Monday, 17 April 2017

Westridge Woods and Nibley Knoll

I like Wotton-under-Edge, though it's not the best of places to start a hill-top walk from. The clue is in the name. 

To avoid the long haul, we decided to drive up Old London Road and tackle the walk to Tyndale Monument from a higher elevation. It was a good call. 








Already there was a sense of being right on the edge of the scarp, with a fairly steep drop to the west of the path.



I love bluebells contrasted with the lime of new leaves ... 


... and the copper of old.


How does the moss know when to stop?




The sides are so steep, you need to be careful you don't fall down them. 


There's an Iron Age promontory fort in the woods called Brackenbury Ditches. 


It's hard to get a proper sense of it amongst the trees. It's still impressive, though. 


As we left the camp, our destination - Tyndale Monument - came into view through the trees. 


The monument's been part of my life all my life, but it's only the third time, by my reckoning, that I've been up onto Nibley Knoll to see it at closer quarters. My father used to point it out every time we drove past on the A38, long before the M5 was built. 


With it came the story of the scholar and linguist, whose prosperous family moved down from the north of England during the Wars of the Roses, but who, being Gloucestershire born, is deemed one of our own. Born c1494, he was the first to translate the bible from Latin into English in 1526, and was strangled, then burnt at the stake in 1536. 

I keep meaning to read at least part of his translation, which has more than a flavour of the language and cadences of the Vale of Berkeley - just below the Edge there.    
Looking back at Westridge Woods


When I was last up here, 14½ years ago, the Victorian monument was closed to the public for safety reasons, but it's since been restored and now it's open. I figured I should get up there while my knees were still up to it - just. So I did.

Looking down to the Severn Bridges ... 


... and up towards Frocester Hill. 


Back in the woods, I was taking photos as if we hadn't seen a single bluebell at all on the way up. 


Heading back to the car, I recalled that on the previous walk up here, the day before my 41st birthday, the kids, my ex-husband and I had been joined by a dog who accompanied us all the way back to Wotton. 

It happened a few times on various walks around the West Country. I've yet to sort through all the photos of those years, but when I've come across any taken on those particular walks, I've been tickled to see that the dogs in question are invariably border collies. 
It's as if the universe was giving me reassurances of what was yet to happen: keep going, keep going - it's going to get so much better. 

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