The Big Garden Birdwatch 2017

The RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch happens this weekend, 28th to the 30th January. It is the World’s largest wildlife survey.

To take part all you need to do is download your free Big Garden Birdwatch pack from the RSPB Website and spend an hour watching the birds in your garden.

Did you know, 8,262,662 birds were counted in 2016 and 519,000 people took part in the UK?

The top birds of 2016 were:

  1. House Sparrow
  2. Starling
  3. Bluetit
  4. Blackbird
  5. Wood Pigeon
  6. Goldfinch
  7. Chaffinch
  8. GreatTit
  9. Robin
  10. Long-tailed Tit

I was pleased to see the Long-tailed Tits in the top 10 birds as they are my favourite birds. I was surprised that Robins were at number 9 and Wrens were not in the Top 10, as they are always busy little birds in our garden.

There is lots more information on the RSPB website.

Happy Bird Watching.

Puffed Up Winter Robin

Puffed Up Winter Robin

The image above is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Parlour Pubs

Sun Inn Leintwardine

Sun Inn, Leintwardine

The Sun Inn at Leintwardine and The Dog Hangs Well are both classed as Parlour Pubs and are both within easy traveling distance of Craven Arms.

Beer Houses, as they were referred to, came about through a change in the Licensing Law of 1830. This allowed householders to sell beer and cider from their own homes and to brew beer.

The front Parlour was where the beer would be served in a jug which was filled from the barrel that would be on a table set in the corner of the room.

Beer houses were not allowed to open on Sunday and could not sell fortified wines or spirits. The penalties were breaking these rules were harsh.

In 1830 four hundred Beer Houses opened, by 1838 there were 46,000, out-numbering taverns, pubs, inns and hotels. Profits from these beer houses were good and many householders bought the house next door to live in.

With beer houses still in increasing in number, some streets in some towns were all beer houses, the Licensing Laws were changed again in 1869 to slow their growth. The law prevented new beer houses being created and made it harder to get a license. Most of the owners applied for a new license to become a full pub selling spirits etc. However, by the end of the 19th Century the majority of beer houses had closed.

A few of these beer houses have survived into the 21st Century as Parlour Pubs and some remain as micro breweries. They can be identified as they are usually in the middle of a terrace and fewer still remain completely unchanged.

The Sun Inn in Leintwardine still has its Parlour but has been extended at the back and serves food and hosts bands and other events, at least it does remain.

The Dog Hangs Well is a new incarnation of a Parlour Pub. It is in a home and serves only beer a still cider and white wine.

I hope you have enjoyed this quick look at the potted history of Parlour Pubs.

The photograph of the Sun Inn, Leintwardine used in this blog post was taken in 2004 (before the pub was extended) by Peter Evans and is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

More Bird Watching

The Fieldfares are still visiting our garden here at Folly View Let to feed on the windfall apples. I have counted up to eleven of them there at one time, along with their pals the blackbirds – and as you can tell I have been doing more bird watching.

I would have liked to photograph them but they are so jumpy, if I even turn my head slightly to look at another bird they are off. So I try to keep perfectly still and enjoy watching them while they are still here.

They will be flying back to their breeding grounds soon in Scandinavia and Northern Europe. By mid February will have flown and will not be back until Autumn.

There is plenty of bird life to look forward to. I love listening for the first Chiffchaff, watching for the first Swift who is one of latest Summer birds to arrive from overseas. The winter flocks of Goldfinches and Long-tailed Tits will disperse while they are breeding in the Summertime.

While they are here I will enjoy our Winter visitors a while longer.

Long-tailed Tit

Long-tailed Tit

The image above was taken by Magnus Manske and is used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

Flounders’ Folly – Opening Dates 2017

We named our holiday let “Folly View” because you can see Flounders’ Folly from your self-catering accommodation. The folly is a stone tower some 16 feet square and 80 feet high and stands on Callow Hill just north of Craven Arms.

The folly is only open to visitors on certain days of the year and whilst there is no fixed entrance fee you are requested to make a small donation to The Flounders’ Folly Trust to support the maintenance of this landmark.

Flounders' Folly

Flounder’s Folly

When the Folly is open a St George’s Flag is flown from the top of the Folly and the planned opening dates for 2017 are:

Sunday 29th January 11:00 – 15:00

Sunday 26th February 11:00 – 15:00

Sunday 26th March 11:00 – 16:00

Friday 14th April 11:00 – 16:00 Good Friday

Sunday 17th April 11:00 – 16:00 Easter Sunday

Sunday 30th April 11:00 – 16:00

Monday 1st May 11:00 – 16:00 Bank Holiday Monday

Sunday 28th May 11:00 – 16:00

Monday 29th May 11:00 – 16:00 Bank Holiday Monday

Sunday 25th June 11:00 – 16:00

Sunday 30th July 11:00 – 16:00

Sunday 27th August 11:00 – 16:00

Monday 28th August 11:00 – 16:00 Bank Holiday Monday

Saturday 9th September 13:30 – 16:00 Heritage Open Day

Sunday 10th September 13:30 – 16:00 Heritage Open Day

Sunday 24th September 11:00 – 16:00

Sunday 29th October 11:00 – 15:00

Sunday 26th November 11:00 – 15:00

On these open days you can climb the 78 stone steps to the viewing platform where on a clear day you can expect wonderful views of the Malvern Hills, the Black Mountains, and Cader Idris. A series of illustrations that run round the viewing platform help you to identify the landmarks you can see in the 360 degree panorama of the whole area around Craven Arms and Church Stretton including the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

You can learn more about Flounders’ Folly in an earlier blog post.

Flounders’ Folly is within walking distance – approximately 2 miles – of Folly View Let along clearly marked trails and footpaths from the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre. You should allow 45 minutes to an hour to reach the Folly and be aware that the climb up Callow Hill is quite steep.

If you prefer you can drive and park at the foot of Callow Hill on the road from Lower Dinchope to Westhope, SO 457854, where you will see a small interpretation board.