Winter Walk

It’s December 1st and for me we are now into Wintertime.

Here it is a bright, sunny, frosty morning, the cheeks are glowing now I am back in the warmth of home.

The colours glowed on Onny Meadows, I could find all the colours I love, browns, pinks, purples, greens, golds and greys.

As children we draw tree trunks as brown but  I am always struck by how little brown is visible. Greys predominate for me, with tones of Brown, green and purples.

The mole hills of Brown rich earth pepper the meadows and Dillie Dot sticks her nose in then digs frantically to try and catch the elusive mole, Long gone.

As we near the  Onny river there is a low misty haze rising from the water, the ducks bright greens look muted in the mist.

I notice catkins are beginning to form on Alder and hazel. The Alder catkins are a purply, brown, while the hazel catkins are presently grey with a tinge of pale green.

From a distance white berries pop brilliantly against grey stems of snow berry. Dulux brilliant white doesn’t do this justice.

The lichens on the rocks and tree trunks are a zingy greygreen.

There are still trees with leaves of green but they are few now and look faded but somehow still have that dark summer green.

The beech trees cling onto their leaves which are rich golden russet. The keys hang still from the ash trees looking golden against the grey of the trunks.

I notice more Alder catkins but this time a reddy purple, glowing in the sun light.

As we finish our walk we walk past spindles with crimson red berries, the next one has bright pink berries. The pinks and red vary from shrub to shrub.

 

Autumn

Autumn has arrived in Shropshire.

The trees are changing colour with hues of red, yellow and brown appearing in the green woodlands on the hill sides.

On dry days piles of leaves are gathering in corners ready to be collected in wheel barrows and allowed to break down in compost bins. Or you can run through them, kicking them in the air.

When I walk Hettie and Dillie in the mornings the tops of the hills are shrouded in  Autumn mists and the grass in the Meadows is heavy with dew.

The Long Tailed Tits and Their Hangers On flit from one tree to another tweeting their high pitched call as they go.

The apples are ripening, the cookers making apple crumbles to have with custard on cold Autumn evenings.

Autumn walks, on sunny days are the best, damp, still, grey days are not so good. These are Days for jobs in side.

So here I am doing a blog on Autumn, with a heavy drizzle outside, Hettie and Dillie curled up on the sofa after a quick walk before the rain arrived, looking forward to the next sunny Autumn day.

Kingfishers on the Onny

I walk every day with the dogs along the Onny River. I have over the years regularly seen Kingfishers when we have been out walking. This year I have not seen them until this recently(first week of September).

I had stopped on the bridge over the River Onny down Corvedale Road and saw a flash of blue. There it was on a branch over the running water before of it flitted up the River again .

A photograph of a Kingfisher

Kingfisher

I have been lucky enough to watch a kingfisher diving several times for fish from a branch over the River Onny just past Kingfisher Corner on the Onny Meadows.

Kingfishers have a bright blue back with a copper orange breast, it is usually a flash of blue that catches the eye.

They have stout bodies, large heads, short stubby tails and long dagger like bills. The males have a black bill and the females have a orangy/red bottom Bill. Their wingspan is 25cm and they are 16cm long.

Kingfisher have no song but make a high pitched peeping sound when flying low over water.

Kingfisher nest in burrows on the river bank, which they both excavate right near the food supply. They can have between 3 and 10 white glossy eggs which they both incubate, over 19 to 21 days.

The chicks take 24 to 25 days to fledge, eating between 12 and 18 fish each per day. In years when food is scarce they can take up to 37 days to fledge.

Kingfishers couples divide their Summer territory between them in Winter. They have a territory of about a kilometre each, this can be as much as 5kilometres. They need to eat 60% of their body weight each day.

Kingfishers are very territorial and will display on branches. If they have to resort to fighting they hold their opponents beak and try to hold it under water.

Around the World there as ninety species of Kingfisher but we in Britain have one of the most beautiful.

The image used in this blog post is from Wikimedia and is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

We’re Good To Go

Here at Folly View “We’re Good To Go” and able to use the We’re Good To Go symbol.

The AA have arranged the We’re Good To Go initiative following The Covid 19 pandemic.

We're Good To Go Logo from Visit England COVID-19 Industry Standard

The We’re Good To Go symbols on our website show we have successfully completed a questionnaire of competence.

It reminds us all to keep our distance and to keep washing our hands.

We also asking guests to take their shoes off before entering the main rooms of Folly View to minimise transfer of infections at this time.

All these things, including stripping the beds at the end of your stay, help us to complete a deep clean at the end of your stay and before the next guests arrive.

It does smell a bit like a hospital at present but we want to make sure we keep everyone safe and well.

Visit England COVID-19 Industry Standard We're Good To Go Certificate for Folly View Let

We’re Good To Go shows we are working hard to keep our customers and ourselves safe.

Flounders’ Folly Heritage Open Days

Over the August Bank Holiday Weekend Flounders’ Folly had 120 visitors.

September’s Heritage Open Days will be from the 11th to the 20th.

Flounders’ Folly will be open as part of the Heritage Open Days on the 20th September from 11am until 4pm. As it is run by volunteers they will not be open on the Saturday.

Founder’s Folly is eighty feet above the top of Callow Hill giving stunning views over the Shropshire countryside into other counties and over to Wales.

A photograph of Flounders' Folly at sunrise on 26th June 2020

Flounders’ Folly at Sunrise

The best place to park if you don’t walk from Craven Arms (a lovely walk) is the foot of Callow Hill on the road from Lower Dinchope, map reference SO457854. Please park respectfully.

The walk up is along a well trodden footpath.

At the present only one group of up to six people are allowed up Flounders’ Folly at a time.

There are lovely views to enjoy from ground level as well if you have to wait for other visitors.

Hand sanitizer is available on entrance and exit.

Entry is free but donations for the up keep of Flounders’ Folly are appreciated.

Flounders’ Folly is open on the 27th September as well from 11a.m. until 4pm.

Grants for Shropshire Market Towns

Shropshire Market Towns have been awarded £167,000 of grants to encourage visitors after the flooding earlier this year and of course in the aftermath of Covid 19.

Smaller Market Towns have been granted £50,000 between them. They will each be able to receive a grant of up to £5000.

Craven Arms Town Council are going to spread their grant over several initiatives.

They want to improve access and provide a secure environment for both locals and visitors after Covid 19. Not sure how this works, sounds good.

There will be money towards Local Produce Markets this Autumn in October and November, I do miss our Craven Arms Farmers Markets.

Money will be granted to Festive Events and the Christmas Lights.

There will also be joint admission offers for visitors attractions. A Passport scheme for all three of our visitor attractions, The Land of Lost Content, Stokesay Castle and The Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre, would be good. It would be good to see this before the end of this visitor season.

 

Peregrine Falcon in Craven Arms

I had an email from a friend in Craven Arms in which he told me of his encounter with a Peregrine Falcon.

He had been watching the birds in his garden when they all disappeared, something flashed past him and he was aware it was grey.

A couple of days later he spotted a bird on his roof apex and took the photo below of it, it was a Peregrine Falcon, lucky him.

A photograph of a Peregrine Falcon taken in Craven Arms, Shropshire on Sunday 30th August 2020.

I thought I would share a few facts about Peregrine Falcons with you.

Peregrinus in Latin means ‘ to wander’. Some Peregrine Falcons do over winter in other countries on the Continent however they can be spotted in Great Britain all year round.

They are our biggest Falcon at between 40cm and 54cm in length, the female being bigger that the male. They have an impressive wing span of 102cm

Peregrine Falcons are very striking birds. Yes they are grey, which makes them sound boring but they are beautiful.

Their back and wings are a dark slate grey and are white below with black bars across their breast and belly.

They have white cheeks and throat, with a black mask round their eyes and a moustache to match.

Peregrine Falcons start breeding when they reach two years of age. They have clutches of 3 to 4 eggs which are incubated for 31 to 33 days the chicks then taking 39 to 40days to fledged.

They can be found nesting in towns and cities, using tall building instead of cliffs which would be their natural nesting place.

Peregrine Falcons can be found in most areas of Great Britain.  Judging by distribution maps the only area that does not have many is East Anglia.

Peregrine Falcons are one of the fastest birds reaching up to 200miles per hour. They prefer to take their prey on the wing and dive down to catch their prey from great heights this is called stooping.

One of their favourite prey is pigeon, there are plenty of them round here. They also like collared doves, their numbers have only recently started increasing again.

In 1999 Peregrine Falcon were taken off the Endangered List as numbers have been steadily increasing since the banning of DDT.

The use of DDT(Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) was banned in 1984. It was used as a pesticide and resulted in the decline of Peregrine Falcons among others. It caused the thinning of egg shells which would get broken while being incubated.

Peregrine Falcons are still persecuted. Egg collectors will climb down cliffs for their eggs and they are poisoned in areas of grouse moors.

As we saw earlier they can be seen around Craven Arms and they can be spotted through out Shropshire, we have seen them at Folly View as well. Happy Bird watching.

Shropshire opening

I have ventured into Ludlow and Church Stretton to see what is happening and what is open.  I have not been out and about much so some of this is gathered from guest and friends. This is not comprehensive.

So here is an idea of some places I know are open in Shropshire.

Ludlow Market is open with a one way system. The Castle and it’s cafe are open again for business.

Most shops were open except a few charity shops and some businesses which have unfortunately been effected by  Covid 19 Lockdown and will not open again. I am very sorry to see some of my favourite shops and cafes closed.

The car parks are busy but not full.

In Church Stretton most places seemed to be open although you may notice some changes when you enter them.  There are one way systems hand sanitizer stations and some places have shut off parts that are tricky with social distancing.

Heather Brae to the north of Church Stretton is open for business.

In Craven Arms the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre is open, the cafe has less tables and was running  a less diverse menu.

The Land of Lost Content is open with a booking system.

Stokesay Castle is open, I don’t think the cafe is.

Ludlow Food Centre is open, I hear they have a very good system in side. The Plant Centre is also open and the Cafe.

Blists Hill is open, our last guests spent all day there when they ventured there.

In Craven Arms only one of the pubs is open, The Stables, drink only.

The Stokesay Inn has been taken over by local folks but is not yet open.

The Kangaroo at Aston On Clun is open with a booking system.

We hope when your come to Folly View you will find plenty to do

The Apple Tree at Onibury is open as is the Station at Marshbrook.

The take always in Craven Arms are open for business.

Don’t forget Tuffins do a lovely range of ready meals called Cook if you are not inclined to eat out.

 

Folly View Open again

We have had our first guests and all went well.

They had a lovely time. They did lots of cycling and particularly liked the Long Mynd.

My change over went well except I was very hot and bothered.

I wished I could have joined our departing guests on their stop off at the Millennium Green in Ludlow for a paddle in the River Teme.

We changed over the fridge freezer which had expired and I had finished the last dining room chair which is now in Folly View.

New guests arrived safely.

All the ironing is done, Sunday morning was cool, perfect for ironing duties.

We look forward to seeing our guests over the next few months at Folly View.

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Birdlife

On Sunday morning Lyndon opened the bedroom curtains to see a family of Bullfinchs feeding on the greengages Mum and Dad and four fledgling.

This is Mr and Mrs Bullfinch’s second brood.

A photograph of a Bullfinch eating a seed

The swifts have gone for the Summer. I saw one solitary swift last Friday night, it is very unusual to see just one.

Our belligerent Sparrows have finally quietened down, I lost track of how many broods they had.

Yesterday I was looking out the window into the green gage tree a family of Blue Tits were feeding on the fruit. We are happy to share.

Last night we had our Bubble friend over for tea, it was her birthday, a baby when flew in, then flew upstairs. We searched upstairs but couldn’t find it, the Windows were open wide so assume it flew out.

August is quiet for birds they go through their moult but I thought you would like to hear about our recent encounters with the local birdlife at Folly View.