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, February 27, 2012

Yelden - Melchbourne - Newton Bromswold - Yelden

Led by Barry. With Eddie and Maureen and me. Dry, grey - good underfoot.  9 miles.

We walked from Yelden with its motte and bailey - considered to be the finest archaeological monument in Bedfordshire, according to the information board.  They are yet to be explored and excavated, it says, and were used by the de Trailly family who were tenants, after the Norman invasion,  first of the Bishop of Coutance, then of the Earls of Gloucester.  The castle had fallen into disuse by 1360.
We walked from near the church, and turned right along the road. The castle remains were on our left, and we took the path just after them, zigzagging over fields following a way-marked path, eventually crossing the Knotting Road and into Melchbourne.

We had a look inside the church, which is fairly plain inside. It was rebuilt to a large extent in the 18th century.  The foundations and tower are all that remains of the original 13th century building.

For some time after leaving Melchbourne we were within sight of the large Melchbourne House, in Melchbourne Park.  The house was originally built for Lord St John of Bletsoe Castle in 1671.  It was rebuilt in 1741, and is now divided into separate dwellings.

From here we walked past some M o D land with a sign declaring Danger - Poison Gas. Not inviting.  This link gives a lot of info on the topic, including a clean-up operation in the 1980s.  It sounds as though there may still be some contamination, more than 60 years later.

We followed the path round the edge of the wood, eventually picking up the Three Shires Way, and walking towards Newton Bromswold with its elegant church spire clearly visible for some distance.

more follows.

Map and details

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Short, but steep - High Tor in Matlock.

Matlock Bath, from station car park into Matlock, via the main road.  They really should change the place of river and road, and it would be very pleasant to sit outside the cafés! 
 We called in to the local Co-op to pick up some bread and cheese, and returned via High Tor, 390 feet high, with spectacular views over the Derwent Valley to the tower on the Heights of Abraham, and in the other direction to Riber castle. Many notices warning of sheer drop, and the need to keep children under control.  Too right.  So much so, that I'm surprised there is no pile of skeletons at the bottom. 

Then a shorter walk from the Visitor Centre at Carsington Water , after sharing a huge cream scone - and another coffee each.  
We wandered to Stones Island and back, including the modern standing stones, and Hognaston Bronze Age Barrow. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Milldale to Tissington and back

With Harry. Cloudy and drizzly to start with, then cloud lifted.  Muddy in places. just under 8 miles.

Cross Viator's Bridge out of Milldale village, and follow the steep path up to the left, signposted Tissington.
The path climbed up quite steeply, but the usual zig-zag path wasn't too bad, nor too long!   At the top the signed route was fairly clear, though it turned muddy, and I think we may have taken a path slightly too far to the north of the route we intended. 
In any case, up a bit and down a bit, it led to the (unmarked) minor road to Tissington, just across the A515 Ashbourne to Buxton road. 
We walked into Tissington, as far as the Tissington Trial, but on a dankish Monday at 3pm nothing of interest (i.e. a coffee shop) seemed to be open, so we made our way back, following the same route mainly. The views were good, but not great - a little too misty, though the cloud did lift a little later in the walk.

Map and details

Sunday, February 19, 2012


From Milldale along the valley to the main car park at the Ilam end, and back.  With kids etc. Mainly Dan and Rose.  6 miles. There was snow/hail on the ground early on, which melted as the day went on. Cold wind in the shade, pleasant in the sun.

Early morning view from Milldale
The day before this, we saw a dipper, in classic surroundings on the rocks beside the water, and earlier a heron, close to the bridge and very confident that we couldn't approach too closely. Guess what? No camera on that occasion! 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gretton - Caldecott - Rockingham - Gretton

With Barry.  Fine, snow all gone, soft underfoot in places. Pleasantly warm for the time of year. ;)  8 miles.  Three hares seen near Caldecott. Buzzards, red kites. And a blue tit in a tree.

Very similar to this route from last April  

Monday, February 13, 2012

Gretton - Harringworth Lodge - Gretton

With Barry. 6.5 miles. Snow still underfoot, though melting. Cold wind from west. Misty.

We followed the Jurassic Way east from Gretton, along the farm track and across the fields.  We turned right before we reached Harringworth Lodge, where a permissive path is marked in a gap between two pieces of woodland. This took us to a surfaced track where we turned left again, and carried on until we met the road from Deene to Spanhoe. Another left turn, ignore the path to the right, and continue until there is another path indicated in both directions. We took the left-hand path, across the middle of a large field with a house and a few outbuildings on the right.  At the other end of the field Harringworth Lodge and Lake come into view at the bottom of a short descent.

We saw a distant hare, and closer, some hardy long-horn cattle. Then a herd of deer crossed our path, from the woods on our right.  Maybe we disturbed them with talking?   A while later on the other side of the lake, we found a couple of sheep stuck in the bars of their feeder, wedged by the sheer quantity of thick wool. Nobly rescued at Barry's insistence, they dashed away, without even saying thank you. The farmer arrived in his Land Rover, so I guess they'd have been fine.

(more later)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Gretton - Rockingham and back in the snow again

With Marta, but setting off after 10 am. 6.5 miles

Same route as the last two walks, this time with lunch in the Rockingham tea-shop.  The weather was much clearer, and sunny later, so that we were quite warm.

Looking back up West Hill

Brenda the goshawk (just over a year old) and her human.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Gretton- Rockingham and back, with minor variation

6.5 miles.  With Eddie, Barry and Maureen. 

Still snowy, or icy underfoot. Wind coming from Rockingham this time made return leg more pleasant. We turned left before the railway bridge and followed the path round and under the bridge leading to Arnhill Road. This meant we avoided the steep climb up West Hill, and took a more gradual route through the village.  No garmin trace, but Monday's map will help, the OS map even more so.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Gretton - Rockingham and back in the snow

With Norma, Eddie and Maureen. 6 miles.

a bit of a cheat - this was yesterday

I didn't take the camera today, as it was foggy. Four of us set off along the Jurassic Way footpath from Gretton to Rockingham, via West Hill.  This was the most difficult part of the walk, made slippery by sledge-worn snow and grass.  The walk is about three miles to Rockingham tea-shop, where we stopped for a welcome mid-morning coffee break, and back again.  An excellent morning out.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Geddington - Brigstock via Clay Dick, and back

With Marta, along Clay Dick lane to Brigstock. Firm underfoot because frozen. Sunny, blue sky. About 9 miles, surprisingly.

Through Geddington village to the road towards the Chase. When you get to the end, there's a small fenced-off yard. Turn right along the bridleway, Clay Dick,  which takes you all the way to a surfaced road - Dusthill Road, which leads to Brigstock, past Chase Farm, which was very muddy - lots of building work going on. Then Windrush Farm, where the first of   two footpaths goes off to the right. Ignore these, but take a footpath to the left, through a field with chickens - the path is clearly marked and there are gates.  You turn left round the cricket pavilion, and follow the path out of the cricket field to Bridge Street. The Bridge crosses Harpers Brook. We went along, turned right on High Street, and went to buy sandwiches from the Co-op.

Brigstock in the sun

A fine pair

Red kite

birch bark in winter

Map and details

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Gretton - Rockingham via plantation

With Eddie, Charlotte and Maureen. Led by me. Sunny, ground frozen, cold wind. 8 miles.

Same route as on Thursday 7 April 2011

We started from the playground on Gretton rec, and followed the path between the new estate and the older houses. It goes by the hedge and continues straight on as far as the surfaced track.  Just opposite there are a pair of stiles leading into a grassy field. We crossed this to another pair of stiles.  After these the path goes right at about 45 degrees towards a wide gap in the hedge.  There we turned right and walked with the hedge on our right, through a few gaps until we came to a stile through a hedge, and on to a track. over the stile on the other side and into a large field, where the path leads  slightly right, as indicated by the footpath arrow. As we walked in this direction the metal gate and stile that we were aiming for came into view.

Over the stile to the Gretton- Corby road, and across over another stile. Here there is a short steep slope, which we descended. Then we aimed left at about 45 degrees towards a rather ramshackle stile into the wood.

In the woods, you go down a pretty steep short section of path, just after the stile, and go down to a wide grassy track.  Turn left and walk along.  There's a notice advising you to keep dogs on leads, and beware of snakes. Today, it was far too cold for any cold-blooded critter to emerge. 

After  a while the track arrives at a meeting of the ways, and here you need to take care. Not left, not left and slightly back, and not right. More or less straight ahead, with a slight bias to the right. Follow this track to a T-junction and turn left.  Don't attempt to cross a quarried 'ravine' ahead. The left turn leads to a stile and on to the Gretton Brook Road. It may be possible to wend your way through the trees and emerge later, but it doesn't look very practicable, and is almost certainly not a public footpath.

From here, follow the Gretton Brook Road, carefully because it can be pretty busy,  to the junction with the main road. Keep along this in the same direction until you reach Princewood Road.  Follow the footpath/pavement/sidewalk here round through the industrial estate until you come to the area behind the Hampton by Hilton hotel. You can cut through to the main Rockingham Road. The verge is wide enough to walk on, or you can cross over to a surfaced footpath.  The road goes past a hotel and the cemetery, and leads to the junction with the A6003.  There is a roundabout at the top of Rockingham Hill. 
Walk down Rockingham Hill as far as the footpath sign for Gretton - to the left. Continue if you fancy a coffee or more at the tea-shop just after the Sondes Arms.

Charlotte, Eddie and Maureen, ready to climb West Hill!

There is a longish section along roads, but the walks at either end of it make it worthwhile.

More later

Map and details