Herefordshire Week 025: Tuesday 16 – Monday 22 June 2020

Conservatory casualties. Muggy downpours = greenery galore. Father’s Day BBQ. Longer walks.

No photos for one of the week’s main events – on Tuesday morning I found two female blackbirds, dead on the patio. They’d flown head first into the conservatory windows, despite the yellow post it notes and hovering birds of prey transfers. I wondered if the change in the weather – to much more humid conditions, with sporadic heavy downpours, might be partly to blame. Later in the day, Phil spotted a male recovering on the patio. It died in the early evening. All a bit sad.

It doesn’t help that I’m too squeamish to deal with the dead, of any species.

I fled the scene, doing the shorter Cockyard – Duffryn Farm – Wellfield loop.

Work’s got even busier, and the signs of the stress and strain of working from home are starting to show in earnest. Having failed to make VWW and worked late Thursday as family Zoom had moved to Friday, I worked Friday morning to break the back of a couple of larger automation projects, and feel more on top of things as a result.

It helped that Friday morning was wet.

The very rainy few days haven't ended
The very rainy few days haven’t ended

On the plus side, the garden is very green after a very rainy few days, there’s lots of Loosemore Lettuce and the tomatoes (and chillies) are thriving in their ASDA growbag.

Montage: Garden greenery
Montage: Garden greenery

On Saturday, I planted out some of the radish seedlings and the last of the junior lettuce. I had been protecting them in the conservatory during the deluges, but as it turned out, the veg patch radishes were doing much better in comparison. I’d been rather profligate in my radish seed sowing into the recycled seed trays, so I’d filled the rest of the spare space in the veg bed with the occupants of only one of the trays. Hmm. Good job I like radishes.

Lettuce and radish seedlings planted out into the Extension
Lettuce and radish seedlings planted out into the Extension

Elsewhere, apples, wild plums, hazelnuts and walnuts are burgeoning, elderflower berries are emerging and the pond lilies are looking lovely.

We have new neighbours in Thistly Field:

New neighbours: cows in Thistly Field
New neighbours: cows in Thistly Field

The Sheep Field is still vacant though.

On Sunday morning I did a longer walk, extending the usual Bacton Square: Kerrys Gate and Riverdale as usual, then turning off the B4347 and walking up past Bacton’s St Faith’s Church and on to the junction with Tremorithic Road – where there were magic views out over Hatterrall Ridge – before walking back towards the Common, dropping down into Abbey Dore on Cwm Road.

Signposts and post box at the Tremorithic Road / "Bacton Road" T junction
Signposts and post box at the Tremorithic Road / “Bacton Road” T junction

The extension pretty much doubles the route.

In the afternoon, we headed over to dad and Jean’s for another smashing BBQ. A Father’s Day FEAST:

BBQ with dad and Jean
BBQ with dad and Jean

I really want to get over to Longtown, to walk The Cat’s Back, but Monday proved a bit too breezy, and I’m a bit nervous about getting right up onto the border when Wales is still on a 5 mile lockdown, so I satisfied my wanderlust with a new, slightly random, route over to Ewyas Harold, up towards Rowlestone and a meander around Lower Maescoed before dropping back down into Dulas at The Old Trout Inn.

Monday marathon
Monday marathon

After taking the footpath round the back of Abbey Dore Court and across the field to Dore Abbey, I tried a different footpath up onto the Common from the abbey: not entirely successful as a field with cows, calves and a bull meant I deviated from the direct route – but I did discover that the farm on Cwm Hill is a deer farm. Which might explain the escapees we’ve seen roaming around…..

At the EH end of the Common, I managed to find the footpath back down to School Lane, and continued out the other side of the village along Prill Lane – Rabbit Lane – The Hill Road.

Rabbit Lane is a bit of a misnomer – it’s the sunken road we walked down as kids, and whilst it starts off with tarmac it swiftly turns to an overgrown track, then path, then stream bed before you reach a steep cobbled section that brings you out on The Hill Road. I acquired a handy stick for restraining nettles and bramble shoots. Slow going.

And I’ve just spotted that Google maps shows Rabbit Lane as a road…. HA!

At the top of The Hill Road I turned right onto The Wigga, right again at the junction with Lower House Road, and left onto Wern Ddu at Balls Cross. I love the blend of English and Welsh names as we get ever closer to the border. Ddu = Black. Maes = Field. Coed = Wood.

Left onto the Longtown road for a short spell, then right onto what Google has as “Old School Mid Mc”, which I think is likely to be Old School [Road?] Middle Maes-Coed. Anyway, it was the first side of the square to Lower Maescoed, The Common Road providing sides 2 and 3, with Lower Maescoed at their corner and side 3 returning me to the Longtown road, for a downhill run to The Old Trout Inn.

Over Dulas Brook, up Mill Lane, footpaths over the fields to Tremorithic Road, then Cwm Road down into Abbey Dore and the road route home.

6 hours on mainly roads = tired legs! But a great walk. The Cat’s Back, Hay Bluff and Hatterrall Ridge were almost within touching distance from Wern Ddu.

The Cat's Back, Hatterrall Ridge and Hay Bluff, from Wern Ddu
The Cat’s Back, Hatterrall Ridge and Hay Bluff, from Wern Ddu

I’ll be back.

TV: Sharp Objects, season 1 (VG) with a sprinkling of Staged for light relief, plus a touch of The Trip to Greece – I fear the theme has worn thin – plus episode 1 of The Luminaries … “hmm, we’ll see”.

Podcasts: The National Archives Podcast Series (which goes back to 2006, so that’ll keep me going for a while), and Wind of Change – excellent, especially if you remember the time and the tune.

Here are the photos from week 25….. although it’s too sunny to Flickr the 117 photos from yesterday’s walk, so you’ll have to wait for those. It’s time to paint the tree house.