Having taken the dog out for a couple of trial MTB rides a couple of weeks ago I decided to try her with another first today – her first walk out with a horse in tow.
We met my wife and her “ginger ninja” at Newland Church and headed off up the burial path in the direction of Highmeadow, which was apparently a kind of high street many years ago before the houses were bought up and demolished to make way for a mansion, Highmeadow House, in the seventeenth century.
Emerging from the burial path and turning north onto the road we walked up along past the site where Highmeadow House, which itself is long gone, once stood.
All that is now remaining along this minor road, apart from some possible boundary walls from when the mansion existed, is a farm and campsite on the western side, and what looks like an old lime kiln set into the hill on the eastern side of the road.
The dog was, thankfully, reluctant to get too close to the horse and only attempted to pass (she does so like to lead the way) when there was more than enough room to get past. As you can see, she also felt the need to have a closer look at the roadside wall with a somewhat misty view of the Wye Valley in the distance!
Then it was out onto Scowles Road and up the hill to Scowles itself, where we entered the Dingle Wood in order to gradually circumnavigate Stowfield Quarry.
This gave the opportunity for the dog to shoot off investigating again, and then for horse and rider to gather a bit of speed, with the dog in hot pursuit, leaving yours truly to walk a bit faster and take the occasional photo. To be fair, the dog did stop and check that I was still in sight quite often, and the three of them even came back for me a couple of times!
Once we got around to the western side of the quarry I stopped to take a photo of the view down into it. However, although it wasn’t quite as misty as last time I stopped here, visibility into the quarry itself was rather limited, to say the least.
Heading back into the woods (possibly Bond’s Wood? I’m not sure what the various woods are called but the OS map seems to indicate that to be case) my wife took the opportunity to show the dog and I where she sometimes goes for a gentle ride, and that someone had built some horse jumps in the woods near Staunton. There are also numerous unofficial MTB tracks through these woods, so someone has been busy! Unfortunately, during this brief pit stop the ginger ninja decided he would say hello to me by headbutting me right on the nose! It’s still rather sore now…
Back onto the path heading east along the perimeter of the quarry boundary and we re-emerged onto the lower part of Staunton Road just up from Stowfield B&B.
Turning at the junction next to the former Newland Railway Station, and with the dog firmly back on the lead, we started back towards our starting point. The idea had been that my wife and the horse would head off and the dog and I would make our way more slowly back along the roadside. However, the dog had other ideas and did her level best to drag me along the road as fast as she could in order to keep pace with the other two!
It wasn’t too long, therefore, before we were back alongside Newland Church and could head home for a well deserved sleep – for the dog, that is, sadly I couldn’t really justify having a nap myself!