Friday, 28 February 2014

Last walk of the Winter

A last outing of the Winter for my IWC and me as we reconnoitered a route for a walk we are leading next week. We'd done this one a few years ago and we thought it was worth repeating as it took in a river, tidal creeks, castles, hamlets and woodland. It was about 6 miles and rated 5/6 on the Universal Mud Scale.
We started off at the side of St Stephens by Saltash church, which is by Saltash. A 15th century building over an earlier structure.

Two of my IWC's forebears are buried in the churchyard: her great, great grandfather George Henry Laws who died aged 41 on 4th October 1877 of apoplexy (nervous) syncope and his wife, Charlotte Frances, who died aged 39 on 20th December 1877 of ascites anascara. Within 3 months, four children (14, 13, 10 and 8) lost both of their parents and ended up being distributed amongst a number of relatives.

One interesting feature, but not unique amongst Cornish churches, is the height of the burial ground above the level of the church. This is what happens when cart loads of soil are added to enable successive interments in the same area.
Here the Forder creek (and its valley) is wide enough to have needed a significant viaduct for the Great Western Railway (RIP!) to cross it. When Brunel originally brought the railway down to this part of the South West he built a wooden viaduct here and this was replaced by stone at the beginning of the last century.

Further down the creek is the Forder tidal mill, reputedly the best preserved of its type in England. The building bears the inscription FB, RB, AB 1613 commemorating the date of its erection and the names of the first family of millers - Frederick, Richard and Abraham Buller.
When it worked, and it hasn't for about a century, the incoming tide filled the large artificial pond to the right, the sluice gates were closed to retain the water and this was gradually released to feed a number of waterwheels. The lower level opening is the exit for the race of one of the wheels.
Floral succession with the snowdrops beginning to fade as the daffodils are breaking bud.
And this is me fiddling around with Photoshop.

A woodland stretch, soon to be enveloped with leaves and bluebells.
Just one of the many tidal creeks along this part of the walk. No waders to be seen today.
Nowadays the Brunel Bridge at Forder doubles as a canal used for naval vessels. HMS Gotcha can be seen in the middle making its way to Devonport. The tidal pond for the mill can be seen to the right through the bridge.

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