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!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sywell circular via Mears Ashby and Hardwick.

Mon, 2013 Jun 24 9:46 AM British Summer Time.
Led by Barry, with me, Eddie and Gordon. A dull morning, mostly dry underfoot. Not hilly, through arable land and villages. 9 miles.

The walk covers the same ground as this one, but starting in Sywell rather than Hardwick.  
Sywell church
From the church we turn east along the road towards Mears Ashby, ignoring the first footpath sign to our left, which leads between houses.  
Our path is off to the left, just as the road bends round to the right. 
The path crosses the corner of the first fields, and in the second one heads for the far right hand corner. It snips the corner of the third field, and in the fourth goes down to cross a stream.  Then we head almost due east again uphill to join Glebe Road going into Mears Ashby.
Too early for today's break
We follow the road on the north edge of the village and turn left at Highfield Road. In a short while the path goes left, heading north now.  After four fields we meet the Sywell to Wellingborough Road, and cross it.  We cross two fields, then come to a dividing of the ways - we take the right hand path - or head for the high ground.  Don't get skylined, advises Barry in ex-army mode.   We pick up the path and make for Hardwick, via farm buildings and houses.  We turn right along the road to the church, then left, and find our path off to the left as we come out of the village.
We're still going north, over a couple of fields and then a bridge over a stream.  At this point we decide to follow the field boundary since the path hasn't been made good.

When we reach the low ridge we turn left, going west.  It's fairly windy at this point and we pick a spot sheltered by the hedge for our break.  The path hugs the boundary until we reach a large open field - here we continue west straight across the field.
At the hedge we turn left - there's a small ruined building on the other side of the hedge.
South now.  In the second field there's a pool surrounded by trees - the path circles this - we choose the right hand route. 
We arrive at a very small road, and the dogs of Hardwick Lodge.  The people are friendly, and c hat a while, before suggesting we take the diverted route which is marked, and wishing us good walking.
We follow the path on its slightly devious route, eventually walking alongside Hardwick Short Wood and Sywell Wood.  We come out at Wood Lodge Farm, and meet the road into Sywell past the airport and the Aviator Hotel.
A quick look at the map
flying the flags
Just before Sywell Hall we take a path to our left, which brings us out at the footpath we ignored on the way out.
Sywell geese
Map and details

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Fleckney circular via Arnesby and Shearsby

Thu, 2013 Jun 20 9:19 AM British Summer Time 
Led by Barry, with me, Gordon and Eddie. Gently rolling farmland. Dry underfoot, fine weather, rather sultry. A whisker over 11 miles.

We take a footpath on the south side of Kilby Road - it's not long before Barry decides he's overdressed.  Eddie's playing the high vis card today, to the tips of his toes.

The path rejoins Kilby Road, via Furnival Close, and crosses to the north side, along Coleman Road, and soon after the road bends right our path goes off to the left - in a westerly direction.  It turns north then northwest, and passes a fox covert on our right. It continues over fields to Kilby, at Tottering Hall Farm.
Cue reminiscences about Craven 'A' and Willy Woodbines, too.
Nice garden bench
We walk along Main Street, passing the pub, and have to cross the A 5199.  The stile on the other side is less than welcoming.
Good job you had your sticks!
We can see the next yellow waymarker but the trail is not clear until the following field.

We soon join Foston Lane, a much busier road than you'd think from the map.  It runs down to the A5199.  We turn right and walk for a few hundred yards past Foston Hall to the left turn where Foston church is signposted.  Foston has been a deserted village for about 400 years, but the 10th century church is still in use.
St Bartholomew's Church

invites you to bring a candelabra

From Foston we head south along Barley Lane, past a very few houses, until our path turns left, after two hundred yards or so. We walk roughly southeast, though the path turns right then left in order to make for Arnesby.  The windmill can be seen clearly on the skyline ahead. As we get nearer it disappears in the trees, and it's impossible to get a decent photo nearby.  It's privately owned and looks like a delightful place.
just about visible from the public footpaths.
According to a local postie the mill hasn't been used as a mill since at least the 1970s. 

We walk through the village and find St Peters Church, which is open.  In the churchyard is a memorial to a man who died in WW2 in a camp in Thailand. I should have photographed it.
These Norman arches date from the early eleventh century.
The porch makes a good place for a snack.
We go back a short distance to the marked footpath to Shearsby.   It's a bit less than a mile.

Unusual breed of sheep

Dutch variety of honeysuckle

The footpath brings us out at the northern end of the village, with this view of the church.
Shearsby Church

From the churchyard

Chocolate box cottages

An overflow of flowers
We turn left at the bottom of the hill and walk towards the main road, the A 5199 again.  We turn left at the junction and cross the road to take the Leics Round footpath close to New Inn Farm.  The path is clear from now on, through fields with horses, then some with cows.
Camera shy?
We reach a minor road and turn right for a short stretch. At the junction our path leads east, then turns slightly to the north.  
The wildflowers are splendid this year!

When we reach the edge of Fleckney's houses we turn to the left and walk along the path close to the houses.  One way or another we make our way back to where the car is parked on the Kilby Road.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Illston on the Hill circular via Rolleston, Gaulby and Kings Norton

Thu, 2013 Jun 6 9:27 AM Western European Time 
Led by me, with Eddie, Maureen and Gordon. Rolling countryside, fine, chill wind, then warm sun. 9 and a half miles. 579 ft of ascent.
This is almost the same as the walk I did with Barry in April. 

From the Village Hall, walking past Oak Farm, and The Acorns to a T-junction. Across the road is the path. We almost miss our route, as the yellow post is hidden behind grazing cows!  
Back on track and through a field of sheep. One lamb seems to think humans are good news!

We cross a footbridge and walk uphill and north east to Barn Farm. 
We pass a big house called simply The Farm,  where we join the road (B6047).
We turn right and after 100 yards or so we turn left into Rolleston Park over the cattle grid and along the drive lined with horse chestnuts. 
At the end of the drive they are herding sheep - shearing time. 

We keep well back, but if anything we're helping make sure they go the right way.  We pass the stables and the dairy, and the signposted track to Billesdon on the left, and then the footpath to the left which leads past the Cranhill Farm development.

We walk up the drive to the main road (B6047) again and after about 50 yards we turn left along  the "gated road to Illston".  It's delightful with its cow-parsleyed verges and trees.
Just before the remains of a gate, our path turns off to the right and follows the hedge a short distance before turning left to go behind Ashlands, a mansion built in 1867 in Tudor style.  It's surrounded by manicured lawns and trees and has views over towards Frisby and Billesdon.  
They're holding on to their luck

We walk downhill to a grassy track with a small wood on our right. 

We follow the instructions!

We walk along two sides of the wood and then keep the hedge on our right through three fields, swinging left at the end to join the lane which goes to the right and up the hill into Gaulby. 

We have a break at the bench outside Gaulby churchyard.
Line up, folks, time for the group photo!
We take the road to Kings Norton, passing some fine houses and the church comes into view.
We should have waited for the others at the junction,  instead of turning left to the church. Luckily we have mobile phones, so no harm done. They were the ones with the car keys too! 
Shortly after the church, along the road towards Illston, the footpath goes off to the right.  We walk across a field and past a small hollow. The route lies between the two wooded areas.  Then it's clearly marked.
Tedding and windrowing while the sun shines

Looking back to Kings Norton Church
We keep to the higher ground passing some small wooded areas on our left.  In the fourth field the path swings round to the left and downhill to meet a track which follows the Roman road, Gartree Road.  We cross the footbridge on the right hand side and turn right along the footpath to Burton Overy.  The path follows the stream for a few fields. Just before Burton Overy, we turn left through a maze of gates and take the path east.

It leads behind farm buildings and uphill through fields until it reaches a minor road. A small obstacle of dried manure - unfortunately I reach the stage , where, to misquote Macbeth, "I am in ****  stepped in so far that should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o’er.”   Here we turn right for a hundred yards or so.

Ash tree

You can just make out the two churches of Kings Norton and Gaulby.
We arrive at the crossroads and look for the footpath sign just across the road and to our right.
spot the sign
The path goes behind Illston Grange, where we meet a few nattily dressed horses.

We follow the path slightly northeast along hedges and through fields into Illston. 
Map and details

Leics Round 9 - Rearsby to Burrough Hill

Wed, 2013 Jun 5 10:19 AM Western European Time 
I think the garmin went a bit nuts in Gaddesby church - so I'll say somewhere over 14 miles. With Marta. Quite hilly. 989 ft of ascent. The forecast sun didn't appear!

We meet at Burrough Hill, and drive to Rearsby to start the walk.  We cross the pack horse bridge into Church Lane.

The path winds round to the right of the church past a slightly dodgy-looking wall.
We come out on to Church Leys Avenue, and turn left between two houses after number 22.  The path is clearly marked as it crosses grassland and comes out behind the convent.
We walk past splendid flowering horse chestnut trees in grassland.  Then we cross the road, and turn left at no. 7 Wreake Drive.  There's a double stile, and we cross the ridged and furrowed field to the railway crossing.  We carry on in the same direction towards the old mill.
Part of the old mill house - a lot of work being done.

We follow the waymarkers, turning right from the drive to the mill, and making for Lodge Farm and Hoby church spire.
These trees may belong to Brooksby Agricultural College.

We walk through this bumpy field - and I know there's a bench ideal for a break here.

We wander through Hoby churchyard, with its stump cross and sundial on top. 
a little the worse for wear with bird droppings.
Almost opposite the church we turn down Back Lane, and  the left behind a row of cottages. The path we want turns right and downhill through trees.  We cross various small bridges, where a mill used to be, and a long footbridge over the Wreake.

We head towards Rotherby and cross the railway line again.  Just before we reach the village, we turn left to the north east, and walk through three fields, then come to a T junction on the minor road. We walk parallel to the road to Frisby on the Wreake for a little distance, then move slightly left, past a bumpy pasture with horses.
We can see Frisby's church spire, and the waymarkers are clear. We emerge between houses close to the market cross.
 The Bell Inn is opposite,  and we're beginning to think it could be lunchtime.  Ah ha!
Unfortunately the pub's just changed hands, and won't be open until July.  Maybe they should hide the blackboard better.  We drop into the post office, but they haven't got much in the way of food. On to Gaddesby it is - another two and a half miles.  Well, it's only 12.30 now.
 A lot of houses in Frisby are pretty old and being restored.
. . . or repaired.  We head out and turn left just past these houses. The path in the fields climbs quite steeply.  We decide we'll have a banana to keep us going, but we'll get to the top first.    When the land flattens out we reach the Leicester to Melton Road and another stump cross.

so little colour in the sky !
We cross the road and walk through the clear paths in the fields,  some pasture, some arable.
Some sheep are nosy

Distant blue mountains of Charnwood
The local tribe must favour spring fires

The way ahead is clear - not this way anyhow
We turn into the village for a well-earned lunch at the Cheney Arms in Gaddesby - baguette, salad and crisps and a J20 for £7.50.  It's filling too.

The church caught our eyes as we arrived, so we take a little time to look around and inside.
There seem to be two or three different styles on the outside

The archway leads to Gaddesby Hall next door - a huge building with beautiful gardens

This is a statue of Colonel Cheney who fought at Waterloo. Four horses died under him, and he rode away on a fifth.  The statue was moved to the church from Gaddesby Hall when it was sold in 1917, and is claimed to be the only equestrian statue in an English church.
We return to the Leics Round route, turning left as we come out of the churchyard. When we reach the blocked gate we turn right and cross a field down to a stream, then cross the Midshires Way, and see Mill farm with its disused windmill - no sails - on our right.  We have no problems with map or waymarkers and pass Pool House. We cross the road and leave Ashby Folville on our right, though the church is visible through the trees. 
A mile or so later we go under the bridge where the dismantled railway ran, and turn uphill to Thorpe Satchville, behind the Hall, with its low haha wall.  The church, with its bench,  offers another convenient coffee stop. Not far to go now.  We've done about 12 miles. (Note - my garmin says 13, but it went a bit wild in Gaddesby church. It doesn't like the thick walls.)
If it looks so weathered after 13 years, I wonder what state it will be in after a thousand.  The South Pole is 9845 miles away, and the North Pole a mere 2585.

From here the way is very straight forward, about three quarters of a mile along a small road called Bakers Lane. When we reach a crossing of four ways we take the right hand path and follow it downhill to Melton Lane. Burrough Hill is in sight.
Iron Age hill fort, with the toposcope just visible.
We continue in the same direction climbing gently on this very rutted track, then more steeply through gorse bushes to the top with its great views.
Almost there
The view's a bit hazy, and the sun hasn't emerged. It keeps half-appearing, but it's almost 5pm when we arrive.  The toposcope is 690 feet high.   We have to bag the trig point at 210 m as well.  An online converter tells me this is 689 feet. 

A satisfying end to one of our longer days!  Now it's downhill to the car.