Martley circular walk Worcestershire

On Monday 24th June our friends picked us up for a walk in Worcestershire. Stewart and Carol had completed this walk some years ago we were all looking forward to getting out into the Worcestershire countryside It was overcast, with small chance of rain forecast, perfect for walking.

We parked in the church car park and set off through the grave yard, which was being mown.

We walked through the village, passed the school and was soon overlooking fields and down country lanes.

We then walked through a field of flowering broad beans, some plants had a little blackfly, but we noticed some ladybirds too.

We crossed a stream over a bridge and walked through more fields to a lane.

I then took over the navigating and took the wrong route, one highlight of this was an image of a meadow brown butterfly. The downside was a muddy path, with stinging nettles.

We made our way to a farm where we asked for directions, we had moved off our map, the farmer was very helpful and pointed in the direction we should be going, then suggested the pub in the opposite direction. We decided to follow the road round until we found some signs that corresponded to the map we had.

We had walked further, but at least we were back on track, the mood was …….

Fortunately we turned left by a beautiful cottage being re-roofed to enter the most extraordinary apple orchards. Mile after mile of trees with Worcestershire countryside beyond. Back on track we threaded our way past the apple storage area.

Leaving the orchards behind, we were again walking though open fields before we slowly followed the track all the way up to Rodge hill joining the Worcestershire Way. Fortunately there was a brilliantly situated bench, perfect for our picnic lunch with an amazing view.

The sun actually had come out at this point, as the cloud cleared, it was warm as we followed the path down the hill, across the road , through fields to the river Teme.

We continued walking along the river, through a nature reserve, where I think we came off the path, but we climbed through a very muddy area, to continue up towards the village of Martley. I was quite tired at this point, but eventually we went past the pub, the Crown, which was closed, back to the Church.

We got back to the car, we had walked 9 miles, rather more than the circular walk details suggested, some of us had very muddy shoes, so after we drove a short way, had to walk bare foot to the pub garden for a pint of bitter shandy. Lovely walk!

Touring green Spain part 1

The ferry 4th & 5th June

Early on the 4th June we drove down to Portsmouth to board the Brittany ferry Baie de Seine for an overnight crossing to Bilbao in Northern Spain. We found our cabin, but quickly went on deck to enjoy the sights of the port. We have enjoyed holidays in the area and it was quite a trip down memory lane, travelling past quayside old pubs and the historic dockyards, HMS Warrior clearly seen. We have often sat on Southsea seafront enjoying the views. We followed other ferries out into the English channel, skirting the Isle of Wight. Back to the cabin, our home for a while, we enjoyed an evening meal in the restaurant then settled down to a gentle rocking sleep. The next morning followed by a “full English breakfast” we were by now heading South through the Bay of Biscay for our first views of Spain.

Cangas de Onis, Asturias 5th/6th June

We arrived in Zierbena the ferry port in mid afternoon and after disembarking safely were soon on the road, the Spanish lorry drivers were a little impatient, but we were heading west along the coast and quieter roads. The car has an excellent satellite navigation system on board, fortunately we were re-routed from the coast and busy bypasses inland through the valley of the “Parque Nacional de Los Picos de Europa”. The roads were quieter and the mountain views, green fields with cows and wonderful wild life. We arrived at Cangas de Onis in early evening, we managed to park right outside the Hotel Imperion which was our first stop. We were shown our room, which was luxurious, with a large balcony, with view over the Roman bridge. We set off to stretch our legs, we went in a Dia supermarket, a shop we always used and felt quite at home there, so after buying a few provisions we then found an interesting friendly bar for a couple of beers and tapas.

Over the road was a pizzeria, which looked welcoming and already busy despite that it was early for Spanish habits. A salad, garlic bread (I misunderstood the menu), two large pizzas and a bottle of wine later, two weary, merry travellers wandered back to the hotel. The next morning after a lovely breakfast in the hotel, we had a short walk round the town, it had rained and the clouds were low, we took more photos of the Roman bridge, shopped again in Dia and set off for our next hotel, as we joined the motorway towards Ourense behind us the beautiful snow capped mountains were a stunning backdrop.

Touring green Spain part 2

Parador de Santo Estevo, Ourense, Galicia 6th/7th/8th June

As we got nearer to our next destination, the satnav showed we had a short journey which would take a long time, as we turned left off the main road as directed to the parador, we realised the road was steep, narrow and with many bends. Fortunately, there was little traffic as we climbed up through the trees, with views over the Sil valley being revealed. We parked our car in the underground carpark and ascended by lift to enter this large imposing building. Everything about this Parador is imposing, from the ancient cloisters, the artwork, the rooms, the dining room and especially the view.

We had our meal in the dining room that evening, which was quite an experience. The waitress was telling us the area is known as the Ribeiro de Sacra, the wine has a  Spanish Denominación de Origen We ordered the pulpo or octopus, a regional speciality and merluza or hake, pictures below. it was delicious.

When we arrived the receptionist gave us details of three walks from the hotel. As we had sat a lot on the ferry and in the car, we decided to take on the challenge of the longest walk of 5 miles. The walk basically was a meander down to the valley, with a hermitage to view, along the road, not as low as the river, then a climb back up to monastery. The day was fresh, it had rained over night, there were some shower clouds about. We walked for about 10 minutes when to our dismay we saw a sign, saying the path was closed and sorry. Undaunted we thought we would continue to see what the problem was. We did have to clamber over some pipework, but the rest of the path continued and so did we. We had views across the valley to the railway line and saw an occasional train, as we descended we could see the monastery amongst the trees above. We followed the signs as we walked along the road and as we started climbing again back up the hill, we had a heavy shower of rain and we got soaked. Fortunately we had bought new cagoules in England, it was a case of head down, keep following the path, it will get better. Slowly but surely we got higher, we were teased with glimpses of our target, until we came out in a clearing, we were actually higher than the monastery, so got some great views actually looking down on it.

After a rest and another lovely meal and another good night’s sleep, we set off to our next destination. As we went out into the car park it was filled with Ferrari and Porsche cars.