Covid Time Food Shopping

A more mundane Covid Time blog, the weekly shop.

We try to share it. Lately I have been doing most of the weekly shopping with Lyndon doing his a share when he has a week off work. That means he is still here, working from home!

I shop once week at Tuffins. It is pretty good for most things. I have found a couple of places to get fresh eggs from while out walking. I don’t do so every week but feel I am supporting more local businesses by doing so.

Once a month I buy meat from one of the butchers and (real excitement) I go to Aldi in Ludlow. I may go to the bank and Holland and Barrett as well if I need to.

I spend a lot of time on these outings sanitizing my hands. On the way into shops, on the way out, in the car, when I get home and once all the shopping is put away.

It will be lovely to go to the market in Ludlow or Shrewsbury or to the Ludlow Food Centre to get some shopping but I am happy that I get most things I want from Tuffins in Craven Arms and Aldi Ludlow.

Covid Time Knitting

Covid Time has given me the opportunity to explore and experiments with my knitting.

I love knitting and find it relaxing and challenging. There is always something new to learn.

My Covid Time Knitting has resulted in two cardigans, a short sleeved jumper, four hats, four neck warmers, a scarf and two large shawls. I have also started a cardigan called Ursula by designer Kate Davies.

I have been experimenting doing my own designs which is both fun and frustrating. The neck warmers and hats are designed by me. And one of the shawls I knitted is my own design.

I would have knitted more but the neck warmer I am currently knitting has been undone three times. I am still not happy with it. As it is a birthday present I need to get it finished, soon.

I have designed and knitted three hats for my Dad. I am currently designing him a hat in very bright colours. Lyndon, Dad and I went to Shetland eight years ago and I bought him a colourful hat which he has recently lost.

At Folly View we have several guests who enjoy crafting. I always enjoy seeing or hearing what projects guests have on the go.

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.

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.

 

Bird life from Folly View

I thought you might like to know how the local bird life is getting on in Craven Arms.

We have lots of busy sparrows. The sparrows who reside in the swift box are still there and are presently feeding youngsters. The swift box has become two story as there is a nest top of it as well as inside.

We have a sparrow who is nesting in a robin box by our front Windows, or should that be between. Mr Sparrow bangs against the window constantly and occasionally brings back a feather or leaf for Mrs Sparrow!  We think they are now on their second brood. We had less window banging over the last two weeks but it has started again recently. The window is a mess, there is no point cleaning it until they have finished nesting.

When I was walking the dogs recently two sparrows were having a dust up. There were no other birds around, as we got nearer they flew into a  nearby shrub, still arguing, at which point ten other sparrows arrived and joined in. Our sparrows usually argue in the large ever green at the front of the house.

I have sat outside watching the aeriel display put on by swallows, housemartins and swifts. One of our friends found a swift on the ground and helped it by putting it up high.

I have been watching housemartins collecting mud on the Onny River along with the swallows  I have not seen where they are nesting but I haven’t been looking.

I saw the egret on Halford Meadows a couple of weeks ago. I have not seen it with a mate but it has been around for a couple of years. The grey wagtails and dippers are busy on the Onny, I have not seen the Kingfisher recently but that does not mean they are not there.

I heard a skylark on Onny Meadows earlier this week. I have not seen one down there for a long time. I don’t think it was nesting but it was lovely to hear it.

There will be more on Bird life in Craven Arms in the coming weeks.

Flounders’ Folly – Opening Dates 2020

This post lists the Flounders’ Folly Opening Dates 2020.

Flounders Folly in the early morning sunlight

Flounders’ Folly

Flounders’ Folly – Opening Dates 2020

When the Folly is open a St George’s Flag is flown from the top of the Folly and the planned opening dates for 2020 are listed below:

Sunday 26th January 11:00 – 15:00

Sunday 23rd February 11:00 – 15:00

Sunday 29th March 11:00 – 16:00

Friday 10th April 11:00 – 16:00 Good Friday

Monday 13th April 11:00 – 16:00 Easter Monday

Sunday 26th April 11:00 – 16:00

Monday 4th May 11:00 – 16:00 Bank Holiday Monday

Sunday 25th May 11:00 – 16:00

Monday 31st May 11:00 – 16:00 Bank Holiday Monday

Sunday 28th June 11:00 – 16:00

Sunday 26th July 11:00 – 16:00

Sunday 30th August 11:00 – 16:00

Monday 31st August 11:00 – 16:00 Bank Holiday Monday

Saturday 19th September 11:00 – 16:00 – Heritage Open Day (TBC)

Sunday 20th September 11:00 – 16:00 – Heritage Open Day (TBC)

Sunday 27th September 11:00 – 16:00

Sunday 25th October 11:00 – 15:00

Sunday 29th November 11:00 – 15:00

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.

Walking Festivals and Challenges 2019

Shropshire is a great area for walking in and for those of you who enjoy organised events I have put together a list of some of our local walking festivals. I will give a quick summary and let you research further.

A photograph of the Kemp Valley, near Bishop's Castle, South Shropshire

Kemp Valley, near Bishop’s Castle, South Shropshire

Bishops Castle Ramble, Scramble, Amble, May 11th 2019. Three walks from Bishops Castle or to bishop castle for the amble. Raising money for Bloodwise.

Bishops Castle Walking Festival 15th May until 19th May 2019 . This is the 21st Walking Festival in Bishops Castle.

The 17th Clun Valley Challenge is on 18th May 2019. There is a 26 mile or 16mile walk with a 4300 ft ascent. Entry is £22.

Church Stretton Walking Festival is from the 20th June until June 23rd 2019. Lots if different walks including a Stars in Your Skies Walk, a Photography Walk and a Nordic Walking event. The Mynd Drover is the long walk.

Bishops Castle Challenge Walk is in Saturday 3rd August 2019. This is a 24 mile walk with a 4000 ft ascent. There are 13 mile and 11mile options available. £20 entry fee which includes refreshments and certificate.

The Tusker Colour Run at Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre in Craven Arms is on the 17th August 2019. Book via the Centres Website www.shropshirehillsdiscoverycentre.co.uk. There is a 3.5km route which you can jog, run or walk along which are paint stations from where the participants get covered  in paint. Entrances fees are from £15 per adult.

Cardio Carlos 5km Fun Run is on Bank Holiday Monday 26th August 2019.  The race starts at 9.30am from the Aston on Clun Village Hall where there is also parking and is organised by the Kangeroo Inn. Entry fee is £15 pre 15th August, £20 after. All proceeds will go to CRY (Cardio Risk in the Young). Visit their Facebook page (Cardio Carlos 5k).

Tour des Marches formally the Wistanstow Challenge is on 14th September 2019. It is 26miles long with a mass start at 8.30am. Fee from £10 which include a light breakfast from 7.15, hit food at the finish and Beer.

Much Wenlock Walking Weekend is on August 30th until September 2nd 2019. There are walks for different abilities. Keep checking their Web site.

I hope there is something to inspire you. I like the look of a couple of the Church Stretton walks, so I may see you out there.

The image used in this blog post is with kind permission of Bishop’s Castle Walking Festival.