Malvern may be famous for its hills but there are also a couple of lovely commons at the base of the slopes.
Commons are like huge open plan parks. They often have livestock grazing on them and you’re allowed to walk, picnic and play on the land. In Australia, I think a reserve would be the closest equivalent.
Last weekend Adam and I found ourselves at Castlemorton Common, which is just south of the village of Welland. It’s famous for being the site of England’s biggest illegal rave, but these days is just a nice place for a Sunday walk!
We met up with a big group of extended family at ‘Golden Valley’, an area that Adam remembers as the site of many summer picnics.
There was a large pond full of ducks and geese which the youngest members of the party thoroughly enjoyed watching.
When there are so many of you, varying in age from ticklish toddlers to sprightly septuagenarians, you don’t really ‘walk’ in the traditional sense. It was more of an amble, but the slower pace meant you could appreciate your surroundings a little more.
I spotted thistles, which I must confess, thought only grew in Scotland!
There was also a sighting of some early blackberries. While they’re considered a pest species in Australia, here in England people count down to blackberry season. They comb bushes for the dark fruit and then go crazy making jams, pies and other sweet goodies. I’m hoping I’ll get the chance to go picking myself in a few weeks time!
It was a still, humid day and in mid-summer it’s easy to see how this part of the common gets its name.
We also walked past some very cute cottages right in the middle of the common. It’d be heavenly I imagine to live on a common – to have such a wonderful natural resource surrounding your home. I always wonder about the reasons why the houses were built where they are – were the original occupants gamekeepers, sheep herders, or people who just liked solitude?
I can’t wait to get back to the common for another wander – the landscape here is quite different to the nearby wooded hills and I’m sure there must be a few ‘secret spots’ away from the popular tracks. I feel another Sunday ramble is not long off!