Savouring Sundays

Savouring Sundays

Now that Adam and I know we’re moving back to Australia, we’re trying to savour and enjoy the time we’ve got left in England. A few Sundays ago, while Adam was away on a work trip, I awoke to a particularly mild autumn day. It was overcast and slightly breezy and had the hankering for a good old walk.

I wasn’t in the mood for a wander on the Malvern Hills, so decided to take myself back to local National Trust property, Croome Park,  which I visited for the first time last December. While I loved exploring the main house on my last visit, I wanted to spend some time in the 700 acres of parkland that surround the property…

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Holywell Road

Holywell Road

When I was a child I can remember being mesmerised by certain streets in my home town.  Generally these streets were on well used routes to various places, like the  local shopping centre or a family friend’s home. To rate highly in my 10 year old mind, the street had to have lots of trees, pretty gardens and interesting houses, each different to its neighbour.

It’s a little ‘game’ that I’ve retained into adulthood and I’ll often drive to places a particular way, just so I can have a peek at my favourite houses. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this!)

In Malvern one of my favourite streets, is Holywell Road…

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The mushroom walk

The mushroom walk

It feels like October has been filled with drizzly days which has seen my ‘nesting’ instinct kick into full gear. Pottering around home in cosy jumpers and fluffy socks is so much more appealing than being outside when the weather’s grey!

One morning the other week though I awoke to a brilliant blue sky and decided to get out and onto the Malvern Hills for a lovely, long ramble…

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The common

The common

The old saying goes ‘Never judge a book by its cover’, but I’ll admit I’m occasionally guilty of that. The Malvern Common sits between the township of Great Malvern and the suburb of Malvern Wells, in an area called the Lower Wych. It’s a big tract of open land, that’s hugely popular with dog owners and I drive/walk past it on an almost daily basis. I’ve avoided heading to the common for months because it always looks so busy and generally I prefer solitude on my walks, but the other day I decided to go and explore it for myself.

I was pleasantly surprised…

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Holywell

Holywell

One of Malvern’s great claims to fame is its abundance of natural springs and the ‘healing’ benefits that water apparently brings. It’s what saw Malvern grow from a sleepy hamlet to a thriving town in the 19th century.

As I’ve mentioned previously, there are wells scattered all over town and residents and visitors are free to go and fill bottles whenever they wish. One of the most famous  wells, is Holywell – what’s believed to be the world’s oldest water bottling plant in the world!

Holywell isn’t too far from where Adam and I live, so I decided to base one of my ‘summer wanderings’ on a visit to the well…

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The old Ashchurch line

The old Ashchurch line

My enthusiasm for walking/exploring was reignited last week after a visit to St Wulstan’s Nature Reserve, so much so that I’m trying to get out a few times a week while the weather’s warm for a wander and a nose around.

If you’ll allow me to indulge myself, I was thinking I might start up a bit of a series over the next few weeks detailing my roams across the countryside.

Today we’ll take a walk along a disused rail line…

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St Wulstan’s

St Wulstan’s

I love going for a walk but sometimes I forget how much I enjoy it, and days turn into weeks and suddenly it’s been far too long since I went for a proper solo ramble.

I love that exhilaration you get when you’re walking with no particular path in mind, the joy of discovering new sights, the sweetness of being alone with your own thoughts and that pink cheeked endorphin rush you get after a good paced, athletic walk.

The other day I was up early so decided to get outdoors and go for a walk rather than having a slow morning lazing/working in bed over multiple cups of coffee (a decadent treat  I’m too regularly giving myself on non ‘gotta get out the house’ mornings).

I found myself at St Wulstan’s Nature Reserve

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Golden Valley

Golden Valley

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!

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Badger watch

Badger watch

Lots of people come to Australia hoping to see a kangaroo or a koala. For me in England it was a badger or otter. I daresay my fascination stemmed from the childhood classic, Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows, and more specifically the 1980s stop motion television series of the same name, which I can remember watching as a child. Animal people who drove cars, dressed in snappy outfits and had wonderful adventures – what wasn’t to love?!

Badger coffee mug

Adam has always had a bit of a soft spot for badgers.  He even gave me a badger mug at Christmas! The vineyard he lived at before moving to Australia was frequently visited by badgers and an allotment he maintained near the village of Cradley, west of the Malvern Hills, was near a woodland where badgers lived. His stories of watching badgers snuffling about seemed magical and he was keen to share the experience with me.

So one evening last week, we made the short journey to Cradley to look for badgers.

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Forest foraging

Forest foraging

Last week I got a Facebook message from Australian friend Kerri, who’s currently holidaying around the U.K., about a delicious asparagus and wild garlic soup she’d eaten. Intrigued and inspired, especially by some of the images of wild garlic that are appearing on my Instagram feed, I went out in search of some the plants myself.

Wild garlic flowers

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