Chesil Beach & the Fleet, Dorset

Chesil Beach & the Fleet, Dorset
Chesil Beach & the Fleet, Dorset

Monday, 14 November 2011

West Midlands

.......or to be more precise, Birmingham

Just a quick trip to Birmingham, in the early run-up to Christmas, to visit the annual Classic Motorcycle Show at the NEC.

One of my favourite places in the centre of the city, is Centenary Square. Lying as it does, in the heart of the city, surrounded by such admirable buildings as Symphony Hall, the Birmingham Rep, the International Conference Centre, and the soon-to-be-new Central Library, it really is the heart of the West Midlands cultural life.

This weekend was not only Rememberance Day, with the War Memorial building and the square itself liberally sprinkled with poppies, but they were also preparing for the Christmas festivities. The Lights had been turned on............

the huts were being erected for the Frankfurt-style Christmas Market, and a huge artic was delivering the temporary skating rink.

On the edge of Centenary Square, is the Sports Hall, and outside stands a magnificent memorial to three men who made Birmingham and the West Midlands great - James Watt, Matthew Boulton and William Murdoch.
The gilded bronze statue by William Bloye and Raymond Forbes-Kings stands on a plinth of Portland stone, outside the old Register Office on Broad Street, now the Sports Hall. It is known locally as The Golden Boys after its colour, or The Carpet Salesmen after the partially-rolled-up plan of a steam engine which they are examining.
All three men were members of the Lunar Society.
Sponsored by an £8,000 bequest from Richard Wheatley in 1939, and £7,500 from the City Council, it was unveiled in 1956, from preliminary designs drawn up in 1938.
The statue was restored and re-gilded, and replaced in its old position in September 2006.

Birmingham has many fine statues, including an important work by Antony Gormley, outside City Hall, but for me the best, is also the most symbolic. This is the bull that stands in the centre of the recently redeveloped Bull Ring

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

So there you have it...............

2011 hasn't been a good year for travels, what with a poor summer weather-wise and ill health.

However, I have just uploaded a few pictures from Herefordshire and Shropshire, and added a whole lot more to the page on Wales.



I was about to put this picture into the last article, on Shropshire, when I suddenly realised this village is actually in Herefordshire.

So here it is, in a post all to itself!


Villager and visitor alike know Leintwardine is an historic gem surrounded by the Shropshire hills, the rivers of North Herefordshire and the unspoilt magnificence of Wales.

On the way to North Wales, you cross over this very pretty bridge, right in the heart of the village.


Just had an amazing trip to North Wales, and where I stay - right on the Wales-England border, it's just a short hop over the border into Shropshire. So it seemed rude not to go and poke around one or two of the little twons in that area.

Unfortunately, I didn't have much time to take pictures, but anyway, this is what I did get......

Bishops Castle

This tiny little town, built on the side of a hill, has really only one main road, with a few side turnings. It does, however, have some interesting buildings.

Several of the houses are painted in bright colours. Apparently this was the first to be given the rainbow treatment.

House on Crutches Museum
A 16th century timber-framed house with a rich collection of exhibits depicting local history and rural life in South West Shropshire. This unusual and attractive building stands just to the left of the town hall, up a little cobbled alleyway

Sunday, 31 July 2011


Ill health caused us to cancel our projected trip to Scotland and the Lake District, but we did manage a couple of day trips. One of them was to the University town of Oxford. Known as the City Of Dreaming Spires, it is an epithet well deserved. Like most old towns, it is compact, with everything of interest within easy walking distance.
Most of the colleges you can pay an entrance fee to walk around the campus. This is well worth doing, as the architecture, and the sense of age and learning is amazing.
Outside of the colleges, the city centre itself has many spectacular buildings, and there are plenty of places to eat and drink.
There's also a fudge shop and a really old-fashioned sweet shop. I tried very hard not to buy anything, but eton mess fudge and pear and almond chocolate both got the better of me.................

The Martyrs Cross

The Oxford Martyrs were tried for heresy in 1555 and subsequently burnt at the stake in Oxford, England, for their religious beliefs and teachings.
The three martyrs were the bishops Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley and Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Some of the beautiful buildings in the City Centre

The Radcliffe Camera

The Bridge Of Sighs

Hertford Bridge, popularly known as the Bridge of Sighs because of its resemblance to the bridge of the same name in Venice, is a skyway over New College Lane.

New College

New College is one of the largest Oxford colleges, with some 400 undergraduates and nearly 300 graduates. It is, like all Oxford colleges, an autonomous, self-governing institution.
The front quadrangle, dining hall, chapel and cloisters were built within a few years of the College's foundation in 1379; this was the first time that an entire scheme had been built in this way, and it formed a model for later colleges.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Back Home...............

.....from a lovely, scorching hot weekend in Dorset. See the Dorset page for some new pictures.............

Monday, 16 May 2011

Derbyshire (contd.)

Ladybower Reservoir

The Ladybower and Derwentwater reservoirs run into each other. They lie amidst beautiful scenery, and there's a good car park and visitors centre at the junction of the two. Unfortunately (in some respects) there's not been a lot of rain recently, so the water level was quite low.

One of the newest attractions at Ladybower, is a children's nature trail, where all the trees are named, and the woodland is full of charming characters like these:


Funny, but I'd ridden past this point a couple of times, without realising what a treat was in store. Anyhow, I stopped in a layby to rest my wrists after a particularly hard ride, and while I had a cigarette, I idly looked over the stone wall. What I saw took my breath away.
The valley lay below me, bathed in late afternoon sunshine, with a cute row of four cottages nestled at the bottom.


If you go up through Ashford-in-the-Water, and stay on that road, you come to a car park called Monsal Head. There's a bar and a lovely little cafe there, and the views over Monsaldale are spectacular.
There's a walk down from there, through the dale, over a disused railway viaduct, which has been tarmacced over. If you're into walking, it's one of the prettiest walks anywhere.

I can heartily recommend Hobbs Cafe - but be warned - if you think a tuna and cucumber sandwich is a light snack, then think again!

New Mills

The town itself is nothing out of the ordinary, although pretty enough, but the Torrs Riverside park and the Millenium Walkway are something else!

The Torrs Riverside Park, deep below the town was until the opening of the aerial walkway divided by an impasse between the historic Torr Vale Mill and the equally imposing railway retaining wall. Dramatically described by The Guardian as the last inaccessible place in England. The aerial Walkway provided an innovative and futuristic solution to this age old problem of access. Described as ’a steel spiders web,' the walkway clings to the vertical gritstone rock face and spans the enormous railway retaining wall, cantilevered out over the River Goyt.

Completed in 1999, the walkway provides a link in Europe's premier walking route, E2 which passes through New Mills on its way from Stranraer in Scotland, via Dover, to Nice in France.


Another of the little villages that seem to abound in this area. The large church is known as 'the Cathedral of the Peaks' This is the War Memorial, in the centre of the village


(sometimes called Youlgreave) This is the village where I stayed, in the George Hotel, which is a large friendly pub in the centre of the village, next to the church.

The church has some impressive, almost friendly looking gargoyles all around the top of the tower

In the centre of the village, is the Fountain Head, which feeds half a dozen well taps scattered around the village. Youlgrave is one of the villages renowned for their annual well-dressing displays.

Right behind the Fountain Head, is a tiny one-up one-down cottage, called Thimble Hall. Sadly, it is disused and currently in a poor state of repair. Nevertheless, it's an interesting building.

The other building of note, is the former Co-Operative Store. Although now a Youth Hostel, the gold leaf labelling on the window still exists, and the magnificence of the building points to the former wealth of this village, which has 3 pubs, a church and two chapels.

Sunday, 15 May 2011


Well, back from the first trip away of the year, to Derbyshire, and specifically, the High Peaks area. There are many more places I wish I could have stopped and taken pictures, but either the weather or the terrain, or in some cases, both, conspired against me.


Ashford lies just off a main road and you only catch a glimpse of it unless you deliberately tuen into the village and stop to take a look
The prettiest spot is the Sheepwash Bridge.
It was originally a medieval packhorse bridge and it is only until recently, that sheep were washed here prior to shearing. The lambs would be penned within the stone-walled pen on one side of the river, whilst the mothers would be thrown in at the other side. They would naturally swim across to their offspring, thus ensuring a good soaking. The bridge has been closed to traffic for a number of years now.


Buxton is a spa town in Derbyshire, England. It has the highest elevation of any market town in England.Located close to the county boundary with Cheshire to the west and Staffordshire to the south, Buxton is described as "the gateway to the Peak District National Park". There are many pictures on the web of the beautiful buildings, but I spent a sunny couple of hours walking around the beautiful Pavillion Gardens, behind the Opera House


My husband's family originate in the Castleton/Hope/Edale area, so a visit to Castleton held specific interest for me, and sure enough, in the local museum in the Heritage Centre, I found a photogtaph of one of his ancestors.
From the North-East, you can, if you're brave enough, approach the town via the awesome Winnats Pass. This is a mile-long 'hole in the ground' which easily rivals the Cheddar Gorge in its' spectacle. The road is narrow, and drops down a 1 in 5 incline for its entire length. It is so bad, they attempted to bypass it with a new road, but due to its proximity to Mam Tor, the 'shivering mountain', the new road kept slipping and in the 1970s was abandoned to its fate.

The town itself is overlooked by the impressive ruin of Peveril Castle

Shortly after 1066, William The Conqueror started building castles all over the country and the one at Castleton was given to his son, William Peveril in 1086, and so became Peveril Castle. The keep was added later, in 1176. It never saw battle and was occupied as a dwelling until 1480. The village grew up under the protection of the castle.

Derwent Valley Mills Heritage Centre

In December 2001, the Derwent Valley Mills in Derbyshire became inscribed as a World Heritage Site. This international designation confirms the outstanding importance of the area as the birthplace of the factory system where in the 18th Century water power was successfully harnessed for textile production.
Stretching 15 miles down the river valley from Matlock Bath to Derby, the World Heritage Site contains a fascinating series of historic mill complexes, including some of the world's first 'modern' factories.


Eyam is one of the best-preserved villages in the vicinity and is the famous 'plague village', which went into voluntary quarantine when the plague was imported from London in 1665.

Every September, they roast a whole sheep in the centre of the village, to celebrate the survivors of the plague

The village stocks outside the old market hall

The unusual sundial on Eyam church