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!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Empingham, Normanton and Rutland Water

With Marion. Monday 17 July 2017, starting at 9.30 am. Hot and sunny, dry underfoot. 7.25 miles.

A walk I have done several times with different people. Good views of the water from Normanton Cottages. A little road walking on quiet roads, a few stiles towards the end.

We walked along Crocket Lane in Empingham, near the church, and followed the streets, eventually arriving at the footpath along Willoughby Drive. Then it's across a field, with cattle who took no notice of us, over the stream and right along the Hereward Way (Mill Lane).

After the first house we crossed the field diagonally to the next footbridge, and walk slightly uphill along the edges of two fields. They look well ready to be harvested.  After the second field we crossed the A606 and continued along the path opposite, still following field edges until we reached Ketton Road. Here we turned sharply right and walked along the quiet road to the next junction. 
Knapweed, I think.

Here we turned left along Empingham Road past Normanton Cottages, which look as though they could once have been almshouses, or estate houses. There are lovely views of Rutland Water and the dam from this road. 

We carried on until the road bent to the left. We took the footpath straight ahead, with an intermittent wall on our right.

At the road we turned right and headed west towards Normanton car park on Rutland Water. The cafe was open, so we stopped for a drink in the welcome shade.

Then we followed the path round to the dam and across, before turning sharp right along the path with woodland on the left of us. At the bottom of the slope we climbed a stile into a field and then another one into more woodland - once again, just the job on a hot day!
To the woods . . . and out the other side

Another footbridge over a stream - looking a bit muddy for dipping feet - and a couple more stiles along the path to Nook Lane, Empingham, and back to the village and the car.
Off to Wellies at the garden centre for lunch. A very enjoyable 7 miles.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

East Haddon and Holdenby - clockwise

Monday 11 July 2017.  With Maureen and Norma. This is almost the same walk as last Thursday, but in reverse, and without the wander off track. 7.6 miles, in dry warm weather, with about 300 feet of climbing.

We took the footpath which leads north not far after the Red Lion pub, past the sewage farm and Rye Hill, then along the lane and across a field - the hay has been collected since we were last here, and the way is very clear. When we reach the hedge we turn left, and follow it. In the next field we go through a gap in the hedge and through a field of oats - not yet harvested, but surely ready!

We cross the footbridge and the corner of another field, then follow the hedge uphill to the road between Ravensthorpe and Teeton. Norma identifies our mystery fruit from Thursday as damsons. We turn right a walk for a few yards along the road, then take the bridleway to our right, just where the road bends to the left.  The bridleway goes downhill , with the hedge on the right, and we recross the stream via another footbridge.

Then it's across a field of ripening rapeseed ( quite hard work, but it's dry and the varieties are not as tall as they used to be), along another hedge, through some rapeseed, untill we reach the footpath above Holdenby North Lodge, home of some fine-looking horses. We turn left and follow the path alongside the farm, and the road to North Lodge cottages. The footpath turns right and heads across several fields, slightly uphill towards Holdenby. There are stiles and it's pretty well marked.
Approaching Holdenby

A posing sheep
 We cross the road and walk through Holdenby village - no teddy bears picnic this time. It's about time we had a break, so we head to the church once more, and its well-placed bench.
 We have another brief look inside the church - this screen was once in Holdenby Hall, and the cross was added later. 

 From here it's pretty straightforward. From the lane to the church we turn right and follow the Macmillan Way downhill, turning right and following the track to the junction, marked by a fingerpost to East Haddon, where we turn right again. We have come past the hill with trees on top, which lies on our right.  The path continues until the building marked on the map as Rowell Leyes is in sight, and then goes gently uphill and to the right of the building.

At the field edge just beyond this we turn right then left then left again (three sides of a small rectangle). Ignore the larger track leading past the building marked as The Conduit. There is a sign saying that the land is private, but it's half hidden in the hedge.
Then follow this path beside the fields and the village cricket ground, before turning right and reaching Main Street once more.
We headed over to Brixworth for a sandwich and coffee. 
Once again, lots of butterflies and damselflies, and also skylarks and a coupe of buzzards.

Friday, July 7, 2017

East Haddon and Holdenby

This was a recce walk, and there is part in the middle which didn't quite go to plan.
With Maureen, on a hot day. Around eight and a half miles in all. Butterflies and damselflies in evidence along the way.
Village pump

Men at work

We began the walk from Main St in East Haddon, and walked along the footpath to Mill Street, just opposite the Red Lion, heading south, then turning east alongside the cricket field, and then for half a mile or so following field boundaries.
Then the path turns right, south,  at the end of a field, and right again,west, making three sides of a rectangle, before heading south once more, then slightly to the west, uphill. A right angle turn to the left takes you south west and goes gently down to join a surfaced track with Macmillan Way signposts, to Althorp and Holdenby. We take the left turn to Holdenby.  

On our left is a small hill, topped with a tree.
We joined the Macmillan Way and turned left at a junction of paths, and climb quite steeply north east towards Holdenby. There are views of the church among the trees on the left. Almost at the top of the slope we turned left along the small road to the church, noting bear hunt posters along the way.

There are some interesting monuments in the church, including this memorial stone on the floor.

Even more interesting for us at this point was a bench with a lovely view.
We've walked just over three miles in some pretty serious heat.
When we decide to set off again we hear children chattering - it's a local primary school hunting for the treasure before having a teddy bears' picnic.

We call in at the old school house to see what's going on.
We walk along the road to the junction with the East Haddon-Chapel Brampton road, and cross over to the footpath, and meet the first stile of the day. Following the path north through several fields we emerge at North Lodge Cottages, and turn sharply left,or west, towards Holdenby North Lodge. The path runs to the south of the farm buildings and through a paddock with a couple of horses. The hedge is on our left as we climb up to a bridleway, where we turn right and follow the hedges north then north west.
At this point we missed a turning or two and managed to end up slightly off track, but we found the route we intended to take back to East Haddon from the Ravensthorpe-Teeton Road. As we stopped for an essential drink of water, we noticed these fruits across the road.
They appear to have one stone, but neither of us were sure what they were.  We headed back along the path which goes south as far as Rye Hill farm and cottages, uses the surfaced track for a hundred meters or so, then goes off the right. We pass the sewage works, on our left, resist the temptation to cross the footbridge over the stream, and walk towards the village. When we reach the corner of the field we turn left and the path is a few yards ahead, between the houses. It reaches East Haddon at Holdenby Road, slightly to the west of the Red Lion pub, where we had a very welcome cold drink.
I may well try this walk in reverse soon, so that I can recce the bit I messed up.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Lyvenden Way - from Wadenhoe to Lyveden New Bield - circular

With Norma, Marion and Steph. Grey, but brightened up as we walked.  A little over seven miles in all, with a coffee/tea stop after almost five miles at Lyveden, and lunch at the Old Barn, Wadenhoe.

We took the path past the church and walked in a clockwise direction.  The route is well trodden and well signposted. 

From Wadenhoe church we followed the path over a couple of cattle grids to the road to Aldwincle, turned left along the road, then right on a path which took us to another small road. Here we turned left through a metal gate and walked along a wide grassy track, which used to be part of the road from Thrapston to Oundle.
Just over half a mile down this track, a footpath goes to the right, heading for the woods. Walk along the edge of the field and take the path along the edge of the woods.

After another half-mile or so the path becomes wider, and joins a track.  Follow this to the right almost through the woods. The sign for the next turn-off is slightly hidden, but if you come out of the woods on to the big track, you'll need to retrace your steps for a hundred yards or so. The small track cuts through to the right, and emerges at the edge of a field. 

Turn right towards Lyveden New Bield. The marker posts are clear and the path goes behind the New Bield, with its car park and you should be able to get a drink and snack at the tea shop, even without making an official visit.

For more details about the New Bield - see this post.

From the New Bield the path goes across a field and directly through Lilford Wood.  At the other end of the wood, we crossed a small grassy field, then a footbridge, walked uphill through another field, until we reached a metalled track. This took us  for a couple of miles or so back to the small road we crossed much earlier in the walk. Here we turned right, then left soon afterwards, taking a footpath alongside a hedge. We had to persuade the cows to move - they were taking shelter just in the gateway, but were no problem.

The path is well signed and leads into `Wadenhoe village, coming out between two houses and on to the main street.

Lots of butterflies around, mainly meadow brown and ringlets, though we saw one comma and tortoiseshells as well.

Time for tea

In the teashop garden

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Tilton on the Hill, Marefield, Owston, Halstead

With Norma. A dry day which grew sunnier and warmer as we walked. Just under 9 miles, and about 500 feet of ascent. Undulating, I guess.

From Tilton we walked along Marefield Lane, which drops down to the valley. When the road bent to the right, we took the bridleway to Marefield. There is also a footpath that i may investigate in future.

The bridleway reaches the road and here we turned left into Marefield, and continued under the railway bridge. Shortly afterwards we took a small road to the right, towards Twyford.
After almost a mile we followed a footpath on the right. This took us along the bottom of a field. The cows showed no interest in us. We continued past a few sheds and under a viaduct. All around were plenty of meadow browns, an occasional red admiral, possibly a skipper of some kind, a small coppery butterfly - all moving too fast for my limited stock of patience!
The footpath continues in more or less the same direction for  a mile or so, though we did skirt round the first big field, and then found the original line to follow. Leicestershire's yellow marker posts are always a great help.
Norma thinks this would be a grand garden ornament

Looking back to the viaduct
 We crossed a small road at White House Farm, and followed the bridleway for a short distance, before the footpath turns left towards Newbold Grange Farm. Again, we had no problems with route finding.

At the road past the farm we turned right and continued past Newbold Farm. The main road swings to the left, but our route is through the gate and straight ahead down the hill.
We found a pleasantly shaded spot to have a break, just round the corner before we went on to the gated road.

Down the hill and through another gate, and we were looking for our path to the left. The finger post was there, but we wandered very slightly off track before finding the route - which was clearly marked, but we hadn't spotted it on the other side of a large bush. It was very easy to follow into Owston. We gave the church a miss, and took the footpath to the right from Main Street, going south west for a good couple of miles. 

Some of the paths were struggling against nature's claims, but at least they were clear.
We passed a couple of ponds, with water birds and their young, and dragon and damselflies.

We might have been tempted - but there were no oars.
Paths were all clear, though we had visions of a mad unicyclist with Boudica-style knives carving this one out - narrow and not quite straight.
 We had noticed a stream and contours on the map - it hadn't marked the lush growth of nettles, brambles and briars.  I have met far worse - this was not impassable, but it was a good excuse for another brief pause.
Looking towards Whatborough Hill
 The final couple of miles took us past Halstead House Farm, and on to the road to Tilton. A path to the right to Marefield Lane brought us back to the start of the walk.
Lunch at the Orchard Cafe at Welland Vale Garden Centre rounded off the walk.

See also this walk from Feb 2013.

On the bikes to Fineshade

Since our daughter, Esther,  was riding from Seascale to Whitby in the day (almost 150 miles), we came out in sympathy and did a sporting 18 miles up to Fineshade Woods.
We paused for a cold drink, and rode over to Kings Cliffe, and back via Blatherwycke, Bulwick and Deene.
Rather hillier than our ride along the Vistula earlier in the week, and the wind was against us for most of the ride.
We saw the usual red kites,  and a fair number of Speckled Wood butterflies. A decent leg stretch.

A bike ride from Krakow to Tyniec Abbey

This route is about nine miles each way. We hired trekking bikes from Cruising Krakow, and they were pretty decent.  The cycle path beside the Vistula is easy to follow apart from one short section where you join a road, and then turn off again along a side street.

It was very pleasant, and there were plenty of cyclists using the path.  At the riverside just below the abbey is a very convenient snack bar where we bought coffee and a large bottle of water to supplement what we had brought with us.

The mighty Wisła

Our hired steeds

View from the abbey

The distant Tatras
There has been an abbey on the site since the eleventh century. More details here
Tyniec Abbey, perched above the river

Farmland, people fishing and the village of Piekary
 We spent a couple of hours at the abbey, enjoying the peace, which was shattered a few times by the noise of jet-skis on the river below!   There is a cafe, and a courtyard/cloister with seats. 

A limestone outcrop by the Vistula, not far from Tyniec.
The ride back, with the wind behind us was quick and simple.  A most enjoyable day out from the city.
Back in the city we were entertained by the usual masses of swifts careering round and round. They seem to nest in the towers near the cathedral and Wawel castle. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Ridlington - Belton circular

With Maureen and Marion. 6.4 miles. A grey day, damp underfoot, but no real rain while we were out. The same route as recent walks.
Belton church, halfway through the walk

On the last lap, just coming into Ridlington