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 17, 2011

Lowick - Twywell - Slipton - Drayton Park - Lowick

6 miles - Thursday 17 March - with Barry, Eddie, Gordon and Maureen
Just under two and a half hours. Easy walking on tracks and minor roads - one section where hedge had been grubbed out and ditch dug was muddy.

Park by the old school in Lowick, take Lobbs Lane, then tracks up and across to meet a minor road leading to Twywell, to the right. Walk along this for about a mile to Twywell, then take another footpath to the left across fields  in Slipton, and down to the church which is separate from the rest of the village, walk through the churchyard, and after a short while through a gate and a private drive to a minor road leading up to Drayton House.

Drayton House  
Great house which Sir Simon Drayton was given a licence to crenellate in 1328. Additions were carried out during C15 and late C16. The house was remodelled during the early C18. Much of the west part of the house was rebuilt and the hall refronted in 1702 to designs by Talman.
Sheep, parkland, statues.

Click on the title of this post for an aerial view of Slipton, and an interactive aerial view of the whole area.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ryhall - Belmesthorpe - Essendine -Tolethorpe - Ryhall

Monday 14 March 2011 - 8 miles with Barry, Gordon, Maureen

From car park outside Ryhall village Hall [036107](opposite the library), face the road and turn left, past the school and across a field footpath to Belmesthorpe. Cross the Gwash on a footbridge and go through a well-tended street of bungalows - on the right hand side there's a footpath sign which takes you across arable land. This can be muddy - we were lucky. After less than half a mile you turn left on to a wide, well-hoofed bridle way, which you follow for just under a mile until it joins a minor road to Uffington. Turn left towards Essendine, and follow the road fo a good mile and a half. About halfway along you cross a disused railway line - under the bridge it has been filled in. This line once joined the main line not far away, and we saw several trains as we walked. After a right-angle bend to the right, the road emerges on to the A6121 between Stamford and Bourne. There's a good pavement alongsdide this, and in a fairly short distance you cross the road to take a footpath on the edge of a wood. Follow this to the B1176.

(This may be where we stopped for a snack break - must get hold of Barry's map to be sure.)

Walk beside this road for a short distance, then take a minor road to the left.

I think we went along to the point where a track lgoes to the left, opposite the entrance to Ryhall Heath Farm (note to self - CHECK this).  The track is on land belonging to Walk Farm. There's a junction where we turned left, slightly downhill.  Follow this until you reach the minor road between Ryhall and Great Casterton, Turn right, and in a couple of hundered yards turn left towards Tolethorpe.  This road leads all the way to the Gwash, and the magnificent Tolethorpe Cottage - if that's a cottage, what is the big house like?  Answer - big. It's where the outdoor theatre holds performances in the summer.

At a bend on the road we turned on to a footpath which took us back to Ryhall.

The second part of the walk is the more scenic.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Leeping Stocks Nature reserve from Doward Farm

Thursday 10 March 2011 - about an hour's stroll - with Mick and Sharon

No deer, primroses just beginning to flower.

Turn right from farm gate, along road to the byway to Pentumpkin, and continue past the house, with its sign saying something along the lines of 'Harley-Davidsons only, jap bikes will be pulverised'. Onward past a couple of houses with distinctly noisy dogs, following the track round to the right. You can go into the reserve through a gate, and wander among the primroses which are just beginning to flower.
Afgter visiting this reserve, complete with a ruined building in the middle, you turn right and return to the main road by the footpath which emerges just after the Pentumpkin track. Turn right and back to the farm.

Soudley Ponds, near Dean Heritage centre

Wednesday 9 March - about 1hr 30 mins with Esther, Joseph and Harry

We drove across from Coleford to Cinderford, and on to the Heritage Centre at Soudley. Feeling mean after paying for coffee and lunch, we decided we didn't have time or inclination to visit the museum, and opted for a short walk across the road at Soudley Ponds.

We climbed up fairly high but found no obvious viewpoint. Back in time for another cuppa, and the drive back.

Circular walk from Symonds Yat Rock

Tuesday 8 March 2011 approx 6km - with Sharon, Mick, Darren, Chloé, Finley, Esther, Joseph (in back pack) and Harry

Following the red waymarks.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Doward Farm to King Arthur's Cave.

Saturday 5 March 2011 - Leigh and Rita with dogs, Dan and Sara with Isaac and Rose, Chloé and Darren with Finn, Esther and Adrian with Joseph, Sharon and Mick, and me.
Followed along the road for a good way by Camilla the cat.

So - turned right along the road from the farm, past the byway to Pentumpkin and the narrow footpath on the left, past a cottage with chickens, and through a gate. We followed the path and probably ended up at King Arthur's cave, eventually turning past a disused quarry, before coming out near the road to a youth campsite and back to the road. 

Leigh and Rita made it down to the river, but we were a little warier with the kids, and a little unsure of map-reading among the trees! 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Redbrook - Penallt and back with small children.

Sunday 6 March 2011

From Redbrook near Monmouth to Penallt We parked in a large car park, but to get to the Boat Inn we had to cross the river Wye on an iron footbridge next to the old viaduct. We followed a flat path by the river, then up a steep waymarked path which eventually came out near Penallt old church. We took the small road back down the hill past a large stone labelled the coffin stone.

An interesting alternative local name for the stone is 'The Coffin Stone', and local tradition states that funeral processions on the way to Penallt Old Church used to pause at the spot and rest the coffin on the stone. An additional roadside 'coffin stone' can be found a little further north on the same road. Interestingly Penallt Church formerly acted as a chapel-of-ease to St Nicholas in Trellech until Penallt became a separate parish in 1887.

Since we had a six-year-old and a five-year-old walking with us and one 17 month-old on mum's or dad's back, progress was fairly slow, and we cut the 5 km walk even shorter in order to get back to the holiday house for lunch.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Manton - Brooke - Manton

Approximately 5 miles - 1 hour 30-40 mins.

I walked this for the second time today. We parked near the pub in Manton, walked down the hill past the new section of cycle track, under the railway bridge and along beside the A6003. At first there's a good path - part of the cycle route. Then there's a shortish stretch of fairly wide green verge. A footpath crosses the main road, so we braved the traffic to reach the other side. Patience is indeed useful. This path leads across the railway line, and through some woodland. A lot of this has recently been felled, so the path is a little tricky and indistinct. We went across a field and through a gate on to the small road to Gunthorpe. Daffodils not yet out, snowdrops still there. At a junction we followed the right hand fork to the farm, and picked up the path through a gate at the end of the road. All fairly clear leading straight along a track, then fields. As we approached Bridge Farm in Brooke we are channeled into a well marked path with fencing on either side, and a myriad of stiles. Two distinct varieties of sheep here - one rather like the Lake District Herdwicks with slender legs and faces, the other more like cuddly toys with furry trousers.
In the village we walked past the church to a junction, where we turned left. There's a fair bit of road walking here up to the top of the ridge. The wind cooled us down pretty quickly, as we passed a big sign advertising rare breeds and Rutland sausage, then a farm called America Lodge, before the road surface turned to mud track.
All straightforward until you reach an information board about the deserted village of Martinsthorpe.. The hall was demolished and all that is left now is a chapel with bricked up windows. The walls and stones near this board are an ok, if a little cold, place to stop for a coffee from the flask.
The first time I did the walk I carried blithely along the track down the hill. This time I had learned my lesson well, and we took the path to the right of the chapel - across another field, and then on to the track leading back to the A6003. You hit the road just at the junction to Manton and Rutland Water.
A good short walk, if rather muddy today.