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, September 16, 2013

Four Counties - from Easton on the Hill

Mon, 2013 Sep 16 9:41 AM British Summer Time
Led by Mel - with me, Terry and Steph, Chris and Marion, Chris, Barry, Gordon, Maureen, and Jill. Around 6 miles, and mostly flat. No rain, bright and breezy.

Look at the weather when we set off! And it's still blue skies when we arrive at Easton on the Hill.

We walk out of Easton on West Street. This turns into a byway,  and leads through fields and woodland with views west towards Ketton.  There are a few hunt-followers around this morning in the usual 4x4 s.
Clouds over Ketton
We continue downhill until we reach the Welland, close to Tinwell. At the river we turn right, heading East towards Stamford.  

Photocall at the site of the Roman ford, where "in AD 61 survivors of the ninth Roman Legion fled . . . pursued by Queen Boadicea"
Then it's on to the Town Meadow with its tables for our break.   We walk over the footbridge and past the George, uphill out of Stamford along the Peterborough Road, through St Martins Without.  Opposite a gate to Burghley Park we take the footpath southwest, crossing the A1 via a footbridge, then past Wothorpe House.
It stands in ruined splendour - once used for the Burghley House family to stay while the main house was spring-cleaned. 
Our route continues southwest, alongside a few blackberry bushes, on the edge of woodland.
Barry in silver medal position here
We meet the A43, cross it and make our back up the short hill into Easton and back to the cars. Just the job for a Monday morning - and no rain either.

Oh, the four counties are Northants, Rutland (just over the Welland), Lincolnshire (Stamford) and Cambridgeshire (the outskirts of Peterborough).

Map and details

Friday, September 13, 2013

Walcote - Swinford - Walcote

Thu, 2013 Sep 12 9:33 AM British Summer Time
Led by Barry, with me, Maureen and Gordon. Flattish, sheep and cattle and some arable. Dry weather with a little sun later. 7.8 miles.

There's a smell of resin from the cut wood

I meet the gang at East Carlton, and we make out way by car to Walcote once more. We park behind the same vehicle - 6IGEON of clay-shooting fame - as Monday.

The rowan berries are bright
We take the A4304 for a short distance before our path leaves to the left - somewhat hidden by the lushness of the hedge.  We cross the field and then walk along the edges going south.  We pass a few tiny ponds in field corners and clamber over ten or a dozen stiles. We notice them today - nearly all are slippery.   In one field behind Thornhill Stud,  there are several horses.  A white one is quite interested in us - not just for a fuss though.  
"Is that all I get?"
We walk past some old practice jumps , then cross the Lutterworth Road.  Near Swinford Corner we take another path southwest - a bridleway this time, so no stiles for a while.  This leads towards the M1 - we kept on the bridleway all the time, ignoring a path to our right.   When we reach a bridge carrying the farm track over the motorway, we wander out to watch the traffic rushing along, then go back , and leave the bridleway, taking a footpath   going south east with the motorway roaring away on our right as we walk.  After a couple of hundred yards we turn east, and the noise grows fainter, as we approach the village of Swinford - nothing to do with swine, it seems, according to some online information:

The village of Swinford is a compact village at the head of a small tributary of the River Avon. The Anglo-Saxon name would have been “Suin Heaford” meaning “the head or source of the Swin Stream”. In time it was shortened to “Swin-ford”, but has nothing to do with swine!

1718 - the photo isn't quite in focus!
The village is quite big, and provides a seat where we sit a while. 
Our footpath heads slightly north of east, past a playing field, over fields (more stiles) and past a wooded area, before meeting a byway heading more or less north.  The main features here are power lines and wind turbines, both of which provide background music as we go.

After almost a mile, the byway meets the road between Walcote and Swinford.  We promised outselves we'd have a second break today, so we sit on a handy length of wood, even though it's no more than 3/4 mile to Walcote.  A bus passes by, but little else.  

I had to include this photo for the colour that's in it!

On the roadside there's a stall with plums and veg. Too tempting - I pays me money - but the paper bag's wet and they fall out instantly.  They're not difficult to collect and re-bag, and tonight I feast again! 
I love vegetable gardens - and sunflowers

The Old Post Office

Walks - you must be crazy!

A pleasant walk, with more than twenty stiles - and no rain until later in the evening.  There are still a few swallows around.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Uffintgon circular - Greatford, Barholm, Casewick Park

Wed, 2013 Sep 11 10:01 AM British 'summer' Time
With Marta. Same walk as one on july 25 2013. Flat terrain. Overcast day, but dry - good underfoot - paths clear. About 10 miles - .25 ish switch-off after Greatford pub.

The same walk as I did on July 25 2013.  This time we found our way to Greatford Church, but we still couldn't locate 'Meg's Well'.  The photos show very grey skies.

Near Uffington church stand three redwoods.
Marta saw two hares when she looked through the huge gates of Uffington Manor on the main road.We turn right before the houses after West Hall Farm.
We believe this is the site of the mill mound marked on the OS map.  

Our path takes us over farmland, always clearly marked and following track or field edge. We come out behind Cobbs Nook Farm, and join the Macmillan Way,  along a wooded bridleway.  We join the road turning left and then right to where we cross the East Coast Mainline at a level crossing.  A short half mile takes us to our left turn into Shillingthorpe Park.
The cows and calves are gathered round the food here.
We cross the river West Glen, and make our way to along the farm road to the woodland, before turning right over fields.  These are no problem this time, as they have been harvested and waymarking is good.  We follow the path behind the very private Greatford Hall into the village. A local resident of 25 year's standing tells us how to access the church - there's a small white gate near the bridge over the small river.
In the church is a memorial to Francis Willis, who is reputed to have cured George III of his madness in 1789.  Dr Willis owned Greatford Hall, and ran an asylum there.   The church also boasts a Roman coffin, and many interesting plaques and dedications.
As we come from the church towards the road we pass the entrance to Greatford Hall.  It was destroyed by fire in 1922, but rebuilt.
The inn sign for the local pub, where we had an excellent baguette lunch, with friendly service.
A large stone cross near Bridge cottages
The crown commemorates the coronation of George VI.  There is more info and more photos (not mine)  here.
We cross the fields south towards Barholm.  On the way we spot an ambitious mobile phone mast trying to look like a tree.  We cross a bridge over Greatford Cut, which joins the West Glen River to the Welland and forms a flood defence system for Greatford.
Barholm Church . Click on the link for further information.  
From Barholm we take the road past the Five Horseshoes pub and the Old Hall. We turn left and make our way over several fields to the railway again. No level crossing here, but a warning about trains travelling at 100 mph.  The track is straight and the view is good. On the other side we walk over two or three fields before reaching Casewick Park, with its lovely buildings, high hedges and fine gates.

I need to identify this tree.

A look back at Casewick Hall as we leave the park, and take the road leading to Uffington.

Apart from the hares, we saw a few swallows swooping after the insects, and a lot of small speckled wood (?) butterflies.

Map and details

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Walcote circular, via Gilmorton and Kimcote

Mon, 9 Sep 2013 10:19 British Summer Time
Led by Barry, with me and Gordon. Pretty flat, good underfoot - mix of arable and cattle country. 7.5 miles. No rain while we were out. At least 26 stiles. 

We had a last minute change of plan when we discovered the A43 was closed and that side of Corby was as near gridlocked as I have ever seen it.  So we headed back across Corby and past Market Harborough.  Thanks to Barry for a last minute alternative to my walk.

I've driven past Walcote countless times on my way to the M1 when heading north, but had never stopped.  As so often there is more to these villages than meets the eye of the passing motorist-in-a-rush. 

We find a place to park, and set off north along Brook Street, taking a footpath west, to the left just before the road divides. The path soon turns north once more,  along the field edge and over a few fields before turning north west and passing the corner of Winterfield Spinney. 
 The path zigzags a bit through fields north then west, but when two paths meet between Oback and Thornborough Farms we turn right in a northeasterly direction.  In the third field we take the left hand option when the path divides. This takes us to the left hand corner of the field, across another one, then along the edge of a third, very smelly today, as it's recently been manured.  Good job we don't intend to eat in any posh pub.

We turn left and walk uphill for a few hundred yards along the Lutterworth Road, which is busier than we expected.  
The footpath goes off to the right,  and heads north north east to Gilmorton. We pass the old motte in a field near the church - no public right of way, so we sneak a peek through the gate.

Our path goes through the churchyard, where we take a break. 
Gilmorton Church

An unusual memorial bench.

The church porch was built to celebrate Victoria's diamond jubilee - the stained glass is clearly Victorian, and we think the carved head above looks like the lady herself.

We leave the church behind us and walk through the village.
Grey skies today!

We turn right along the road to Kimcote, and when the road bends to the right we take a path straight ahead. It looks as though there was once a village or similar here - lots of lumps and bumps in the ground, but nothing on the map.
This runs parallel with the road just south of Bruntingthorpe airfield/ proving ground.

We follow the path to the north of The Lodge, and then turn south towards Kimcote, over more fields.

Kimcote church
  We walk past the church and cross the road to Poultney Lane, through the village and farms.  The road turns into a footpath past sewage works, and then gradually leads southwest towards Walcote. 
Globe artichokes - yum!

The not-so-swfit River Swift.
We meet the road, cross the mighty Swift, and at Woodside Farm, we turn left on a footpath which takes us back to the village.

Wildlife note:  There are still a few swallows feeding up on the plethora of insects - mainly daddy-long-legs - before they leave for the sunny south.

Map and details

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Lyddington - Seaton - Bisbrooke - Uppnham - Lyddington

Thu, 2013 Sep 5 10:21 AM British Summer Time
With Harry and Jenny. Beautiful weather, very hot, good underfoot. Pretty fast pace, considering. Including looking round Uppingham - 8.7 miles.
It's a delight to show our countryside to someone who hasn't seen it before! 
sculpture inspired by the fishponds 

Lyddington church from the ancient fishponds
The first part of the path is clearly marked as the Rutland Round.  We walk across the Green, past the sculpture, through a gate and with the hedge on our left walk through the fields with the traces of the old fishponds.  At the end of this field we turn left, skirting a wood, before turning right and heading along a path uphill.  This was shaded and cool before we cam out into the fields. We head north east for a little while, then do a dog-leg. This is all clear on the ground with waymarker posts.  The path gradually turns further east, alongside a sloping ploughed field.

We come out into Grange Lane,  which leads uphill into Seaton.

A solitary wood pigeon

swallows are gathering
We walk through Seaton and take a look at the viaduct from the Glaston Harringworth cross roads, before going back to our path.
Seaton church
The path is not far from Moles Lane, and up a short set of steps. It heads north, and climbs gently before descending more steeply to the dismantled railway.  Here it turns north west, and crosses a large field with a stream - again the waymarkers are clear.   The path now runs beside trees and is enclosed on each side - it climbs almost unnoticeably into Bisbrooke, emerging behind the church.

We follow the road to the cross roads, meeting the odd chicken, and helping ourselves to some windfalls, offered free outside one of the houses.

At the crossroads we go straight ahead then turn left and right at the corner - the road becomes a track and then a path, and finally we arrive at the Uppingham School playing field and cricket pavilion. Into the town for coffee and lunch at Don Paddys, before looking round the town, and the Goldmark Gallery - there's an exhibition of George Grosz's work, and lots of other interesting items.

We leave Uppingham by taking the path through the church porch and churchyard, then at the road we turn left then right and head south and downhill.   There are some juicy blackberries on the way, so we pick them - making use of empty water bottles. Tonight we shall feast.

The path is clear, leading us to the playing field behind Uppingham College. We lose the track briefly, but find it again and it leads south east across a road, and over farmland towards Lyddington. 
That's what I call a path "made good"
A short diversion as we feed an apple to a horse,  we reach the road into Lyddington and decide to walk through the village back to the car.
This bird is going nowhere!