Walking in a Woonton Wonderland

The day dawned fair again, and we’d decided last night that my faithful chauffeur deserved a morning off.  Otherwise he would have done getting on for 6 hours in the car today, whereas instead he stayed home and took a radiator off the wall……

Anyhow, I set off solo for Monkland, slightly later than planned, and arrived to find my lovely Aunty Pat waiting to see me off – which was handy because it meant she could take the start of walk photo;

Me, holding a photo of my Uncle Mike.

Uncle Mike is one of the reasons I’m doing this walk.  He was an amazing man, with a real zest for life, a great cook, loved his family and his job and played rugby and then refereed rugby for as long as he was able.  A policeman who rose through the ranks in the Met, and then returned to live in Leominster with my Aunty Pat in retirement, a place they both know and love, a place where they still had many friend and he could get heavily involved with the Old Luctonians rugby club.  He and Pat had 10 good years of retirement together before cancer claimed him far too soon in 2013.  I suspect he would have walked at least part of todays leg with me, just to keep an eye on me and make sure all was well.  He is hugely missed by family and friends alike, and I know the Macmillans were a huge help to him and to Aunty Pat during his illness.  Here’s my first ever attempt at a selfie, with Aunty Pat;

Me and Aunty Pat

Finally headed off, through a cattery and out across the fields.  Thank goodness for all Dave’s education.  Had it not been for him I would have gone wrong several times, but as it was I managed to stay on track, mainly using the map and just checking my position on my phone.  And then the minor miracle happened – after successfully navigating a field of wheat, a field of maize and a field of potatoes, I arrived at a stile leading to a sort of green lane which was to lead me onto the road.  As I climbed over the stile, I noticed a hedge trimmer lying on the ground and some debris around.  At the next stile lay a chainsaw, visor, gloves and a discarded shirt draped over the top of the stile.  So when I saw a bare chested man approaching as I walked the last stretch, it didn’t take much brain power to put two and two together so I stopped to thank him for all his hard work.  He told me that before that morning this stretch of path was totally unpassable and therefore never used…….its all in the timing!

Then came a long stretch of road walking which meant less of a navigational challenge so I could spot views like this one;

Glorious Herefordshire countryside

Paused for my first break on a very handy bridge over the Stretford Brook, again with a fab view;

Bridge over the Stretford Brook

Kept going and going, in and out of Dilwyn and then back onto footpaths, encountering a very cheery farmer hauling bales.  Weobley church spire beckoned to me from a long way off – and when I got up close I found a lovely shady bench in the churchyard for my next break where I could watch the swifts coming and going.

Weobley Church

Texted Mike an eta and then set off out of Weobley, heading for Woonton.  This was where it all went wrong….I’d been so proud of my little self for navigating through the morning, pride definitely came before a fall!  Got myself along the A4112 for a short while, then into a field where the footpath I was expecting was signposted – but could I find the exit from the field – could I heck.  Where was Ruth when I needed her eagle eyed stile spotting skills????  To and froed around the field for ages, before adopting another Dave practise – what’s the workround?  Luckily I could see that Mike had only put this bit in to avoid me having to walk any more of the A 4112 than I absolutely had to, just as a shortcut.  So I admitted defeat, headed back along the A road for only a short while and picked up the lane that way.  I toiled on up the lane and found my final footpath of the day – but as is so often the way, this was the one where you had to climb all the gates, get scratched to bits on overgrown stiles and battle the overgrown field margin in the final field.  Bloodied but unbowed, I emerged into another lane, took a left turn for Woonton and marched on.  I was nearly there when there was Mike, looking cool as a cucumber, walking up the road towards me.  I looked considerably less cool as the end of day photo shows;

Hot, tired but very happy!

Got a lift from Mike back to Monkland and when I got into the car the outside temperature was showing as thirty degrees – no wonder I got through a lot of water!!  Drove home celebrating the end of week one in the only way any sane woman would – by singing aloud to the Mamma Mia Here We Go Again CD all the way home.  Cathy – you had a very lucky escape!!












3 thoughts on “Walking in a Woonton Wonderland”

  1. Every blessing for the week that lies ahead – now, has it made sermon-writing easier? Sermon-listening this morning was a joy as ever, dear Anthea – with good wishes from Elisabeth R

  2. Glad mum came to meet you at Monkland- love the selfie! Thanks for writing such lovely words about dad, we all miss him so much.
    Good luck with the rest of your walk.

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