A Change in the Weather…



Waymarker Cairn on Burbage Moor

The Heather has all but died back, the horizon is hazy, The light is lower, the wind is blowing from the north east….and it is bitterly cold…..just the right sort of day for the moors.

A weather change has arrived and more than likely snow later in the week.

6th November

(C) David Oakes 2016



Sunday….So off to Church


Holy Trinity the Parish Church of Much Wenlock

Much Wenlock is a small and very ancient Market Town in Shropshire. Like most towns across the UK  they once played a very important role in their regions, commerce, industry, agriculture, transport and in later days health and education.

But Much Wenlock can also make a very big claim to being the birth place of the modern Olympic.  The collaboration between Dr William Penny Brooks and Ross Frisby created the first Athletics Wenlock Olympics.  Those games celebrated their 130 gathering this year and we all know how the International Olympics have developed.

But back to Holy Trinity.  The church you see today is solid plain Norman in style and dates to 1150.  At some point the Tower also sported a Spire but that was removed early in the 20th century.  Like most English Churches it is again built upon a site of early Anglo Saxon worship.


The Nave is long and high, not over ornate but has high arched windows, stone pillars and Box Pews….simple and yet stylish.

Perhaps the simplicity is because the Church was built by an order of Cluniac Monks from Wenlock Abbey. Indeed you could say that Holy Trinity is literally and physically in the shadow of the Priory.

Wenlock Priory is perhaps the bigger attraction for visitors to the Town, but those who limit their visit just to the Priory miss out  on the Church and the Town and all its local history.


Wenlock Priory

Again dates can be confused….as can names.  Originally the Priory was named after Saint Milburga.  It was originally a 7th century Monastery, then a Cluniac Monastery in 1079.  The current ruins of the Priory are just a little younger being 12th century. Priories were not just places of worship but fully contained communities.

Like all ruins it is fun deciphering the  layout, identifying where worship took place , where they slept, ate and of course where they prepared their food and stored the wines and beer…and of course where they washed and bathed.  These may now only be a skeleton of what existed but they still illustrate the skill of the stone mason with only the simplest of tools.

 Quite a contrast in both styles and size….plus the chance to explore a lovely market town that also has many more interesting buildings spanning the centuries and illustrating the Towns obvious importance to this part of Shropshire…yep, Much Wenlock is worth exploring.

( Off to Church on Sunday has been a regular blog for a few months now but I am going to give it a break till sometime the New Year. So next Sunday will be the last for awhile. I have something planned which I hope will be a fitting Off to Church contribution but more importantly appropriate blog for Remembrance Sunday)

6th November

(C) David Oakes 2016

November and another Bonus Day …..but with a definitely different feel.


Early Morning, Allestree Lake

Early morning, the sun catching any colour left on the lakeside trees.  There had been no frost overnight but the morning was still cold and the lake and light had that cold look to match. Yes, despite a very bright sun and substantially blue sky the light this morning had changed, very different from the weeks just gone, a week that brought November and darker nights.

The leaves have at long last started to change colour and drop in bigger numbers, the morning sun just managing to light parts of the woods that have not seen sunshine since early spring…


Gales are forecast for the weekend, so it will be no surprise if by next week the leaves that are still filling the canopy have been striped clear….many of those leaves have yet to turn but as they are dry after all the warm weather and lack of rain they must surely fall. My favourite ‘bent’ Beech  stand may well not sport its golden head this autumn as they are only just turning brown …..

Whilst we wait and  for that distinct change in the weather that will define the start of winter lets enjoy a walk though our autumn woods….


and a not so Silver, Silver Birch now a red head…


No matter how long you wander through the woods, kicking up leaves, searching for fungi, fungi which does seem scares this autumn, it is the Lake that will draw you back for another look…and why not


The clouds that kept gathering did at times give us a short sharp shower or two just for a change,  but before the sun disappeared below the horizon it did gave us one last shining moment..


Not bad for the 4th of November…

4th November

(C) David Oakes 2016

Larch Time…..


It is that time of the year when the Larch really start to shine….throughout the year they display various shades of green but now the needles are rich brown……soon they will carpet the woodland  floor

It is starting to get colder and the moors a little bleaker but still exciting and satisfying to be out  in the (relatively mild)  autumn.

4th November

(C) David Oakes 2016

Some November Colours…..


Another Bonus day down by the Lake

2nd November arrived and with it the first frost of the year. I am told that it  was quite a thick frost but by the time my eyelids had opened it had vanished. It has though had an effect on the trees.  There is much more colour but sadly many leaves have just dropped…..notably my two favourite Ash Trees have  lost just about all their leaves overnight…soon they will just be skeletons..


Lakeside positively glowed this morning, the dark waters reflecting not just the dark blue of the early morning sky but the multicolours of the trees…


Not sure that the sycamore are going to turn yellow and gold as would be their normal plan but instead just drop everything to be trampled underfoot. The Horse Chestnut whilst slow to turn is still keeping to traditional display of brown and golds


But as the morning moved along wispy white clouds started to drift in and as its way remained with us till dusk…..but not a big problem as that gorgeous sunshine still kept breaking through


Just a note on temperatures.  Monday we basked in 17c, some paces enjoyed 22c midday to day it reached the days maximum of 7c. The promise is for colder weather for the rest of the week.

3rd November

(C) David Oakes 2016