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, October 24, 2013

Castle Ashby circular via Whiston, Cogenhoe, Brafield on the Green, Chadstone

Thu, 2013 Oct 24 9:52 AM BST
Led by me, with Barry and Maureen. Sunny, little wind. Some mud underfoot. Altogether just ten miles - including our walk to the Gardens, and back via footpath to the village.  

The walk was a figure of eight, with the loops crossing at Whiston Spinney.

From the road near the shopping yard we turned right towards the Falcon Inn and War Memorial. We followed the road towards Whiston for a while, until it bent to the left.   The path continued straight across a field heading for Whiston Church.
 There's a fine view over the Nene Valley from the churchyard.

We walked down the steep path from the church and turned left at the road, then left when we reached the junction.  A short stretch of road walking took us to the point where our route, a bridleway, led off on the right hand side. We followed this alongside Whiston Spinney until we reached some farm buildings.

At this point we lost our path, but were able to cross a field and pick it up at the top of the Jerusalem steps.

From here we walked downhill towards the road into Cogenhoe. We turned left and walked uphill past the Royal Oak, into the village.  Just past the village sign we took the left hand fork, then turned left on to a footpath beside a playing field.

We followed the path over fields, clearly marked, until we arrived at Brafield church - and it was time for a break.  
We rejoined the path behind the church, and headed in the direction of Whiston once more.   We arrived back at the farm buildings before too long, and rejoined the bridleway for a short stretch.
When the Northamptonshire Round footpath crossed the bridleway we turned right, down some steps to a footbridge and up the other side.
We turned right and walked along the edge of the field, turning left at the boundary and heading for a minor road.  We crossed this and followed our path in the same direction.
We walked downhill beside a wood, then continued until we reached Chadstone Lodge.
 At the road here we turned right, and made our way to the hamlet of Chadstone, before taking the road left towards Castle Ashby, then right to the Gardens.  
We crossed the impressively wide and long avenue to Castle Ashby House.
We didn't have much time to explore the gardens today, so we made do with a quick peep at the churchyard before wending our way back to the car.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pitsford Water clockwise

The usual route clockwise, but starting from the Causeway car park this time - almost 7 miles in good sunshine, and wind. With Harry. 

A few autumnal pics:

Bar-headed goose on the right

this kestrel hovered near the path for ages

Highlights of the walk - lapwings, the geese, especially the bar-headed one, and the kestrel.  The sun, the water, the colours, the clouds!

Map of first mile

Map of remainder of walk

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Keyham circular

Thu, 2013 Oct 17 9:37 AM BST
Led by Barry, with me. Fine weather, some muddy patches though. 9+ miles in all - we had trouble picking up satellites at the start! 

Could the sky be any bluer??
We walked down the grassy fields, then two like this one - hard work!
The horses lost interest when we had no food for them.
Past Waterloo Lodge Farm, this is an avenue of chestnuts - to Baggrave Hall.
Part of the deserted medieval village of Cold Newton
Under the spreading chestnut tree
the hungry walkers rest 

Beautiful cow near Quenby Hall
Quenby Hall
Billesdon Coplow to the south

Barry about to tackle one of the many stiles towards the end of this walk.

A previous walk covering some of the same ground, in different weather.

Map and details

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Three Derbyshire walks

Carsington Water - 8.5 miles - Sunday 13 October

RAF Quadrant Tower from the 1940s

The weather was pretty wet all morning, but we decided to risk a soaking. At least the track is clear and well marked.
Much of the way is slightly sheltered by trees, but they didn't keep us anything like dry.

Hansel and Gretel house near the dam

The sky lightened slightly at about 2:30 pm, and we dried out before having a large tea and scone in the Mainsail restaurant in the visitor centre.
A good walk, at a brisk pace, with no navigational skills required - just as well, since my map was old enough to predate the reservoir!

Hartington to Milldale and back - 9.5 miles - Monday 14 October

This is part of a walk I did last summer, in much drier conditions.
Once again the way is clear all along, and well signed, though we had to cross from Derbyshire to Staffordshire and back - footbridges over the Dove.

The first section crosses fields from the path between the pottery shop and the toilets in Hartington, then heads through Morson Wood into Beresford Dale, with its caves and grassy hillsides.

  Next is Wolfscote Dale, which narrows a little.  We emerge at the road to Alstonfield, half a mile from Milldale village, and the joy of finding Polly's Cottage open, serving hot coffees.  There are public toilets, and a shelter, as well as the Information Barn near Viator's Bridge.

We waited for the worst of the downpour to be over, before retracing our steps to Hartington.

The tea shop in the Post Office was our next stop!

Dovedale to Milldale and back - 6 miles - Tuesday 15 October

At last some blue sky!

Chaffinch at Lovers' Leap

The arch near Reynard's Cave

Lion's Head Rock

Ilam Rock

Polly's Cottage, Milldale

Robin on mossy wall

Lovers' Leap

Stepping Stones

Looking upstream
 Even though we have to return home today, we make the most of this by walking from Dovedale car park, and heading north to Milldale.  It's just three miles, and passes the stepping stones below Thorpe Cloud, lovers' Leap, Reynard's Cave,  Tissington Spires, Lion's Head Rock, Ilam Rock and Dove Holes.   Another coffee stop at Milldale, and we buy sandwiches for later.

This time we sit and watch the ducks by the river.  There's a robin perching on a mossy wall by a holiday cottage.

On the way we've seen a heron, dippers, a chaffinch, crows and squirrels.

We eat our lunch at the stepping stones, decide that today is not a Thorpe Cloud day, and make our way back to the car park.