A May-Day Excursion

May-Day was spent exploring somewhere we have been meaning to visit for ages: The Forest Centre at Marston Vale, Bedfordshire.  It’s one of twelve Community Forests in England.  Here’s a little bit about them taken from their “About Us” page:

Creating the Forest of Marston Vale is about using trees and woodlands to repair a damaged landscape, addressing the effects of the brick-making industry, which had flourished for over a hundred years between Bedford and Milton Keynes.

This area, as the quote above suggests, was once a hive of industry.  At it’s height, there were around 160 chimneys in the Marston Vale.  Now there are only four to be found at Stewertby (see photo below).  There is a striking difference between what the area once was and what it now is.  It’s encouraging to see so many new trees – over one million have been planted, which is great, not only for us but for wildlife too.

Yesterday’s short poem, A Scarred Landscape No More was inspired by this visit.

There was so much to see and do there but we decided to keep our visit short and sweet (after walking one of the shorter walks and enjoying a delightful breakfast in the Lakeside Cafe inside The Forest Centre) and head a little further down the road to another one of their woodland projects, Granary Woods.

If you ever find yourself in the area, I recommend you check it out.  Here’s the link to website if you want more information:


Visiting Shrewsbury

Shrewsbury, to my mind, is one of the most inspiring towns in England, and as such, is one I often find myself visiting.  One of the reasons I love Shrewsbury, as those of you who read my book review blog will know, is because of Brother Cadfael 🙂  However, it is also has a number of impressive churches.  Four of the five photos below are of St Mary’s, now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.  In the fifth photo, taken from beneath the bridge next to the imposing railway station, the church-like building at the top of the photograph is in fact the town library.

My favourite photo of the weekend has to be the little monster found perched on the outside of St Mary’s…isn’t he adorable? 🙂  I have a soft spot for demons, especially grotesques, gargoyles and imps…

Hoping you all had a good weekend,


In Search of Inspiration

Last weekend we stopped by a tiny village church in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, St Margaret of Antioch, Knotting, Bedfordshire.

It is a beautiful little church and has always been so quiet and peaceful when we have visited it, and so is a great place to write a little poetry, a few inspired paragraphs or pieces of flash fiction.

The earliest part of the building is Norman and there are areas of the churchyard that are a full of wild flowers, making it a haven for butterflies and bees…

St Margaret of Antioch, Knotting 3

St Margaret of Antioch, Knotting 2

St Margaret of Antioch, Knotting

St Margaret of Antioch, KNotting 5

St Margaret of Antioch, Knotting 4