shorter versions.  It’s good that they have based them on stations as it encourages people to take public transport rather than their cars.

The walks take in a lot of unclassified county roads as well as general footpaths through woods and farmland so they are nicely varied.  We are moored near the path of the Wilmcote and Aston Cantlow walk so we took that one on Saturday.

We were locking up the boat when we saw our first Orange Tip butterfly of the year fly by – a lovely freshly emerged male.  This was two weeks earlier than last year.   I always say these butterflies are my real harbingers of spring so, even though we will probably still get frosts, as far as I’m concerned spring is here.

A field of rape in early bloom outside Aston Cantlow – the first we have seen this year

The fields we crossed to get to Wilmcote were full of ewes and lambs which kept Buddy interested for quite a while.  The lambs seemed to vary quite dramatically in age as it seemed some were only a day or so old and others several weeks.

The escarpments in this area were quarried for their limestone which is why there were so many cart tracks which are now unclassified county roads.

We approached Aston Cantlow through the churchyard; the church is where William Shakespeare’s parents were married.

Aston Cantlow church

Most of the walks have a pub on the route and this was no exception.  As we were only a mile or so from home we popped into the Kings Head for a refreshing pint.

Buddy making the most of the cold stone floor in the pub

Setting out after our drink we saw a sole swallow on a telegraph wire.  I took a couple of pictures and also put one up on FaceBook as I was so pleased to see an early spring arrival.  It wasn’t until we go back later that I noticed it was out of focus.

At least you can tell it was a swallow from the shape

We fell in love with a hamlet we went through called Newnham; it had a handful of houses and was ½ mile down at the end of a no through road.  It obviously used to have roads to Aston Cantlow and Wilmcote because we followed these on the walk.

During the day we saw six Orange Tips, two Commas, three Small Tortoiseshells and eight Brimstones,

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