Monday, 13 February 2012

Four small Churches among the Snowdrops and Winter Aconites.

North Newnton Church with its mighty yew tree.
The sun shone brightly on Saturday, but unfortunately not on Sunday when the Mid Wilts ramblers made their annual circular walk around the four churches near the village of Pewsey.   It was still cold, the sky was grey but the fog had lifted, and so with snowdrop thoughts  in our minds we set off at a comfortable pace for the 5 mile circular.   The photo right shows our starting point at North Newnton church.  Several  wooden projections, which are covered with stone tiles, can be seen coming out of the tower. These are the ends of massive wooden beams that are set across the tower to hold the bell frame.  They each have their own tiled mini roof to protect the wood from the weather.  The churchyard yew tree must be at least 500 years old, and had a knarled, shiny dark red trunk.
The ramblers at Manningford Bruce Church.
The path here is still covered in icy snow, but in the grass snowdrops and winter aconites were in full bloom.  The daffodils had sensibly stopped their buds from opening, the warm winter weather had almost fooled them into blooming.  We went inside this church and found a beautifully painted and decorated curved apse.  I have never seen one quite like this before, and must read about its origins.
Snowdrops everywhere!  There are many varieties of snowdrop, I do not know the name of this one.

Coffee time at Manningford Abbots Church.
Half way through the walk, or when, by mutual consent, we start gasping for a drink, we stop somewhere suitable and rest our legs and drink tea or coffee.  Here some large tombs conveniently provided us with tables on which to rest our cups.  This pretty, small,  picture postcard church is no longer used for church services.
Manningford Bohune Church through the trees.
Our path took us away from this church, so I couldn't dash through the thicket to take some closer photos for fear of being left behind in the wilds of the Wiltshire.  By this time it was late afternoon and I could feel the temperature dropping once again.  The path became very muddy, but a mile further on we were back at the car park in North Newton, ready to climb aboard the cars and journey back to Devizes.  A really lovely walk with good company.

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