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 27, 2015

Lyddington Uppingham and back via Stoke Dry hill

Monday 27 April, 9.30 am. With Mel, Norma, Chris and Marion,  Chris, Sue, Jill, Tommy, Maureen, Steph, Terry, Liz, Phil and me. Dry, sunny, no real wind. Conditions underfoot very dry!  About 7 miles.

A sunny morning saw fourteen of us meet in Lyddington for this walk. We walked along the road to the footpath leading uphill via stiles and fields of sheep and lambs towards Uppingham Community college. 

The path goes across the playing field and downhill and up on a wooded path which emerges eventually at Uppingham market place - either via a back alley, or through the churchyard.
We stopped for coffee at the benches opposite the market place - there are a couple of cafes nearby which sell decent takeaway coffee.
We turned along High Street West,  past the school and Uppingham Theatre and some splendid floral displays, before joining Stockerston Road where a public footpath took us off to the right.  From this high viewpoint we had some wide views of rural Rutland.
A left turn with the hedge on our right took us past King's hill Lodge, and back on to the Stockerston Road. We turned left and walked for a hundred yards or so. Our footpath was on the right, and took us along the Rutland Round past Stoke Dry Wood emerging above the village of Stoke Dry at Manor Farm. The views over Eyebrow (! autocorrect?)  Eyebrook are excellent.

We turned left and walked to the A6003. We crossed this and took the footpath to the left, rather than the road down to Lyddington. The way was very straightforward, and soon the village was in sight.
Not long before we arrived back at the cars.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Great Oakley, Newton, Little Oakley

Thursday 23 April

With Maureen. A fine sunny day after early cloud. In all about 8 miles.

We walked down to the Spread Eagle - around a mile before starting the walk proper as described in Mel Jarvis's "Around Corby" book. 

From the pub you walk through the tunnel under the road. When this reaches another road, turn right over Harper's Brook, and then left on the other side of the road. The path goes behind some houses and emerges onto a small road. Today the flowers were lovely in the first garden. We turned right along this lane and right at the end, taking a small path on the opposite side of the road we reached.  After around 100 yards we reached Woodlands Lane, and turned  left. We walked to the end of this, ignoring two footpath signs on the way.
After a turn to the right, there is a path through a metal gate, and over a bridge. There is a paved path going up to the top left corner of the field, leading to the road with the old station building, slightly to the left.

Old station building and the footpath we didn't take
At this point we walked along the road, turning left at the first road, then under the railway bridge and onto the bridge over the new Geddington bypass. After the road bridge we turned left and followed the footpath parallel to the new road until it turned right, along the old route. It crossed a stream and then went uphill with the hedge on our right. After the first field, the path headed diagonally to the left. At the highest point near an electricity pylon it crossed another path. We paused for a snack before taking the path continuing our line of travel. This was clear on the ground.  The path led us to the road between Newton and Geddington. Today we chose neither, but turned very sharply left along the nearby footpath leading back towards Little Oakley. The two paths form a V shape in the field.

We followed the instructions in Mel's book, across the first field, through the hedge, across the second field and through another hedge.  There is a hedge on the right. We walked alongside this through a short section of a field, then through another hedge. 
Up here we here the whistling call of the peewit (lapwing), and see a few flying around. We misread the instructions at this point and ended up in a corner near a pylon, with no way through. A short retracing of our steps to a track we should have taken to the left, slightly uphill brought us back to where we should be. We followed this until we could see Little Oakley ahead of us - see picture below.

The track joins a road into Little Oakley just before the stream. Just afterwards the path turns left into a field. Slightly awkward gate. Then it follows the stream before heading towards the new bypass once more. There's a slightly dodgy very small stream crossing.  This time we see the viaduct on the other side, and cross over using the underpass.

Looking back
We go under the viaduct and follow the path past a private road to Oakley Hall and into the parkland near the church area. We walk through and back out into Great Oakley, turning right and taking Levin Road back up to the  mini roundabout, and then left to the main Corby to Kettering road at the big roundabout.

Map and details

Wildlife noted - lapwings, and the first male orange tip butterflies I've noticed this year.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Welland - Crowland to Cowbit

Tuesday 21 April 2015

With Marta. Along Welland then road, return via bridleway and minor roads. Sunny and quite warm! Alas, no pub in Cowbit. More like 10.5 miles, I think, according to the map and my internal mile counter.

Crowland greeted us with thatched animals - a(nother) cat . . .

a large bird - possibly a cormorant

and then not quite an animal but a cup and saucer on the roof of the Old Copper Kettle tea shop.  This tempted us to start the day with a coffee and toasted teacake in comfort. 

We took the car just out of the town so that we could start our walk along the Brown Fen Waterway trail along the right bank of the Welland.
Just before we joined the path was this notice giving information about the enormous floods caused when the snow melted after the severe winter of 1947.
Walking occupied most of my attention, as the path was quite uneven underfoot, and the wind was against us. A couple of miles of this proved quite demanding, though we saw great crested grebes, mallards, swans, not to mention a couple of deer which had trapped themselves on the wrong side of the fence near the river. One leapt over, and we can only hope the other joined it.  Just as we left the river bank we saw swallows flying around a small sluice gate. We followed a path to the right, crossed a drain via a footbridge and reached a small quiet road halfway between Cloot House Farm and Brotherhouse (Toll) Bar. 
At the junction with a busier road is St Guthlac's Cross, an old boundary marker for the estate of Crowland Abbey. We couldn't decipher the inscription, but according to Wikipedia it said "Hanc Petra Guthlac" - This is Guthlac's stone.  It dates from around 1200.  the plinth is modern, as the stone has been moved from its original position.

We took the road to the right, scorning the bridleways marked on the map, thinking they could be tricky walking. The road wasn't too bad - just a tad too busy to be pleasant.
It took us to a few houses with the  unlikely name of Peak Hill, before finally reaching Cowbit  - pronounced Cubbit, according to the village website.

Unfortunately for us the village pub was demolished some time ago, so we feasted on cereal bars and our flasks of coffee. It felt like the back of beyond, but is only four miles from Spalding, and is on the bus route from Spalding to Peterborough, via Crowland. Were we tempted? Not seriously, since the weather was so fine, and now we knew we were shortening the distance left with every step.
Cowbit Church - St Mary's.
For the return leg we took the bridleway parallel to the road, over Cowbit Wash, as far as Brotherhouse Bar, then we walked along the quiet road, with a few school run cars at this time. We caught sight of a small muntjac peering out from a field of rape.  The road turned left at a right angle at Cloot House, carried on past Little Lodge Farm, twisting to the right then the left and eventually brought us into Crowland, not far from the Abbey. 

A walk which seemed longer than it was took us through the town and out along the Gravel Causeway to the car. Further than we've walked for a while - probably a whisker over ten miles.

Corby Woods

On Monday 20 April

With Maureen - and exploring the bus services!

  My camera hand was still shaky  but we managed a four mile walk in good weather. Then coffee and teacakes at the boating lake.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Murmuration week

A few of the photos Harry too of the murmurations of starlings at Barnsdale, Rutland Water during the week of March 19- 23. Every evening was different, all were fascinating to watch, one or two verging on the spectacular.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Eclipse of 20 March 2015

I have still not walked as much as usual, but we did see the solar eclipse under clear skies on Friday 20 March
The light dimmed noticeably, and it felt cooler for a few minutes. Not the drama of a total eclipse, but worth watching, through eclipse glasses, or projected on to card.
I shall scrounge a couple of photos. Photos by Harry!