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!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ail(e)sworth circular via Castor Hanglands

Thu, 2014 Mar 20 9:40 AM GMT
Led by Barry, with me, Maureen and Gordon. Flattish, with several small woodland areas. Muddy in the woods. Very windy at times, but dry. Just over 8 miles.

You don't need both OS Explorer maps either 227 or 235 will do fine- the area covered is on both.

We leave Ailsworth taking the footpath just inside the village boundary, along a flat field towards the A47, an obstacle that has to be crossed twice during this walk.  On the other side of the road our path leads more or less north and into Castor Hanglands*, continuing through the nature reserve including Ailsworth Heath.  No horses in evidence today, and we spot little in the way of wildlife. Four gallumphing people tend to put the critters off.

*"Hanglands" a definition. 

 Castor Hanglands woods were muddy in places, but passable.
When gorse is out of bloom . . .
At the other side of the nature reserve we turn right, outside the woods and walk as far as the minor road. We could have continued across the road, but instead walk along to the junction, turn right and take the bridleway to our right, parallel to the original road.
We walk by some more woodland, and follow the path as it zigzags and curves a bit towards Foster's Coppice.
Wise walkers check maps meticulously

The sun almost comes out, and I try to get the ISO numbers right to show it

We walk across an exposed part of the path, and find a shelter and seat - well, a large fallen tree - in Burmer Wood.
Blackthorn blossom
At the end of the wood we turn right for a very short section, then left following a field boundary.  This heads southeast to a T-junction of paths. We pause to exchange greeting with a woman and her dog - she lives in "Marram". That must be how the locals pronounce what I've always thought was Mar-holm!  We turn right and take the path and track which leads past Belsize Farm, through Belsize Wood. Then it's another left turn along the field edge (past a sign saying "Landowners welcome Careful Walkers").
I hope this isn't some awful warning
The field edge curves round to a footbridge with a wooden signpost. We follow the pointer towards Castor, through the edge of the plantation containing Oldfield Pond. At the corner we turn right following the path between the hedge and the plantation to another T-junction where we turn left, with a hedge of sorts on our right. You can see how windy from the windsock and birdscarers.
We have to fight the wind today
Just where we turn right again is an ordnance Survey marker with the words "This monument forms part of the Ordnance Survey National GPS network . . ." 

It marks the height above (sea level?) as 113.40 ft. On the map there's a nearby point at 36 meters so we guess that's more or less it. We turn right along the track marked as Cow Lane. This takes us to the A47 again, and continues after we cross the road. We take the right hand fork, as it looks a little drier - Clay Lane according to the map. Not far now and we're in Castor.

Village green in full spring dress

The Farmers' Cross - replacing the stump of the medieval cross, reputed to have been destroyed by Cromwell.

Click to enlarge any photos.

Map and details

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