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!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Kirby Hall from Gretton

About 4 miles there and back - to the road entrance on Kirby Lane

Kirby Hall in afternoon sun
Camera-shy peacock

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Eyebrook Reservoir

With Harry, late afternoon.  Some sun.  No garmin link - but I know it's just under 5 miles.

We saw lots of swans, geese, the odd grebe and heron. A little later a noisy flock of geese clattered over our heads before coming down on the water.  And a pair of bullfinches flew out of one of the hedges.

Wind-blown willows

A bullock-moot

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Short strolls

I'm posting this since we decided not to walk today - muddy fields in the rain do not appeal!

So - from a couple of wanderings yesterday -
I hope this young swan copes.  On the bridge over the Welland I met two men who had just released the bird, after finding it in a field. They'd consulted a vet, who said the best thing was for them to put it in the river.

The village of  Seaton(I think) is in the spotlight, seen from the track to the old quarry near Gretton.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Harrington - Arthingworth - Brampton Valley Way - H'ton

Barry led this walk with Gordon and Maureen.  Fine weather, some sun.  Almost 11 miles. 

We set off from Harrington, not far from the pump, taking a path which leads downhill with an area called the Falls on our right hand side. From the leaflet linked above:

The manor house 'was pulled down in 1745 by Lionel, Earl of Dysart, who had other estates to maintain.  No trace remains above ground - the stone may have been used in building houses, cottages and walls in the village.  A stone pillar from one of the gateposts now stands in the middle of Desborough.  Maybe, someday, it will find its way back to Harrington.
. . .
The site of the old manor house is called 'The Falls' with the 'Park' adjoining.  An avenue of elm trees lined a carriage drive to the village road but sadly, due to their great age and the onset of dutch elm disease, they were all felled in the 1960s.
The Falls has the remains of terraces, fishponds and a sunken garden, which may have had a fountain.   This was laid out by Sir Lionel Tollemache who married Lady Elizabeth Stanhope and inherited the estate in 1675.  It is now listed as an historical archaeological site.
The fishponds were constructed to supply fresh fish to the monastic house. Eel, bream. pike and perch were bred in a series of ponds of varying sizes fed by channels.  Traces of ridge and furrow, remains of the medieval farming system can still be seen.
The terraces of the manor house gardens

 From here we followed the path in a north easterly direction towards Arthingworth.
Arthingworth church

We turned left and walked through the village, turning right along a footpath leading almost due north along field boundaries. After a gap in the hedge the path leads diagonally to the left up a hill past a spinney, then slightly to the right heading towards the trig point at 146 metres high. The trig point is a few yards away from the footpath sign.
We crossed the road from Great Oxenden and joined a path directly opposite, which was part of the Midshires Way.  This goes downhill along the field edge, until it reaches a bench.  At this point we turned left.
A path with a confused sense of identity
 The path leads to a farm called Waterloo Lodge (again?) and through an orchard and a landscaped area before coming to a couple of cultivated field, then grassland with a big dip in the middle.
 The pears look almost too perfect to be real.

What goes down has to come up - when we're talking hills
At the top of the rise we climbed a stile (one of several) into a wooded area.
Going gently downhill
This path through the trees took us gently down towards the Brampton Valley Way, where we turned right, pretty well back on ourselves,  to walk along the old railway line towards Northampton.

into the dark tunnel

and out at the other end

The tunnel floor was a bit uneven and damp in places. Most of the walk along the railway path was sheltered from the wind, and very warm when the sun shone.
The second tunnel was slightly longer at 480 metres
There are plenty of seats for the weary traveller.

Between Arthingworth and Kelmarsh, close to the disused railway, is Kelmarsh depot.

We left the Brampton Valley Way at Green Lane Crossing and turned left along a path heading towards the A14. To avoid crossing this very fast road we took the path past Sunnydale Farm with its Aviation Museum (open only at weekends)
The Carpet-bagger Group were involved in flying "Special Operations" to deliver supplies to resistance groups in enemy occupied countries and in delivering personnel  and occasionally bringing them back from the field.
We walked across the corner of the disused airfield, where some of the concrete roadways still survive.

After a while we came out to the road to Harrington, where we turned left and crossed the A14 on a bridge. Shortly after the Harrington village sign we took a footpath to the right.  This branched off to the left near some farm vehicles, and we emerged at our starting point.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Burrough Hill - Somerby - Burrough-on-the-Hill - Burrough Hill

With Harry, on a fine sunny day with a brisk wind. Around 6.5 miles.  Very similar to this walk from July 31 2008.   A lovely walk, with great views, and plenty of ups and downs.

Pippa from the Fox and Hounds
After lunch at the Fox and Hounds at Knossington - cheese and chutney baguette, with posh chips and a well-dressed salad - we parked at Burrough Hill car park 
and walked up to the hill fort with its trig point 
and toposcope at 680 feet.
We identified some of the places, but it was certainly not clear enough to see Lincoln Cathedral!
The view to the north-west
For the walk we left the fort on the north side - more or less opposite the toposcope, and followed the yellow posts which lead down a grassy track through gorse. This is marked as a permissive path, and is part of the Dalby Hills path. It swings right to go through a wood.
The wood was a bit muddy in places.  We turned off the path when we came to a gap in the wood, and made our way up the hill - the official route continues across the gap and turns right later. It was not difficult to rejoin it.
Looking back down the gap in the woods
Little Dalby hall with church spire beyond the trees
At this point you join the Leicestershire Round footpath which leads uphill, with some steps at the highest point. There were buzzards circling above the woods.
Last time we did this walk in July 2008, the way was not so clear - possibly because of crops and the fact that some sections were overgrown. We had no problem following the route to Somerby. (This is the section where my garmin was switched off, unfortunately!)

ridge and furrow?
After crossing a footbridge and several fields, you come to a narrow alley between houses and out to Somerby's main street.

Turn right and walk through Somerby. Just after Field Road is a footpath on the left of the main road. This leads across a large field.  Aim for the left hand side of the wood ahead, and you should reach a point where you eventually see the next way-marker.  Go through the gate and walk alongside the dips and hollows of the old gravel pits.

The path swings left round these , then bends sharply to the right.  There is a gated area, where we saw a farmer collecting sheep - for dipping or shearing, last time we did the walk.
At this point I shall quote from the book which introduced me to walking in this area -   Heather MacDermid - Foxton Locks to Rutland Water 

From the
'enclosure of gates. Burrough church spire is straight ahead of you.Walk downhill with the hedge and isolated trees still on your right.

Cross a grassy track which leads to the ruins of a little brick house on your left and go over the fence ahead of you.Continue down the steep hill, moving slightly away from the hedge on your right. In the bottom left corner of the field there is a flimsy plank bridge over the stream. You need to cross a rather boggy path of grass to reach it. Make your way up the hill passing to the left an isolated telegraph pole to reach the top left corner of the field.  A stile here, close to a telegraph pole, leads into a narrow jitty between houses. Emerge on the main road in Burrough at the footpath sign.'

Burrough Church tower and spire.

There is a path from the back of Burrough churchyard, but make sure you take the one to the right.  For most of the way Burrough Hill with its toposcope is visible to the right. After crossing several fields in a direction just west of north, you reach a wider path (part of the Leicestershire Round). Turn right - due east, and follow the path below the hill fort. It is possible to reach the top by heading up the steep slope, and from there make your way back to the car park.

and a couple of other animals on the way back to the car park -

Map and details

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tilton-on-the-Hill - Lowesby - South Croxton - Cold Newton - Tilton

With Barry, Eddie, Gordon, Maureen.  Sunny and bright. A total of 647 feet of climbing. Not far off 11 miles.

We set off from Digby Close, a small road to the right from the road opposite Tilton garage. Ominously downhill to start with.
Ye'll tak' the low road . . .

. . .an' I'll tak' the high road
The path is easy to follow, keeping along the side of the hill above the stream, past Springfield Hall, and a path which goes off to the right, then losing height towards the old railway line and station buildings.

After we'd crossed the old railway line we went through a field of sheep
and climbed gently upwards towards the village of Lowesby.

The path was not hard to find. It leads past Lowesby Hall, magnificently situated, with a ha-ha, and avenue of trees. 
This picture was taken in July 2008 - and I realise it's skew!

We went to the left of these trees and soon crossed a minor road. The path runs fairly close to the stream then goes slightly to the right, uphill above a spinney. It crosses the Midshires Way, passes Bell Dip Farm, crosses another three fields before meeting another minor road and continuing towards South Croxton, whose church spire can be seen ahead briefly and then to the right.

We walked past a pond, with ducks and water lilies, and a kayak, then through a small wooded area, and into the village. Our way was along King Street, left at the Golden Fleece pub, then downhill to a convenient seat near the bridge.
Our path was just before the bend in the road, off to the left. 

We climbed gradually, with a good view of South Croxton on our left,

In a while we turned left towards the enormous Waterloo Lodge Farm buildings. The path goes to the right of the farm and joins the farm road just after the buildings.  We followed this to the minor road just above Baggrave Hall and deserted mediaeval village, which we could see below us on the left.

When the road bent to the right, our path continued ahead.  Some of this path was enclosed between two hedges.  It eventually came out at a private road, and continued on the other side, forming part of the Midshires Way. After a short downhill section we had to turn right and walk up to the deserted mediaeval village of Cold Newton before crossing the corner of the village  and walking down through fields to the disused railway line again. After the railway line the path turns diagonally left and akes its way up a final pull towards Tilton . . .
and across this field where the chickens followed us all.

Map and details