Wren’s Nest National Nature Reserve at Dudley

About 430 million years ago during the Silurian period, the Midlands area of the UK was covered by the shallow Iapetus Ocean. Because it was near to the equator the tropical waters saw the development of coral reefs, shellfish and other invertebrate creatures.

During this time, most of the earth’s dry land was concentrated in the Gondwana supercontinent, which covered the south pole. In the northern hemisphere, three smaller continents named Baltica, Laurentia and Avalonia drifted towards each other and eventually collided. At the junction of the last two, a ridge of limestone was pushed up out of the sea creating a line of hills that can still be seen near the town of Dudley.
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Jewellery Quarter Birmingham

About half an hour’s walk along the canal from our apartment is an area of Birmingham known as the Jewellery Quarter. We walked around it soon after we arrived, but did not visit the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter when we saw it was going to cost us NZ $15 each. After reading some reviews we realised this may have been a mistake, so after a morning spent working on our computers, we walked over to check it out.
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Moseley and Edgbaston

Ten points for any reader who can guess the connection between these two areas of Birmingham without scrolling down the page. Felicity had a 10 am appointment in Moseley, so we decided to catch the bus instead of walking and arriving hot and sweaty. We wondered how we would pay the fare, and were impressed to discover that any credit or debit card can just be touched on the card reader. This technology is coming to NZ over the next few years.
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Blenheim Palace Oxford

We spent most of a day packing our gear, departing Norwich and travelling to Oxford, but we had a couple of hours to wander around the town with our hosts Ros and Peter before heading home to their house. All of this university town is fascinating, but I thought the most interesting stop was the Weston Library, which is part of the Bodleian Library. Continue reading Blenheim Palace Oxford

Thetford Forest Park

Last Saturday night we were invited to dinner by one of Felicity’s colleagues, and he turned out to be an even more fanatical mountain biker than me. Not only does he have a basement full of bikes, and more in a shed somewhere, but he’s even building himself a new bike in the hallway outside the bathroom! I took the opportunity to inquire about the location of the best single-track in the area. Continue reading Thetford Forest Park


Just under a hundred kilometers to the west of Norwich is the city of Ely, which we have already passed through on the train a few times on our way elsewhere. As it had been recommended to us as one of the best preserved medieval towns in the area we made a visit today.
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