The International Steam Pages
Three Star Severn Bore, 2011
For convenience I have now grouped lifestyle illustrated features by topic:
This page is just one of several describing aspects of our '2011 new life', for earlier and later pages use the West Gloucestershire link above.
The end of September produced an 'Indian Summer' when temperatures soared to the high 20s for several days which coincided with some medium sized bores on the River Severn - for more information see the dedicated site http://www.severn-bore.co.uk/, click the videos tab to see some 'big ones'. According to the website, 2011 was not to be a classic year but since Yuehong had never seen anything like it, we got up a little earlier than usual on 30th September. It was a glorious day with the leaves already turning both in our garden and on the road down through Flaxley, although undoubtedly the best is yet to come:
Minsterworth is a traditional viewpoint for the bore because it is here that the river narrows to less than 100 metres causing a funneling effect to intensify the bore. Fortunately, the 'Gloucestershire Way' long distance footpath runs along the bank here and access is no problem. This mansion has a garden that runs down to the river and the nearby church is attractive but heavily rebuilt.
We found quite a crowd gathered, probably more than 100 people in all. As it was a Friday morning it was a case of 'look away now if you're meant to be in the office':
The bore was 'late', unlike natural phenomena like eclipses it is affected by atmospheric conditions and freshwater flow. Bores always occur around high tide in Spring and Autumn which accounts for the river level and the river was hardly flowing at all when we arrived. Frankly, it was not one of the better bores, the front was a surge about one metre high which swept upstream leaving the river rather higher and very turbulent.
There were almost no would-be surfers and those that were there all left the river disappointed. The upstream flow carries on for about an hour before reversing, but we didn't wait. Hopefully, March 2012 will produce a better one.
It was Yuehong's first visit to Ley Crossing with its manual gates. The crossing keeper has a very long commute, he lives in the next door farmhouse! We saw one car and three trains while we were in the vicinity - the latter are nearly all singularly unattractive metal boxes on wheels on this line although they do whiz along at 90mph.
Northwood Green is a delightful hamlet where farm produce is left to 'sell itself' on trust but with just one bus a week, it was never going to be on our shortlist. Nearby the trees hide the old railway bridge over the road - the last train ran in 1964:
It was now midday and time for a diversion to Blaisdon. Round the corner is another surviving railway bridge, behind is Blaisdon Hall and the trackbed beneath the bridge has returned to the state it was in before the railway arrived in 1855.
Blaisdon is another place which didn't make our shortlist, in this case for budgetary reasons. The attractive twin cottage is not for sale but the 'Old Mill' is. With it comes some 7 acres which is rather more than a big garden, though the price tag may not quite match the old rectory opposite the Red Hart ('Blaisdon House') which has a 'guide price' of a mere GBP 995,000. Quite steep even if it has 6 bedrooms and magnificent formal gardens...
On a previous visit we had enjoyed the Three Castles Brewery 'Summer Daze' but it was a sign of the times that it had been replaced with 'Autumn Daze', a pleasant darker ale heading for a winter warmer. If that was a more than acceptable tipple then the Wickwar's (dark) IKB was simply outstanding, it was just as well that my pockets were by now almost empty as we had five miles to ride (and walk) home. By the time we got to the bottom end of Jubilee Road at Gunn's we were ready for a very gentle final section, the panniers were bulging with 'horse manure' and it was overflowing onto my handlebars:
Yuehong wasn't quite finished, she dived into the hedgerow and came up smiling. The apples vanished into the top of my panniers which are always kept 'clean' for such windfalls.
It was another wonderful day out, we may have been exhausted but we'd had a lot more fun than the car borne visitors to the bore.
Rob and Yuehong Dickinson