It’s been a most enjoyable day today. It’s been fine and sunny, fairly mild, with just a bit of wind. Meg and I set off this morning soon after 8 o’clock to walk the circuit to Giffard’s Cross and back. At around 3 miles, it’s a pleasant hour or so (depending on how fast you walk!). Back to Bridge 7, along the edges of 2 fields to pick up the lane, turn right and follow it all the way to the car park on The Avenue. Then make a short detour to the left to see Giffard’s Cross and Chillington Hall in the distance, before following The Avenue back to the canal. The Avenue carries on to the Brewood/Coven road, but at the ornate Avenue Bridge you can drop back down onto the canal towpath and return, or stay above but parallel to the canal till Bridge 9, joining the towpath there.
Giffard’s Cross Chillington Hall
The Avenue to the Hall is still usable, though a little more overgrown.
Walking along The Avenue
Avenue Bridge, with it’s ornate balustrade, crosses the canal
Winter wheat in the field above the canal
The Avenue continues through the belt of trees.
Back to the mooring between Bridges 7 and 8.
Meg is off to meet George and Molly.
Chillington Hall is the family seat of the Giffard family, and has been since the 12th Century, although the present house dates to the 18th.
The family crest incorporates a panther and an archer and the motto “Prenez haleine, tirez fort” - “Take breath, pull strong”. This refers to Sir John Giffard, who in 15—something, shot a panther which had escaped from his menagerie and was about to attack a mother and child. Giffard’s Cross marks the spot where the beast died.
Sir John was very much a “King’s Man” supporting Henry VIII through most of his reign. He died in 1556 at the ripe old age of 90!
We toddled off soon after 10:00, tail end charlie again. Heading into Brewood we passed under Avenue Bridge this time.
Avenue Bridge again
St Mary the Virgin and St. Chad, Brewood rises above the village.
Brewood village is a handy spot to stop, with a well stocked Co-op for shopping. But from a boater’s point of view it’s let down by a soggy towpath. In a cutting overhung by trees it’d be hard pressed to be anything else, but it’s a shame nonetheless. TV and phone signals are pretty well none existent here as well.
But we weren’t intending to stay overnight, we were here to meet Lesley and Joe, currently of NB Caxton, soon to be of NB Yarwood. They’d come up from Stourport by road to Penkridge, and stopped to say hello on the way back.
Lesley, Joe, George and Carol
I don’t know what Mags has just said, but it seems to have surprised Lesley!
We had a joint effort for lunch, Mags had made a pan of soup, Carol provided the hot bread rolls and Lesley brought doughnuts for pudding. Very good it was, too.
They left us to travel back to Stourport, and we headed out of Brewood, to moor just a little further along. It’s out of the cutting here, so we’ve a drier towpath and a lot more light.
Lesley and Joe.
A bit of an unfortunate backdrop!
Good to see you both, hope everything goes well for the launch of NB Yarwood.
Past countrywide Cruisers, Brewood.
Chas hasn’t been with us today, he decided to carry on to Wheaton Aston. Ann is due back from her family visit down south on Monday, and I think Chas wanted to make sure he’d got a mooring to meet her there. We'll catch up with him in the next couple of days.
Locks 0, miles 2¼