Ridge and Furrow

14 February 2016- Severn Estuary

Me, Paddy Garcia, Kate Force One and Magic Dave

photo 1First proper walk of 2016, we headed up to the Severn Estuary on an archaeological mission. Parked the mighty micra at the White Hart in Littleton-upon-Severn and walked north to Oldbury-on-Severn.

It was extraordinarily wet underfoot, hard on the out-of-practice legs, but glorious sunshine, proper cold winter weather. We climbed up to St Arilda’s Church, perched on top of a dramatic (not-Iron-Age-Hillfort) hill, with commanding views up and down the estuary, including the old Severn crossing and the decommissioned Oldbury power station*.

photo 3We were too muddy for the perfect carpet in the church so settled for a quick look through the door, and cake on the churchyard bench whilst we pondered the fate of poor St Arilda, beheaded by a rejected suitor. Then it was on to Oldbury proper, to search out the Toot Hill, an Iron Age hillfort, our archaeological goal. After some milling around the very lovely village (must return in summer to visit The Anchor), we found ourselves in the middle of it, having not noticed that we’d climbed up the earthwork bank earlier (oops).

 

Then we looped out to the estuary, past an impressive lock that guards the Oldbury pill, and walked back along the coastal defences. Saw an unusual bird of prey (?marsh harrier), and enjoyed the low sunshine over the estuary, the boats balanced in the sticky mud. We traversed many, many soggy fields of ridge and furrow, dodging from ridge to ridge and considering how different this landscape must have been in the middle ages.

We stumbled into the White Hart on our tired legs for much-enjoyed drinks, snacks and sofa time before heading home. Overall, marvellous to get out for some green and cold sunshine, there just hasn’t been enough (?any) of it this horrible wet, warm winter. And hoping the furrow of no blogging is over.

*One day, Magic Dave hopes to visit…

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