Wednesday, 19 January 2011

2011 - Day Out 1: Chaddesley and Cleobury

Date: Saturday 15 January 2011

It is time for the first trip of 2011. and what better way to start it off with a trip from 2010! Mr WME and Mr SBI attempt to try the trip that was originally planned for December which was called off because of that white stuff - Snow, but there was no snow in sight today, so it is time for Mr WME and Mr SBI to meet up.

And meet up they did, Mr WME made his way from Wolverhampton to meet Mr SBI at 9am at Stourbridge Town Railway Station, but due to the change of terminus of National Express West Midlands 256 service, it is just slightly later, so it is straight to the ticket office to get our tickets. A return to Kidderminster is purchased and we board the Parry's People Mover to get our connecting train at Stourbridge Junction. Trains changed and we discuss if we risk the dark clouds above, which we do, so it now a discussion at which railway station to stop at, Hagley or Blakedown.

A station is chosen, and we get off our train at Blakedown, a station that we have both passed through several times, but have never actually set foot on a platform. Mr WME is in his element, taking photographs of the station signs, platforms, and a junction box, which I must say I have never actually noticed before. Photographs over, we start our first walk of the year and we make our way down to Blakedown village, where upon arrival, Mr WME gets his camera out again to take more photographs, this time of the Post Office, and Blakedown's main public house, The Old House at Home. We make our way to our first village on our long walk, Belbroughton, so we make our way along Belbroughton Road, where Mr SBI spots the direction sign and realises that the distance to Belbroughton is longer than if we had got off the train at Hagley. No turning back now, we head up the hill and arrive at the crossroads at Hackman's Gate. We head straight on and down Hackman's Gate Lane, where we have a little walk and talk, and it is not that long before we arrive in the village of Belbroughton.

Before we actually get to the village Mr SBI leads Mr WME on a loop up Church Hill to get a look at the Holy Trinity Church. We walk into the Village where Mr WME gets his camera out yet again and takes photographs of The Talbot Hotel and more of the village itself. This is a good time for Mr SBI to pop into the village shop and get refreshment, a banana and strawberry smoothie. After time spent in the village and mid point of our walk, we carry on back through the village and pass The Queens and head up Drayton Road, to get to our finish point of the walk, Chaddesley Corbett. We walk up the hill just out of Belbroughton and it is not long before we come across Drayton, a small hamlet, where Mr SBI has a mini-break, whilst Mr WME takes a couple of photographs of The Robin Hood public house. We carry on along Drayton Road, where we have a chat as we walk, where Mr SBI spots a boot at the roadside, and the other boot is located not far away. Mr SBI brings up the question of "How is it that on roadsides up and down the country, why is it that if there is a sock at the side of the road, there is never another one to accompany it?", we walk a little along the road and Mr SBI comes across something which looks like a crumpled up sock, to prove his point, but upon picking up the crumpled mess, it appears to be a pair of knickers (Bridget Jones Style may I add), and they are quickly thrown back on the ground and hands wiped on Mr WME's coat. Further up the road, we spotted an odd trainer - the other one does not seem to be around! After what seems a short walk we arrive at Chaddesley Corbett, a village about the same size of Belbroughton, but seems to be a little bit busier, the walk from Blakedown is just under six miles - what a walk for the new year!

We have a little walk down the main street of the village and along the A448 as far as The Fox public house, to find out where the bus stop is to catch later on, none can be found, so we assume that we just hail the bus down, so we head back to the main village, where Mr WME is in photographic mode taking photographs of The Talbot and The Swan, where we decide to have a rest and lunch. The Swan is a public house owned by the Batham's Brewery, and we opt for the lounge to rest our feet, which is a spacious room. We have a look around our surroundings and then we spot the barmaid of the day to serve us our drinks (this was decided before we even finished our trip!), and we order our food to give us energy for the afternoon part of our trip. Mr WME opts for the faggot and peas, whilst Mr SBI has the scampi and chips, both good portions and worth the money paid. It is nearly one o'clock and we head to the main road and get our bus, First operated X3 which arrives on time, and stops for us upon hailing it down, and takes us to Kidderminster. We shortly arrive in Kidderminster, where Mr WME decides to take a photograph of the Town Hall, where we suddenly hear a shout of "1869", which is some pleasant bloke telling us that was the year it was built and that there is only one other original building in Kidderminster (the bank past the bullring), before everything was redeveloped in the 20th Century. Did you also know that the church was originally built in the 10th Century and is open most Saturdays, so that you can have a look around, neither did we, but this bloke told us. After our local history learnt, our bus, service 2A arrives and takes us to Bewdley.

We arrive in Bewdley, and we get off just before The Great Western, a public house that Mr WME wants a photograph of. Pictures taken, we walk into the town past The Black Boy Hotel, and over the bridge, where the level of the river can be seen, which is a high level today. We carry on through the town, to our next refreshment stop, which Mr SBI thinks it is going to be a public house that he has visited before, but instead of stopping at The Woodcolliers, we head up the side of the pub, a little street called Wyre Hill, and after a few minutes we are both running out of steam due to the gradient of the hill, but we arrive at a little back street establishment called The Black Boy, but this is not the big hotel which we past earlier. We head into the lounge where we have a drink, and rest our feet and get our breath back. The pub has a few people in and they all seem to be a friendly bunch. Our breath is back and it is time to head back into the town, where we have to catch our next bus, Service 292 to get us to our next destination, Cleobury Mortimer. We wait at the stop opposite The Angel, and wait, and wait, but our bus eventually turns up, fifteen minutes late, and we head to Cleobury, past the Wyre Forest, The Hope Pole Inn and the Far Forest before we arrive at Cleobury Mortimer.

We get off our bus before the main village and head into The Bell, a pub that doesn't stand out, but it was a good find by Mr WME, where we have a drink in the bar. The pub seems small from the outside, but it does house a bar, lounge and a pool room towards the back. The regulars are friendly enough and after a quick break we head back out to the village. We head round to the church and notice that I have already been to Cleobury when I was younger on the way back from trips to Ludlow and Clee Hills. We decide to have another refreshment break and head into The Kings Arms Hotel before catching the 292 back to Kidderminster. After our stop, we head up the hill to the bus stop, and we decide that a bladder stop is needed, and sneak in and out of The Talbot before getting back to the stop. Luckily the bus is late and did not arrive whilst we had our bladder break, after about five more minutes the bus arrives and we hop on for our ride back. I decide to log onto the net, to find out the Wolves score, but Mr WME did not want to know, and I did keep my promise, it was a shame that the old gentlemen at the back of the bus shouted it out to someone and Mr WME did find out the score in the end. We arrive back in Kidderminster by the Town Hall, which was built in 1869, and we make our way up Comberton Hill, where we discover Subway has closed, but a KFC has opened opposite, and we arrive at the railway station just in time to catch our train back to Stourbridge.

Cheers - To the first day out of 2011
We change at Stourbridge Junction, and arrive at Stourbridge Town, where we gladly walk to the bus stop at the same time as NXWM's 246 arrives, which we catch to Amblecote and visit one of our favourites, The Swan at Brettel Lane. We have a drink there, and find out that someone I worked with once was working behind the bar. A few songs are selected on the Jukebox, one of them obviously is Metallica, which gives us time to have a relaxing drink. After our drinks are finished, we walk the back streets towards Wordsley to our next refreshment stop, and we pass The Oakfield Tavern, well the remains of a once proud standing pub, as we later found out that it was demolished just hours before! We carry on our way and arrive in John Street, the location of our next public house, The Bird in Hand. We decide to sit in the lounge and find out that the pub is quite a relaxing pub, with the bar being different, where it seems more busy, with darts being played. Back to the lounge and time for a cheers photo (see left), and Mr SBI actually finds out how to use the camera indoors, and we decide to use the only table that seems to be decorated with a lacy tablecloth, and christen it the lovers corner, but not for us! 

Drinks finished, we head back onto the main street and into Wordsley itself, where we have time to have a quick half in The Queens Head, before catching our bus back to Wolverhampton. Mr SBI thinks that he has enough time for a quick cigarette break, but for once, the bus seems to arrive early, and has to put it out to enable us to catch the bus. We head through Kingswinford, Wombourne and Penn and arrive back in the city, and walk to another favourite of ours, The Giffard Arms, where we have our last refreshment stop of the day. After we finish our drinks, it is back to Mr WME's house to finish off the day with a Chinese to eat whilst watching Match of the Day, after which we retire ready for our visit to The Performance Car Show / Autosport International.

Another brilliant day out, and a great start to 2011. It is looking like this year will be a great one if this trip is anything to go by.

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