Im using the last of my annual leave this week and wanted a good explore. I had been watching YouTube videos of exploring around Kinver and came across The Million Wood, just adjacent to Enville and with in its closely packed wood lay a strange cave.
I parked by Stourton Junction and crossed the busy A458 before heading North on the canal
I bimbled along at a steady pace stopping to snap pictures along the way, it had started to drizzle a little, I shrugged it off and continued my canter.
To my left, the River Stour burble along quietly, meandering around its long formed bends, as sandstone cliffs held the right, tree roots and vines hang carelessly over the side creating a secret and forgotten place. I near a little bend, named Devil’s Den,
The little cave here is said to date from the 18th century, built-in return for allowing the canal’s construction through the Foley estate, a secret boat house, now it is home to protected bats and closed off to prevent damage.
I plod on reaching the little bridge of Prestwood, no 34 out of 104 and take a left off the canal, heading across Gothersley Lane and joining a rather brick strewn bridle way. Joining the track passing many horses I caught sight of something. Now I say something as it was dog size, beige/brown and moved very quietly, it vanished and I was left wondering what it was.
Next passing Gothersley Hall, built-in 1935 once home to non other than Roy Wood. Following the track I entered The Million, a large sprawling mixed wood. Consisting of mainly Pine, from maps dating 1937 it retains this name thought to be named due to the amount of trees, in a map dated 1815 it is not shown, instead going by the name worrall Clump?
The Million appears in its current name around 1902 as a plantation, to throw an even stranger mix in, across from where the Fox Inn now sits, this area was known as Van Diemens Land, quite what the original name for Tasmania has to do with this corner of Kinver I can’t say??
I ran around for some 40 minutes here, the rain was now torrential and making going tough, I wandered through the wood, my bum taking an unscheduled sit of two occasions, I donned my waterproof’s and carried on passing the dog training centre, it reminded me of a horror camp ground.
Onto the Enville estate we trod, I passed through sheep fields, they were a lot more bolder here and one took a particular dislike to my pup, we made a hasty retreat before crossing a few more fields and onto Priest Wood. Its origins a little confusing but seems to date from the family De Prestwood or “by the priest wood” but there is also some suggestions of it being linked to Lady Wolfrun. Phew finally after that we end up at the corner of the woods
This little chapel is hidden away amongst the gnarled Yews, built-in 1753 in a gothic style it was never consecrated and thus refered to as a sham chapel. It was a place for picnics and get together. Designed by William Shenstone and named in his honour after his death it sits beautifully amongst the ancient wood, overlooking the valley and hall.
Enville Hall was held by the Grey’s from around 1600 and claimed the Earl of Stamford title in 1720, t has passed only through inheritance ever since. The grounds were extensively landscape and became the talk of Victorian england as a place to be seen. There are many follies and items to see here and if you can find them, worth a little look.
After my trek here,I retraced my steps running back through The Million, another snippet of interesting info, in maps from 1889 there is a circular race course adjacent to the main road, it is still visible albeit now a forest track, stopping to snap more pictures as I went. I was able to catch glimpse of both Munjact Deer and a couple of Roe Deer, the Muntjac being the earlier animal I had seen.
I didnt manage to locate the famous cave, but I now know where it is hidden and so at some point I will go have a little peak/