Friday, October 19, 2012

Anglophile Friday - English Roads, Drystone Walls, Hedgerows

Pitt Road, Dorstone, Herefordshire

One of the things that I found most charming about England was the roads. Narrow or winding or sunken - or all three, they led us through the most beautiful countryside. The photo above is one of my favorites. After walking a few steps further, a flock of sheep appeared just beyond the fence and came out to greet us. I've posted about that before, but since this post is about roads and not sheep, it gave me an excuse to post this photo again.

Pitt Road, looking toward Dorstone,

This is in The Golden Valley. How beautiful and peaceful it is there! We were there in March, and in many places the daffodils were in full bloom. It would be fun to be there a little later in the season to see the other flowers in bloom and to see what that amazing hedge looks like in May or June.

Narrow ribbon of road between Richmond and Low Row
North Yorkshire

All of the 'B' roads we saw are very narrow. This one is, oddly enough, a straighter stretch of road in  a military exercise range. Glad we didn't get run over by any tanks. I hope they don't use the sheep for target practice. Do you think the sheep appreciate the amazing view from their grazing spot?

Askrigg Common, North Yorkshire

Taken on a rainy day, with one lone foraging sheep in the picture. This was beautiful country, between Askrigg and Low Row. If anyone thinks England is too crowded, they just need to spend some time in North Yorkshire. There are a lot of places where we rarely ran into another soul.

 Cardington Road, Shropshire

After leaving Cardington, we were headed to an 'A' road (wider, with two lanes) which would lead to Shrewsbury, home of the fictional monk, Brother Cadfael. We hoped we wouldn't meet another car when we were on roads such as the one pictured above, but when we did, we always deferred to the natives. It seemed the prudent thing to do. After all, we didn't know for sure if they were friendly. We've watched a lot of British murder mysteries! :-)

Road near Church Stretton, Shropshire

Because they don't have the big accumulation of snow in the winter, like we do in Wisconsin, there are no ditches, even on the 'A' roads. Therefore, there are many roads that are just a ribbon of asphalt laid down. Then again, there are also old Roman roads, built over 2,000 years ago!

Road South of Kettlewell, North Yorkshire

I cannot look at the photos of drystone walls and piled stones on the side of roads without thinking of the manual labor involved!

From -

'Drystone walls are, with hedgerows, one of the most commonly used field boundaries in England, and help create what we now regard as the traditional pattern of field and lanes so evocative of rural England.

While hedgerows are most common in the Lowland Zone, drystone walling is most often found in the Highland, or Upland, Zone (roughly the south-west, the Pennines, the Lake District, the Northeast). In addition, most of Wales and Scotland can be included in the Highland Zone...

As individual landowners abandoned farming in favour of raising sheep and cattle, they enclosed land which had been owned or used "in common", by all the inhabitants of a village. The right to use the common land was lost as landowners enclosed fields and, in some cases, evicted villagers to make room for sheep.

Most of the drystone walls we see today are products of the post-medieval move toward enclosure. In the lower slopes of the Highland Zone the walls are rough and irregular in shape, enclosing small farms dating to the late medieval period and the 16th century.

Higher up the slopes the walls enclose larger fields dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. At the highest elevations are the great sheep grazing areas bounded under Acts of Parliament during the great Enclosure Movement of the 18th and 19th centuries. These walls are the most regular and may run for many miles across otherwise forbidding landscape.'

Pitt Road, Dorstone, Herefordshire

Proving a point.

So, as I said before, the English countryside is beautiful, and the country roads and little villages were charming. But I'll have to admit that toward the end of the 16 days, I realized that I wasn't really ready to transplant to the UK permanently. I would miss the straight, wide roads (with shoulders) of Wisconsin. In England, you can get everywhere...but very slowly. But in Wisconsin, you can get nowhere...FAST.

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Unknown said...

Oh Judy - what a wonderful post!!!
That first photo is out of this world - definitely magazine worthy - will have to show John these photos of his " home "
And by the way - I don't think the sheep appreciate their view - they're funny like that lol

Parsley said...

Love these posts, as always. The English countryside is so charming. Never thought about the roads being so narrow. How do they get around without smashing into one another if there is more than one vehicle?

Cherry's Prairie Primitives said...

Loved seeing all the beautiful photos!!

MadSnapper said...

when i was younger, i was hooked on historical romance novels, i read hundreds of them, everything they described about the roads is shown here in your photos. i often wondered what a hedgerow looks like, now i know and all of these are amazing and i am trying not to feel jealous. i would love to travel any or all of these.

RURAL said...

Some of those roads look like what they called a "highway" in New Zealand. It was rather scary to see vehicles bombing past at high speeds on such narrow little

Love the photos, and now when I read a English story I can add pictures in my mind of hedgerows.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

Yenta Mary said...

I so love the Anglophile Fridays! Between the gorgeous churches and the quaint towns, it's my little bit of serenity each week in the midst of work and deadlines and chaos ... :)

Cranberry Morning said...

Well, what happens when you meet a vehicle on those extremely narrow road is that someone has to back up and find a spot where they can squeeze up onto the side of the hedgerow or whatever, often at a 45 degree angle. It's pretty crazy, but the natives are used to it I guess. lol

Olivia @ Liv Lives Life said...

Oh my goodness, I LOVED this post! I, too, am an anglophile and looking at these pictures and reading about them made me so happy! :-)

Joyce said...

Driving in England. Such an adventure : ) We used to tell newcomers (from the US) to know right from the start they'd probably lose a mirror or two and also a couple of tires. Always tough to judge the actual distance between curb and car. There were a couple of spots we drove thru regularly that I'd tell my girls I felt the need to just close my eyes and go for it : ) Those narrow roads with the hedgerows alongside are actually more easily navigated in the dark-at least you know when someone is approaching!

Kristen Rettig said...

I love hedgerows! Such a pretty post.

Sunny Sue said...

I have never had the desire to travel much. Outside of the desire to go to Australia and back to Hawaii, I would consider myself a dud in adventure aspirations. I do, however, like to see places through the eyes of others. (Your photos are enticing and could just about talk me into a trip across the big pond.)
The drystone walls have always been a favorite of mine and my hubby's. We even wanted to have the American version for our flower bed but were told that without a lot of work... couldn't be done. Rats.

Tami Von Zalez said...

Wonderful images!

Popped in from Photo Friday.

Heide at ApronHistory said...

Love this post! I really like how you have been picking a subject and pulling together a bunch of photos.

Anonymous said...

Your photos are so lovely and remind me of a lovely storybook! Just charming.

Haddock said...

Some lovely roads to drive down.

Ladies Holiday said...

I LOVE those photos! Especially the chicken...very funny, quaint and beautiful!
Thank you for linking up on Photo Friday at Ladies Holiday- hope to see you next week :)

Carla from The River said...

All I can think of is James going on his first ride with Siegfried! :)

Unknown said...

What absolutely gorgeous pictures! Despite not being from England, they make me homesick..

Unknown said...

Your pictures of this beautiful country always bring a smile to my face, and it is just what I need to get myself going this morning. Hugs!

Jessica said...

Those pictures are so beautiful! Glad to have found your blog! Stopping over from Ladies Holiday!

Chatty Crone said...

Judy - one thing I LOVE about your trip to England - and I have been there twice - I went to all the popular tourist spots - you went to ENGLAND!
Have a good day.

vintage grey said...

so gorgeous and stunning there! the roads are pretty neat! xo Heather

Angie Vik said...

Thanks for a fun peek at an English Countryside. I almost expected to see James Herriot come driving up.

Robin said...

Fantastic pictures. Shrewsbury is such a pretty town around the Bear Steps. Shrewsbury has a flower show every August since the 1800's.
I wouldn't want to be a transplant permanently, but I would love to be a transplant for a year.

Ruth Kelly said...

I drove on some very narrow one lane roads in England and they made me almost as nervous as when I drove the roads in Ireland that had rock fences on both sides of their roads. The roads on Garway Hill left my old heart just pumping extra hard. I enjoyed Dorstone and the Golden Valley - my 3g grandfather lived in the Golden Valley and on Garway Hill before he came to America.

Debra Hawkins said...

I love all the wonderful roads! They are so Jane Austen. It is all so charming. Sigh. Missing England again.


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