Hay-on-Wye to Ipswich 2016 -Week 2 blog by Jane Benyon
We had a lovely peaceful day today, our hosts were away at work so we were able to potter around in the morning which was lovely, before going to lunch with an old friend just outside Worcester. Having been told that Wednesday was going to be the hottest September day on record, the torrential rain and thunder in the afternoon make us very happy that we aren't walking!
We meet up with good friends outside Worcester Cathedral, with their two black Labradors. It is a beautiful morning and a lovely start along the river Avon. Sadly we have to leave the river and trudge through rather dreary suburbs of Worcester. The dogs look extremely disgruntled having to walk on pavements. We finally leave the city behind and having crossed the M5 we set off on to footpath and all of us including the dogs are much happier. The footpaths are considerably better marked than on Tuesday and we have a lovely walk through attractive farmland dotted with woodland. We have made good progress and stop at an excellent pub, the Chequers in Crowley, the best yet on this trip.
Poor Tom has developed a swelling in his jaw and has gone back to Worcester to try and see a dentist and I continue walking with our friends and their dogs. Another lovely stretch of countryside, well marked, with no major hazards. I tell my friends they have hit lucky today, even the walk through a maize field is easy as it is dry. We arrive at the village of Kington by 4.45 to be met by Tom and Marcus. He has seen a dentist who said he had an infection and put him on anti-biotics. He told him he had done the right thing by seeking help. We are staying in Chipping Camden for a couple of nights, which is great as we don't have to pack up tomorrow morning.
Today the visibility is very bad for most of the morning and I am glad we are not on roads. However it is difficult to see where the next style is when walking across a field but luckily Fred is pretty accurate. Early on we have to travel down a path with high hedges on either side and totally over grown with brambles and burrs. Poor Moses came out at the other end covered in the latter and I had to spend time trying to get them off him. He was not happy! My heart sinks when footpaths go through small farms whose owners keep horses The owners tend to divide their fields up with two strands of electric fencing and negotiating through them is a nightmare. Today was one of those days. After getting through we then came to field with a lot of cows and calves and as it was still very foggy I felt a bit vulnerable with Moses so lifted him to pop him over the fence not realising there was an electric fence at the top which he put his legs on. Poor thing - did he yelp! and I don't think he has forgiven me yet. Of course after all that the cows were fine. The rest of the morning was fine and we stopped for lunch in Alcester. After lunch we had a pleasant walk along the river. Tom was being given an award by The Rotary for his work in Zimbabwe at their head office in Alcester and the plan was for him to go and receive his award and I to continue towards Stratford on Avon. This we discovered meant walking down the A46, a major trunk road with absolutely no verge, in the rush hour. We all decided that this was not safe and as there was no alternative we would have to miss out this section of the walk and I joined Tom at the presentation.
Today we start with the pleasant task of walking through Stratford upon Avon. We are rather relieved to hear that the person due to walk with us has cancelled. We have been asked by kind friends to see King Lear this evening so we are keen to crack on so that we finish our 12 mile walk on time. We pass the RSC theatre with anticipation for our later return. Leaving Stratford we find ourselves in rich Warwickshire countryside, mainly arable but dotted with parkland and woodland. Having been a fox hunting lady in my past life, I look at the large hedges and ditches with happy memories of flying through the air on a good horse. We walk through two large stud farms. No longer the electric fence divided fields of my earlier description, but beautifully maintained post and rail fields holding sleek thoroughbred horses. We walk along mainly farm tracks and well maintained paths so our progress is rapid. Our kind host of the night before has made us sandwiches so we stop very briefly in a pub, buy a drink and eat them in the garden. Our walk is completed be 3.15 pm a record. This gives us time to get back to Stratford and go to one of the smarter hotels who kindly allow us to use their Spa facilities to shower and wash my hair all for the price of a cup of tea!, I was nervous that after all that exertion, I would fall asleep in the first Act, especially after a very good dinner. Not so, the production is so good and Anthony Sher spellbinding, I was on the edge of my seat all night! Do go and see it. It is coming to the cinema soon if you can't get to Stratford.
Tonight we return home for a few days to attend a family celebration.
You can read Tom’s much fuller Blog on www.zane.uk.com
Please click here to download a donation form (pdf format) to sponsor me.
"At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality”
Please contact Jane Benyon