…and in the other direction

We are so fortunate that if at the end of our little cul de sac we turn left we are just a few minutes’ walk from the city centre, and if we turn right we are in beautiful countryside. Amazingly today was another perfect Winter’s day, with blue skies and sunshine and enough chill to give this pale English rose properly rosy cheeks (and nose). Mark and I decided to take a stroll before lunch – we don’t tend to do the big Sunday lunch thing, so there was no preparation to be done. Just as well as the day carried us away and we didn’t get home until almost three.

So come stroll with me in the other direction. I only took my phone and the sun was so bright I couldn’t see the screen easily, so apologies for the poor quality of the photos.

The first thing to note is the unusual flora we have in these parts of the West Country – here pink mittens grow on mitten bushes, ready to be harvested to keep small hands warm.

the mitten tree

the mitten tree

Past the mitten tree lies farmland, and we were greeted by these lovely ladies. The sun was so bright, the fields have faded and look like they are covered in snow, but please take my word for their verdancy.

cows

cows

Here I just want to show you how bright the sun was – I could practically feel my vitamin D levels rising.

cows dazzled by the light

cows dazzled by the light

The narrow lanes are bordered with hedgerows that in just a few weeks will be dressed in Spring flowers. Lovely to walk along until you meet a wopping great 4×4 or a couple of horses.

and English country lane

and English country lane

Looking along the valley it is hard to believe we are only five minute’s stroll from our house and the edge of the city.

the Woolley Valley

the Woolley Valley

Ah now, see how green is our valley!

Woolley Valley

Woolley Valley

In Swainswick village there is a cluster of beautiful stone houses and the prettiest little church.

Swainswick church

Swainswick church

I am not sure what drew me to this watering can in the churchyard; I just liked the look of it – I was in the sort of mood where to me everything looked arty and attractive (even Mark!).

arty watering can

arty watering can

Just look how blue the sky was…

church closeup

church closeup

Swainswick church

Swainswick church

A convenient gap in the hedgerow as we walked out of Swainswick village framed the view of the valley beautifully.

a gap in the hedgerow

a gap in the hedgerow

We contemplated crossing the valley, walking through Woolley and back through Larkhall but I decided it was a bit far for a pre-lunch stroll. However, when we got back to the Gloucester Road it just seemed too nice a day to go back inside so we crossed under the A46 and headed up the hill to Bailbrook and the lower slopes of Solsbury Hill. Now I hope you know I would have walked across the fields to the top of the hill, but it was so very muddy from all the rain, we instead stuck to the road (very narrow, with very steep banks so when the two or three cars we saw came along it was quite a challenge to climb out of the way).

As we looked back we could see down over Larkhall and virtuously counted the calories earned climbing the hills (hopefully counteracting yesterday’s shared bar of Dairy milk).

looking down from Bailbrook to Larkhall

looking down from Bailbrook to Larkhall

The hedgerows sported swags of catkins like bunting, looking so cheerful against the blue sky.

catkins and blue sky

Back down the hill to Batheaston. Growing up in Essex, we would have called a cut-through like this a ‘folly’ – not sure what the Bath term for it is.

down the path to Batheaston

down the path to Batheaston

At the bottom of the hill it felt like time to pop in to the corner shop for a little bottle of apple juice that we drank watching the river. The energy we needed to walk back along London Road West, cross the A46 and cut through Alice Park, dodging the small people on bikes and trikes, to get back home. Rio the cat came to greet us as we came close to the house and once inside I even got to stretch out on the sofa while Mark made us scrambled eggs on toast. Now that is what I call a proper Sunday! Can we have another one tomorrow please?

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