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. Oh, And don't take left or right as gospel!

Friday, May 30, 2014

NR 9 - Brixworth Cp to Ch Brampton and back

Fri, 2014 May 30 10:11 AM  BST
With Marta. Grey but dry and quite warm for walking. 8 miles plus.

After a wet and dreary week I couldn't turn down the chance for a dry walk. We parked at Pitsford Water/Brixworth Country Park, and did four miles of the Northamptonshire Round, returning via a slightly different route, including a mile of the Brampton Valley Way.

We have to walk along the access road to the A508 roundabout and cross over to the Brixworth Road. Here we turn right and walk for a couple of hundred yards until we meet the bridleway - a wide track which goes up and down in its two miles to the Merry Tom Crossing of the Brampton Valley Way.
White campion and knapweed?

on track, and nearing the BVW

At the crossing

over the river - not inviting today
  After Merry Tom crossing and the bridge over the river, we follow the road for a short distance, then take a footpath off to the left - all pleasant walking up towards the road.
Wide clear paths lead to the A5199
We turn left at the road and then very soon take a small road to Brampton Hill . This becomes private and we take a path to our right until we reach the signpost in the photo below, where we pause for coffee, and to admire the views. 
A good viewpoint, and a good job we know which path to take

All this for coffee and cake?
 Then we turn left towards the farm. Another good wide track. At the farm road we go straight across and follow the footpath down.
Poppy season
The hedge is on our right at first, then on our left. We follow this path to the Holdenby Road from Church Brampton.  

more colour
 Here we turn left, and then take a footpath on our right, which brings us out on the main road, opposite the single track road to the golf course. (See our walk from May 20th)

Marta documenting the point where our route links to the last one
Now our route differs from the NR . We walk uphill alongside the Harlestone road out of Church Brampton, cross over Sandy Lane, and take a footpath on our left. This is fenced off from the nearby arable (muddy) field, and is more easy walking. Before long it brings us into Back Lane, Chapel Brampton - part of the village one way system. We turn right and follow the road back to the Harlestone Road, then left to the Northampton Road. We cross into Pitsford Road and follow this as far as the Brampton Valley Way - the station and pub.
Near the Pitsford and Brampton station - colour of a different kind
 We turn left and walk through various railway items, and for almost a mile alongside an unused, or rarely used railway track. 
signal box

mosaic
This part of the walk is well supplied with benches to sit on, and is used by cyclists and dog walkers, though we see very few today.

At Merry Tom crossing we rejoin our outward route, and turn right along the bridleway, back to Brixworth and the country park café for lunch. This is now a place with good friendly service - and big cups of coffee.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pitsford Water clockwise

With Maureen and Gordon. About 7 miles.

The weather has been consistently gloomy - drizzle, rain, showers with little sign that there's anything above the clouds. Cancelled walks, walks called off at the last minute . . Still, today has been drier, but since the thought of wading through ankle deep mud on paths or fields was distinctly unappealing, we fell back on this old standby.  There were a few other sufferers from cabin fever out in the air as well.

We left all but essentials (waterproofs, money for refreshments) in the car, parked at the Causeway. Even the camera stayed behind, only to be used on our return.

Plenty of water birds around, including swans and cygnets, and a tern.

We were lucky enough to escape anything wetter than a few drops of drizzle, and at least we stretched our legs!


Map and details

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Manton-Brooke-Egleton-Manton

Thu, 2014 May 22 9:11 AM  BST
With Harry and Gordon. Fine and dry with rain forecast for later. Great views from the ridges. 7.5 miles.

I looked at the forecast - damp, then dry, then rain in the afternoon.  We'll risk it. An early start and not much over seven miles. Go! 

We park in Manton and walk back to the A6003, crossing to the bridleway on the ridge. From here we look back to views of Rutland Water.

 We walk over grassland past the deserted mediaeval village of Martinsthorpe - the uninhabited building has been worked on since I last walked here.
 We join the track from Gunthorpe Hall,  still with great views.

Shortly after America Lodge Farm, we join a road, and at crossroads we turn right and walk downhill into Brooke.
Brooke church
We turn right past the church and left into Brook Road . This leads us over the river Gwash. 
River Gwash
It becomes a track leading up hill past Hillside Cottage, long neglected but soon to be revivified.
The track continues and at a junction we turn right towards the wooded Brooke Covert East. 
Once past the covert we have a clear view of Oakham on our left .
 Young cattle in the field are no problem.
 View of Oakham with a knoll between. 
Our path goes gently down to the railway and the main road. We cross over and walk along the road to Egleton Birdwatching Centre, where we pause for a break.
It only remains to walk the two miles of reservoir track and to return to Manton.  And we have seen no rain, though there are dark clouds as well as some blue sky. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

NR 8 - Nobottle to Church Brampton via Harlestone

Tue, 20 May 2014 10:09  BST
With Marta. Parked at Harlestone.
Walked NR to Nobottle and returned via different path. Then Harlestone to Ch Brampton, there and back on NR. Fine, warm, not much sun. My other device tells me 10.3 miles!

With Marta. We parked at Harlestone - a spread out village consisting of Harlestone, Lower Harlestone and Upper Harlestone. The section near the church has a dead end access road with no parking unless you're visiting the school or church.
We should have  turned left, south into the village - there's a pub called The Fox and Hounds, implausibly sporting a sign showing a fox as Master of the Hunt, surrounded by hounds.  
We found a spot to park near a footpath and a bridleway, clearly much used by local dog-walkers, and indeed dogless walkers.
This walk followed a  slightly different pattern from usual, as we decided to leave coffee and the like at the car, to pick up for a break part way through the walk. Gives us flexibility if we're not up to finishing too!  And a lighter pack to carry.

We take the bridleway through a gate with a wooden latch. Soon we're in woodland and the scent of wild garlic takes me back to childhood!  Damp woodland earth and wild garlic - close rivals to freshly cut grass and honeysuckle!  This part is rather like a magical fairy realm as we walk a large house with a lovely garden, and another house hidden away. It feels as though we've slipped back a century or two, apart from seeing the parked cars.

When the trees stop we turn left following a narrow track towards the area with the church.
A well?

Lots of wild garlic
Then we take a footpath left again into the wood emerging on a track through Northampton Golf Course with its lake and balustrade.

We follow a path to the church, and on past the village hall, and further to Yew Tree Farm.

The NR signs are clear, and we have no real problem staying on track. It's also part of the Midshires Way.
The grass is greener
On the ground paths are clear, either alongside hedges, or through fields of crops.
We walk southwest towards Nobottle. We take a  quick break for water and an orange before four hundred or so yards of road walking. It's not too busy, and there is a bit of a grass verge, but we're pleased to see the bridleway sign on our left, shortly after we pass Nobottle House on our right.
We go alongside a field and reach a small spinney, where we turn to the right, then left along side hedges and back towards Upper Harlestone. We follow the road to the right, then turn left and walk back to the car - and coffee. 5 miles done so far.
The next section is two and half miles or so out to Church Brampton. We come back the same (shortest) way.
We walk the bridleway through the garlic woods for the second time, of three today.  Instead of turning left we carry on after the woods, by some mounds and hollows, and across the road near the pub. It's quite busy for a minor road.
We turn right and walk uphill until we se the bridleway sign, with tiny NR stickers on.
We turn left, slightly north of east, along a track, then right through a fields of green barley.
The path goes downhill to the railway, and we follow it under a bridge, and the  uphill into woodland - classic England in spring with sunlight through the trees, bluebells and pink campion, and a damp earth path. It's the edge of Fox Covert.

We come out of the woods to be met by warning signs about flying golf balls and the need to keep to the path. Northamptonshire County Golf Club.  
We follow the path over a couple of fairways, then it turns left. This track goes past the clubhouse and then along Golf Lane, land of huge houses and customized car plates. We find a handy seat by a bus stop - have a short foray in search of a shop, find none, and resort to emergency cereal bars before retracing the route back to the car - all in all between 10 and 11 miles.

Map and details

Thorpe Langton to Foxton Locks and back

Mon, 2014 May 19 9.05am - With Gordon. Very straightforward, conditions on ground good, and not so many nettles, though paths still overgrown in places. New footbridge and lots of gates. Fine and sunny. Stopped for coffee at the Locks. Just over 10 miles.


The same route as previously, following the Leicestershire Round from Thorpe Langton to East Langton, then down through the village and over the stile, across well signposted fields, some with cows and some with sheep. In one place sheep were being herded for dipping.  
The walk goes through gates and over footbridges, under the mainline railway. through the trees where nettles are growing but not impassable, then turning right away from the factory two fields ahead, emerging on the A 6 near the roundabout. This part of the route is passable, and has been walked recently, but looks in danger of becoming overgrown. 
Then we walk over fields where the path has been made good through the new crops. 


In Foxton village we took the footpath by the Shoulder of Mutton, and then made our way to the canal about half a mile before the Locks, turning right towards them.

 A pause for coffee at bridge 61 and the return leg is via the canal as far as the chemical factory, over the road there and follow the signs - growing well but passable. Rejoin the LR and  follow the route back with an exploratory detour in East Langton.






A pause for coffee at bridge 61 and the return leg is via the canal as far as the chemical factory, over the road there and follow the signs - growing well but passable. We rejoined the LR and  followed the route back with an exploratory detour in East Langton.
Around 10 miles.