|Day 26 – May 2||Bridgwater to Codsall|
|Weather: Cloudy, windy and cool||B&B: Travelodge (Wolverhampton, £29)|
|Departed: 11:00 Arrived: 15:40||Walked: 4h 07m Rested: 0 hr 25m|
|Distance Today: 14.0 mi / 22.53 km||Total Distance: 417.7 mi / 672.22 km|
|% Complete: ~36.89 %||Pint of the Day: Holden’s Black Country Bitter|
|GPS Track for: Day 26|
Today was a repositioning day and so much of it was spent heading east. Before I left the B&B I met another LEJOGer, Jamie and his father who had spent the last two days walking with him. We chatted for awhile after breakfast and I suspect our paths will cross before we reach John O’Groats. I don’t know how many walkers are in the process of doing LEJOG but I suspect there are at least two dozen. Every day I hear news of others who I didn’t know of before. For every one who blogs there are likely 4 or 5 who don’t.
The walk to Bewdley station only took a couple of minutes and I must give the Severn Valley Railway high marks for presentation. The station looked like it had dropped out of a 1930’s movie set, complete with a full staff who was suitably attired. I took quite a few photos as I liked the old tin plate signs and other little details such as the piles of old luggage awaiting the next train. When the 10:09 arrived it was being pulled by an old diesel rather than a steam locomotive but it was a classic in its own right. The 3rd class carriages also had all the old details and I was pleased to find that the overhead rack fit my Osprey pack perfectly.
It took nearly an hour for the train to make the journey to Bridgnorth and for most of the way I had a good view of the footpath I walked yesterday. What I didn’t see from the footpath were the stations along the way and many of these were done up as nicely as Bewdley was.
We pulled into Bridgnorth at 11:03 and there was no hanging about for me. This was definitely a late start and so I made a beeline for the B-road heading east. I followed it for just over a mile, most of which was uphill. Fortunately there was a pavement (sidewalk) along it all the way to the roundabout at the top of the hill. From there I would follow the A454 for the next 5 miles.
As anyone who has followed my blog knows I prefer to avoid roads, especially A-roads. However my late start and the need to arrive in Codsall before 5pm necessitated the most direct route. I had used Google Streetview to suss out the route and knew that there wide grassy shoulders for most of the route, and in fact there were pavements in many sections as well.
Although the route wasn’t particularly scenic I did make excellent time, averaging 3.5 mph. There wasn’t much to do but walk and avoid the road kill, of which there was a lot (3 rabbits, 1 badger, 1 pheasant and 2 unidentifiable brown furry ex-creatures). Some animals were given a helping hand as the photo shows. It took a couple of minutes for them to round up all the sheep as they didn’t have the assistance of a sheep dog.
On three separate occasions while walking along the A-road I had motorists honk their horn and give me a thumbs up (or at least I think it was their thumb). I’m guessing the locals figure that any walker trudging along the A454 is a LEJOGer repositioning for the next push north. That or my fly was undone.
I had originally intended to follow the A-road for longer but I found a local road heading directly to Pattingham and opted for that. Shortly before the town I crossed into Staffordshire, bringing my county count to seven. While in Pattingham I noticed a sign that I snapped a photo of … especially for Hobson the Hiker. I popped into a local shop to grab some snacks and for the first time since Land’s End I dug my gloves out of the bottom of my pack. It was a cool, cloudy day and the north-east wind made it downright cold at times.
From Pattingham it was an annoying ¾ mile walk down a very busy minor road which had me dodging back and forth across the road to ensure the drivers had a good view of me. Fortunately the Staffordshire Way crossed this road and before long I was tramping over well-trodden footpaths in the direction of Codsall. I walked along not one but two golf courses, and I also passed the old RAF Perton airfield.
The Tewkesbury TIC was unable to find me any accommodation in Codsall and so I’m booked into a Travelodge in the centre of Wolverhampton. The train journey from Codsall only takes 9 minutes but the service on Sunday is sporadic, with trains only every two hours. I wanted to make sure I arrived in time to catch the 17:08 and so I didn’t take any rest breaks. In the end I arrived with over an hour to spare. The good news is that much of the old Codsall train station has been turned into a fantastic little pub serving locally brewed real ale.
Once in Wolverhampton I walked through the centre of the city and stopped for some supper on my way. I couldn’t help but notice several of the shops had plywood covering up broken windows … not sure if there was a riot last night or if it was just another rowdy Saturday night. I found the Travelodge without any difficulty and checked into my 29 pound room (plus 2 to pay by credit card, plus 5 for 1 hour‘s worth of internet, plus 7.50 for breakfast, etc., etc. – you get the picture). The room has no character but it beats sleeping under a bridge.
Tomorrow I’ll resume my walk north and in a few days time I’ll be in Derbyshire and the Peaks District National Park.