Friday, 27 February 2015


(Notes from a recent visit to the Shropshire Hills)

I've awoken to a perfectly clear pale grey-blue Sky with a bright creamy horizon silhouetting the distant charcoal hills over which the sun will shortly appear. It looks like there has been a light frost. The past few days have been cloudy and hazy with few distant views to be had. Yesterday Afternoon saw a change with April-like showers and brief bursts of sunshine. Outside the wooden lodge where I ams staying a blackbird sings boldly above the continuous sound of the tumbling river. As the light improves so the definition of the landscape increases. The hills of Sowdley Wood, Purslow Wood, Radnor Wood and Clunton Hill form steep sides to the River Clun valley. The hills quite abruptly give way to the broad flat expanse of the sheep pastures that line either side of the river. Alders and willows line this meandering stretch of water that carries water down from the Welsh hills. The river is probably about two meters below field level here but the whole nature of the area; the flatness of the fields, the close proximity to hills and the fact that the lodge I am staying in is raised off the ground by a metre or so is a good indication that the whole area can be prone to severe flooding.

Looking out towards Clunbury hill a couple of miles away, it looks like the sun will rise almost directly behind the trees on its summit. The sunlight of this new day will highlight the hills around me first and then the bottom of the valley a few minutes later. I go and get my daughter out of bed and together we sit watching as the light intensifies and then the bright and increasingly dazzling sun fills the landscape with light.
My father loved this landscape and I too am deeply drawn to it. It has certainly felt fairly spring-like here. The temperature has been cool, but not cold. Snowdrops are everywhere in gardens and around human habitation. I've found wild honeysuckle full of small leaves in sheltered hedgerows and numerous other plants are definitely spying the initial touch of spring.

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