The weather has been kind - mostly dry and even sunny on some days. However, it's quite cold for here with temperatures dipping just below freezing at night and only climbing a few degrees during the day.
The local big hotel (The Longmynd Hotel) has built a walking trail zigzagging up the side of the hill and we found some lovely carvings along it. I took some pictures today but I'm only showing you a few. You'll have to come and see the rest of the carvings for yourself! You can click on them to load them full size and get more of the detail.
The Longmynd Hotel is where John and the rest of his group stayed on their first year geology field trip from Swansea. I gather they were asked not to return.
But I think they've forgotten about that by now and today we stopped in for morning coffee in the middle of our walk. It was lovely. They have a great long bar with picture windows looking out to the south and west over the rural part of the Stretton Valley
The LongMynd hotel was originally built as a hydro spa in the late 19th century. This was during the time when Church Stretton was setting itself up as a spa town and trying to attract tourists to take the waters and enjoy the pleasures of "Little Switzerland". It's a massive pile at the top of the hill to the south of town. As you come north from Ludlow along the A49 you can see its white walls gleaming in the sun. At night it's floodlit and quite a sight.
The amazing thing about all this is that it's only about a mile away from our house - and that's going the long way round! Right in the middle of town is a patch of land called Rectory Woods. You access it from the town center and can walk up to the Hotel or on up to the Long Mynd itself. So you can get onto the moorland and be striding amongst the gorse and heather without having to cross a busy road.
Now I'm not saying you don't meet anyone. There are lots of walkers in the hills and you see them about whatever the day and whatever the weather, but unless you go to the most touristy parts at the weekend or during the summer holidays it's never crowded. I always think it's nice to meet a few people on a ramble, specially when they have a friendly dog with them - and most of them do.
What I like about these local walks is that there's a variety of habitat to wander through. Although the tops are covered in grass, gorse, bracken and heather, the steep sided valleys are sometimes wooded and have little streams flowing through them. Today the ravine we walked through had oak, beech, and holly trees (lots more I don't know yet, too) and there was the usual undergrowth of bracken and blackberry. Lots of birds were about - robins, wrens, tits, blackbirds, crows, etc. Nothing rare, but it was nice to see and hear them all.
As usual, your comments and messages are welcomed at: