Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Postcard from Marcherland

NAH and I have just returned from a wonderful time on the English:Welsh border aka Marcherland. We stayed on the English side in North Shropshire, but this view of the Llangollen canal next to our cottage shows Wales on the other side of the bridge. Every town and village in this area has its own castle or at least a raised area where once stood a motte and bailey structure. Evidence of the turbulent times once experienced in what's now a quiet backwater of the country. We were also very close to the counties of Staffordshire and Cheshire, so we were staying in a multitude of borderlands.

Not only did we have a marvellous time waving to all the boats pottering on by our cottage, we were right next to a National Nature Reserve: Whixall Moss. This is a most rare kind of peat bog, called a mire or raised bog which has many features I need to tell you about sometime. The whole place was in transition: in the warm sunshine we were treated to the last of the swifts zooming over the canal to take their fill of the insects there before starting their long trip to Africa. At dawn and dusk there were many ribbons of honking geese flying in to overwinter on the Moss.

In the cottage garden I was delighted to find a damson tree as this area is famous for these as evidenced by the many signs at the side of the road urging us to buy, the vast trays of them viewed at farmers' markets and even bagfuls for sale at a local lockside cafe. The other treasure I found in the garden was what I think is a perry pear. Naturally both trees were plundered to bring home a most tasty souvenir.

Further posts to come on some of our more specific activities :)

4 comments:

  1. You weren't far away! Another time come and say hello. It is a fabulous canal isn't it?

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  2. glad you had such a lovely time. do the damsons taste any different from the ones grown locally?

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  3. Welcome back. I like the Marches too, especially Shropshire and the area by Bishop's Castle.

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  4. elizabethm - I was thinking that frequently whilst we were there. Sadly our booking was Friday - Friday, else I would have joined you and Karen for lunch

    Petoskystone - Shropshire damsons are reputed to be the best. And so they are, judging by the tastings thus far :)

    Mark - thank you. We've stayed at the Castle Hotel in Bishop's Castle a few times and the Ludlow/Long Mynd area is one I know well from childhood. It was good to explore another part of the Marches.

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