Friday, 1 August 2014

Woolhope Dome

 Looking east towards the Malverns

My friend has long talked of showing me Woolhope Dome and the day has finally arrived. We are joined by his friend Garry. We park on a ridge south east of Woolhope village and head off to the south, along the ridge. Above is the rather hazy view to the east, towards the Malverns.

After a while we passed through some bushes to other side of the ridge and now enjoyed a splendid view west across the Dome, now eroded.

 Soon there was excitement for me as Merv spotted a blue butterfly. It turned out to be a Holly Blue.

I was a bit surprised as I always think of the Holly Blue as a spring butterfly, but I have now established that there are normally two broads, the second of which is in late July and August.

Soon we left the ridge and headed west along a road and across fields to reach the hamlet of Sollers Hope. St Michael's church is very picturesque. It dates from the 14th century.

Between 1300 and 1546 Sollers Hope was home to the Whittingtons, and the church is thought to be the work of Robert Whittington, elder brother of the celebrated Dick.

From here we made our way across fields towards the village of Woolhope. One field edge was dominated by a large number of tall blue flowered plants.

At the time we struggled to identify it, but subsequent research reveals it to have been Wild Chicory.

As we headed north there was a nice view across to the ridge we walked on earlier, with the large radio mast as a helpful landmark.

 We enjoyed an excellent lunch at the Crown Inn in Woolhope.

After lunch we lost our way slightly around Broadmoor Common and, as time was running out, ended up looping through Woolhope again this time heading east to regain our ridge. It was now raining quite heavily and it was not possible to really enjoy the views, even less photograph them, as we climbed uphill.

Conditions: hazy and warm at first, but wet later.

Distance: about 9 miles.

Map: Explorer 189 (Hereford and Ross-on-Wye).

Rating: four stars.

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