The view from the top

Last Sunday – 24th October – I was passing through Lichfield on a lazy bike ride, when I noticed that the St. Marys Heritage Centre in the marketplace was advertising trips up to the viewing platform in the tower. Promising fantastic views, and the day being bright and clear, I stumped up the remarkable low price of £2.75. Accompanied by a wonderful lady guide who really knew her stuff, I was escorted up spiral stairs into the belltower of the former church. An arduous, painstaking journey of stone spirals, steel ladders and platforms ensued, which was magical in itself.

Arriving at the top, there is a secure platform with steps near the windows which are opened by the guide in turn. It’s a photographers dream – on this clear day the views were hugely engaging, and I could see as far as the Derbyshire peaks and Weaver Hills, with the Toyota plant at Burnaston clearly visible, as was the water tower at Swadlincote. To the south and west, Aldershawe and Maple Hays appeared as I’d never seen them before, and the autumnal hues of a sunny Sunday in Lichfield were a joy to behold.

If you’re fit and can moderately tolerate heights, it’s a great way to spend half an hour. I fully recommend it, and my guide was eloquent, knowledgable and witty. All in all the whole experience was enchanting and brilliant value. Do give it a go if you can.

The old lady of the vale. The farthest of the small spires is apparently 4 feet shorter than it's partner to look correct in perspective. Like, wow.

The rooftops of Lichfield to the west were endlessly fascinating.

People looked tiny before the Guildhall. The wide, odd arch next to the doorway is such due to the fire engine being stabled there in times past.

St Micheal's looked beautiful surrounded by autumnal colour.

To the northwest, shower clouds gathered. Stowe Pool looked gorgeous, and the view sretched out over the Staffordshire plains.

Don't look down. It messes with your head...

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