Friday, 21 December 2018

Wandering around Woodford.

In south west Northamptonshire is the village - just a hamlet really - of Halse. In central Northants lies the larger settlement of Woodford. But only about eight miles from Daventry, combining the words, lies the largest of the three, Woodford Halse. It too was just a small village until the becoming of the Great Central Railway and, when it was decided to locate a large locomotive power depot (a 'shed') nearby, the village boomed to become a small town.

Some would argue that it is only a large village, but with a school, a largish Co-op supermarket, a smaller grocery shop, a hardware shop, a hairdresser's, an estate agent, a newsagent, quite a large restaurant, a smaller cafĂ©, a post office (until a couple of months ago), two churches, a veterinary practice, a butcher's, a public library, a dispensing chemist, a pub and even a biggish shoe shop, I think the description of small town is justified. I go there to get my hair cut, even though it is a 16-mile round journey.

Having time to kill, with Chris being at a  U3A meeting, I had a stroll round. Not for long mind you because the bright morning sunshine was replaced by cloudier, chillier conditions and, eventually, rain. I made my target the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin. This greatly predates the coming of the railways, the nave probably being 12th Century. The church is mostly of ashlar construction, using the local iron-rich Jurassic sandstone.

The church of St Mary the Virgin, Woodford Halse.
20 December, 2018
Immediately prior to entering the churchyard I photographed a wonderful large shrub, bedecked with catkins, overhanging the (old) school yard. I assume it was hazel but the catkins were unusually long and, rather than being a wild plant, it may have been a specially selected form.
A large (hazel?) shrub to the rear of the church. 20 December, 2018

The area immediately before the church yard is kept very neat and it seems likely hat recent activities around the war memorial have led to an extra effort being made. Since my last visit a rather unusual bench depicting members of the armed forces, has been installed.

Adjacent to the war memorial is this recently-installed bench.
Churchyard of St Mary the Virgin, Woodford Halse. 20 December, 2018

The area to the rear of the church is wonderfully neglected, and long may it remain that way. Graves are being overrun with brambles and rank grass so a wildlife haven is now developing.

The wonderfully neglected churchyard.
Not surprisingly, the headstones of the graves and the masonry of the church have developed a rich variety of bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) and lichens.
I wish I had the knowledge to identify them.

No comments:

Post a Comment