One of those shall we /shan't we days. Snow flurrying about, car windscreen and doors iced up, but the promise of sunshine too. No more than a few minutes behind schedule we set off to Hardwick and parked near the church.
Into the teeth of the icy blast - after five minutes, I decided I needed my waterproof-windproof layer on top of the three I already had.
We headed north along the road out of the village, and when the road bends to the right, we took a footpath to the left. It leads to the opposite corner of the first field, and then across the next field. We ended up slightly too far over and had to walk back a few yards to the gap in the hedge, and footbridge over the stream.
The route across the next field was clearer, and at the next hedge we turned left following the field boundary west, past one hedge, then across another field. We met a bridleway, and turned to the left, going south.
As we reached the minor road near Hardwick Lodge, we were greeted by barking dogs - in an enclosed area. The easier path here turns more or less west down the lane and skirts the grounds of this house and others.
We turned southwest to meet the corner of Hardwick Short Wood, and followed the edge of this wood, and then Sywell Wood. After passing Wood Lodge Farm we met the Sywell Road, going past Sywell Airport and Aviation Museum.
Barry had half promised us there'd be a coffee shop, but apart from the Aviator Hotel, we saw none.
Just before the main village we took a path to the left, walked for a short distance along the road and then turned left again, and slightly uphill. At the top of this field there was a seat, but we preferred to choose a more sheltered spot on the other side of the trees - not quite the comfort of a café but not bad in the sunshine.
Onward and down to the stream, then up again and across to Mears Ashby.
|How about this for a guard dog? No need for walkies, either.|
Along the road east as far as Highfield Road, we turned left and then along a footpath heading north. This continued over farmland, then across the Wellingborough to Sywell Road, then more farmland. Some of the fields were pretty sticky, even though there was still ice on top of the puddles.
We crossed another path, but carried on north before the path turned slightly northeast and back into Hardwick, past a farm, and a few houses. We turned right and were back at the car. Cold, muddy in places, but satisfying.
The map is in two parts - technical "issues".