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, October 29, 2012

Empingham - Tickencote - Gt Casterton - Pickworth - Clipsham

Led by me, with Barry and Gordon. Fine with a chilly wind. Muddy underfoot in places.  Just over 11 miles in all, including the ritual progress along the avenue.

This covers most of the same ground as the walk on 31 August 2012.

We left one car at the Yew Tree Avenue, and drove to Empingham to the start of the walk. We parked on the road near the church, and then walked along the main street east through the village.  Just after the last buildings and Mill Lane we took a footpath to the right, leading uphill through Chapel Spinney.  
The path came out of the trees into and continued along the top edge of several fields.  Empingham was now a cluster of houses and the church behind us.   We passed a spinney on the right, and continued to follow the path. According to the map there should be a turn to the right downhill across a field, but we didn't see it, and in any case avoided the sticky mud by carrying on to the farm track, where we turned right and walked down a short distance to pick up the path. It crossed the field to the next yellow post just before a farm house.
The path emerged on to a small road, and then across a couple of fields, going roughly north east, before swinging round more to the east behind Tickencote Hall, with the mill pond visible through the trees.
We crossed another road and entered the ram's field.

Today he wasn't asleep, but posed no problem. Of course, I talked to him nicely.

We called in to St Peter's Church to admire the chancel arch and vaulting, before making our way through the village and along the road past the OK Diner and to Great Casterton.

We took Pickworth Road, past the school and up hill out of Great Casterton. After about a mile along this quiet road we tirned left along a muddy track between two hedges - just opposite Mounts Lodge Farm.  We walked alongside a very big field, and then turned right along another track with hedges on each side. The footpath sign post was on the ground here.  We had a break, slightly sheltered from the wind.

From here the path continues north towards Pickworth, passing some woodland and the site of Woodhead Castle (invisible from where we were). With one short diversion to the right we kept on walking.

At Pickworth we turned left, leaving the church on our right, and passing the archway - now behind a gate, and John Clare's lime-kiln, which is also clearly on private land, and fenced off.
Pickworth Church
We went past the first signed path to the right, and took the second one, where the road bends left.  The wide track turns into a path after half a mile or so and turns right across a field to Little Sutie, a section of woodland joined to Pickworth Great Wood. We walked thorugh the tress and then followed the edge of the woodland as far as the path across Clipsham Quarry. Up the other side and following Rutland Round signs, the path eventually took us down hill across a slippery wooden bridge and uphill again into Clipsham.  From here we walked along the Castle Bytham road and back to the yew trees. 

Map and details

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Chelveston, Stanwick - circular

Led by Barry, with Gordon and Eddie and me. Weather dry but grey - some muddy fields. Almost 8 miles in all.
We started from the Red Lion in Chelveston, and walked for a short distance towards Higham Ferrers.  The footpath was on the right hand side of the road and took us through a field, and down to Water Lane.  
We crossed this road a little way uphill of a ford, and followed the path west through a ploughed field, and then turned left after crossing the stream via a footbridge,  alongside some trees, to follow the edges of a couple of fields with horses. The path followed the course of the stream as far as Stanwick Road, which we crossed.  Still close to this stream we carried on to the A45.  The stream goes underneath the road through a culvert. No such luck for people though.  Luckily it's dual carriageway, and with a little patience we crossed over.
We continued north west at the edge of woodland around the gravel pits until we emerged on to the old main road (A6).  From here the viaduct carrying the current trunk road is visible.  We turned right and followed the road round , over the old railway track and almost to the roundabout near the present Kettering Town football ground.  Just before Diamond Road, we turned right on to the marked Nene Way, and followed the path along Marsh Lane as far as the lock on the Nene Navigation. Around here is the Irthlingborough activity centre - and today it was full of activites - mountain biking, climbing and canoeing.  We continued to follow the Nene Way, past a footbridge, with 'No Entry' signs and on to the next footbridge.
From the footbridge the Nene looked uninviting today

 Here we left the Nene Way, and turned right over the bridge towards another play area with a zip wire, and a bench where we sat for our break.
Time for a break?
We turned right after the footbridge, and followed the path towards the visitor centre, though one small diversion was irresistible.

When we met the disused railway track, we turned right to Stanwick Lakes Visitor Centre, and out via the road to the roundabout on the A45 and the road to Stanwick.
We decided to walk through the village, rather than take a path right next to the main road.
At the church we went straight on, past the school then turned left when we reached the Chelveston Road.  After a couple of hundred yards, just before a small cemetery, we took a footpath to the right,  leading south along a farm road.  When the road swung right we went straight on, then turned left when we met another signed footpath.  This hugged the edge of the field.  At the corner there were two huge pipes, and we turned right and went as far as the next field corner, where we turned left into the next field 
A small deviation from the mapped route here - not helped by the waymarker, which indicated slightly across the field.  We'd have done better following the field edge for a short distance before heading diagonally and slightly uphill to a gap in the hedge, and the footpath sign.

From here it wasn't far to the pub, where we went wild with 3 J2Os, a lemonade and a game of pool, before returning home.

Map and details

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Gumley circular

Led by Barry - with Gordon, Maureen and me. Fine and sunny, very wet underfoot in places. Very rolling - great views. 7.6 miles.  

Covering some of the ground of this walk on 21 Nov 2011, but this time we could see the views.
Some overlap with this walk on 8 October 2012   as well.

We set off from Gumley, and took the footpath opposite the telephone box.  This path heads south-west.  Just before Gumley Lodge we turned  west crossing several fields before arriving at a small road close to Laughton.  We crossed the road and followed the footpath into the village.  A token sit on the bench - to check the map - and then through the village and past the church.
Laughton church and 'cob'  wall
Crook House (cruck house?)
We followed the path to the west after the church, downhill towards Mowsley, over a brook, and up hill, across a lane and into the village by the church and the old school.
Mowsley church
At a bend in the road we took a path between buildings, and when it reached a field we took the right hand footpath. This led downhill, crossed another field and a stream.  and headed north along field boundaries, clearly marked.  We found a sheltered spot, with trees,  where the ground was not too boggy and had our first break of the day. 
The track led more or less north until we reached a junction near Saddington Lodge Farm.  Here we turned right and headed north east towards Saddington village.
They took the longer route - I went direct. Luckily the boots proved fairly watertight.
In Saddington we went past the church, the riding school and the pub.
View of Saddington Reservoir from the pub
A little further along we turned right along the Leicestershire Round path - 1 and 3/4 miles to Gumley. Through the long thin field where there is usually one horse, then over the three bridges and up the hill where cows were grazing today.

At the top the views of the reservoir were excellent with no crops to block them.
Saddington Reservoir
Not the memorial seat . . .
The flat high level path is one of my favourites in the area.  We continued to the memorial seat to Mary Hodgkin -the  ideal spot for a second break.
Views to the north east - maybe Church Langton? And Charnwood hills in the distance.
From the seat at the high point of the path we carried on along the Leicestershire Round path, across Debdale Lane and into Gumley past the church. 
A shortish walk, but quite hard going - hills and mud underfoot.

Map and details

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Apethorpe circular

Me, Eddie, Barry, Gordon, Maureen. Last minute decision, with booklet - done in reverse. 6.7 miles. Weather fine while we were out, with a chilly wind,  but it began to rain later, just as we ate lunch. Brilliant timing.
Wildlife: deer - muntjac - , kites, a hare.

I wasn't sure who would be walking today, and we had no advance plan.  Luckily Eddie had a booklet to hand, and with its help and the usual map we did this shorter walk from Apethorpe.  We left the village along the road at the side of the Kings Head and walked west. At the junction we took the left hand turn (signposted to Lodge Farm).  This road runs behind the hall grounds, and continues more or less south.  There is a clear sign to say that the bridleway has been diverted off to the left, and we followed the new path to the right hand side of a small lake, then round to rejoin the original roadway.  Our route was now just north of west to the corner of Tomlin Wood, where we turned left towards another small wood, Morehay Lawn.

We walked along the edge of this wooded patch, and carried on, turning slightly to our left then right along a field edge and into another wood (Holey Brookes).  We crossed another track in the wood but carried on through.  At the edge of the wood, our path led almost due west, diagonally across one field, and then along the hedge of the second one.  In the third field is an abandoned cottage, and a footbridge slightly downhill and to the right of it.

We had to cross a ploughed field after the bridge to reach the corner of Bushey Wood, where we had a break, before following a track along the right hand edge of Bushey Wood and then the edge of Hostage Wood.  The track heads north east and downhill to the stream.  The crossing is a bit steep and muddy, with some stones to help.

The route continues on a track which becomes covered in tarmac and leads past Spa Farm, with its watchful and barking dogs, the onwards to Spa Farm Cottages.  Here we turned right and followed the road back to Apethorpe, meeting the road beside the pub.

Then we went to the Sondes Arms in Rockingham to eat and celebrate Eddie's coming of age (65)  tomorrow.

It looks like Christmas already!

This walk from Aug 11 2011 covers some of the same ground
Map and details

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Leics Round 2: Bruntingthorpe to Frolesworth

With Marta. Weather fine, sunny, still a cool wind. Muddy underfoot in places. A flat walk. Lunch at the White Horse, Leire. 9.5 miles.
Blue skies as we make our way towards Peatling Magna

We left Bruntingthorpe along the marked footpath just after the last house on the road north towards the Peatlings.  The path crossed three fields in a north westerly direction, before meeting a stream and heading due north and then slighty to the west again. At this point there is a Telephone Exchange building uphill to the right.  We had no problem following the path here  and it brought us out just before Peatling Magna at a cross roads.  We walked into the village, and turned left just before Postal Cottage.

The drive leads on to an open field, and over to the right where it meets a hedge.  We followed the hedge west to the hedged track called Mere Lane (note to self – not Mare Lane!).  We turned right along the track for a hundred yards or so, then turned left towards Willoughby Waterleys. 

We did wander off-track briefly – blame the way markers for another path which were more obvious – at the time, to us.  It didn’t take long to realize what we’d done, and we entered the village near the church, and followed the path through the churchyard to the main street.
Willoughby Waterleys Church

National Cycle Network Millennium post

They've altered Gibralter
We went past the General Elliott pub, and Orchard Road and turned right (south west) at the footpath sign.
Ha! spot the sign!

Along the tarmac path, which led into an open field – again we went slightly off track following the very clear path straight ahead and over the stream, instead of turning left.  Once again we soon realized our error and made our way back to the junction of Cosby Lane with the main Willoughby- Ashby road.

We walked along the road towards Ashby for about three hundred yards, then turned right over an almost hidden stile.  We crossed a field and then climbed another stile into the beautifully landscaped area of the Holly Farm Fishery.  A convenient bench, and our coffee stop chose itself.

In spite of the warm sunshine, we soon chilled while sitting down, and moved on, through the stile on the opposite side of the fishery.  Here we met some horses who seemed very interested in us,  but were persuaded to move.  One of them proceeded to show his contempt by a virtuoso performance of petomania.  A most musical horse.

After this we walked over a field, and crossed a green lane, then carried on south west with the noise from the M1 growing ever louder.  We crossed a small road, then followed the path alongside and slightly lower than the motorway.  We went up a flight of steps, which took us on to the Ashby to Dunton Bassett road bridge over the M1.

We turned sharp left after the disused railway line, then headed to the right across the field, and in the next field followed the right hand hedge. We had to cross the A426, turn left and then right . The footpath follows the field boundary, then crosses another field before arriving at Main Street. The church is over to the left.
Dunton Bassett

Dragon on roof

We walked through the village, past the DBA (Dunton Bassett Arms, and downhill. When the road turns left, we carried straight on along the bridle way to Stemborough Mill.

This path is indicated with blue way markers and leads a little north of west alongside large fields, before reaching houses and ponds.

The path turns left and follows a minor road south for half a mile or so, then turns right and after another few hundred yards reaches a crossroads. We turned left into Leire (said Leer) and decided it was lunchtime. Panini in the White Horse fitted the bill, and the staff were very pleasant - the salad was fresh too!

Just after the White Horse, we turned right into Station Lane, past Wales Orchard, continuing straight along the track.  We crossed the disused railway track and in the next field we headed for the opposite corner and came out on the road, a little short of the true path – we looked back a few hundred yards further on, and could see the way markers from the other direction – another very slight deviation.

From Hillcrest Farm we walked along the road into Frolesworth village.
Almshouses in Frolesworth

Map and details