This weekend, spring has definitely sprung. Well, in the Monmouthshire town of Usk, it certainly has.
We’ve just spent the weekend down there visiting relatives, and can report without fear of contradiction that the grass is most definitely ris, and the birdies is all on the wing. With the trees and bushes coming into bud and the hedgerows full of Daffodils and Primroses, the sub-winter conditions of last week’s visit to Ilkley seem like a long-forgotten memory.
The birds, too, were in frisky mood, brightly coloured in their breeding plumage and singing their little heads off. Besides the usual suspects we spotted Buzzard and Grey Wagtail, heard Owls hooting to one another across the valley, and saw a Kingfisher flash past in a streak of orange and electric blue.
Not expecting to do much walking, we hadn’t brought much in the way of gear. I didn’t take my camera either: of course, it turned out to be an absolutely beautiful couple of days, and sadly we have no pictorial record, but we were at least given the opportunity to get out and about a bit.
For those who don’t know, Usk is a picturesque town, situated on the banks of one of South Wales’ greatest rivers and laying roughly half way between the Brecon Beacons and the Wye Valley/Forest of Dean. The Offa’s Dyke Path passes quite close by, too, so although not in any recognised National Park or AONB, the area keeps good company and shares many of the delights of it’s more famous neighbours, and there is good walking to be had in every direction.
On Saturday we walked the local fields while R’s dog was left to run until exhausted. In the afternoon, Missyg and I spent an hour or so walking a short section of the Usk Valley Way from town to Prioress Mill in Llanbadoc and back in glorious sunshine and not a little warmth!
Sunday morning we were excused for a couple of hours more, and opted for a circuit of the lanes connecting Usk with Trostry and Gwehelog. Once again it was beautiful weather, and before long we were down to shirtsleeves. Although the route is nearly all on lanes and pavements, when conditions are this good it really doesn’t matter, for the views are just as good whether standing on tarmac or grass. It’s just a pity that there are no pictures to back up this report, but c’est la vie – we will have to remember next time.
All told, we totalled 14 miles – not bad for a non-walking weekend!