Friday, 12 May 2017

Luddington (yes, we’re living somewhere different this weekend)



Thursday looked like being another glorious day so after breakfast I got the washing on and Buddy and I set off for a cruise down the river Avon to Luddington.  The tourists weren’t out on the rowing boats yet but the Rowing Club were in full swing with several boats on the water.  We managed to keep out of each other’s way.

On the move again

Unlike most canals and rivers, you are requested to leave the exit gates open at the locks. 

Welcome sign – especially when single handing

I was most fortunate, as the first lock I came to was all set for me with the top gates open so I could go straight in.  It’s really handy being able to leave the gates open when leaving a lock as it means I don’t have to moor up and walk back to close them.

Sailing straight out of the first lock - no need to stop and close the gates


The top gates of the second lock were also open for me – it was my lucky day.


At one of the locks a swan had built a nest almost under the balance beams so I kept Buddy well away.

Swan on her nest in a silly place


Buddy left on the boat out of harm’s way

As I mentioned yesterday, the river level is very low at present and this was confirmed by the markers at the exit to each lock.

Green is low; orange means proceed with caution; red means moor up immediately

As with other rivers all the moorings are either floating pontoons or on rings that rise and fall with the water level. 

As I saw the first houses in Luddington I was reminded of Steinar who we stayed with in Norway last weekend; he is an architect and very interested in different styles of building around the world and particularly likes the TV programme, Grand Designs.  The houses in Luddington are greatly variable in age and style although I would say all but maybe eight are detached properties and, of course, they all postdate the church.  I have included pictures of some of the properties for Steinar’s benefit at the end of this blog entry.

The first houses coming into Luddington – they have fantastic views across the river and down towards the hills at Gloucester etc.

I arrived at Luddington where there is space for two narrowboats to moor.  It had been full overnight but luckily one boat left as I pulled up.  The other boat was called Third Time Lucky and I remembered seeing it in the basin at Stratford the other day.  Karen and I had mused about the name so I thought I would ask them when I saw them.  It turns out they are semi-retired (not sure what that means); she was a maths teacher and he an accountant.  The boat is named to reflect that she is on her third marriage.

Our mooring at Luddington with Third Time Lucky in front of us

It’s a brilliant spot as it is so quiet (apart from the water rushing over the weir) and I have seen heron and kingfishers from the open hatch already.

After lunch, I took Buddy for a walk to Welford on Avon.  It was a mixture of fields and country roads until about a mile from Welford where we had to go along the A439.  It had no footpath nor banks so we had to take a detour and walk up to Binton, covering three sides of a square and back across the main road into Welford on Avon.  

There were plenty of butterflies on the wing and I saw my first damselfly of the year too.

Male Green Veined White butterfly – the green veins are very prominent on the underside


Damselfly but I’m not sure which species it is

A lot of the walk was alongside a dismantled railway line.  The track bed would have made an excellent path as it was on an embankment but was overgrown in most places.  As it’s not used for anything now I couldn’t help wondering why the footpath hadn’t been moved to the old track bed – it would have provided larger fields for the farmer if he didn’t have a footpath on his land and walkers would get a better view being higher up.

Old accomodation bridge at the railway line

The bridge still had the railway lines on it and they ran a few yards either side too.

At Welford on Avon I had intended to cross the river and walk back along the other side thus completing a circular walk.  Fortunately, I checked the map before setting off from Welford on Avon and realised that what I thought was a bridge back across the river to our mooring spot was, in fact, a weir; this meant I had to retrace my steps.  I was outside a pub by the river at the time so I thought I’d pop in and have a quick drink to console myself about my poor map reading skills.

Quick pint on the river at Welford on Avon...
...and welcome refreshment for Buddy in Lower Birton

Interesting road sign at the entrance to the village

Back in Luddington we had a quick walk around the village to get the pictures of the houses.  Another attraction of the place, other than being on a byway rather than a main road, was the village green.  I love village greens, especially when they still have old playground equipment on them.

Sundial on the green showing that there aren’t many houses in the village


Old fashioned swings on the green

To get to our mooring you have to walk through the churchyard which is quite quaint – the church is quaint too as it is fairly small.  Not like the large places many village folk were forced to build for the local rich landowner to show off their wealth.

The church that predates all the houses in the village

When we got back to the boat, two boats were coming past and one of them slowed to a stop alongside us.  It was a couple we have met several times before in Ellesmere, Middlewich and even Stratford.  I didn’t click at first but realised after a while it was Derek and Helen on their boat Aspen; she used to be a music teacher and they have a piano on their boat.  

It was two years since we last saw them and as we were entertaining family at the time (again in Stratford) we didn’t spend much time talking with them.  They told me that they had been moored in the basin at Stratford yesterday and had taken a walk along the river where they saw us in 2015.  Apparently, Helen said, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if we bumped into Chalkhill Blue again?’.  To their surprise, they did but as we were in the pub at the time we didn’t get to meet up.

Here are some of the houses in Luddington which show the variety of ages and styles

The manor house


Thatched cottage


A Grand Designs type house


Modern monstrosity depending upon your point of view…


…and another


Another modern one but not so pretentious - the rear is facing south and across the river and looks like it is completely glass - so different to the front shown here


I love the colours of this stone house



Converted barns


1930s style



The views across the river that most of the houses have - shame it wasn't clear

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