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!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Nene Way 10 - Ferry Meadows - Peterborough - Whittlesey

With Marta. 11 miles. Brilliant sunshine. Very warm.

We set off from Ferry Meadows, and I couldn't resist one more mirror-lake-shot to start the day.
We were diverted from the river, as the path was closed, and walked around Thorpe Golf Course. Part of the route followed this 'covered walkway'

The shade was already welcome at 11 am.
We rejoined the original Nene Way at Orton Lock.
This is a sculpture "Festival Boat, 1988, Sculptor: Sokari Douglas Camp".

As we walked into Peterborough, we saw several bridges

I'm surprised Peterborough doesn't make more of its waterfront, though it does have the Green Wheel network.  When we found our way blocked we turned into the Rivergate shopping centre and sought out coffee in the town centre. Pavement cafes in this weather - it could almost have been Sevilla. 

Children were running and splashing in the fountains.
A colourful flower display
an odd view of the cathedral.

A pleasant tree-lined path by the Nene on the way out of Peterborough. The river has become noticeably straight by this point.

The bridge carries the cycle-path over the Nene to Whittlesey. We used the map, which showed the Nene Way following the road.

A friendly (hopeful?) pig in an enclosure near the path. Pity about the barbed wire shadows!

The erstwhile Dog-in-a-Doublet pub, fondly remembered from days ice-skating on Whittlesey Mere.

Dog-in-a-Doublet Lock.

At the road junction we turned right across the bridge towards Whittlesey, where we had lunch in an Italian cafe, then explored a while.

old town hall and museum
market place and butter cross
St Mary's church

Distinctive street lamps

The statue of the Whittlesey Straw Bear - donated, improbably, by Councillor Ursula Cuffe. 

I think we'll give the Nene Way a rest for the moment. It's a long way to drive for a day's walk; the Nene has several courses - the old course is covered in parts by the Hereward Way out towards March; the new Nene is very straight and confined as it heads through the Fens to the sea.

Map and details

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gretton - Harringworth - Seaton - Lyddington - Thorpe by Water - Gretton

11.5 miles, with Barry, Eddie, Gordon, Maureen. Sunny, very warm day.

The sun was shining in Gretton, though some of the valley was in mist.  We followed the Jurassic Way from Gretton, out past Harringworth Lodge, and over the fields, across the road from Deene to Harringworth and into Shotley.

Two views of reflections on the very still lake near Harringworth Lodge. 

A goods train on the Welland viaduct, seen from just above Shotley.  You can see Harringworth church steeple and further back, Seaton church.

From Shotley we walked into Harringworth, taking the footpath past the stables, and through the churchyard.  The church was open - it was cleaning day.

Inside the church is a plaque commemorating Fanny Maria Blaydes, nee Page Turner, who died aged 64. She was the wife of the Vicar of Harringworth.  On 21st August 1884, she was returning home in a pony phaeton,  from a visit to friends in Gretton.  The pony took fright for some reason and reared up.  Mrs Blaydes fell out and died on the spot.  There was an inquest in the Swan Inn, Harringworth, and the Rev Blaydes later  had a stone placed by the road where she died.  The full story was published in Taking Stock No 1,  by the Gretton Local History Society.

The stone is inscribed
Hic Obit
FMB,  Aug . . .1884
Sudden death, sudden glory.
I'd noticed the stone several times, but was intrigued in Jan 2005, when I saw that someone had left flowers there.  A sad footnote on the plaque in the church was that one of their sons died at sea at the age of 21.

Eggs for sale in Harringworth.
The path goes alongside the house, but was a bit tricky to follow properly.
I have several photographs of Seaton church through the viaduct - this is Harringworth church, looking back from the valley floor.
Once we had found our way back to the correct path, we crossed the Welland, and made our way round the renovated farm, through a 'stile' where you slide the bars through the posts, and out to the road between Caldecott and Seaton. We crossed this and almost immediately on our right was the path over the disused railway up towards Seaton.  From Seaton we took Grange road, which became a track and led us gradually down to Lyddington, passing by, but not climbing nearby hills.
We are not sure what this is - on Lyddington village green.

From Lyddington we walked up Thorpe Road, with its double hill, then down towards Thorpe by Water.  We didn't go into Thorpe, but took the footpath opposite Thorpe Road, after crossing the road between Caldecott and Harringworth. This crosses a couple of fields, then goes under another disused railway, and over the Welland on a bridge with one handrail. 
We followed the river for a while, until crossing a field towards some trees, where the path comes out near a farm building.  From here the path continues up hill by a hedge, then cuts across a field to a gate.  At this point we crossed the railway line which is still in use, and after another kissing gate, made our way through a field with evidence of ridge and furrow.   We came out at the gate behind the church.

The trees are changing colour down near the river.

Map and details

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fineshade round

Almost 4 miles - with Harry

Begonias in bloom
A coffee after  stocking up on bird food, then a wander round Fineshade.  A muntjac crosses the path, then we spend half an hour in the hide, watching dragonflies, tits, chaffinches, squirrels, a green woodpecker and a jay. The trees are beginning to turn from the top down, the sky's blue, magic.

Some kind of 'wood-dolphin'?

From the hide

Monday, September 26, 2011

Whiston - Cogenhoe - Brafield - Denton - Whiston

8 miles. Barry, Eddie, Maureen, Gordon. 

Down the hill from Whiston to Whiston Lock on the Nene. The couple going through with their boat had spent one month travelling back to Oundle from Bath.  The water was pretty choked with weed, and the gates were difficult to close. Some weed has been raked out and left on the path at the side.
From there we walked along the Nene Way by the river as far as Cogenhoe Mill, then up into the village itself.
The path emerges into Cogenhoe near Mill House
Chickens and Indian runner ducks (?) by the playing field in Cogenhoe.  We took the footpath towards Brafield on the Green.
St Laurence's church at Brafield.  From Brafield we took the path behind the church and made our way to Denton,, across some ploughed fields, and on one occasion we needed the machete.
Through the hedge, and onward.

Free range chickens between Denton and Whiston
Whiston church tower dominates this part of the Nene Valley, but is not, as far as we could see, easily accessed by car.  It was built by the Catesby family, and is very much their monument.
One of the Catesby cats inside the church.
There are traces of some structure on the ground. I'm not sure what it is.

Map and details

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lyveden Way from Wadenhoe

With Harry.  Some sun, some cloud, but fine and warm. Some mud underfoot in the woods. Just over 7 miles including Lyveden New Bield itself.

Millenium sundial at Wadenhoe church.
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. 

A shaggy inkcap fungus on the grassy track.

Just over half a mile down the track, a footpath goes to the right, heading for the woods.  When we were there we noticed masses of crab-apples on the ground.

The path through the edge of the woods is quite narrow and overgrown in places, and can be muddy.  In the sunlight we had it was a lovely place to walk. 
After another half-mile or so the path became wider, and joined a track, which we followed 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 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 we emerged at the edge of a field. The marker posts are clear and the path now goes behind Lyveden New Bield, with its car park and on Wed- Sun from 10.30 - 5,  you should be able to get a drink and snack, even without making an official visit.

Lyveden New Bield is an uncompleted building - it was intended as a hunting lodge, or more probably as a 'summer house', and built for Sir Thomas Tresham in the early 1600s. More info about the building and the Treshams.

The mound in the picture is a 'snail mound', created when the garden was made, as Elizabethan and Tudor gardens were designed to be looked at from above.

This is one of the 'canals' constructed as part of Tresham's pleasure garden. 
The orchard has been replanted using many of the original old varieties of fruit - apples, pears, and plums.

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

Map and details

Walk route - thanks to 20 best local walks, by Nicholas Rudd-Jones.