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!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lowesby - Hungarton - Cold Newton - Lowesby

Thu, 2013 Mar 28 9:38 AM Western European Time
Led by Barry with me and Gordon. Fine, but cold. Snow or mud underfoot, quite deep drifts.
 Just over 7 miles, but it felt like more! 506 feet of climbing.

Another of my favourite parts of Leicestershire, showing a more forbidding face than usual.
Lowesby is a small village just off the road between Tilton and Melton.
Lowesby green with church
We walk down the hill, leaving the phone box, post box and village pump behind us. The church stands on our right.
Barry investigates the village pump
The road drops sharply for about a hundred feet, then rises again.  Just before a sign for Hanmer Lodge Farm our footpath turns to the right.  The snow has settled in the furrows of the fields, making an embroidered pattern.
Field tapestry
We walk across the fields. Drifted snow and mud make this quite a workout. The path is well signed with yellow posts.  Thank you Leicestershire! Down to the left hand corner of the first field, then we keep the hedge on our left. Our path turns slightly to our left (slightly north of west) and we cross a minor road - Park Road on the map, near some farm buildings. The path takes us through a short wooded area.
 near Inkerman Lodge
We wonder if this carriage was once used on the nearby dismantled railway.
Emergency shelters or des res in the woods
Our way ahead is quite clear - between two hedges. The snow has not melted in here, but someone has left footprints ahead of us.
Gordon picks his way through the snow
can't go right
can't go left
must be this way
We cross a couple of open fields, then a small road, and we walk with the hedge and stream on our right making for Hungarton. The ground is churned up near the village.  Snow-cleaned boots or not, we plough through.

hell's bells . . .
. . . and Hungarton church clock strikes eleven 
Calves and sheep are under shelter.
A farmer with a sense of humour - I didn't notice the reg until I saw the photo.

The Shire Horse?
One forlorn daffodil
We decide to look at the church - it's locked, but we can't resist the stone benches in the porch, and we've not walked quite three miles yet.
Old church porch - fine shelter for an early break
The church dates from around 1290 and is the oldest building in the village. Lots of houses sport an eighteenth century date.

The Old Rectory Hungarton
Another millennium village sign - with Quenby Hall, Longhorn cattle and Hungarton church and village hall.
ornament on post (1)
We walk through the village,  past the village hall, and start along the road towards Quenby Hall, before cutting across country on a footpath with the hedge on our left. Fine views back to Hungarton all the way up the hill.  We're pleased to see that the path skirts the ploughed field.
Hungarton, seen from the drive to Quenby Hall
Quenby Hall must have one the most splendid settings in the county, perched high on the hill with wide views all round.  It's recently been on sale for £11 million and there's some other info.  Out of my range, alas. Rather sad, really, as it did have an organic longhorn herd and a cheese-making business. It claims to be the place where Stilton cheese originated.
High Jacobean architecture - Quenby Hall
We pass the house turning to our right and following the line of the ha ha wall round to the other side.
from the other side
I can't find any details about this mini-obelisk, and the Latin inscription is worn. I made out EDITHAE OPTIMAE UXORE . . .

We continue along the drive past a couple of fields to a gateway where we turn right, cutting off the corner of a small field, through a gate and head south west downhill, to the opposite corner of the field near some woodland.   There's a way marker, and a local map.
and an empty.
ornament on post (2)
We cross the bridge over the dismantled railway and take the path towards Cold Newton Lodge.
dismantled railway
There's a way marker by a pile of building rubble, perhaps from railway days.
ornament on post (3)
The path is going south-east now, with the hedge on our left. We go into the next field and veer a bit to far to the right, but it doesn't take long to get back on track - the gate is just round a bend in the hedge. At Cold Newton Lodge we turn left, and follow the footpath north-east all the way past Sludge Hall, along a track to the minor road leading to Cold Newton - Enderbys Lane. We turn left.
Sludge Hall - good name today?
Just before Cold Newton we take a footpath uphill to the right. 
Nah, I don't think they're going to feed us!
This emerges on the road, not far from Hanmers Lodge Farm, and we're almost back. We just have to walk downhill and then up into Lowesby.

Back to Lowesby

We saw a hare, quite a few birds, including a robin, at least one lapwing and red kites on the way back.

Map and details

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pitsford Water clockwise

Tue, 2013 Mar 26 10:06 AM Western European Time 
With Marta. Very cold wind again, but dry and occasionally almost bright.  Just under 7 miles.

 We hit a cracking pace during the first part in order to keep warm. All the same we found a spot that was sheltered enough for a 20 minute coffee break. The trick is to avoid the exposed wooden seats, and go to ground level behind hedges or woodland. Those lightweight mats are worth their weight in  - coffee.

We saw plenty of birds today - Canada geese, coots, tufted ducks, mallards, great crested grebe, swans, pink-footed geese, a kestrel, possibly a fieldfare.
This was the snowiest part of the walk - most of the path was clear

Tufted ducks

This looks a strange landing posture

Just brrr!

Not many pics - too busy walking fast to keep warm.

Map and details

Monday, March 25, 2013

Newton Harcourt to Foxton Locks

A linear walk along the canal - just over 8 miles. Led by me, with Barry, Gordon and Maureen. Some muddy patches of towpath. Fine, cold wind, some sun. Some lying snow.

We set off from Newton Harcourt church and cross the canal bridge to reach the towpath. For much of the way we have mud and some snow to contend with, so it's as well I've taken the trusty trekking pole.  The conditions underfoot make for some hard going.  Navigation, on the other hand is a doddle. Just follow the canal, crossing it as necessary until you get to Foxton Locks.  
Idyllic - or just cold?

We have to leave the towpath a little way before Saddington Tunnel - it's been fenced off, as it's in a dangerous state.  There's a clear alternative path along the field edge above the canal.  We continue uphill over Saddington Tunnel,  but this presents no navigational problems either.

There's very little in the way of bird life this morning - a couple of Canada geese, a pair of mallards and two swans are all we spot on the water.  The are a few little birds around, and some starlings in the fields.

We take a break at just over 4 miles in, and find a surprisingly sheltered spot.  The sun's out too, so we're quite happy. 

Hurry up - the sun's in my eyes!

There are a few hardy boaters enjoying the fine cold morning. 
When we reach Debdale Wharf the condition of the towpath improves dramatically.  Hard, firm and non-slippery.  We spot one or two footpaths we have walked before.
We negotiate Bridge 61 safely - this is still quite icy, then let ourselves be tempted by coffee and a sandwich in the "Bridge 61" pub. 
Is this for the tea?

A short walk up past the flight of ten locks and the lock-keeper's cottage and the stable with their historical information displays, and we are back to Foxton Locks top car park.
Just under eight and a half miles.

map and details

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mawsley, Old, Walgrave, Mawsley

Thu, 2013 Mar 21 9:30 AM Western European Time 
Led by Barry, with me, Gordon and Eddie. Very cold wind, but fine and some sun. Muddy underfoot. Plenty of benches in Walgrave for a snack break.  8 miles.

We started from Mawsley Village, turned right and walked for a short distance along the road, before taking a footpath to the left through the mud of Old Poor's Gorse.  We tackled two muddy fields, and arrived at a grassy track, which we followed southwest as far as the village of Old.
Arriving in Old
though the sign says "Wold"

and the pub's for sale
We walked through the village,  and turned left at the pub, then right along Bridle Road. The footpath goes off to the left, over a stile, or through a gate - see below.
"You shall climb the stile" Barry is forced to follow the keep-fit regime.

A sight too common - but the boots held up
a walk of many signs . . .
. . . and the odd portent

We shall Die all
Hours fly. Flowers die.
New days. Old ways. Pass by.
Love stays.

They have plenty of grass and hay, but take some convincing that we do not come bearing gifts.

(More later)
Map and details