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, August 24, 2015

East Carlton, Wilbarston, Pipewell airfield

Led by Gordon. Nine of us in all. A six mile walk in pleasantly cool conditions before the heavens opened - just as we reached East Carlton cafe in time for lunch.  no rush, we had a break at the airfield halfway round.

No map today.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Rockingham to Gretton and Sondes Arms

Thu, 2015 Aug 20 9:05 AM BST
With Maureen, Gordon, Barry and Harry. Wet grass, but not muddy. Cloudy and quite muggy. Lunch at Sondes Arms. On computer distance is given as 6.6 miles.

A short walk and a birthday meal for Gordon and Barry. 

Tiny jay feather

Ripening sloes

Away we go

A merry crew

She calls the cows home

All eaten up and ready to go

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Warkton, Grafton Underwood, Cranford St Andrew

Mon, 2015 Aug 17 9:22 AM BST
With Gordon. Weather fine and dry, some sun. Mostly good paths, a few ploughed fields, but dry. Just under 10 miles. Fairly flat.

I was looking for a walk nearby that would cover some new ground.  Warkton and Grafton Underwood fit the bill.  Why haven't we walked there? The walk is on the edge of the Explorer Map, and needs some folding and unfolding. So I packed the Landranger map as well.

We set off from a side street in Warkton, taking a path directly opposite the road, heading east between two houses, then over a stile and along a path between hedges. Another stile took us into a field with an avenue of lime trees. The sheep were having a lie-in, and moved reluctantly as we made our way through. 
It was tempting to follow the line of trees, but a map-check showed that we cross them to the left diagonally. We found our route waymarked, over a stile and alongside a field, then across a private estate road. Cows in the next field came to see us through the gate at the end.
The next section involved keeping the same direction across a couple of ploughed fields with no clear path yet, and then by the left hand side of a small wooded area and another couple of ploughed fields. It's that time of year, and luckily the ground was dry.
Some of the signage leaves a bit to be desired.
So we are on right path?

Oh yes!
We continued along paths which led into Grafton Underwood, through a field with horses, and one sheep which saw us and ran towards us - we thought it was a pet until it headbutted its way through the broken dog gate at the stile and went to join its fellows in a paddock close to the houses. 

Grafton Underwood is an attractive village, with the stream running beside the road, and, early as it was, the bench by the bridge was not to be resisted.
Ducks and a cat watched us without pestering.

It was agreeable walking through the village, next to the brook.

The next section involved a bit of road walking, south to the crossroads, then left as far as the first footpath sign on the right. The path runs more or less south along field edges, then swings right (west) to meet the road. A little tricky to be sure you're on the right track here, but we were close to the pathline.
We turned left for another section on the road into Grafton Underwood, where we were ambushed by the Old Forge café. 
Opposite the café is a road called Top Dysons. This is our route and leads to a bridleway, good and clear. We turned right to head north just before Grange Farm, but there are several footpaths and bridleways around here.  

We continued slightly east of north as far as the road between Grafton and Warkton. After a mile of dodging the cars - just a few too many to make it pleasant, we arrived at the estate road, and rejoined the path we started on, crossing the lime tree avenue once more.
Lime Tree Avenue with sheep
This was a much pleasanter way back into Warkton.

Garmin machine says 10.2 miles, but when I synched it with the computer programme the distance given is 9.7.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Manton, Brooke, Egleton circular

Thu, 2015 Aug 13 9:10 AM BST
With Gordon.  Grey day, but dry. Good views as usual. Around 8.9 miles.
We set off from Manton, and took the footpath to the west (left) opposite the Horse and Jockey.  Way marking at the end of the field not perfect, so we ended up walking through some nettles, and climbing a wire fence on to the verge of the A6003, slightly south of where we should have been. We picked up the path across the road, and followed it through a couple of fields, past a farm. When we arrived at a freshly harvested and ploughed field we took the path of least resistance and followed the field edge uphill to join the bridleway, which is a much easier route to follow.
Martinsthorpe Old Hall Farm, which is surrounded by fencing, and being worked on, is a landmark to keep us on track. It is the only conspicuous surviving trace of a seventeenth century country house and the site of an earlier medieval village.

 The views on both sides from the ridge are good, but not very photogenic on a grey day. The path  becomes a track, just after Old Hall Farm, then a road past America Lodge, to a crossroads. Here we continue straight ahead towards Braunstone. The road is flat for a distance, then loses height. In the valley the Leighfield Way path turns off to the right, and we take this path, past animals we must not feed, but which seem friendly and interested in us as we pass by.

 We follow the path between hedges then over a stile and a footbridge and along the edge of a field, coming to the road near Brooke Priory and Dovecot.  We turn right and walk uphill to the present day village. There are lots of humps and bumps in the ground - earthworks on the map.

A bench on the green in front of Brooke church is handy for a break. We take the road to the left of the church, past Bridge Farm, and Hillside Cottage, which is still derelict, and uphill following the Macmillan Way. At a junction we take the right hand fork past Brooke Covert East, and gradually downhill with views of Oakham to the north and Rutland Water to the East. 
We cross the railway line and follow Hambleton Road to Egleton, then the cycle track all the way back to Manton.
Not a drop of rain fell while we were out.

Map and details

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Holcot, Pitsford, Moulton, Holcot

Same route as August 8th 2011, with extra half mile detour, and the reverse direction of the walk from 15th August 2014.

Thu, 2015 Aug 6 9:26 AM BST
With Gordon and Maureen. Early light drizzle gave way to bright warm sunshine, with a slight breeze. . An interesting walk, with a detour to the ruins of Boughton church. Coffee break in Pistford, and pit stop in Moulton at jgallery.  Dry underfoot, most paths good. 10.5 miles.

From Holcot, the footpath goes to the left soon after Glebe Close, and heads across a field to a stile in the hedge. 
The view over Pitsford Water is grand as you climb the stile, though the early morning grey doesn't do it justice.

The path continues with the reservoir below on the right, past the cricket pitch with mock Tudor pavilion, thatch-covered scoreboard, and the cupola and bench commemorating a local businessman.

We cross the road which leads to the cricket ground, and continue until we reach a wide grassy section. here the footpath turns left and uphill for a short stretch before turning right and carrying on roughly south west above Moulton Grange Farm.

  The path does not go down to the farm, but goes straight ahead through some trees. It's quite narrow and not way-marked - easy to miss from this direction.  It goes past Grange cottages and the entrance to Moulton Grange, Grange Road Car Park for Pitsford Water, and on into the village of Pitsford. On the second small green is a bench just asking us to sit and have a break.

We continue through the village and when the road bends right, our path lies straight ahead - a clear route between fences along the edge of fields - and there are already a few ripe blackberries on the bushes. We reach Pitsford Road and cross to walk along Spectacle Lane, past the ford and old mill, and past the folly (The Spectacle).
Too close this time!
At the end of the Lane, at Holly Lodge, we turn right along the surprisingly busy Boughton Road. It's about a quarter of a mile to the remains of St John's Church, Boughton Green. The church fell into disuse in the 16th century, but in the churchyard there are twenty-first century graves.

We return to Holly Lodge, built by the Jeyes family,
 with its iron gates containing twelve agricultural tools.
The gates include replicas of 2 hay forks, 2 sickles, a scythe, a rake, a shepherd's crook, a ditch cutter, a stable fork, a flail, a spade and a woodman's axe.
A few hundred yards after Holly Lodge we turn right on to a footpath - a welcome escape from the road. At the end of the first field the path goes left, but was very overgrown.

Luckily we were all wearing long trousers - there were a few nettles to trample.
Once through the path was simple, along a few field edges, then behind houses, turning left at Moulton School, and into the village. We succumbed to the temptation of jgallery's coffee and cake.
We have barely two miles walking left, and head north east from Moulton, past Overstone Grange, the Old Rectory, surrounded by cedars and pines, as far as Rectory Farm, where we turn 90 degrees left and head north west to Holcot and the car.
A quicker way to travel . . .
The corn was as high . . .
Wild life - swallows over the cornfields, a buzzard or two, a colony of coots.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Twyford, Ashby Folville, Thorpe Satchville, Burrough on the Hill

Mon, 2015 Aug 3 9:30 AM BST
With Maureen and Gordon. Fine dry weather, undulating terrain, good views. 8 miles or so.

We set off from the church in Twyford, taking the path at the end of Church Lane. We walk behind houses along a leafy path, with Jack-in-the-pulpit sitting in the hedge bottom. 

Then we cross the main road, B 6047, and take Ashby Road directly opposite. After a short distance we pass the bench honouring Tom Holland's hundred years in the village in 2005, and our footpath leaves on the left near this. As usual Leicestershire's yellow way marker posts are helpful, though there are plenty of stiles along this part of the walk.
We walk through a pasture with a pony and a sheep, who clearly has no fear of humans. A man nearby tells us to slap her on the nose if she causes any trouble. She doesn't.
The route with stiles takes us between fences and round a large house. All of the time we have Gaddesby Brook somewhere on our left.
After the house we cross three fields and walk under a line of electricity pylons. The path continues northwest over four fields, then meets the road into Ashby Folville. 
We look round the village, including the gravestone to Sarah Smalley, near the church door.
Here lies
Sarah Smalley
who was a faithful
servant to
William Smtih
of Barsby
who departed this life
December 6th 1859
aged 83 years.
The weary wheels of life
stood still at last.

She may have her reward in heaven, but her earthly life was surely hard work.
Pargeting on cottages in Ashby Folville.

Beams can be seen on the house near the church.
We go back past the white cottages, and pick up the footpath. It looks as though it goes through a private garden, but the yellow signs reassure us, and we boldly go on. We cross a field with a few cows and arrive at a cornfield. We miss the exact path, and make our way round the edge of the field. It has been walked before, but is quite overgrown with grass and goose grass.  No matter, we rejoin the path - unfortunately a lot of the yellow posts are not visible until we are on top of them. Clearly designed for people walking the other way round! 

The path led us downhill and under the disused railway bridge.
In the next field we could see no yellow post.  Our route was through a gate partly hidden by two fine horses.
From here it was way marked to Thorpe Satchville church. Four miles in, and time for a break.
Our path towards Burrough on the Hill began opposite Thorpe Satchville Garage, and went through a playground area, and a pasture with cows before hitting the dreaded golden oats, wheat and barley oh. Here paths were mostly ok, though not easy.
As we approached Burrough we looked back for fine views of the Charnwood Hills.

A short section of road, then we took a path on the left which soon joined a bridleway. Easy walking, and wide views made this very enjoyable. We took a footpath to the right which led us gently uphill. A pause for water and some oranges, then downhill into Twyford via Hollands Lane.
Thistle seed heads

Ah, it feels like summer again!