The Ercall

The edible arch at The Cut, Abbey Foregate, one of Shropshire Wildlife Trust's visitor centres.
The edible arch at The Cut, Abbey Foregate, Shropshire Wildlife Trust’s HQ and visitor centre.

Shropshire Wildlife Trust has a fantastic HQ, beautiful old restored abbey buildings surrounded by gardens, that once housed the Cadfael Experience, celebrating the books and TV series about a medieval monk with detective leanings, set in Shrewsbury. The garden still has an old-world, kitchen garden feel, with herbs, vegetables and fruit trees promising an abundant harvest.

Jan Mckelvey, Conservation Manager and Pete Lambert, River Projects Manager at Shropshire Wildlife Trust
Jan Mckelvey, Conservation Manager and Pete Lambert, River Projects Manager at Shropshire Wildlife Trust

I was there to meet Jan Mckelvey, Conservation Manager at Shropshire Wildlife Trust, to find out more about the work of the Trust, especially how it runs behind the scenes. They have a lot of great projects running at the moment. I met the incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic team running an extensive landscape restoration scheme, The Meres and Mosses, and had a very interesting chat with Pete Lambert who manages the varied work that the Trust is doing to improve Shropshire’s rivers.

Wheat sculpture water feature Shropshire Wildlife Trust Vistor Centre
We timed our visit well, as the Trust was hosting a pop-up restaurant, so we sat in the garden enjoying lovely vegan food and a ferociously healthy smoothie.

Of course I couldn’t visit Shropshire Wildlife Trust without seeing a nature reserve, so in the afternoon, clutching a map and set of directions, we braved the rain and set off to visit The Ercall, little sister to that more famous Shropshire landmark, the Wrekin.

The changeable weather enhanced our experience of the reserve. The Ercall is covered with ancient oak woodland, with moss covered trees, lush green ferny undergrowth, open grassy glades and small ponds. As we walked through the trees, the rain pattered softly through the leaves and gave everything an emerald glow.

Just as we reached the top of The Ercall, the clouds parted and the sun shone through, lighting up the woods and wet landscape in glorious technicolour.

The Ercall is hugely important geologically, the scars left by quarrying reveal that the area was once under a shallow tropical sea just south of the equator.

I loved this poem carved into stone, reflecting the site’s geological history.

Poem carved into rock
A poem inscribed into the rock

Upon my shore you stand
Marking time
A mark in time I am
And older yet than that
Over hill
And under the sea I’ve seen
The birthing of this land

 

By pick and blast made now
Ripped open
It ripples on through me
A scar reclaimed by green
Uncovered
My secrets held in folds
Of quiet eternity

On that reflective note, I have to leave you with a gorgeous Shrewsbury sunset, one of the most fiery skies I saw on the whole trip.

Shrewsbury sunset

 

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One thought on “The Ercall

  1. Wonderful yet again! Tropical sea!! south of the equator!!!!! Wow that oak! and that Fern! AND what a sky!!!! Since I’m wearing out the ! key I’d better stop with a big thank you for this trip.

    Like

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