and occasionally rides a bike.
A word of warning. The walk descriptions are not detailed enough to guide you - please take a map. The batteries never run out, and you always have a signal. Oh, And don't take left or right as gospel!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Braunston circular

Led by Mel.  With Norma, Maureen, Gordon, Barry, Barrie, Terry, Ian, Carol and me.  Fine weather, but some overgrown fields and in places muddy conditions underfoot. Just under 6 miles.
The footpath sign is just by the churchyard gate

We started from Braunston church, which we should have looked at a little more closely. - Confession time - we visited Braunston next day, took some better pics, and went for lunch in The Old Plough.  A baguette with filling, salad with dressing and coleslaw for £6.25.

Though the interior is interesting, the most intriguing feature of All Saints is outside. Go around the side of the west tower and there you will find an roughly carved statue, about 3 feet high, depicting a grinning figure. The reverse of the figure is flat, and it was used for many years to form a step, so the carving was only discovered when the step was taken up.
No one knows how old the carving is, or what it is supposed to represent, but it is almost certainly pre-Christian. It may be a symbol of an ancient fertility cult, or some form of Celtic Earth Mother. Whatever it is supposed to represent, it is a quite extraordinary bit of primitive sculpture, and deserves more recognition.
More discussion on this stone carving and more info about the church and carving

According to the info board she is supposed to ward off evil spirits.

We walked through the churchyard to take the footpath going west.  After a couple of fields the path crosses the young river Gwash, and turns south-west.  It followed field edges climbing gradually , with clear way markers until we came to a field of long grass where we followed our noses and the map, diagonally upwards to the opposite corner. In fact we veered slightly to our left, but rejoined our route after going through a gate at the top of the field.

Checking grid reference and map
We followed a wide bridleway east along the top of the ridge,  until we reached a junction where we turned right.  We walked downhill to and through a strip of muddy woodland. At the edge of this we turned left uphill along what looked like a wet and muddy track, but in fact it was reasonable for walking. The path met another track and we turned right and downhill for a short distance, before turning left again, following a bridleway to a junction of ways, where we stopped for a break, just after the three-mile point.

We continued walking straight on ( east) as far as Leigh Lodge.  There we turned left (north-east) and followed the route of the Macmillan and Leighfield Ways, up a metalled road, for about a mile.  When we reached the minor road to Braunston we turned left (north-west).

The original plan was to take a bridleway on our right, and follow the river Gwash to Braunston via the sewage works and the bridge pictured below.  As it promised to be a mud-bath, we took the road instead.

All Saints church, Braunston
Drawing of All Saints church by Harry Hamill

Map and details

The walk touches/overlaps with these two previous walks - this one from Nov 28 2011, and this one from July 21 2011.

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