Finding Gnosall

I’m not certain but think Gnosall (No-Sull or Knows-all) is the only place beginning with GN in the UK. We had a wander along the old Stafford to Wellington (Telford) railway line yesterday. Its a fantastic walk through open countryside and the walk also takes in a pretty section of the Shropshire Union canal.

Looking west to Shropshire
Bridge and track cut into the sandstone ridge

This area has the wonderful name of Plardiwick. There’s a farm here and an ancient lordship but little else. Plardiwick could be the name of a corn trader in Dickens.

Cut into the sandstone
The Navigation Inn on the Shropshire Union canal
Looking south towards Wolverhampton

Exploring Chester

*It’s taken me a long time to post this due to other commitments, so excuse the brief notes and whistle-stop tour. Chester is definitely worth a visit and easily walkable.

The Romans called her Deva. Chester is a great city to visit as there are things to be discovered on most of the city streets. It’s only a small city but was strategically important as a port (until the Dee silted up and Liverpool took centre stage) and as a military and administrative post due to its proximity to north Wales. We were in Chester for a university visit, a great excuse for a number of recent excursions including Aberystwyth and Birmingham. We began at the wonderfully named Little Roodee car park. It’s a short distance from Chester Racecourse and right alongside the river.

Footbridge over the Dee

This bridge gives great views of the Dee and City. There are pedalos and rowing boats to hire and trips on the Mark Twain (definitely not a good walk spoiled) and Lady Diana riverboats. The university has many of its campus buildings alongside the Dee.

Looking downriver from the bridge

I’ve been fortunate enough to have stories shortlisted a few times in the Cheshire Prize for Literature, so have good memories of walking along the Dee here and sinking a few red wines at the reception. Sarah Hilary, who won the prize a few years back, has gone on to become an established crime fiction writer.

The Mark Twain

Swapping the Mississippi for the Dee. Close to the river is Chester’s amphitheatre. Britons would’ve slugged it out at the amphitheatre below.

Town Crier

If you’ve seen 24 Hour Party People with Steve Coogan playing Factory Records founder Anthony H Wilson you’ll recognise this bridge and clock from an emotional and celebrated scene in the film.

The Rows

Above and below these are Chester’s ancient rows – two tiers of shops.

More of Chester’s rows.


It’s well worth walking the walls that once protected the city. At this end there’s a steep drop to the canal far below and tremendous views.

Flattened out a little here but it’s really quite a drop to the cut.

Even higher from up here on the tower.

A mosaic near the baths entrance

After a tour of North Wales skirmishing with Celts a hot bath is in order.

Another view of the Dee

Chester has very distinctive signs too. I love visiting and I hear Chester is busy these days too, bucking the trend of staying at home.

Levelling Up – walkabout in Stoke-on-Trent

I took these photos back in February and have only just rediscovered them. I was in Hanley (part of the city of Stoke on Trent) and had a bit of an explore.

I’ve got a lot of affection for Stoke having been born close-by and it’s a fascinating place. As you can see from the photos below there is decay and poverty, but around almost every corner there are magnificent buildings and features.

How many will survive without purpose and funding who can say?

Stoke has had a lot of promises but not much delivery. I hope it can turn a corner.

Artwork on a cleared site
Certainly levelling buildings…..
This was February. I’ll return
Needing some love
This was once a wonderful bookshop called Webberleys
Wonderful window in Bethesda St
Chapel in Bethesda St. A glorious building
The old post office

Rangers v Warrington

Last time we watched Stafford Rangers play an evening fixture a few weeks ago it was shirtsleeves until 10pm.

Last night autumn was clearly evident. It was a beautiful evening but damper and cooler. It was dark well before half time. In a hard fought but fairly balanced clash Rangers took the lead in the second half with rhe visitors equalising around 20 minutes before the end.

At around 410 the attendance was disappointing as it was a great evening for watching football. Here are some pics.

Warm up
Ready for kick off
Club crest
Behind the opposition goal
Facing the main stand
Rangers go one up

Holyhead breakwater

A walk along Holyhead breakwater is great exercise and provides some fantastic views of the coast of Anglesey and perhaps, if you’re lucky, Ireland and the Isle of Man. We visited a few weeks ago, in August, and parked at the Breakwater Country Park, where there’s a cafe and gallery. We walked along the lane and then along the breakwater to the end and back. It’s not a long or arduous walk and there are great views and fresh, salty air. Here are some pics.

Battlements by the entrance to the breakwater!
More defences
Holyhead Mountain from the breakwater

It’s the longest breakwater in the UK at around 1.7miles. It was built to protect the shipping between Ireland and Wales (mainland UK) using the port from northerly winds and bad weather and construction commenced in 1848. Rock was quarried from nearby Holyhead Mountain, but the work was dangerous. Up to 1300 men were engaged in the project but sadly 40 died during the work.

Looking along the breakwater east, Anglesey beyond
Cruise ship docking
Fishing boat with Anglesey and the Skerries beyond
End of the breakwater

There have been many shipwrecks off this coast. I wrote a poem about a famous one – The Primrose Hill and recorded it here: