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, July 30, 2012

Ashby St Ledgers - Braunston - Barby - Ashby St Ledgers

Led by me with Barry and Gordon. Mostly fine, though we had a heavy shower. Underfoot generally good. Stiles awkward on occasions. 9 miles plus.
This walk came from here.
We took the road going west out of Ashby St Ledgers, crossed the A 361 and joined the bridle track which forms part of the Jurassic Way.  It climbs gently up south west until it reaches a minor road (Welton to Barby). Here we turned right and picked up the Jurassic Way again a few yards along the road, where it runs off to the left.  This track leads downhill, and we could see Braunston church spire and a sail-less windmill nearby. These disappear from view as the track descends and then rises again between hedges towards Braunston.  We entered the village at a bend in Ashby Road.  This road leads down to the central green near the Wheatsheaf pub. Here we crossed the road and took a footpath slightly to our left, leading downhill through Jetty Fields Park and then down to the Canal near Braunston Bottom Lock.
View from the Bridge

Old pump house - to pump water back up to the Top Lock

Chimney dated 1897
We walked along the canal, turning right, past the marina and lots of moorings.  

There is also a boat-café, called the Gongoozlers' Rest. Highly recommended by one of the boat-dwellers.

Just after the towpath took us under the A45, we left it, and crossed the road, then followed a footpath just beyond the bridge, and turned right up a grassy slope to the church.  Here you can either follow the road round behind the church, or walk through the churchyard.  We didn't look at the gravestones, but there are apparently a lot of boatmen and women buried here.
Braunston church, and the dark cloud which dumped its contents on us about ten minutes later.

Windmill without sails in Braunston

We walked along the main street for a while, and on our way back noticed this:
cruck frame (?)
Then we returned to our route, and followed the residential street Greenway along, then took the fourth turning into Countryside (really).   The footpath heads more or less north. I think we missed the route after the first field, as we ended up on the wrong side of a hedge after a tricky stream crossing. Another time, I'll try aiming slightly to the left of the corner!

We walked along the edge of a large field of wheat, and manage to cross the hedge at the top, and find the real route.  This leads over a few stiles and passes a house at a distance on the left, then soon turns slightly to the left of Braunston Fields Farm. We crossed a field with some teenage bullocks, who were far more scared of us then we of them.  The path crossed diagonally and then led into a small wooded valley, taking us to the corner of Tiltup's Wood.

Here we crossed one field - a short uphill section, and then aimed for the one prominent tree at the top of the next field.  The path then crosses another field, and Camp's Copse (not marked on the map, though there is a sign inside! 
OK, we're on the route!
Soon we arrived at the minor road leading into Barby. We turned left.  On our right we could see another sail-less windmill, this time in dire need of some attention.
Barby Windmill
We didn't go into the village, but carried straight on over the crossroads, and walked for half a mile or so before meeting the footpath from Barby to Ashby St Ledgers.  This turned right towards Ashby.  We crossed a field and then walked alongside Home Wood, as far as Briccle Wood, where the path turned right.  It runs parallel to a reservoir, but there are just a few glimpses through the trees.

We emerged from the trees and crossed a meadow and a track, but at this point the map told us to cross a section of woodland - there seems to be no way through, and there are path signs to the left of the wood, so that was the way we went.  The path headed south-east into a small dip and up again until it met the A361.  We picked the path up on the other side, and followed it as best we could coming out at a bend in the road just before the Manor House in Ashby St Ledgers. A magnificent building with quite a history, involving the Catesby family, the Gunpowder Plot, and later worked on in the early 20th century by Lutyens.

Ashby St Ledgers Manor House

The gatehouse and the church are also interesting.  There is a little more info and a few more photos  on the post here, as we walked through Ashby when we did the Jurassic Way.

Two fascinating villages on today's walk.

Thanks to Gary's blog - To the hills

map and details

Thursday, July 26, 2012

East Carlton - Nevill Holt - East Carlton

Led by Barry - with Gordon and me. 10 miles approx. Sunny, very warm, still some mud.

We set off from East Carlton Park at about 9 am.  We turned right out of the park gates and walked along the road downhill, as far as the Ashley Road - a long section, but we met only one car.  We turned left round a bend in the road towards Ashley.  Shortly after the bend we took a footpath going due west on the right.  We soon turned right to go north, across the Welland and a dismantled railway line and then crossed the minor road to Medbourne.
Upper Leighs Farm

A fair pull uphill to Stoke's Buildings

Wide views all around from the top.  They are restoring the buildings at the moment.  We carried on slightly east of north to reach the road from Drayton to Nevill Holt.   It's a magnificent place - once owned by the Cunards, birthplace of Nancy Astor,  then a prep school from 1928 - 1998, and now owned by David Ross,  formerly of Carphone Warehouse.  They stage a festival of opera here in the summer. 
A punning motto - wish nothing ill

The horse's head seems to face a different way from different angles

From Nevill Holt the path goes downhill to the east through fields and past a pheasant rearing area, where we saw a basic scarecrow and a pair of unscared red kites.
There is also a pleasantly shaded strip of woodland, where we took a break.

After a few more fields we arrived at Great Easton, and walked along Deepdale, Butchers Lane and Brook Lane, before turning right along Barnsdale ( the road to Bringhurst and Drayton).
Great Easton
After a hundred yards or so there is a footpath to the left, which crosses a few fields and skirts the hill, emerging just below Bringhurst.  We turned left and downhill, instead of going into the village.  We turned right along the dismantled railway and continued until we met the Jurassic Way.  
Hey, a new kissing gate! 

We turned left and followed the Jurassic Way along 'Occupation Road' over the Welland until we met the road between Middleton and Ashley.  We walked along the road into Middleton, and turned left opposite the Red Lion - another closed pub!

The path took us along the bottom edge of East Carlton Park, and we turned left, and up to the café and car park.
Through the portal

Map and details

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Jurassic Way 10 - Fineshade - Stamford

We parked at Fineshade, and walked from the car past the café, and round the wood - south, then east, then north.  Some of the Jurassic Way signs are hidden away, so it's worth having a close look at the map.  We came out of the woods on a track leading downhill towards the A43.  On its way it passes an electricity substation, and as you reach the main road there's a small cemetery.

Cross the busy road into Duddington. Go past the pub, and in a short while take the first turning left down a steep hill.   

You pass some splendid houses before coming to St Marys Church.  The path goes through the churchyard.

At the other side of the churchyard we turned left, down to the bridge over the Welland, which marks the parish boundary between Duddington and Tixover, and the county boundary between Northants and Rutland.

Just after the bridge the path turns right into a field by the river.
There was a gate which someone had smeared with some kind of blue paint - we climbed it instead of opening it - at the hinge end, well away from the paint.

The path took us across a field and into a strip of woodland. We picked a shady spot to have coffee - watched by shading sheep in a nearby field.

We crossed another grassy field to the road to Tixover Grange, then turned right and walked along for a short distance. Just after the buildings of the Grange the footpath turned off through a hedge on the left,  cutting off the corner of the road. We crossed the road when we met it again on to a long straight path - over half a mile - beside fields whose edges were full of poppies and marguerites.  This took us almost to Geeston, which is almost Ketton.    The footpath has been diverted at this point, but is clearly marked and fenced off.  It continued along a narrow path behind some houses with huge gardens, until it met the road to Collyweston from Ketton.

We had to walk along the road for a few hundred yards, before the footpath turns off just after Collyweston Bridge.  It heads uphill, and was a bit of an effort in the heat!  After the third field we emerged on a track which becomes Ketton drift and leads into the village of Easton on the Hill.   We spotted the village shop and the Bluebell pub, and it was lunchtime.  Sandwich and a mug of soup for me and ciabatta salad and chips for Marta.
We ate heartily, and it was as well that we had only a couple of miles left to walk.

When we came out of the pub garden we turned along Church Street, past the footpath at Park Walk, as far as the church. The path now has three identities - Jurassic, Hereward and Macmillan Ways.   Shortly afterwards we turned right  and followed the path through fields and a small piece of woodland until we reached the railway - you're advised to stop, look and listen - though there's so much traffic noise from the A1 that the listening part is not easy.  Once over the railway lines you go underneath the A1.

We were close to the Welland again, and crossed it by Broadend Bridge. The path led us straight into Stamford Meadows, past the plaque at the spot where Boudicca/ Boadicea chased the Ninth Roman Legion back across the river in AD61.
Time to drive back to Fineshade for a reviving and celebratory coffee, and we can say that we've walked the Jurassic Way.

Map and details

Monday, July 23, 2012

Nassington circular via Old Sulehay

With Jill, Barry O, Barrie E, and Gordon.  Led by me.  Sunny, very warm.  Some muddy sections.  6.8 miles - should be around 6.5.  The same walk as yesterday, with very slight variations - one intentional, one unintentional!

We walked through Nassington, on the Apethorpe road as far as a left-hand bend, where we carried straight on. The footpath turns off to the left, just after a house called Frog Hall, and goes through a complex of holiday cottages, then a gate near a chicken pen.  Soon after this the path follows a narrow space between hedges before coming out into fields.

The path here is clearly marked and easy to follow,  crossing a bridge over the dismantled railway and passing an info board about Old Sulehay Nature Reserve.   

The path leads past a Wildlife Trust Field Station, where we crossed the muddy byway and went through the gate to take the footpath opposite.

All went well as we turned into a field and headed north-east, then curved round east then southeast – the path hugs the edge of a small wood, and leaves another on a little way to our left.
Then, if you check my garmin traces, you’ll see that we went too far south, to the edge of a water filled ex-quarry/clay-pit.  My mistake – I knew I was heading for the woods, but I chose the wrong ones. When we sorted ourselves out, thanks to a grid ref from Barry, and even compass work, the path looked very clear. I hadn’t missed it yesterday . . .

So, there we were on the track through Great Morton Sale, heading north, as we should be!  Next stop the memorial marking the spot where Glenn Miller played his last hangar concert in October 1944, before he disappeared over the English Channel in December of that year.

Glenn Miller memorial - unfortunately Barrie didn't bring the trombone.

We followed the track, and stopped for a break at the end of the wood, grabbing the last bit of shade for a few hundred yards. On the other side of this track are the remains of sand pits.  The sand used to be used for casting metal.  

The path passed by Kings Cliffe Industrial Estate, which has a café, open in the morning (not on Sunday, I think).  We crossed the Roman Road between Kings Cliffe and Wansford and walked past a woodyard and farm before turning right into the woods of Bedford Purlieus, which contain Roman remains and have been investigated by Time Team. 
We followed the path,  ignoring a right turn. After another rather muddy trudge, we came out more or less opposite Sulehay Road. There’s a rather surprising sign forbidding motor vehicles on the path, which is about two feet wide.

A little bit of road walking took us past Sulehay Cottages, and then opposite Old Sulehay Lodge we turned left into the nature reserve’s disused quarry. There are masses of wild flowers - some very striking deep blue ones among them.  We followed the paths and came out at the diagonally opposite corner and crossed the Sulehay Road again to the footpath over the road.

For a couple of fields we walked between fences, then across a field, through a mini-jungle of a hedge . . . 

emerging through the hedge
through a couple of oilseed rape fields, with good wide, though muddy paths . . .
golden barley
across meadow-style grass, past barley fields, and after following the path with no difficulty, we arrived at a muddy byway.  The path formed a bridge over the ford, and we came back into Nassington just below the footpath where we began the walk.
Map and details

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Nassington circular via Glenn Miller monument

A recce for the same walk tomorrow. Details then. 

Surprising patches of mud on some paths.  Warm, sunny - and back home to catch the Cavendish-Wiggins finale to the Tour de France!

We heard and saw a couple of green woodpeckers on our way.  The route is the same as the walk for 23 July 2012.