We have seen some breath-taking scenery this summer. And I guess I have to admit that the pastoral landscapes of Herefordshire, Shropshire and Cheshire can't match the Scottish Highlands and Islands for awe-inspiring and scary beauty. But it was when we took a couple of days off this week to go walking in the easy countryside around Leominster and Ludlow that I was especially moved by the views.
Here's the view of farm land which greet us as we emerged from the woodland on Dinmore Hill:
Later, walking along the River Teme at Ludlow we came to this scene of wheatfields harvested earlier in the day:
Half a century ago, as a young teenager discovering the freedom of cycling, I planned a youth-hosteling holiday in this area. I would ride down through Cheshire, calling at Cholmondeley, Church Stretton, Ludlow on the way. I would ride down through Leominster to Hereford. But that holiday never happened because my Granddad died and it had to wait for another time.
In the years since then I have grown to know and love that area so that the region from just south of Altrincham to just north of Hereford is where I really belong. It's the stories of those towns and villages and farms which I love. And there are the novels, of course, of Mary Webb and Beatrice Tunstall.
You have to read those books. All of them, but if you can only manage a couple, read Mary Webb's Precious Bane and Beatrice Tunstall's Shiny Night.