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, April 28, 2014

Lyddington circular, Uppingham, Bisbrooke Seaton.

Mon, 2014 Apr 28 9:28 AM BST
With Mel, Norma, Phil, Tommy, Sue, Marion, Terry, Steph, Barrie E, and me. Fine dry day. Early pause at Uppingham. Seven miles+.
Same route as this walk in late March.

From Lyddington we take the path by the village green and out past the old fishponds, where a crowd of bullocks are not bothered about us, but show plenty of interest for the farmer's arrival in his truck. Then it's on behind the houses, past the horse enclosures and round to meet the road just before the left hand bend.
We cross and make our way up the hill. I avoid my tendency to veer to the right on this hill, and we come out at the crossing point.
We cross the community college's playing field, and walk down and up the dip where the horses and pig live - no sign of them today. Then on and into Uppingham. We have a very early break (only 2. 1 miles done). 

Along the High Street, past the cricket pavilion, then following the left hand track which leads across and open field and soon into Bisbrooke.  From Bisbrooke, past the church and through fields, over the dismantled railway, through a field of rape, over another field and down the steep steps into Seaton.

Turn right here, then left at Grange Lane, past the farm business buildings.  This fine figure of a bull is in a field - behind a fence.

It's not much over a mile now, along field boundaries, and then down a muddy bridleway and back into Lyddington. A pleasant wander in good company.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Cycling round Rutland Water

Without a camera . . . but will have to go back very soon for the bluebells in Barnsdale Wood are at their peak!

A lovely ride, mainly sunny and bright, although we met one brief shower and in places it was windy.

Map and details

Friday, April 25, 2014

Bradgate Park circular via Ulverscroft Priory and Beacon Hill

Thu, 2014 Apr 24 10:46 AM BST
With Harry, Maureen, Stuart and Rita. A fine walk, and weather improved. Decent views. 11 miles, give or take a whisker.

More or less the reverse of these two walks 11 Sept 2012 and 2 Sept 2012

We parked at Bradgate Park car park in Newtown Linford, rurned right out of the entrance and walked away from the park along the village main street, taking the footpath on our left, about 70 yards after the junction with Markfield Road.

View to Bradgate Park

This takes us through fields and woodland, over the stream, past Ulverscroft Mill and through more woods, eventually meeting a track which leads out on to Ulverscroft Lane.
A path to avoid after a lot of rain.

We turn left along the road with its fine houses, past the 'lovely' Polly Botts Lane, until we meet and cross Priory Lane.
We go straight ahead along the private road/public footpath, past the ruined priory. We take the right hand fork (waymarkers are clear), behind Ulverscroft Lodge Farm, and turn right along field boundaries, which we follow until we reach the drive to Black Hill.  Here we turn left and walk until we meet Beacon Road.  We turn right, and walk along the verge,as far as the cross roads. We go through the gate into Beacon Hill Country Park. At the charcoal burner we join the path to the left which heads north west parallel to the Shepshed Road.
Look, we have shadows!
A gate at the end leads into a path under an avenue of trees, leading uphill and north east.  

Spot the Old Man of the Beacon
At the top of this we follow  our noses and paths to the Old Man of the Beacon rock formation, and on to the trig point and toposcope.

Time for lunch, and admire the view. The sun has come out too. And there are swallows.
Down from the top via the tracks in the country park, coming out opposite the Broombriggs car park.

The viewing platform is open on Saturdays and Sundays
Next to this is our path, leading to Mill Lane and Woodhouse Eaves. From the junction of Mill Lane with Mapplewell Road we are following the route of the Leicestershire Round.
Dandelion days

Testing the technology
We turn left and walk uphill for a couple of hundred yards, then take the footpath on our left, down a lane, past garages and house, then into a field, across another and around and across parts of Lingdale Golf Course. All clearly signed! Across Joe Moore's Lane and a bit more golf course, before going uphill alongside Rough Hill Wood. We meet Benscliffe Road, where  turn left and walk to the junction.
The final climb

second lunch?

still smiling
On the other side is Hunts Hill car park, which takes us into Bradgate Park.

A short walk to the Old John Folly, where we have another break before going down to the ruins of Bradgate House, where Jane Grey spent her childhood, then along the path next to the river Lin.  Herds of red and fallow deer are in evidence.
The ruins of Bradgate House

Almost there!
In all around 11 miles.  Unfortunately we arrive back just as all the teashops are closing, and we are forced to buy ice cream instead. Shame!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Ashton to Salcey Forest circular

Thu, 2014 Apr 17 9:36 AM BST
With Maureen. Probably just over 10 miles. Lunch at SF cafe. A bit too much road coming out of SF, and too much close to the M1 - noisy. Otherwise very pleasant, pretty flat. Weather beautiful am, turned dull and cooler pm.
We park in Ashton (near Roade), and walk up past the church and the bright blue primary school. The path goes off to our right, under the mainline railway bridge, then turns at a right angle to bring us out on the Hartwell road.
We turn left and walk a short distance before turning right along a footpath. This takes us south east to a minor road. We cross this and take the footpath angling left across a field, well maintained and signposted.
It is easy to follow over two fields, then cuts a corner of a field near Hartwell Park Farm, follows a line of trees and joins the drive just after the farm gate. We walk along the drive towards the village, and turn right along a footpath just before another gate which leads to the road into the village.
This path follows the edge of the cultivated field, then goes into another grassy one and turns right. We follow it south west past Ravenshead farm, until we rejoin the Northamptonshire round footpath, and here we turn left, almost due east.
The path is clear through crops across two fields, then we get slightly confused. We know the direction to go, we know where we are  - heading towards the lane to Chapel Farm, but we choose the wrong side of the hedge. The real path goes through two wide farm gates, downhill. There is a sign, but it's not easy to see, almost concealed by the hedge. And yes, there are more footpath markers at the bottom of the slope. We don't take the NR this time, but head straight up to the lane, turn right for a short distance then take the path onthe left hand side. According to the map this goes through the medieval village of Hartwell, but we see no evidence of it. The path turns left and meets a different Hartwell Road. A left turn and just over a hundred yards of walking takes us to Stone Pit farm, where our path goes off to the right. We walk behind the farm, and across one field, through a hedge and into a more sheltered field with a grassy edge - perfect for a short break.
We follow the path along the hedge for a couple of fields, through some awkward gates, past a pond and Hartwell End House and Farm.  
Turn left and then right over a stile, then through a gate and the muddiest section of the walk. Turn left here and go into the next field, keeping straight on  (north west here) as far as Elms Farm, and turn right along the hedge.
Follow the field edge to the right again, then turn left into some very attractive woodland, spoiled only by the din of the M1. Celandine, primroses, a few bluebells, stitchwort are some of the flowers growing here.

Our path takes us through a tunnel under the motorway, then we turn left and walk through the grassland and trees of Sandpit Copse. Very noisy, of course. It's a relief to meet Forest road and walk away from the M1. At the crossroads we turn left into Wootton Road, and eventually into the car park and cafe area in Salcey Forest. Lunch. And a forty minute break. Then another mile or so of Wootton Road, which is quite busy today, so we have to keep hopping on to the verge, which is not designed for walking.  It also runs near enough to the M1 to be unpleasantly noisy with the wind from the west.  We pass the dismantled railway, which now seems to be the access road to the wind farm. A little further on at Quinton Green, we join the midshires way and walk west towards the M1. This time we cross it via a footbridge and head a bit further west. Now the wind is carrying the noise away from us. Judicious use of map, garmin and footpath signs (and diversion signs) keeps us on track. We follow the midshires way as far as the road, then turn left and walk as far as Ashton Lodge Farm. A footpath to the right goes through the yards behind, and we follow it , crossing the railway by a bridge, then crossing a road and picking up the footpath opposite which brings us into Ashton. We leave the footpath and take the road downhill past the school and church and back to the car.
At various points in this walk you can choose different footpaths for variation. The big disadvantage is the proximity of the M1!

Map and details

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Northamptonshire Round 5 - Ashton circular catch-up

Tue, 15 Apr 2014 10:15 BST
With Marta, around 8-9 miles. Beautiful weather, took it easy. Ate in Ashton.

We set off from near the pub inAshton (the Old Crown - who do a decent ciabatta+ salad +juice drink for £8). Follow the road towards Stoke Bruerne and take a path between two houses, to the left, near Vale Farm. 
Cross several fields past a stables, cross a track and some woodland, and follow the path southwest, then south until you reach the Grand Union Canal, at Lower Lock Farm.
water boatman in a trough

Turn right, north west, along the canal past three locks, then after a bigger gap a fourth one, and you are at Stoke Bruerne with its pubs, cafés and canal museum.

We stopped for a coffee, and unusually some chocolate cake, before leaving the canal. Cross the bridge and head towards Stoke Bruerne church.

The NR footpath goes right, just before the church. Or you can walk through the churchyard and join the path on the other side. It passes some houses and leads west towards Shutlanger. It crosses a minor road, goes through fields, one with what looks like an allotment in the middle of it, the next one full of sheep today, then past the monastery.

When you reach the junction of a road and a bridleway, opposite a private road, turn right towards the main road through the village.

Twitch Hill or High Street in Shutlanger lead on to Showsley Road, which you follow for half a mile past a dismantled railway, turning right along a bridleway where the road bends left. The path goes alongside a belt of woodland, and then past Nun Wood.

Female orange tip?
The signpost at the south end of Nun Wood is misleading - we turn right, then realise our mistake. Mr Garmin confirms this!
At the north end of the wood  the NR goes off ot the left, but our route today is to the right and we soon join the Midshires Way, then cross another footpath. Soon after this, at the end of the field, we turn left, and head pretty well east toward the road from Blisworth. We hear and then see a light plane taking off.

At one point we catch sight of the air shaft from the tunnel.
We turn right at the road  walk along for a hundred yards or so, then take the woodland path back to the canal. It joins the towpath just past the south end of Blisworth Tunnel.  
A short walk leads us to Stoke Bruerne again, but on a fine day close to Easter the waiting time for food is 40 minutes, so we plod on to Ashton, by road this time. It's a bout a mile and a half. Luckily for us the pub here is serving food, so we can have something more substantial than our emergency ration cereal bars!
We may try some more circular walks as we complete the NR walks.

Barnwell circular, via Armston

Mon, 2014 Apr 14 9:20 AM BST
Led by Barry with me and Maureen. Mostly good paths on clear fields. Not much mud. Fine if windy. Almost 8 miles.

We head south out of Barnwell, past All Saints Church - and take the non-Nene Way bridleway which leads across a dyke-cum-drainage ditch beyond Lower Farm.
The path turns slightly and leads south east over Barnwell Brook with its small sluice, and uphill slightly. There are cowslips and other flowers along the way. We join another bridleway, swinging slightly further towards the east and making for Bull Nose Coppice.
Here our path turns 90 degrees to head more or less northeast, then north, passing South Lodge Farm on our left, and heading to the minor road.  We can see the village of Thurning a mile or so away on our right.
We cross the Thurning to Barnwell Road, and skirt North Lodge Farm before resuming our course to the north. We're getting ready for a break, and find a sheltered spot with a fine view of the water tower.
We follow the field boundary for a couple of fields, then cross the Barnwell to Hemington road. We catch sight of Polebrook church some way ahead of us. The path goes straight ahead, turns left then right following field boundaries, then diagonally over another field, through a short stretch of woodland, and across a narrow field. It turns left and follows the hedge, then right and along until it meets a "privately maintained road, where we turn left, almost retracing our steps for a couple of hundred yards. We follow this road as it bends right and takes us into the hamlet of Armston.

The road swings left and as it bends to the right once more, our path goes off to the left, south east. It crosses a field and skirts Armston Grove woodland.
It continues in the same direction behind Barnwell Manor, eventually turning left and into the village.