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, November 28, 2013

Dunton Bassett - Cosby, Broughton Astley, Leire

Thu, 2013 Nov 28 10:19 AM GMT
Led by Barry, with Maureen and me. A misty start and rather dull, with very little sun. Fairly flat. Some muddy gateways. 9 miles.

Outside the DBA

Always a good idea to start in the right place. . . and look at those clean boots!
From Dunston Bassett we take the road towards Broughton Astley (B581) and after a hundred yards or so there is a sign "Bridle Road to Cosby". This is our route. The path curves slightly to the left and then it's a case of following the marker posts and the field boundary hedges.  The path goes through a wooded area, and comes out at a small road, called Cottage Lane. At this point the bridleway signs point back to Dunton Bassett and forward to Cosby, just as we hoped.
We follow the route under a disused railway, with a bridge.

From here the path continues through some fields with a few cows, coming out on Shuttleworth Lane on the edge of Cosby.  We walk along the road behind the golf course, and turn right.  More or less opposite the golf Club House, we take a footpath off to the left, through grass fields and slightly uphill towards Broughton Astley.  We have to slog our way across some arable land, and around the edge of one recently ploughed field with very little space left for the footpath, before coming out on a farm road leading to the Leicester Road. This passes one of the largest collection of allotment gardens I've seen - and very well organised they look, too. 
Barry meets Bull

We cross the road and head into Broughton, finally finding a bench for our break, near the war memorial.
Ready for the fray

We walk along the Frolesworth Road for about two hundred yards, and take the second footpath on our left.
 This goes east for a couple of hundred yards, crosses a stream and turns south.  After several fields we reach Broughton Lane, and turn left towards Leire. 

We continue along the Main Street, and turn left opposite Back Lane, where there is a Leicestershire Round sign.  Our footpath sign is a little harder to find, but it is there, a few yards away from Main Street.  

We take this route in the hope of seeing something of a moat which is marked on the OS map.  In the end all we see is a line of trees which may show the line of the moat. 
We make our way with the help of signs and the map, going pretty well north towards Stemborough Lane.   We walk along the road, and between Stemborough Mill and Valley View Farm.  Here we turn right, along the bridleway to Dunton Bassett.

The old mill pond

It is about a mile along the bridleway and back into Dunton Bassett at Bennets Hill.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hambleton peninsula anti-clockwise

Mon, 2013 Nov 25 9:56 AM GMT
Led by me, with Chris and Marion, Norma, Steph and Terry. Dry underfoot - on tracks all the way. Dry weather, cloudy. 6 miles.

I chose this walk because I wanted to avoid the mud wallows. It was very straightforward, with a snack break on a convenient tree trunk at the three and a half mile mark.

We set off down the lane past Hambleton church, and turned left when we reached the lake perimeter path.  We followed this round, crossed the road which leads to the water's edge, and continued round.

When we met the road coming in from Egleton, we walked alongside for a few hundred yards, before turning left when we met the track again - It's the one labelled "No Swimming" and "Authorised vehicles only".  

The track led us round to the lane to the church, and we climbed the short steep hill back to the village.

I have to confess to a foolish virgin moment, when I discovered that my camera battery was not charged, so I may beg, borrow or steal photos from someone else.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Langham, Ashwell, Whissendine circular

Thu, 2013 Nov 21 9:36 AM GMT
Led by Barry, with Gordon and me. A few muddy sections. We missed any showers, and had glorious sunshine for most of the way, though the wind was cold. Just over 10 miles.

Beautiful sunshine, but a cold wind as we walk through Langham. 

An unusual wall decoration
 We take the road (no unauthorised vehicles) which leads past the sewage works, and carry straight on, along a walkway with anti-motor cycle gates. 
Now, I can appreciate the bit about damage, but wouldn't it be great if they'd put a boot-cleaner nearby. Whose mud is it anyway?

 We walk past a large house (Mickley Lodge, and then turn left and can either walk round a fenced outside some fields,  or follow the path over several stiles through the fields. We go behind Langham Lodge and follow the footpath way markers around the field boundaries.
Are you blocking our path or showing us the way?
We emerge on a narrow hedged path, where we can turn continue ahead, or turn left.  We do ahead and realise that this was not the way when we cross the railway at Great Tambourine Bridge, and arrive at the Oakham to Ashwell Road. About turn!  Retrace footsteps and take the correct route, which brings us out at the road between Langham and Ashwell, which is much quieter. Here we turn right and follow the road into Ashwell.

Some of these people were alive in the reign of Charles II
There is a bench in the churchyard, sheltered and sunny. With just under four miles under our belts, we award ourselves a snack break.
Ashwell church
 We leave the village on the Whissendine Road, crossing the railway again, and after about half a mile our footpath goes off to the right.  
The way is clear enough, but we make the mistake of going round a muddy field instead of across, and add an extra half mile to our walk.  One of those places where the marker is very clear when you look back, but was invisible from our original direction.
No matter, onwards! The path goes up a short hill,  and down and up again, then gently down into Whissendine, past the church, the pump and a couple of pubs.
St Andrews, Whissendine

The village pump

We come to the village green and the sign, and turn left over the bridge, then left again, to find our footpath. (Not the one near the children's playground).  It takes us through a wooded area - it's a little tricky underfoot after the recent rainy weather, but easy to follow. 

This part of the path is quite steep and tricky in parts since it is wet.
Lone hollyhock

 Once we come out of the trees we have to walk through fields, and there's a good view of Whissendine with its windmill as we look back.
View of Whissendine from our path

The windmill is still in sight
 After about a mile we reach the road from Whissendine to Langham, at the top of a hill, and walk along this until we meet the main A606.  We follow this for a short distance before turning left along Manor Lane.  We follow this round to Ashwell Lane and back to the car.
Langham church spire

Wildlife - two hares, a few long-tailed tits in a hedgerow, a buzzard.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Tue, 2013 Nov 19 12:36 PM GMT
With Harry. Fine cold day, we walked about 5 miles.

Lots of swans and tufted ducks

This tree has declared winter

Turkey oak?

Trees like wind-blown hair

From the bridge

More swans and other waterfowl 

We also saw cormorants, geese, an egret, and at least one lapwing.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Cycling from Lyndhurst to Brockenhurst

Wed, 2013 Nov 13 10:03 AM GMT
With Harry. Lovely ride through fairly quiet roads. Had a coffee in Brock and Bruin with Esther, then returned via forest tracks - some excessively muddy. Beautiful day, though chilly. 17 miles.

This is probably the best weather of the week - it reminds us of our first visit to the area, crisply cold with hoar frost on the grass, and bright sunshine, with mist rising from any water.
 We take the bikes from Lyndhurst through Pike Hill, and Emery Down, then up to Bolderwood, with a fairly steep section to test the legs. 

From  the car park we turn left and roll down the Bolderwood Ornamental  Drive, with lovely sun and autumn leaf effects.
  Next we cross the A35, and the road becomes the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive, passes the tall trees, the Knightwood Oak, and the Arboretum before reaching Whitemoor heath and arriving at Brockenhurst.

Esther has come to meet us with Hazel in the buggy, and we walk across the bridge over the (dry) ford, and head for the Brock and Bruin tearoom.  Scones and caffeine oil the wheels - of the brain if not the bike.

We return via Balmer Lawn and the gravel tracks, but take a wrong turning, at either the 13 or 14 mile point, and end up in some sticky mud. We extricate ourselves and go back to the A337 main road for the final mile into Lyndhurst, and a much-needed shower for ourselves and the bikes - and my shoes. I guess I'm lucky not to have lost one of them for good.

I'll pinch a few of Harry's photos, since I didn't take my camera!

Map and details here

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lyndhurst Parish circular

Sun, 2013 Nov 10 2:02 PM GMT
With Harry. Some very muddy, squelchy sections. Beautiful day. Just over 8 miles in all. 500 ft of climbing.

A fine sunny day, blue skies and a cool wind encourage us to make an afternoon of this walk, taken from a leaflet.
We start from the Custards,  going through the gate on the field side of Race Course View - quite wet and soggy, as most places are just now. We squelch over to a bridge and turn right to follow a bank of earth alongside the golf course, and through some fine trees.

This takes us to the access road and the main Southampton road - there is an underpass. On the far side of the road we walk uphill and over the top to the Beaulieu road. As we are out of the trees the going is firmer.
There is still plenty of lying water.  We cross the Beualieu Road taking a path between Oak Acre and The Ravens.  The path meets a gate after about a kilometre - we go straight on, and then up the hill behind the Crown and Stirrup.  At the top of the hill we cross the A337, and take a track about 30 metres to the left, following a driveway across a cattle grid.  Just before the gate to High Coxlease we turn left and follow the fence downhill and then to our right for almost 2 kilometres.  We turn left on to a path across a large clearing, then along a track into the woods. In about 200 metres we turn right and walk up a wide track to the gate and the road.
 At the road we turn left, through the village of Bank, with the Oak Inn, where we turn left again and follow the road around Gritnam, circling this hamlet, with houses on our right. At Woodbine Cottage our path leads left through the trees to the road (A35).  Just before the road the path goes left and into an underpass.
After the underpass our path turns right, and goes through the trees to Allum Green. We join the track at Corner Cottage, and turn left.  At Caister Cottage we follow the fence and wall for a good 100 metres,  then take a right fork and head up the hill. We should have turned left and into Emery Down. Instead we continued and emerged close to Swan Green, but turned left towards Emery Down, and then right along Silver Street, and then along a path for a good 600 metres to the road to Pikes Hill. 

The road is very narrow and there are  too many cars, but very soon we reach the Fenwick hospital, where we turn left along a path beside the hospital.  This takes us into a small road of big houses.  There is a turn to the right, leading into a cul de sac, and we take the footpath in the left hand corner, which leads to the Waterloo Arms. From here it is a short walk, across the main Romsey Road and back along Race Course View.

These boots are made for walking

Map and details