Wed, 2013 Jul 3 9:36 AM British Summer Time
With Marta. Fine day, cloudy and warm - muggy even. Muddy in little Dalby Wood, muddier in Owston Wood. Quite up and down - 528 ft of climbing. 8 miles and a bit.
Marta picks me up at Launde Abbey, and drives to the Burrough Hill Car Park - the pay machine is working again now! After a couple of hundred yards along the farm road we take the first path signed to the right, heading north across a couple of fields where a farmer on a quad bike was herding sheep - with the help of a dog as well.
I'm familiar with the route from a previous walk, so we walk along the edge of the second field, then downhill to the Dalby Woods Path, which goes east - fairly muddy as usual, and I realise I've left my trekking pole in the car.
We avoid turning right or south at the gap ion the trees, and continue successfully along the Leicestershire Round path, uphill and climbing the two sets of steps to the ridge.
|Looking back from the top of the steps|
|A clear path ahead|
|Guard dog in Somerby|
|The view towards Owston|
We walk up a narrow track between two fields, all clear and easy walking - but it's time for our break as we top the next small ridge.
We carry on down hill through three fields, keeping the hedge on our left. We cross the stream using a footbridge. We turn right along the stream to the corner of the field, then walk uphill. We follow the waymarkers - there's a memorial bench in the corner of one field. Our path is clearly marked until we reach the road, at a bend. We turn left here to walk into Owston.
I'm rather taken with some curved brick walls and a kitchen garden.
We glimpse the church through the houses.
We ignore the road to Lowesby, and then the Knossington Road, and carry on along Main Street as far as the Tilton Road. We pass an old pump and then a well in a field.
We turn right along the road to Tilton, then left along a path to Withcote after about 100 yards. This is well marked, though you could be confused by other marked paths. We follow flattened grass paths which take us through fields and eventually to the way into Owston Woods. The path through the woods is straight and clear, but, as usual, very muddy.
|Walking in the footsteps of giants?|
When we come out of the wood we think of having another break, but in this muggy weather there are too many flies around - we give that idea up and head downhill towards Withcote. Last time I was here there were horses everywhere - no longer. We decide to go and investigate the chapel, which is looked after by the Churches Conservation Trust.
As we pass the Hall, we ask the owner, who's outside gardening, if it's ok to go and have a look. She assures us that it is "But be careful - you could get roped in to help".
Two volunteers are giving the place a bit of a spring-clean, as there will be a service there in the near future - something that happens no more than once a year or so. They're very helpful and informative, ply us with leaflets, and even offer us a cup of tea, though we need to get moving by then.
We go back to the LR footpath, through the farmyard, then divert briefly to have a peep at the lake, where there is a swan family and other water birds.
Then it's through the gate, aim for the top of the hill, down the other side, over the footbridge, up slightly and down towards Launde Abbey. Once again, I recommend their baguettes with salad and coleslaw, and the coffee or tea - £1.50 for a pot - three cups at least.
Map and details