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!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Brigstock - Deene - Kirby Hall - Gretton

Sat, 2015 May 30 9:52 AM BST
Part of Corby walking festival. An alternative part of Around Corby walk. Ten of us, led by Tommy Rodger. Several from Kettering Ramblers. Sunny and dry. Nine miles.

A motley crew
We gathered in Gretton and were transported to Brigstock to start the walk from the village hall. Back to the High Street, and then turning right up Old Dry Lane, which took us to the A6116. We crossed this and continued on old Dry Lane which becomes a bridleway through woodland, and eventually goes past Bocase Farm - the owner has provided the seat in the photo below, but it was too early in the walk for us today.

The Bocase boundary stone, and a seat provided for walkers
 From here we walked with Harry's Park Wood on our left, heading more or less north. We carried on at the corner of the wood, running right when we met a path junction, and very soon left to resume the northerly direction. The path took us to the A427 at Yoke Hill, and we crossed the road. 
Now we followed a path along the parish boundary, turning left and leaving the track on to the old airfield then following the path right and keeping the woodland of Weldon Park on our left. 

An unfortunate deer
This path led us past Lodge Farm and to the A43. We crossed this and walked along the drive to Priors Hall Golf Course for a shirt distance before taking a footpath off to the right through trees, over a field and through a small wood. Then it was across open fields towards Deene Hall magnificent in the distance.
Heading towards Deene Hall from the old airfield
Then it was time for a lunch break. It almost felt like summer.
We kept on the same path past the lakes as far as Home Farm, Deene, where we turned left and slightly uphill.
close to Deene Hall

At the point we turned left at Deene
We went past the woodland called the rookery, and through a slightly overgrown area, and a deer proof gate. Then across a large open field, and a smaller one, before turning to our right towards Kirby Lane, opposite the entrance to Kirby Hall. We walked down to the Hall, and took advantage of the open shop which sells tea and coffee.
It has to be Kirby Hall
From there we followed the public footpath through the gate by the shop, up the  hill to the gate and over the field diagonally downhill to the right to the cluster of four stiles. Then it was uphill to the gate leading on to the dusty track, and back to Gretton village hall.

Thanks to Tommy for a good leg-stretch!

Map and details

Thursday, May 28, 2015

East Carlton to Great Oakley via Wilbarston and Pipewell

Thu, 2015 May 28 10:04 AM BST
Part of Corby Walking Festival. With Tommy, Gordon and a group of Kettering Ramblers (14 of us in all). Fine sunny weather, dry conditions underfoot. 7.5 miles approx.

The route is part of Mel Jarvis's Around Corby walk - pages 12, 13 and 14.  I enjoyed not having to think about the route this time, and just following the crowd.

The section between Pipewell and Great Oakley is the most awkward, with overgrown paths, one field of barley with no path on the ground, and two sets of curious bullocks. An enjoyable walk, and better weather than we could have hoped for.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Illston circular via Rolleston, Gaulby, Kings Norton and Gartree road

This walk follows the same route as on 14 May, but is extended by about a mile.  Our first detour was to look at the Rolleston Estate's lake. Then later, from Kings Norton we took the path across the fields just downhill from the church. This took us to the Gartree Road track at the ford. We turned left and followed this back to the crossroads with Burton Overy Lane, and picked up the previous route past Illston Grange.

Leaving Illston

More campion
Rolleston Hall Lake

Billesdon Coplow

lemon and gold

Seat near Gaulby church

Kings Norton church

A fine sunny morning, with a coolish breeze. Just over 8 miles in all.

A profusion of wild flowers again.

Map and details

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Short stroll at Rutland Water

No more than three miles in all, mainly between Barnsdale and Whitwell car parks.

The woods were resplendent with bluebells a couple of weeks or so back - now there are just the ghosts.

There are other blue flowers

and pink (or should that be red?) campion

The roadside verges are  full of cow parsley at this time of year, complementing the may blossom on the trees.

Unfortunately Geoff Hamilton's drought garden is getting very overgrown.

A pity - it used to be a delightful quiet place to sit awhile.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

From Corby to East Carlton

With Maureen. Break at E Carlton cafe.There and back, apparently about 8 miles in all. A fine sunny warm day today for a change.

Over the fields via the bridleway from the junction to Danesholme on the A6003. More oilseed rape, but with a decent pathway, over a footbridge. The next field has no clear path, but the direction is shown on the waymarker, and is diagonally left towards the far corner.

Here is a narrow path through the hedge, and you keep a hedge on the left in the next field, turning slightly left through another hedge to walk with the hedge on the right. follow this as it bends right, until you come to a farm drive. Cross this and continue in the same direction. 

At the end of this field is a narrow strip of woodland. The path goes through this, emerging at another track. turn right and follow the track as it bends to the left and heads towards the A427.
These sections were full of wild flowers - lots of cow parsley and some glorious pink campion too.

Cross the busy road, and follow the path on the other side, through more trees and along the edges of fields until you reach the old Cottingham to Corby Road*. On the other side climb a stile and go through a field with horses. Soon you meet the Jurassic Way path. Turn left and follow this - great views over the Welland valley to the right - behind houses and downhill towards Middleton.  At the main road turn right past the Red Lion, then cross over to pick up the Jurassic Way between houses. This path takes you along the bottom edge of East Carlton Park - there are several paths in on the left, or you could do as we did and walk as far as the East Carlton village road and back up the hill past the church to the main entrance of the Park. 

We followed much the same route back, though we shortened it by walking through East Carlton Park houses, and on to the old road, before joining the path (at this point*) and retracing our steps.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Another short one

lThree miles and a bit along the Gretton to Rockingham path and back again.
A day of sunshine, showers, wind and dramatic skies.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A few short strolls

Saturday saw me walking another three miles or so at Rutland Water.

On Sunday I wandered around Burghley Park while Harry drew.

Sweet chestnut tree

and its leaves

On Monday we called out planned walk off as the weather was wet, but I did manage a local two miles or so.
On Tuesday we also cried off from a planned walk - hail showers were uninviting. We walked for a couple of miles from East Carlton Park, after a coffee kick start.
Horse chestnut flowers and leaves

I hope the weather is better later this week!  It would be pleasant to lose that chilly wind too.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Kirby Hall

Just a quick circuit of 4 miles. I saw two hares and almost tripped over a yellowhammer.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Illston-Rolleston-Gaulby-Kings Norton

With Maureen and Gordon. Weather much cooler and windier than the last couple of days. But no rain.
Something over 7 miles.

We set off from Illston village hall, walking back to the main road past the village, and taking the footpath from the junction over fields of lambs and a few cows. All clearly waymarked, leading us past Barn Farm and on to the B6047, near New Inn.

We crossed this road, walked a few yards to our right, and went past the Lodge into the Rolleston Hall estate, with its fine avenue of horse chestnuts - all in bloom, but lacking a fine blue sky backdrop today.  We passed sheep and lambs grazing in the fields, the stables and other houses, before turning to the left along a gated road to Billesdon. 

A couple of gates later our path headed off to the left, across one field, then along a second one, past a field full of young calves, eventually reaching Cranhill Farm, which is now a collection of rather fine houses.

At the road (B 6047 again)we turned right for a short distance before taking the gated road to Illston. This is a quiet road, and on our left was a fine bluebell wood. The smell was sweet and strong.

We walked past one footpath on the right and then came to another sign for two footpaths. We took the one going slightly to the left, through a gate covered in ivy, and sporting two horseshoes.
Billesdon Coplow 
This took us behind Ashlands, (more sheep and lambs) and then to a path downhill just inside a wooded area. At the end of the wood, the path goes right into a field, but keeps close to the edge. After another couple of fields with a hedge on our right, we came to the minor road between Illston and Gaulby. We turned right, and made our way uphill to Gaulby.  Luckily the benches were on the sheltered side of the church, and we had a very pleasant break - a drink and scones provided by Maureen.

From Gaulby to Kings Norton is a flat half mile or so on a quiet road. Then we turned left and downhill along the road to Illston. At a bend to the left we took the bridleway straight ahead, through more fields of sheep and lambs, and then one with masses of cows. 

We left them behind to complete this section on a track through arable fields, with a few dips and rises to keep the blood moving.

At the road (Burton Overy Lane), we turned right. Before long we reached the crossroads, and turned left, and almost immediately climbed a stile into a field (more sheep and lambs).

 The path leads behind Illston Grange, then downhill through an arable field, and up again toward Illston itself. We took the path which leaves the village street and houses on our left, and it eventually emerges via a "fat-man-squeeze" (kissing gate) not far from the village hall.

A few drops of drizzle decorated the car windscreen as we set off for home. 

Map and details

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Cox Tor circular

Walked on Thursday 7 May

From Higher Longford Cottages. About 5.5 Miles. Fine sunny morning, though the wind was noticeable on the open moorland.

We collected a map for this walk from the caravan site shop - a very useful facility, and many thanks to the person who worked it out. Here is the garmin trace of our walk

We turned left from the caravan site entrance, and walked for a couple of hundred yards before turning left at a crossroads on to a minor road towards Moortown. This road was lined with flowery banks, including one section where wild strawberry flowers promise good pickings in a month or so.  It dipped down for a while, towards Pennycomequick, then over a cattle grid to a moorland road turning to the left at a junction. It passes cottages named Lower Quarry and Higher Quarry, and the caravan site at Langstane Manor. 

Shortly after this the road bends to the right, but we took a footpath directly ahead with a farm over to our left. The path climbs for a while before heading left (north) and up to the car park.  No icecream van at 10am, and anyway it was a little windy. 

Over the road and up the wide grassy track to Cox Tor (442 meters high). Along the path we were accompanied by skylarks, and saw more when we paused for an essential coffee at the top. The views all around are spectacular.

The route down is unmarked, but best to keep slightly  left to avoid an area of largish rocks which make for tricky walking. We made for the minor road, then turned left to meet the track between walls leading into Collaton. It isn't indicated as a path here, but the other end has a fingerpost marked Public Bridleway Moor.

We followed the road to the junction and turned left. This road (from Peter Tavy) meets the B357 Pork Hill, at the crossroads near the start of the walk, so it was just a matter of turning left and heading back to the cottage.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Lydford Gorge and waterfalls

mMonday 4 May 2015

Another short walk, though this one is over more demanding terrain, as the paths climb and descend steeply on occasions, and can be slippery if at all wet.

Another National Trust property, and there is a one-way walking system - not a bad idea considering how narrow some of the paths are.  We started at the main entrance (near Devil's Cauldron) and followed the high level path through spring-green woodland, with the river Lyd far below on our right.

Once again the quantity and variety of wild flowers was astonishing, wild garlic, bluebells, wood anemones, wood sorrel, wild strawberry flowers and more. Ferns, tongue ferns, mosses grew on the steep rocky sides of the gorge, and on tree trunks.

There was plenty of birdsong, and we heard what sounded like a raven, and saw a jay as we walked. 

After a mile or so we came out to the other car park, close to the waterfall. Just in time for the tea shop to open and provide us with our mid-morning coffee. We looked forward to a more gentle stroll back alongside the river.  Beautiful it certainly was, but not gentle.

At first a steep descent, down steps to the Whitelady waterfall, which falls 100 feet rather like a white veil. 

Then a fairly rugged walk beside the river Lyd, which narrows to the Tunnel Falls section, where it has carved a way between rocks to form whirlpools and torrents. This reminded me of the Strid where the Wharfe narrows near Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire. For most of the way there is a handrail, particularly useful when the rocks underfoot are wet.

Beyond these falls, the river turns into a peaceful woodland stream until it reaches the Devil's Cauldron - another impressive narrow section.

Then a gentler walk to extend the gorge walk leads to a tranquil pool, where we watched a pair of grey wagtails flittling about catching insects.