Saturday, 23 September 2017

As I Walked Out One September Morning

to paraphrase Laurie Lee.
I'm usually at work on Sundays, but I took last Sunday as a holiday and decided to go out on the Hay Ho bus, which includes Madley in the route. I haven't been to Madley for years, but I remembered the church was nice, and I really wanted to get up close to the satellite dishes.
To this end, I got the 11.25am bus from Hay. I was intending to get off at Gooses Foot Farm Industrial Estate, on the edge of Kingstone, but the bus approached it from a different angle, coming out of Madley, to the usual bus route, so I overshot a bit and got off the bus at Hanley Court farm. This was so I could walk through the bits of Kingstone I never see from the bus. For instance, I knew there was a school there, but I had no idea it was such a big high school.
Then I turned down the public footpath towards the satellite dishes. At the end of the metalled road there were a few houses strung along one side of a field, and the public footpath appeared to go through the field. There's a kissing gate at one end, and at the other a small metal gate led into a field of maize. The weeds round the edge of the field were taller than I am - there was no way I was going to get through the footpath there! And it was a long walk back to go round by the road.
As I was coming through the kissing gate at the other end of the field, I noticed a grass path leading round the back of the houses. It wasn't marked in any way, so I was a bit hesitant about going down there at first, but soon I could see I was on the right path after all. It went right round the edge of the Satellite Earth Station, right by the razor wire fence.
This is how close you can get to the satellite dishes:

It was all very interesting.
The path comes out at the other end onto a Roman road, Stoney Street, so I instantly stepped through 2,000 years of history.
It was also the day of the big Madley Car Boot Sale, so the road was quite busy. Fortunately there is a grass verge, and the car boot sale is very well stewarded. They were in the road by the field, and also stopping people from parking in people's driveways or field gates along the road. After all, it's only £1 to park in the field.
At the end of the road is the Comet Inn, and that was my first stopping point:

It's a pleasant, modern looking pub inside. I got there at about half past one, and had a half of Ludlow Best, a nice light beer that was just the thing for a long walk. The day had started off a bit miserable and drizzly, but was brightening up considerably.
Then I walked into Madley. When I consulted my copy of Pevsner, to look up details about the church, I noticed that there was something else to look at in the area. "ROUND BARROWS, 1 1/2 miles WNW of the church. The group consists of a bell barrow 33 feet in diameter and a disc barrow 64 feet in diameter; nearby are three small round barrows encircled by a slight bank and ditch."
This went off the edge of my map, so I looked up the round barrows online and found their location on a website showing all the archaeology around Madley. This also said that the manor house nearby was medieval. This was Upper Chilstone Farm.
The only way to get there was along the road, but there was mostly a grass verge to step onto when cars went by, and it wasn't overly busy. I think I'd try to do more off road walking next time I go out, though.
Upper Chilstone is a working farm, and tractors were going to and fro, so I didn't linger - but I couldn't see anything medieval over the high garden wall. It was all early 19thC brick. I couldn't see the barrows at all, but worked out that they were between the house and the main road I'd just walked along. Almost exactly, in fact, where a new orchard had been laid out. I went round to look more closely from the main road - and there is a bit of pasture to one side which might be where the barrows are, in the gap between the trees in the middle of the picture:

Still, I did find the locally famous egg fridge - it's on the parish map in the village, and is an old fridge beneath a tree at a fork in the road, where someone local puts free range eggs for sale.

Then it was back to Madley for a pint of Lancaster Bomber in the Red Lion. On the way I stopped by the local garden centre, and bought a pot of sage for the garden. The Red Lion is a lovely old pub, with several small, cosy rooms, though the sun was so pleasant by now that I sat outside.

I still had time before the bus came, so I headed up to the church, where I met a lovely old gentleman who was obviously something to do with the congregation (though he said he wasn't allowed to wind the clock any more!). He showed me round, including the crypt that is used for some services. Most services are held in the side aisle now, leaving the centre of the church open. There was a labyrinth laid out with lengths of cloth there. At the back of the aisle is quite a good tomb, of Richard Willison and his wife (his legs are missing, sadly) from 1575. The church also has wall paintings above the chancel arch.
Then the old gentleman took me round to the back of the church, where thieves came a few nights ago and stripped some of the lead off the chapel roof.
He also very kindly got a copy of the parish magazine from the local shop for me - where he'd been going when he met me in the churchyard. It's called Tracking the News, with a picture of satellite dishes, and is as much a local magazine like Wye Local as the parish magazine. It covers Allensmore, Clehonger, Eaton Bishop, Kingstone, Madley, Thruxton and other neighbouring parishes. So I found out that Kingstone Church has just had a servery installed for serving snacks, and children from Kingstone School have just been on holiday to Iceland! There was a Wild West Summer Fair (prize for best dressed cowboy or Indian) and a visit to Hereford Cathedral gardens by Eaton Bishop gardening club, and a full Village Diary of all the events in the district.
I got to the bus stop with exactly 3 minutes to spare, and the bus came round the corner right on time.

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