March 2016

Tuesday – Home – Spring ought to be approaching and the sowing of seeds for next season’s crops should be under way. I have some tomato, pepper and lettuce seedlings from the sowings I made a couple of weeks back but any seeds that should be sown directly into the beds will have to wait – the weather forecast is dire. By the weekend, cold winds from the polar regions should be bringing low temperatures and the risk of snow. So I restrict myself to a tray of Purple Sprouting Broccoli and another of Kale,TODO variety Curly Scarlet. These go into the greenhouse. Here the pots of Broad Beans show no sign of sprouting but there is plenty of time yet. Then I crop some of last year’s Purple Sprouting. It has not been a prolific crop despite the size of the plants but there is still time for more to sprout. The wind is picking up although a thin, watery sunshine bathes the garden.

Thursday – Leominster – Off to take more photographs of bridges, current and lost. The first is Etnam Street bridge which stood beside the White Lion. A mill stood here. Over to Butts Bridge and round to what we are calling Mosaic Bridge, the bridge carrying the A49 bypass which was opened in November 1988. The mosaic was undertaken by local young people and has recently been restored. The morning is cool and with a slight breeze. Blackbirds and Blue Tits are active in the riverside trees. The River Lugg is green and quite clear despite flowing fairly rapidly. Along to Eaton Bridge. Several willows have broken branches arching over the path towards the bridge. The footpath to the Bridgesouth-west of the bridge is still blocked by a nailed-up gate. I climb over and take some pictures. Down to the A49 and over the old road bridge, along the Worcester Road and up through Caswell and through Sidonia park to the roundabout where South Street joins Westbury Street. Battle Bridge was originally a drawbridge over the town ditch. It became a permanent structure and is recorded as being repaired in 1772 but was removed at the end of 18th century when the ditch was infilled. The battle referred to was between Alfgar and his Welsh allies and the English in 1052.

Through the town and down to the Kenwater beside the Sports Centre playing fields. Here is Kenelmgaer bridge, now a flat concrete structure. Across the playing fields is Briarwood, the home of Leominster Town Football Club. Into the housing estate between the playing fields and Bridge Street. It is a bit of a warren, a typical late 20th century estate. Out onto Bridge Street and off north. I photograph the New Lugg Bridge, built in the 1960s when the river was diverted in the flood alleviation schemes; the New Bridge, which is actually rather old and Spittals Bridge in The Broad, a lovely two arch bridge named after the Priory Hospital which stood nearby. Beyond the houses on The Broad, a machine is creating an almighty racket turning logs into sawdust. Back down the road into the town and up to the Grapes for lunch.

Friday – Cirencester – We visit Cirencester for the first time in sixteen years. A detour first through Slad, the village forever in the English mind through Laurie Lees’ wonderful “Cider with Rosie”. The village is set in steep valleys under wooded hills. We need to return for a longer visit.

Cirencester is busy and we cannot find any parking spaces in the car parks. Our hotel is on the market square and had no parking available. In the end we find a small street with a space. Through to the market square past many vast Georgian houses with blue plaques recording the original owners as local bigwigs. Dollar Street House was built by a lawyer, Joseph Pitt who created the Pittville Spa in Cheltenham. Mead House is an 18th century property of the banker and antiquarian Wilfred Cripps. Weavers Hall was built as St Thomas’s Hospital in the 15th century by Sir William Nottingham, Attorney-General to Edward IV and is the oldest secular building in the town. Past the parish church and along to our hotel, The Fleece, Cirencesterwhere we drop off our bag and then wander along the square. There are plenty of high end shops and the Black Horse pub where we stop for lunch. As we enjoy a pint we comment that it is much milder than we expected, then it starts snowing.

We resume our wandering about the town and visit the Corinium Museum. Cirencester has a rich history as a Roman town. The Roman name for the town was Corinium, which is thought to have been associated with the ancient British tribe of the Dobunni, having the same root word as the river that flows through the town, the Churn, a tributary of the River Thames. The Churn also provided the modern name, Ciren and cester from castra meaning a Roman fortress on the River Churn, The town was still fortified during Saxon times and may have had a royal palace. The minster church was built around the 9th or 10th century but demolished by Augustinians in the 12th century and replaced by the magnificent abbey church. At the Norman Conquest the royal manor of Cirencester was granted to the Earl of Hereford, William Fitz-Osbern, but by 1075 it had reverted to the Crown. Sheep, wool and weaving made the town wealthy and this continued into the 19th century when Cirencester was a thriving market town as it remains today.

We visit another pub, The Golden Cross in Black Jack Street, which has a sign and arrow pointing to a bowl of water “Water for Thirsty Dogs” and another pointing to the front door, “Beer for Thirsty Humans”. We then pay a fairly brief visit to the church which we spent time on our previous visit.

Sunday – Leominster – Across the car park in Etnam Street. Eighteen Carrion Crows are in the large Plane tree outside Norfolk House formally the residence of the Duke of Norfolk. Robins, Blackbirds and Song Thrushes are singing around the Grange. I try to find the old course of the mill leat that ran along Mill Street and across what is now the B&Q car park, but there is nothing to be seen. The Sunday market is in full swing and quite busy. I get a nice light tripod for just a fiver which is pleasing! Otherwise much of the stuff on sale makes one who on earth would buy it in the first place, never mind try to sell it second hand…

Home – I strip the remains of the vine off the patio wires. It is always wonderful the way it regrows so thickly every year. I then place a ladder against the old Howgate Wonder apple tree and start removing the branches most infected with Mistletoe. Bunches of Mistletoe do look good but they are killing the tree, which we would rather did not happen, so out it comes. It takes far longer to chop up the prunings and bag them. There was also a lovely rose that grew through this tree but it died a few years ago, so I start removing the dead stems. Again, chopping and bagging these takes time and, as usual, spills blood! Kay empties out a large pot of compost which is infected with Vine Beetle into the chicken run for the girls to clean it, which they do with satisfied clucking. There are more signs of the world awakening from what was hardly the deepest of winters – a Brimstone butterfly flits across the garden and there are a number of Ladybirds crawling about.


Tuesday – Leominster – Yesterday we attended a meeting at Easters Court and on leaving saw a huge flock of Starlings over Eaton Hill. This flock, called a “murmuration” of Starlings was swirling and swooping across the hill top. Unfortunately, we had another meeting to attend, so back down to Easters Court I went again at about 6 o’clock in the evening. Large flocks of several thousand Starlings were over the end of Etnam Street and sweeping around towards the Minster. According to Wayne Potts, a zoologist who published in the journal Nature in 1984, birds in flocks are able to change direction quickly not just because they are following a leader, or their neighbours, but because they see a movement far down the line and anticipate what to do next. Potts called this the chorus-line hypothesis for bird movement. They gradually moved east over the River Lugg. All the time small groups of Starlings, sometimes only half a dozen birds, were flying in from all directions to join the larger flocks. These flocks swooped around, sometimes joining and then splitting again. The steadily headed east until the majority were over Eaton Hill. One vast flocks swept down like a huge black cloak onto the fields that lay between the A49 and Eaton Hill. At one point a breakaway flock of several thousand birds swept across the car park where I was standing with a whoosh of wings. Eventually the light was fading although the murmuration continued. As I wandered back towards the Butts Bridge, a flock of thousands of Starlings appeared over the river in a long thin flight which seemed to go on and on. I assume they had temporarily settled in the field near the site of Pinsley Mill and now had decided to join the main flock on the hill.

Wednesday – Home – I thought I would do a couple of jobs in the garden which turned into a near all-day effort. Firstly the chicken run was dug out, never a nice job but even more difficult as everything had compacted. Usually I can just skim off the top layer of rotting straw and manure but it had “cemented” itself to the underlying gravelly soil. As soon as I head off with a wheelbarrow load of diggings, the hens are in grabbing at any poor worm that has been exposed. The manure goes into the greenhouse for the tomato bed. It is a little odoriferous in there now! I then tidy up the beds a bit – some weeds come out and the final poles of Polish beans are dismantled and the beans taken in for shucking. A large pot of carrots which has sat in a corner all winter is emptied and gives a decent number of little carrots. Next the piles of previous chicken run diggings which have been sitting under covers on the courgette and squash beds are removed and dumped on this year’s potato bed for spreading later. A trench is dug in these beds and fresh horse manure is dumped in them and covered. A new pot of compost is sieved from the bins and some carrots, the deliciously named Giant Improved Flak are sown. A row of Pak Choi go in under a cloche. Finally, I remove a large rambling rose that died a couple of years ago. A Rambling Rector rose has now replaced it. Removing the dead stems and chopping them takes a long time and I still manage to tear my scalp on another rose snaking out of the same patch.

Thursday – Home – Finally the path around the south-western corner of the garden is clear. I have been chopping back the bushes, pulling out nettles and brambles for some time now and over a dozen bags of clippings have gone to the recycling centre. Bright yellow Winter Aconites are in flower around the pond. There is a clump of frog spawn floating like grey tapioca and a large female is just under the surface with a much smaller male clinging to her back. Birds are ever more active now. A Blackbird started serenading the area at about 4 o’clock this morning – long before it was light. He had actually fallen silent by the time dawn crept in.

Friday – Abergavenny – The dawn chorus and later songs of Blackbirds, Great Tits and the incessant chatter of House Sparrows may hint at spring but the cold wind and grey mist states winter has yet to depart. Abergavenny station is a plain stone building in red-brown. On into the town centre. Through a housing estate from the 1930s and on down to the bridge over the Gavenny River, the aber-gavenny. A lane leads off past Tan House, centre of the tanning industry (how that term’s meaning had changed) until 1884. Steps climb up to a path around the castle mound. Below are Weeping Willows, Alders, Elders and many other trees full of twitterings and chirpings.

Into the castle through a gatehouse probably built in the 15th century to replace a simple gate in the curtain wall. The motte was probably built by the Norman Lord Hamelin de Ballon in 1087 with a wooden tower upon it. Below, the bailey contained outbuildings and stables. The whole castle was destroyed in 1233 by Richard Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, and the Welsh princes. The keep was rebuilt in stone and the Great Hall was probably a timber building. Within this Hall, on Christmas Day 1175, William de Braose, murdered his long-standing Welsh rival Seisyll ap Dyfnwal. In 1182, the castle was attacked by relatives of the murdered Welshmen. Most of William’s men were captured, but he was away. A stone hall was built between 1233 and 1295. The Tower Complex consisted of two towers, one polygonal and the other circular. Evidence suggests that these towers were built in 1295-1314 at the same time as the town walls, using murage grants – a form of tax raised by the local Lord. In 1818, the present building, now the Museum, was constructed on top of the motte as a hunting lodge for the Marquess of Abergavenny.

From the castle, Castle Street runs past the United Reformed Church, founded in 1690, and School Room, then the Methodist Church, built in 1829. On past the modern Post Office of no architectural merit and then the Kings Arms, one of the oldest in the town, with the 1660 arms of Charles II on the wall. Into Tudor Street past the site of the mediaeval west gate. The police station and Workhousemagistrates courts (which are up for sale) are both slabs of uninteresting concrete brutalism. A terrace of houses built in 1910, is marked with a large “A”, a portcullis and rose. Linda Vista is a large Victorian house built in 1875. It changed ownership in 1901, and again in 1925 when it was acquired by the Whitehead family who also owned a steelworks at Ebbw Vale. In 1957 they sold the garden to the Abergavenny Corporation and the gardens became a public park. Opposite the entrance to Linda Vista Gardens is another row of houses marked with a badge of a portcullis and dated 1914.

Up Union Road where pleasant semi-detached homes have little stained glass windows by the front doors. Many of the houses here are in the lovely purple-brown stone and dated between the 1880s and 1910s. Commerce House is built in this stone but all the windows and doors are framed in courses of red or cream brick. A footbridge crosses the A4143. Beyond the bridge is the old Workhouse built in 1837. Down the hill a short distance is the Nevill Hall Hospital. Originally built in the 1860s as a country house for James Charles Hill, of Blaenafon iron works, and known as “The Brooks”. He had purchased the existing property in 1860, followed by demolition and rebuilding. It was purchased in 1890 by the Marquess of Abergavenny, and renamed Nevill Court. The Marquess died in 1915 and the house was sold as Nevill Hall. It became a hospital in 1920. The large modern hospital spreads across the hillside. The road winds round to join the A40 beside the old Nevill Hall lodge built in the late 1860s and built for J C Hill. Opposite a piebald pony scratches its neck on a fence. Next is a rather odd gated estate of retirement homes. Back on this side is the road is a fine Victorian house, dated 1897, again with a stone carved “A” on the wall and a royal crest, portcullis and rose on the gable end. A lane leads off the main road at Redbarn. A small hamlet of Usk Vale lies on a junction. A short terrace is dated 1913. Another house has the “A” plaque. The woman at the house tells me that, as I suspected, the “A” and other symbols indicate these are the properties of the Marquess of Abergavenny.


The surrounding hills are still partially hidden in a ghostly cloak of mist. The lane enters Llanwenarth. The old schoolhouse is now a residence. The church of St Peter is sadly locked, unusual in Wales where churches are far more likely to be open than in England. The earliest record of its existence dates to 1254 in a document known as the Norwich Valuation. At this time, the church was dedicated to Waynardo – possibly the name of a Celtic saint, which together with the partly curved outline of the churchyard raises the possibility that the Normans rebuilt or rededicated an existing Dark Age church. Locally in the 18th century it was believed that the church dated to the end of the 6th or beginning of the 7th century and was originally dedicated to Gwen, the daughter of Arth, son of Brychan – the legendary founder and king of Brycheiniog. I sit in the porch and a Robin comes in to investigate if there is any chance of food, unfortunately there is not. A large 14th preaching cross stands outside the porch. It has been restored. A footpath crosses several fields and arrives at the River Usk. There was a ferry crossing here. A footpath now runs alongside the River back to the town. A Nuthatch is very vocal in bankside trees. The River is broad here. Bird calls abound, more Nuthatches, Chaffinches and Blackbirds. Across a small footbridge. The River bends through 90° creating a weir with large areas of water-smoothed boulders on each side. Burton'sThe River now swells around a large meadow to the south of the hospital. The River straightens but there is a meander which is bypassed, but oddly there is fresh erosion of the bank. A large shingle bank lies a short distance out from this indentation. A Grey Wagtail squeaks as it flies about the stones. A pair of Goosander are in the far side is the river. A Cormorant and a pair of Mallard fly over. The path reaches Usk Bridge. The road across the bridge is difficult to cross as the traffic is near continuous. Castle Meadows lays on the other side. A footpath is marked on the map that crosses the meadows rather than walking around. However, it turns out to be rather swampy. The path emerges into a car park and then up to Tudor Road.

Into the town centre which is being repaved. A shop has a plaque stating it was, around 1741, the home of James Jones, a white periwig maker, apparently a major business in Abergavenny. Nearby is a lovely ceramic tile sign for Montague Burton, “The Tailor of Taste”. A list of the towns with a Burton’s shop is in glass around the top of the windows. In the high street a building has a sign stating it is the Old Bank and surprisingly for these days it actually is a bank. I drop into the Coach and Horses and am the only customer! I wend my way back towards the station via the Market Hall, built in 1870 to replace one built by John Nash in 1796. Along Monk Street where there is the Honorary Consulate of Latvia.

Sunday – Leominster – Today is the Spring Equinox; at last the days are longer than the night! This is the earliest the equinox has fallen since 1896. The moment of the equinox was apparently at 4:30 this morning. However, there is little spring-like about this grey, damp morning; there is rain in the air. Down the road and over the railway. The River Lugg is flowing grey and steadily under Butts Bridge. A Kestrel flies across the meadow. The market is busy again. Some more interesting stuff is being offered for sale, interesting but of no use to me, so I walk on. There are the usual amusing negotiations between the stall holders and eastern Europeans who have little comprehension of English language. They seem to come to a resolution, even if it means walking away.

Tuesday – Home – An area of high pressure has kept the weather settled and dry if not particularly warm, although there have been some periods of sunshine. But now the jet stream has moved and depressions and fronts are moving in again from the Atlantic. The area of nettles and brambles has now been cleared and I must keep at it all summer to maintain it like that. Buds are appearing on the pear trees. The Flowering Blackcurrant shrubs drip with pink-purple blossom. The vegetable beds are weeded, a tiresome job as the Lesser Celandine in particular are rampant and deep rooted. The last four golden beetroot are harvested. A trough of spring onions is emptied – some are planted out to see if they will grow into bulbs, some go indoors to add to our egg sandwich and the rest are given to the hens. After dinner we try and train some errant roses and prune them a bit. I then sow two rows of Long Blood Red beetroot and a row of parsnip. Another tray of Paris Cos lettuce is sown; hopefully this year I can maintain a proper succession of salad crops, something I usually fail at! House Sparrows are noisy in the rose bower (which needs a serious trim). One or two will fly swiftly down to the feeder and then return. A Robin is feasting on worms exposed by the digging when preparing the bed for the root crop seeds. A Collared Dove and a couple of Wood Pigeons are clearing up spilt seed beneath the feeder. Jackdaws chack in the trees. Lesser Black-backed Gulls circle on a thermal high above the town.

Wednesday – Bodenham lake – It is grey but milder. Dunnocks sing on the tall hedge lining the track down to the boat house. Out on the lake there are four drake and two duck Goldeneye. A Cormorant and Tufted Duck are at the eastern end. Robins are singing and Canada Geese gabbling. A number of cob Mute Swans glide through the water with their wings raised like billowing white sails. Only a single pen appears to be present. A woodpecker drums across the water. Most trees are still grey-brown so a Goat Willow with pale lime green flowers shines like a beacon. The water level has fallen, not yet exposing the scrape but shallow enough for a pair of Canada Geese to stand on. A lone female Teal swims past. A Carrion Crow calls in between searching the bank in front of the hide for grubs. A skein of Canada Geese arrive with their usual racket. More pairs of Goldeneye are around the water. A pair of Great Crested Grebe dive at the western end. A Moorhen emerges from the reed bed. It is strange how some of the regular species seen to disappear, there is just one pair of Mallard and a single Coot. A cob Mute Swan, head tucked down, wings arched, is moving determinedly after a pair of younger cobs who are looking decidedly uneasy. A young Cormorant with a white breast sits in the island trees. A mighty bonfire has been lit near the old Dinmore Station sending a thick plume of smoke into the air. A pair of Cormorants alight on the trees, one with a white thigh patch indicating a breeding male, and start squabble. In the copse behind the hide, several Blue Tits and a Pied Wagtail move through the branches. Four Jays fly over. Some shelters made of logs and soil have been built in the corners of the meadow and orchard. A Nuthatch lands on the wires beside an electricity pole. It starts singing.

Good Friday – Home – The dawn is a blaze of sunshine and azure skies. A murder of Carrion Crows has gathered at the top of the great Horse Chestnut and are cawing noisily. There are about twenty of them and in the end I just go out and clap my hands to drive them off. A pair of cock Blackbirds are fighting by the shed, rising into the air scratching at each other with their feet and calling loudly.

Later in the morning we try to remove all the long shoots off the rose bower. It is a difficult and painful job – runners of over eight feet in length and at a similar height need cutting back. They are going into the surrounding shrubs and trees and, of course, we want the growth to remain around the bower and the flowers to be there, not in a tree some way away! We get most of the them off and shredded. The local Robin comes to investigate but unfortunately this bit of gardening will not produce any worms!

Then I turn my attention to a large bramble that has taken over the south-eastern corner of the garden. Last year it was very prolific with blackberries but a large amount of the bramble is now dead. I start to cut off branches and pull one piece out a bit. The whole bramble promptly comes away from the wall so the only option is to cut it off where it is emerging from behind a large, very dead Ivy stem. Chopping up the bramble is another long and painful job – I really must get some decent gloves!

Wednesday – Croft – Bright sunshine starts to warm a cold morning. It has rained heavily over the last few days; storm Katie passed through over the Easter weekend. A Blackbird is singing strongly by the car park. A pair of Common Buzzards circle the Fish Pool Valley. Below, Great Tits, a Green Woodpecker and Carrion Crows call. The trees remain bare of leaves. It is worrying that the majority down here are Ash and recent predictions are saying most will succumb to Ash dieback disease in the coming years. The pale limestone of the pump house shines white in the sun. Blackbirds are calling their alarms. Robins, Wrens and Song Thrushes sing. Nuthatches call by the old limekiln. Beyond the kiln the hillside is covered in Wild Garlic leaves just a few inches high. Off up a side path. A Marsh Tit feed on the ground before flying up high into a tree to continue searching for food. Up the Hillsideslippery steps to the small promontory on which stands Sir James Croft’s grave. The clumps of daffodils around the grave have taken a battering from the rain. Back down to the path and on up to the forestry track. The area is now unfamiliar as all the conifers have been cleared and the wide open hillside is dotted with enclosures of various sizes to enable grazing whilst protecting new saplings of native hardwoods.

Back along the track to the path that leads up to Leinthall Common. A tractor stands beside the path, a device for pounding in fence posts at its rear. Up the path. Woodpeckers drum from the remaining conifer plantation. The path to the gate up to Croft Ambrey is a quagmire. On up to the hill-fort. Several pairs of Marsh Tits are flitting around the trees and bushes, far greater numbers than I have seen here before. Cloud is building from the south. Hay Bluff, Lord Hereford’s Knob and the Brecon Beacons are pale with a thin veneer of snow.

Down the slope from the hill-fort. Several new cattle troughs have been installed in readiness for the bovine land improvers. Down the Spanish Chestnut field. It appears the winter thrushes have departed for the north. I am surprised at the apparent absence of Chiffchaffs.

Thursday – Stretton Grandison – Kay wants some Heucheras for the planters so we head off down the Gloucester road. Our first stop is Stretton Grandison, a village lying on the Roman road to Gloucester. Originally known as Stretton, referring to the “street”, i.e. the Roman road, William de Grandison was recorded in the 13th century. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Otho de Grandison, which was dated 1280, in the Great Chartulary of Glastonbury. The church of St Lawrence is locked. It is a 14th century rebuilding of a 12th century church and restored in the mid-19th century. The setting is very peaceful despite the nearby main road. Fine old houses stand nearby – a 17th century house, Church Cottage, by the church gate and a 17th century farmhouse, Stretton Court, across the way. A gravestone records Thomas Taylor who died in 1964 at the age of 78, a wheelwright and pump maker.


Ashperton – On down the Roman road to this village that was the seat of the Grandisons. The church of St Bartholomew, consisting of chancel, nave, and north and south transepts, was re-built early in the 14th century but incorporates parts of a mid-13th century chancel-arch. The west tower was added late in the 18th or early in the 19th century. The church was restored in 1840 and the south porch is modern. There are four bells and a sanctus; 1st probably 17th century and broken; 2nd by John Finch, 1655; 3rd inscribed Virginis egregie vocor campana Maria[e]; 4th inscribed Sancte George ora pro nobis; both probably by the Worcester foundry and early 15th century; Sanctus uninscribed. They cannot be rung because the tower is in poor condition. Externally there are large areas of cement rendering which have caused damp problems. A large area in the church yard is covered by a delightful display of daffodils. There is a fine organ, dedicated in 1946. A small barrel organ is on a gallery at the west end. Apparently the mechanism was sent away for repair and never seen again. In the north transept are “The Traitor’s Arms”. The arms displayed are those of the 15th century Plantagenet monarchs reversed along the vertical axis and a number of satirical animal caricatures can be seen in the mantling which surrounds the shield. The Arms were known locally as “the Defiance” on the assumption that the Royal Arms were carved in reverse as an act of rebellion against an unpopular king. However, recent research suggests that the Arms were commissioned by Henry VI’s queen, Margaret of Anjou, to mark the disgrace of the House of York, after Richard of York and his followers were condemned as traitors by the “Parliament of Devils” in 1459. John de Grandison, Bishop of Exeter (1327-1369) was Roofbaptised here, as was his sister Katherine, Lady Montacute, wife of the first Earl of Salisbury. Her name has been linked with the founding of the Order of the Garter in 1344 by Edward III. It is said that her garter fell off while she danced at court. King Edward picked it up and, observing the smiles of the courtiers at what might have been considered an act of gallantry, exclaimed, “Honi soit qui mal y pense” (evil be to him who evil thinks) and so the Order of the Garter was founded. Nearby in a wood is a moat, much choked with fallen branches and containing very green water, surrounding a mound, now covered in trees, on which Ashperton castle stood. William de Grandison had license to strengthen and crenellate his house here in 1292. The castle, a fortified manor house, was demolished in the late 18th century. A Chiffchaff is calling in woods.


Pixley – A tiny hamlet which is mainly Pixley Court – home of Pixley Berries, a fruit juice producer. The court was a moated manor which probably surrounded both the house, which has been been considerably reduced in size, but it retains a 16th century cross-wing and late 13th century church of St Andrew. The church is a delight. It is small with large amounts of quite crude, black timber work. There is are simple posts supporting the bell tower, numerous roof ties and a screen of three bays of stolid black wood. There is some uncertainty about the age of the screen, many think it is 14th century but Pevsner considered it later, probably post-reformation. It is claimed the floor tiles are by William Morris. A harmonium by the Bell Organ and Piano Co Ltd of Gullph, Canada has eleven painted little imitation pipes and sits in the corner. There are two small stained glass windows in the east end, one of the Annunciation and the other an angel, in the style of Burne-Jones. The pyramidal bell-turret is Victorian. The church was restored in 1865. Outside, bees are busy buzzing around a beam near the roof. After lunch at The Nest, where Kay buys her Heucheras, we return past Trumpet where a Whitethroat soars up from a hedgerow, pirouettes and drops down again.