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 27, 2014

Great Gidding circular via Luddington in the Brook

Thu, 2014 Mar 27 9:44 AM GMT
Led by Barry, with me and Gordon. Mostly flattish bridleways. Horse country. Almost 9 miles. Weather fine, though there was a lightning flash and clap of thunder shortly before we finished walking. Underfoot not too bad - mud avoidable.

Not a day for great vistas or blue skies today. 

Village sign - I chopped the top of the tower off in my hurry!
 We begin by walking through some of the village, past the church where lots of daffodil-narcissus are flowering.
 We follow the road towards Luddington in the Brook, turning left down the drive towards Brook Farm, just opposite Ash Tree Cottage. When the drive bends to the right, we turn left along the footpath. This leads past fields of horses . . .
and sheep . . .
 and on to a lane which leads to St Margaret's church, which is closed but has a fine selection of gargoyles and grotesques.

We pass this statue among more daffodils, in a rather magnificent garden. 
We take the bridleway west for a couple of miles towards North Lodge Farm, along the stream at first, and then heading off to our left. We turn southwest and cross a field just before the farm and meet the Barnwell to Thurning road near the farm drive.  Now the path heads south. After a good half mile near some woodland we turn to our left, still following a bridleway. This is not far from South Lodge Farm.

We are now going southwest, between two areas of woodland, and meet the road from Clopton to Thurning.  We turn left and walk along it for a couple of hundred yards before turning right along a bridleway by the edge of more woodland.  Another mile or so and we come to a T-junction of bridleways, and a footpath sign beyond as well. We take the left turn north east along Gibbet Lane, which is a wide grassy track.
Along Gibbet Lane.
 We cross the road between Winwick and Thurning, and walk along the drive towards Luddington Hall, which is a bridleway too.
Another elegant sculpture
When the road bends to the left we carry straight on and follow the bridleway, well marked with hoof-prints in the mud.  As we approach Great Gidding the sky grows darker, and I feel a couple of heavy drops of rain. Waterproof back on just as there's a flash of lightning, followed closely by a thunderclap. We have about half a mile left to walk - the rain isn't too heavy, and there's no more electrical activity. Good timing for today's walk - the afternoon has been pretty wet.

Click on pictures if you wish to enlarge them.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Lyddington, Uppingham, Bisbrooke, Seaton, Lyddington

Tue, 2014 Mar 25 10:13 AM GMT
With Harry. Dull weather, and a fair amount of mud in places. About 7 miles. 568 ft of climbing.

This is a walk I've done a couple of times in the opposite direction - here and here.  Always interesting to see the views I didn't notice previously.

The weather was quite different from yesterday, leaving colours muted and skies grey.

From the path out of Lyddington

more lambs

these animals live just outside Uppingham

View of Uppingham

primroses in the churchyard

not sure what these are

wallflowers - on a wall

Map and details

Monday, March 24, 2014

Wing to Rutland Water circular

Mon, 2014 Mar 24 9:33 AM GMT
Led by Barry. With Gordon, Danielle, Maureen, Eddie, Chris, Sue, Marion, Tommy, Ken, Chris and Marion and me. Glorious weather. 7 miles.
Thirteen of us set out from Wing near the maze. We walk to the road junction and opposite us, slightly to the right is a bridleway which we follow downhill and over the railway line, then uphill until we reach the road. We cross over and take the small road downhill towards Lyndon Visitor Centre, past the caravan site. 
No lambs here

Typical rural scenery
At the bottom of the hill we turn right along the track round the reservoir. We follow this for a couple of miles, as far as Edith Weston Sailing Club. This has a café, but it's not open today.

Photograph from Ken P.
Uphill, past the school, then we turn right shortly before reaching the main road and walk beside the houses. A bus shelter with a very long seat provides shelter for a break, though one or two of us find spots in the sun. 

We walk along the road for a few hundred yards, then turn left along the Lyndon Road, and walk into the village.

photograph by Ken P.

Snapping you, snapping me . . .

We take the road to the left, and then a path which goes to the right behind some large houses. The path turns left, and gradually works its way south west to join the bridleway we walked earlier. 

Then it's over the railway, up a final slope and back to Wing.

Click on photographs to enlarge.
Map and details

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ail(e)sworth circular via Castor Hanglands

Thu, 2014 Mar 20 9:40 AM GMT
Led by Barry, with me, Maureen and Gordon. Flattish, with several small woodland areas. Muddy in the woods. Very windy at times, but dry. Just over 8 miles.

You don't need both OS Explorer maps either 227 or 235 will do fine- the area covered is on both.

We leave Ailsworth taking the footpath just inside the village boundary, along a flat field towards the A47, an obstacle that has to be crossed twice during this walk.  On the other side of the road our path leads more or less north and into Castor Hanglands*, continuing through the nature reserve including Ailsworth Heath.  No horses in evidence today, and we spot little in the way of wildlife. Four gallumphing people tend to put the critters off.

*"Hanglands" a definition. 

 Castor Hanglands woods were muddy in places, but passable.
When gorse is out of bloom . . .
At the other side of the nature reserve we turn right, outside the woods and walk as far as the minor road. We could have continued across the road, but instead walk along to the junction, turn right and take the bridleway to our right, parallel to the original road.
We walk by some more woodland, and follow the path as it zigzags and curves a bit towards Foster's Coppice.
Wise walkers check maps meticulously

The sun almost comes out, and I try to get the ISO numbers right to show it

We walk across an exposed part of the path, and find a shelter and seat - well, a large fallen tree - in Burmer Wood.
Blackthorn blossom
At the end of the wood we turn right for a very short section, then left following a field boundary.  This heads southeast to a T-junction of paths. We pause to exchange greeting with a woman and her dog - she lives in "Marram". That must be how the locals pronounce what I've always thought was Mar-holm!  We turn right and take the path and track which leads past Belsize Farm, through Belsize Wood. Then it's another left turn along the field edge (past a sign saying "Landowners welcome Careful Walkers").
I hope this isn't some awful warning
The field edge curves round to a footbridge with a wooden signpost. We follow the pointer towards Castor, through the edge of the plantation containing Oldfield Pond. At the corner we turn right following the path between the hedge and the plantation to another T-junction where we turn left, with a hedge of sorts on our right. You can see how windy from the windsock and birdscarers.
We have to fight the wind today
Just where we turn right again is an ordnance Survey marker with the words "This monument forms part of the Ordnance Survey National GPS network . . ." 

It marks the height above (sea level?) as 113.40 ft. On the map there's a nearby point at 36 meters so we guess that's more or less it. We turn right along the track marked as Cow Lane. This takes us to the A47 again, and continues after we cross the road. We take the right hand fork, as it looks a little drier - Clay Lane according to the map. Not far now and we're in Castor.

Village green in full spring dress

The Farmers' Cross - replacing the stump of the medieval cross, reputed to have been destroyed by Cromwell.

Click to enlarge any photos.

Map and details

Monday, March 17, 2014

Marston Trussell and Clipston - footpaths and some roads.

Mon, 2014 Mar 17 9:33 AM GMT
Led by me, with Barry, Gordon and Maureen. Not cold, dry, some sun. Most paths drying up, though we also did some road walking. Just over 8 miles, including about a mile walking around Clipston.

They (the hours) pass by and are put to our account.
We go through the churchyard and follow the path over a field full of lumps and bumps - there was once a moat and it may be the place mentioned in the paragraph on the photo below, where bodies were buried after the Battle of Naseby.
We head for the footbridge, then instead of crossing the next field we walk round the edge, as the path is unclear.  We find our way out over a footbridge, with the footpath sign. Looking back we see the church.
We cross the road and decide to try the footpath opposite. It is not always entirely clear where we should go, but we make our way with the help of the signs, the map and Barry's magic grid reference machine.  We cross the Jurassic Way path and head uphill towards Twantry Farm. 

There's a tricky bit where the path goes through a hole in the hedge, but is unmarked, so we take the alternative route through a gate a hundred yards or so to the left. A bit muddy but we battle through. Then it's a matter of following the farm drive until a footpath leaves to the left and cuts across the field, cutting off a bend in the road.  A few yards of road walking take us to the Royal Observer Corps lookout. We make the short detour to explore this and are repaid with wide 360 degree views.

 Onwards - we take the footpath which leaves the road on our left, just opposite the ROC viewpoint. This leads us across a field which a fine example of ridge and furrow.  One more field and we are on the road just outside Clipston.
We walk along Chapel Lane, and make use of the steps for our break. I take a snap of Thomas Jarman's gravestone. Time to direct you to my own silly verses
 Time for a wander round the village, which has some magnificent old buildings
Free Grammar school and hospital, now the primary school

Another one-handed clock

Prince Rupert's Cottage 

Clipston church
My first intention is to use the footpath near Peg's Lane, but one route is across a very muddy field with a bull, and I can't see the other route, so we revert to the road out of the village, turning left along the Sibbertoft road. When we reach the turning to Marston Trussell (2 1/2 miles), we decide to take the shorter route along Dick Hill, past the woods, turning right just after Marston Lodge.

We go straight ahead when the road goes to the right to East Farndon, past the Lake.
We turn right at the T-junction and back to the church.