Sunday, 25 July 2010

Kinver's stunning secret

Kinver Edge is stunning. Once you've found it. It might be mentioned in the guide books but the Kinver-ites make you work damned hard to find it.
A couple of road signs in the village point you in the approximate direction, the guide book gives you the clue that it is "beyond Kinver Church" - itself visible high on the hill above the village, but after that, you're on your own.
We walked up the long, steep twisting climb to the church. After that, there were no more signs. We walked on, and on. Wondering just where this glorious tract of open space was. It belongs to the National Trust and usually their brown fingerposts can be found everywhere but not here.The far reaching views were already pretty amazing, reaching out into the far distance, when we reached the hilltop Comber Ridge cemetery. What a beautiful spot for Kinver folk to spend eternity with this glorious distant scenery all around.
But still no signs to Kinver Edge itself. We plodded on and suddenly there we. It had been well worth the effort. The Edge is a large, steep sided promontory that provides a quite stupefying panorama all around - the Cotswolds, Malverns, Welsh hills; they are all in view. It is fabulous.
An Ordnance Survey map would have made he experience even better but, of course, there are none to be found in any of the village shops.Kinver's other claim to fame are its rock houses, hewn into the sandstone and the last of them occupied until the 1960s. We made our way down the NT trail from the hilltop to view them. (If we'd come up from the village we'd probably still be searching as there doesn't appear to be a signpost anywhere!).
Apparently, these are some of the best rock houses in Europe. If they were in France, there'd be car parks, cafes, street vendors and a whole industry around them. Here there's not even a signpost and the only refreshments are in a tiny NT tearoom.

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