We began by thinking we'd not do a decent walk today - forecast wasn't good. So we took one car to Fineshade and started the activity with a cup of coffee. Kick-start caffeine style.
It felt warm and there was no rain, so we decided we'd start off doing this leg in the reverse direction from the rest of our walks, with the proviso that we could retrace our steps if conditions didn't seem good.
From the car park we took the road downhill past the main block of buildings and over the bridge. There was a footpath sign leading us over the field - downhill at first, then up into the woods. Lots of pink poppies were blooming here. A right turn through the strip of woodland, until the path emerges into a field and then an enclosed path above Fineshade Abbey. As ever their flock of Jacob's sheep were grazing.
Downhill to the footbridge and across the final field to the A43. Across the road and along the path to Laxton Hall, turning right at the second gate, crossing a field, climbing a stile, crossing another field and entering Wakerley Woods. Here the path goes more or less north-west, though there are a couple of kinks and the Jurassic Way signs are not always obvious. It's as well I know this part of the route by now. The path joins a wider track which takes you to the main entrance to Wakerley Woods from the road.
I went wrong on the next bit - I decided to follow the way-marker instead of walking a short distance along the road. However once we'd set ourselves right we followed the road for a short distance and then took the path through the hedge - quite overgrown this year and round a field behind Wakerley Church. We saw masses of wildflowers - from tiny violas and speedwell to scabious and white campion.
The path comes out next to Exeter House - the old pub, now a private residence. Here we turned left and walked along the road past the junction to Barrowden, until we reached a sign post for Jurassic Way to Barrowden on the right hand side.
The path goes down to the Welland, crosses over a footbridge and climbs slightly to Barrowden emerging near the old mill and mill-pond.
We called in at the Community Shop for a sandwich and soft drink, then walked through the village, past the pub and duck pond, to where the road divides. We took the left hand fork, then turned left to a footpath over a stile and across a field to our right.
The path was clear and easy to follow downhill and along to the south west. After a few fields we arrived at a wider track. We turned left along this to cross the Welland at Turtle Bridge.
|The Welland looks full at Turtle Bridge|
We had expected it to be very soggy near the river, but it was nowhere near as bad as we anticipated. The path turns right and follows the river along the edge of two large fields, before heading south across the third field. Once again the path was clear to see and easy to walk. We met the road between Harringworth and Wakerley, crossed over and walked through Shotley - really just a few houses and a farm, where building work was in progress.
The footpath has been diverted - an improvement, especially while the work is being done.
We climbed part way up the hill, and took a break just before a hedge. Well-timed, as five minutes after we set off the heavens opened big-time. I haven't been quite so wet for a year or so.
The path emerges on to the road between Harringworth and Laxton, and we picked it up again slightly to our right. Once again it was clearly marked and took us over a couple of fields to Harringworth Lodge. You skirt this house by turning left just before the tennis court, then right to join the drive past the house and the fox weathervane, down to the end of the lake. Turn right again along the side of the lake and follow the Jurassic Way signs until you reach Gretton.
Map and details