Sunday, August 21, 2011

Maggie on Tour 2011: Day 4, Thursday 11th August

One thing we did notice at the 'eco-reception' was that they sold very reasonably priced bacon baps. Why go through the hassle of cooking in the van when you can just buy a breakfast? This gave us an early getaway for our first stop of the day, Clearwell Caves, an old iron mine. I figured that we would have a rainy morning so we might as well go underground. What you see is what you get with old mines/caves, but what I liked about this place is the fact that it is open to the public as the result of somebody's passion. Amazing to wander through these extensive caves and reflect on what would have been someone's working life, in those dank, dark surroundings. Special emphasis on the use of children in the mines. However, even in the little cafe, there are paintings on the wall of the miners who worked there so there is still a strong sense of the community that was. Usual over-priced sarnies (paninis, natch!) but a nice selection of homebaked cakes. We nipped back to Maggie in the car park and knocked up a few sarnies and just bought coffee and cake which we ate outside at the picnic tables.

By this time the rainclouds were beginning to give way to warm sunshine so we decided to nip down the road to Puzzlewood. Puzzlewood is a smallish wood but it is an incredible place - straight out of Tolkien. In fact, it is considered to have been a possible influence on Tolkien's depiction for Middle Earth. I can't really describe it that well as it is like nothing I've ever seen. Suffice it to say it is a mix of moss, exposed tree roots, rocks and pathways and as for the rest, you will have to visit it yourself. I wish I had taken my kids when they were kids as they would have loved it. It's not an attraction for anyone with mobility problems and it is rather slippy underfoot if there has been recent rain.

After an active day, we returned to the site for a relax and early dinner followed by a walk in the forest and a Harry Potter DVD (with continental chocs and a bottle of rose).

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