We arrived in Hopwas yesterday lunchtime, found a nice mooring spot and went to check out the ‘Tame Otter’ with a view to having a meal there in the evening. We had a cider or two and decided to have lunch as well!
Later on I went for a walk around the village as there were some nice old buildings, and I wanted to look at the church, St Chards, which is up on the hill above the village. It is mentioned in ‘Pearson's’ which calls it an ‘Art and Crafts’ church.
Our mooring is just down the towpath from the village school – nice to see as there aren’t many left. As you can see, they are celebrating their centenary this year.
Along School Lane there are some very pretty cottages.
The one on the right of the top picture (a tiny cottage - you can just see the front door) had an old fashioned cottage garden which smelt wonderful as we walked past.
I hiked uphill to the church, expecting to see a building which used to be a church, but had been turned into an Arts and Crafts Centre, as have some others I’ve visited in the past – wrong! It’s just a church, albeit an unusual one.
I had a good look around inside and a rummage around in the churchyard, which was very well kept.
We had our dinner in the pub and decided that we would stay here another day as I needed to get to a town to get buttons for Flo’s cardigan, so we got the bus into Tamworth this morning. Another recession-hit town, loads of shops closed down and even a whole shopping precinct derelict. However, we soon found the reason, a fairly new shopping mall! We found all the items on the shopping list, and discovered Tamworth Castle on our way back to catch the bus so didn’t have time for a look around – Rog took a couple of photos on his phone, but now can’t find the lead to transfer them to the computer! We’ll save the castle for our next visit.
After lunch Rog got out his tackle (!) again and Cassie and I went for a walk. I was fascinated by Hopwas Woods – it’s also a Military Firing range, but I had noticed a foot path going in so wanted to see where it went.
We entered the woods over Hopwas Woods Bridge , and were soon following a well marked path slightly above, and alongside the canal.
The path got deeper and deeper into the woods, and further and further from the canal – it was dark and a bit spooky. We came upon this odd hole in the ground with a little structure in the bottom, made from rocks, but with a doorway. Following the path downwards, it looks like it was blasted out of the rock at one time or another. We followed the path, hoping that we would eventually come back to the canal and alongside another bridge, but it just kept on going.
I nearly turned back several times, as the path was getting narrower and narrower, and more and more overgrown, but then we came to a clearing and I decided that, if there was a path, it must lead somewhere. At last I spotted brickwork through the trees, crossed the bridge and got back on the towpath. I was a bit relieved, as I was beginning to think that we were well and truly lost – I’m not renowned for my sense of direction!
We had a long and lonely trek back along the deserted towpath (yes, Lesley (nb Caxton), I know it would have been a short stroll for you, but it was long for me!!). I thought I’d be artistic and take a photo of the pretty wild flowers that bloom in abundance here.
The River Tame that runs alongside the canal, down a steep embankment. The canal is very pretty in places as it passes through Hopwas.
Will be moving to Fradley Junction tomorrow in the hope of finding a mooring for the weekend. It’s our wedding anniversary on Sunday, and we are hoping to celebrate it in the ‘Swan’ (that’s if we can moor and if we can get a booking!) We also hope to meet up with fellow Beacon boat owners Karen and Ian on nb Serenity (No 6). Fingers crossed that this meeting happens!