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, November 28, 2011

Ridlington - Belton - Ridlington

Led by Mel. Welcome back!  With Barry, Maureen, Gordon, Eddie, Jill, Ken and me. Some sun, but cold - the first real frost of the year. Another sticky-boot day.

We parked at Ridlington Cricket ground, as instructed last time, then set off down Noel Lane, past the Old Noel Arms and down a muddy lane, where we met a mini-flock of Jacob's sheep.
Over a stile and along the field edge, then through a hedge.

We continued for a mile or so before coming close to the bridge over the river Chater and turning left along the Leighfield Way, which goes slightly west of south towards Belton-in-Rutland.

I cheated here - took this pic in July!

The path pulls uphill for a while, then down to the village. Belton war memorial has a welcoming wall for weary walkers.
From there we walked downhill and turned left very soon at a footpath sign.  We crossed a field and then a footbridge over the stream.  The path went uphill quite gently, and, when it met another path, we turned left to climb more steeply.  From here the track is clear.

The area feels quite remote, apart from Park Farm, which sits on a hill, in splendid isolation.  We arrived back at Ridlington, after a walk of slightly less than 7 miles. 
Map and details

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Castle Bytham - Pickworth - Clipsham - Castle Bytham

On a fine day, still a tad sticky underfoot. With Gordon, Maureen, Barry and Eddie.  10.6 miles.

We set off from Castle Bytham, taking the footpath which goes past the Castle pub, then the church and the cemetery, which has the sign 'Welcome to Castle Bytham Cemetery'!
The path skirts the graveyard and then comes to open country. There was a pretty cold, though southerly, wind.

The fields were a bit muddy, but the path was fairly straightforward, though we did deviate slightly before reaching the Clipsham Road.  On the other side the path led past School Farm - though it looked as though it had been neither for a very long time.
We could see the remains of a small triangular opening in one wall - but I clearly didn't put it in the pic
Onwards and south we trudged, until we reached Holywell quarry, where we followed the path just fine until it seemed to head into a wooded gully, which was a little too wooded.  We took an easier route slightly to our right, coming out just a little off track, before reaching the Holywell Road.
The path continued as a bridleway leading gently uphill towards Pickworth Great Wood.
Looking back towards Holywell quarry
From here to Pickworth the path was clearly marked - through the wood and over the fields to emerge beside Manor Farm. We turned left to have a look at the arch, which is all that remains of a church from the 12th, 13th or 14th century. The present owner came out and chatted to us about it.

The present church is very plain and was built in 1821. 
We walked straight past the limekiln this time!  It was only when I read the Pickworth link that I realised it claims to be where the poet John Clare worked for a while.
Here's one I took earlier (18 Nov)
Once again the path was clear, heading slightly north of west, and just after crossing a narrow band of trees we decided to stop for a break - there was a convenient fallen tree. 
It was just after this that I went off track (in spite of warnings that the track has been diverted!).  When I look at the garmin trace on the map link below, it's obvious that I went too far to the west (left) of the wood.  Much better to have stuck closer to the edge.  Another excuse - we were a little distracted by one of the less welcome sights of this part of the world - the hunt were out as well.

An extra half-mile or more added on to the walk, but with the aid of Barry's grid refs and compass bearing, we found our way through Clipsham Quarry, which is marked as 'old' on the map, but is in use. 
 From here to Clipsham things went smoothly again, but as we were behind schedule - we're such timetable-dependent people especially when we're hoping to reach the pub in time for lunch - we decided to give the Yew Tree Avenue a miss this time. 
We reached Clipsham just opposite the Olive Branch pub, and turned right, walked round the bend to the left and turned left - after a little while we turned right and followed the route I had already walked on Nov 18th.  The route is clearly marked from near Clipsham Court, and goes behind Clipsham House, then crosses fields in a north-westerly direction and reaches Addah Wood. It runs alongside then turns right into the wood, and after a while left (north) through Lady Wood.  The path runs fairly close to Stocken Prison perimeter.
We came out of the wood, and once again my map-reading proved less than perfect. Now I can see that the contours mean the path runs along the bottom of the dip!  
A slightly slippery footbridge - at least if your boots are muddy.

If there was a  waymarker, we missed it, and added another half-mile and at least 50 feet of climbing to the route.  However, it was not difficult to find our way back to the track, which then goes under the disused railway to the Castle Bytham Road.  A short uphill walk and we were in the village - just too late for a pub lunch, but fortunately the tea room in the village hall is open until 3 on a Thursday. Very much appreciated by all of us.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Laughton - Gumley - S. Westerby -Saddington - Mowsley - Laughton

Barry led. With Gordon, Maureen, Eddie.  9.4 miles.  Misty, not too cold. 49 stiles.

A pause while we regroup, just after Debdale Grange . . .

The Grand Union Canal

you can just make out Saddington Reservoir from the churchyard.

Eddie breaks the 'world record' as he climbs the 30th stile of the walk.

Applause as a new record is set - it now stands at 49! 

We can climb stiles as well.

the sun almost came out.

There are not many recognisable views here. The mist lifted a bit as we left Laughton. 

Map and details 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Harringworth Lodge on a misty afternoon.

About 3 miles.

Ducks (mallards) and a heron by the lake and a few smaller water-birds, plus the inevitable rattling pheasant.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Clipsham short walk

'to the woods, to the woods', did I hear you cry?
Just under 4 miles there and back, behind a prison I'd not realised was there.  Weather fine, though the ground is muddy in places, and the light was beginning to fade. Garmin functioned perfectly.

I stopped at Pickworth for a look at the footpaths.

The limekiln, which is so clear on the map, is behind a gate firmly marked 'Private, No Entry' and almost impossible to see from the road.

I drove to Clipsham, and parked on a minor road, just off the main  road.  I walked along this road which runs parallel to the main road, then turned right, past signs to the Hall, which is very well hidden.   The church is more obvious.
. There is little danger of taking a wrong turning here - plenty of signs to indicate private property, and to be fair, decent footpath signs too.  The path forms part of the Rutland Round.
You come out into a field where the route was well trodden, then through a gap in a hedge, and across another field - here it wasn't so clear, and as the cultivated field was quite muddy, I took a detour round the edge on the way back. There is a waymarker just before the wooded area at the bottom of the field.  At this point you go through the hedge and follow the path along the edge of Addah wood, before turning right. I wondered what the high wall ahead was - it's on the map - the prison.  The path through the woods is pretty easy to follow - when the yellow posts aren't obvious there are some white paint splashes, and a couple of arrows.  I disturbed a couple of deer.   Through Lady Wood and a left hand turn.  Walk north until you come out of the wood. Follow the edge of the wood and go a little bit further to the quarry.  I checked the time and decided to make my way back before the light faded.

Map and details

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wollaston - Strixton - (Grendon)Lower End - Gt Doddington - Wollaston

About 8.5 miles. With Barry and Gordon . Weather misty, but some sun, and a few drops of rain. Fields muddy, but not too muddy.
Garmin ran out of juice, so link shows general area and start of walk. By zooming out, you may be able to work it out!  (WHEN I've described it a bit, that is!)

In need of David Hockney's step-ladder to snap the blue plaque!  This is on the house next to the start of the footpath in Wollaston. The path leads between fences, past fields of llamas (alpacas?) and a pony or two, before arriving at open fields.  Before long the path reaches the A509, which we crossed, then walked along a short distance to the right, to take the footpath, rather than the one marked opposite the crossing.

This tree is dead apart from the ivy. It is a marker of the direction of the path after we crossed the A509, heading towards Strixton.

Too cute to be real?

Too real to be cute?

At Strixton we turned left and walked along the road, for a few hundred yards.  Then we turned off to the left, making our way south-east,  slightly uphill then down into Lower End. 
We turned right and walked along Blackmile Lane to Main Road. On the other side of this we turned north-east, then north-west, making towards a double row of electricity pylons. The path continued in the same direction, leaving the pylons behind until we reached a small road, crossing a field with a few horses, some of which thought we might be a good bet for a snack when we paused to shelter under a tree from the few drops of rain.
We followed a path near one of the old gravel pits, crossing the Nene just before the sewage works. 

The path to Great Doddington isn't clearly marked, and we came up to the left of a farm building instead of to the right. 

Turn right along the main village street, ignore the first Nene Way signpost, and carry on until you are almost out of the village.  The path leads down hill, through a gap in the hedge and down to Doddington Mill.  

We crossed the Nene again - lots of fish in the part near the mill. Then we followed the route we took last week, in reverse as far as the Road between Wollaston and Doddington.  Instead of turning left along this road, we turned right and then left on to the road to Grendon.  After a few hundred yards we took a footpath to the left, across a couple of fields, and the A509, and another short section of footpath before reaching the road leading up into the village. 
Pigs on the roof?

A short detour to see the llamas, which were now outside, then we returned to the car.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cycle ride via Fineshade

With Harry. Coldish wind but sunny!  Drink at Fineshade.

Almost exactly same route as this ride on Nov 6th, but we didn't ride into Kings Cliffe to the shop.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cranford - Burton Latimer - Cranford

Barry led this.  With Maureen, Gordon, Eddie and Ian and Carol. Just over 7 miles. Fine, but grey. Muddy fields. Lunch at the old café in Cranford.

We set off from the street named Top Dysons, which is opposite Cranford Village Hall, heading west, across a couple of fields, then turning left before the Grange, passing Hayfield Lodge and to the Cranford Road. We crossed this and took a footpath close to some houses. The path had a couple of sections where we were almost obliged to crawl, as vegetation was taking over.   The path takes you to the A14, but by walking on the path almost alongside, and up to the roundabout we had simply to cross a couple of not-too-busy slip roads.  We then walked back until we were opposite the original course of the path.  Next obstacle was the A6 - patience required, but no problem. At this point we walked south towards the edge of Burton Latimer. We follwed the edge of a couple of fields, and turned briefly left then right, eventually joining Church St, which we followed to woodcock st and then into fields. (I think this is where new houses are being built.)  The path took us east, down to the A6, which we had to cross again  
We were now close to the wind turbines, and walked through the fields, pausing for a snack break at a footbridge.  The path continued eastwards, coming out at the A510, at the Round House.

The Round House, Burton Latimer - Thrapston Rd A510, OS grid  9374

Here we turned north,  then north-east, and east to skirt an old quarry/ dump before reaching the A14.   Once over the road the path took us to the Cranford Road, into Cranford St John, past a disused railway, and the primary school, past the pub (closed on Mondays), and along a path which leads downhill, through fields (Hall grounds) to the church and dovecote, then to Cranford St Andrew, and the Old Forge Café.

shortly before the A14 crossing
St Andrews Church
the dovecote
Map and details