Tuesday (21st) we set out to explore this area ... we've not moored along this stretch of the Thames before
Over the little bridge we immediately see this WWII pill box in a garden being made good use of as a wood store
Never seen fungi/fungus this big before, each piece was much larger than a dinner plate
This looks to be the same fungus as above but it's covered in a rusty brown dust which we wondered had come from the dead horse chestnut tree to which is is attached
The track turned away from the river and we could see that tree cutting was going on, the last canopy here was gone by the time we came back and we could hear the chain saws going throughout the afternoon
The Ridgeway (an ancient road described as the oldest in Britain) just here runs parallel to the Thames but not always alongside it but we take the footpath for now ...
into Little Stoke, a little conclave of houses ... a beautiful setting
The old school room, Little Stoke ...
The Old Dairy
Looking out of the tiny village towards the Wallingford Road (B4009)
A glimpse of the countryside between the trees
Magnolia Grandiflora a native of the coastal region of Southeastern America
I've never seen the Elderberries (Sambuca) so prolific than this year ... did you know that the drink Sambuca Vodka was made from the flowers/berries of the Elder?
We return to The Ridgeway and continue walking north through the recently ploughed fields ...
Sweetcorn ... I thought it would be higher than this at this time of the season.
The small village of North Stoke in the distance
We follow the footpath passing by what would be a splendid sight in the late spring/early summer when the flowers of this Ceanothus are in bloom
Another glimpse through the trees I can see a comms tower
Rosehips the size of Victoria Plums!
Another garden where we wondered what that was to the right of the low brick wall ... it's only a pigeon!
The footpath leads us directly into the Church ... we found out from the information inside that this is very unusual
The Church of St Mary the Virgin, North Stoke ...
click on the link to read about this 13th century building and its history
Upon entering we were surprised the see boxes of free food for anyone who needs help to help themselves and also a cool-box offering visitors a drink of water too ... what lovely thoughtful parishioners.
Jacobean Pulpit and what looks like a re-purposed readers stand
Tiers of Medieval (14th century) wall paintings in the Nave
The walls of St Mary's are a metre thick, inside it felt rather damp and although there is a service held every Sunday it must be very cold in the winter ...
but those thick walls give great depth to the beautiful stained glass windows. This window is commemorated to John Percival Wormald who died in June 1898 just 4-weeks old.
20th century stained glass in the Chancel window over the Altar
Left is St Werburga of Chester and right is St Ethelreda Abess of Ely AD 709
Trunk possibly 13th century and the font Early English
The three bare oak pews at the back of the church below the Tower and Vestry appear to be much older than the others ... lovely to see.
We leave the church through the 14th century door with it's original lock and continue our walk into the churchyard
A plum tree but not yet ripe enough to pick
Looking back as we leave the church grounds
and enter the village of North Stoke
The School House erected in 1864
George spots a friend and can't resist a dog fix!
Lots of chocolate box houses here ...
and even an original telephone box in working order!
The Village Hall built in 1911 and a poster on the noticeboard which fascinated me ... Science Classes for 2-4 year olds!
The Mill House and the mill-race and an old millstone embedded in the pavement
The Springs Hotel and Golf Club covers 133 acres of parkland ... but there's no access from here!
George's little friend on the porch of what looks like North Stokes Farm office building
The Old Farm House ...
at the junction of North Stoke's two roads ...
where we helped ourselves at Pickets Lane to a few very ripe plums to take home ... they were deliciously sweet!
On our way back to Still Rockin' passing the sweetcorn field we noticed this plant in the corner ... the flowers are like a cucumber/courgette but not sure about the prickly bud/seed head or the leaves ... any one out there know what it is?
The Ridgeway passes what many moons ago would have been a ferry crossing ...
back at the little bridge ...
It has been strange these last few days saying that instead of it being warm enough, it's now cool enough to sit on back deck ... fabulous ... for me anyway!
And we fed the fish too ...
I hope you've enjoyed reading this blog post as much as I've enjoyed our visit to the 'Stokes' ... and if you've got this far ... I'm impressed ... thank you!