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, September 28, 2015

A week away - not country walks, but lots of walking

A week in Rome proved to be even more enjoyable than I'd expected, from the apartment near the Mercato Trionfale to the miles we walked during the week - most days eight or nine.
If you're interested there are lots of snippets and pics on my other blog 

Lowick, Twywell, Drayton Park

Mon, 2015 Sep 28 10:09 AM BST
With Maureen and Gordon. Late start after eclipse! Moonstruck leader wandered a little before finding the way. Around 7 miles in beautiful weather.

We parked on Drayton Road, near Mill Lane, then took Main Street out of the village.
Lowick "cathedral"

A door to the "Old George"
 We walked south out of Lowick, past Robb's Lane to where a footpath goes to the right, shortly before Aldwincle Rd on the left. The path crossed a field and a footbridge. At this point we must have missed a path straight ahead, since we did a detour around the field, and ended up slightly too far south, before making our way back. Eventually we were heading south west, parallel to Drayton Road, along a "byway" past a large locked farm building.
After crossing a farm road, the byway became trickier to follow, but we made our way, turning south, to the junction of the roads to Twywell and Slipton.  A large block of concrete , close to some splendid blackberries made a good place to stop for a break.
The juiciest fruit is always just out of reach - luckily for the birds.
 We took the Twywell road for almost a mile - it's noisy because it's very close to the A14, but there is not much traffic on the road itself.  We couldn't find the path behind the village to the south west - we had a couple of tries to find it from the Hills and Dales path, but gave up and hit the road instead.
Toll Cottage with its rounded wall

I thought this gal and her mate were pigs from a distance!
 When we came out of the village we took a footpath to the right,leading past Manor Farm, intending to turn left and join the path to Slipton. 
 More llama/alpacas . . .
 Our path took us north east and down into a deep cutting.
 We decided to follow this path and miss out Slipton on our way to Drayton Park. There were a couple of recently ploughed fields - at least the mud was dry, but they were quite tough going.
One field down, one to go!
After this we followed the edges of more fields and came on to a wide track just beyond Home Farm. We had to continue in the same north easterly direction, and the track took us to Drayton House, turning south east briefly, then north east again and downhill all the way back into Lowick.
 According to the Historic Houses Association, visits can be arranged at a price, and minimum group size 12. They describe it as still very much a family home, as it has been for 1000 years!  More info here.

Another enjoyable walk in spectacularly good weather.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Ryhall, Belmesford, Essendine, Tolethorpe

Thu, 2015 Sep 24 9:29 AM BST
With Gordon and Maureen. A fine autumn day, with a chilly wind from the West. Underfoot good. Very pleasant walk. About 8.5 miles in all.

The same route as we took on March 14 2011. Autumn is a good time for this one. The hedgerows were full of fruit, haws, rosehips, apples, blackberries, sloes all glowing on the plants.

From the car park outside Ryhall village Hall [036107](opposite the library), face the road and turn left, past the school and across a field footpath to Belmesthorpe. Cross the Gwash on a footbridge and go along Belmesthorpe Lane, turn left on Shepherd's Walk, then right on Castle Rise. Just after a left hand bend here's a footpath sign on the right hand side.   This  takes you across a small section of arable land. 

Then there are the llamas/alpacas and pot-bellied pigs.

After less than half a mile you turn left on to a wide bridle way, between hedges, which you follow for just under a mile until it joins a minor road to Uffington. This is marked as the Danelaw Way.  A section of road walking follows - turn left towards Essendine, and follow the road for a good mile and a half. About halfway along you cross a disused railway line - there is some serious work underway here.  The line once joined the main line not far away. After a right-angle bend to the right, the road emerges on to the A6121 between Stamford and Bourne. There's a good pavement alongsdide this, and in a fairly short distance you cross the road to take a footpath on the edge of a wood. 
Autumn colours in evidence now.
 Follow the path as far as the B1176 - we stopped for a break just before the road, which is quiet. We turned right along the road, and very soon took a more minor road to the left. This brings you to some houses just south of  Ryhall Heath Farm.  There is a somewhat hidden footpath sign to the left.   The track is on land belonging to Walk Farm, and goes through a couple of stile/gates which make this clear.

The tiny white dots are seagulls
There's a junction where we turned left, slightly downhill.  Follow this until you reach the minor road between Ryhall and Great Casterton.

Turn right along the road - it can be rather busy. Go past the turning to Tolethorpe and at the next bend take a footpath to the right. 
Here we were greeted by some curious sheep, who seemed to want to be photographed.
 The footpath goes down to the river Gwash, and follows it to meet the road in Tolethorpe, at the bridge over the river. Here we turned left, then right.
 We wandered along the footpath behind the old mill out of curiosity, but you can't see Tolethorpe Hall from there, though it is quite picturesque.

We returned to the road, and turned right (uphill). Where the road bends to the right we turned left on to a footpath which took us back to Ryhall, past some free range chickens in a field.
 We reached the main road, crossed over and followed Balk Road, past Spinney Lane to return to the Village Hall.
Dovecot near Ryhall Village Hall
A more attractive walk than I remembered from three and a half years ago.  We saw a few red kites and a buzzard today.
Map and details

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Fosdyke saga

Fosdyke Bridge circular
Tue, 2015 Sep 8 11:03 AM BST
With Marta. Still following the Welland as it makes its way through the marshes to the sea. Just under 10 miles, very flat. Dull weather with occasional spots of drizzle.

More details at the Walking Britain webpage:

We start the day with a cup of coffee - this is getting to be a habit. There's a friendly little café called The Moorings, and they are happy for us to park outside.

The bridge carries the busy A17 over the Welland, so we walk past the Yacht Haven, on the north bank, then cross to the south bank, past the The Ship Inn.

Later on the pub was just "Open"  "Open"
 We find the bridleway just before the caravan storage park.  It's about two miles on the path along New Sea Bank to some trees and a nature reserve.
At the trees we turn left towards the river and round to the right towards the Environment Agency's compound at Stone Quay. Little evidence of stone and a very small quay, but some smoke from a bonfire tended by employees.

A hundred yards or so past Stone Quay is a deep drain and a footpath going to the right. We take this and follow it for a sheltered half mile or so, until it turns left at a WWII pillbox.
Time for a snack. (I know, I know . . .)

It amused me to try out the panoramic view on my phone camera. The car (not ours) was parked very close to the pill box.
Good health, one and all!
When these pill boxes were built, they would have been closer to the marsh and the sea, but more land was reclaimed in 1948.

We head east for a couple of miles along the Old Sea Bank. There's a kestrel hovering, but not much other birdlife in evidence. We pass another pill box, and at the third one, turn left to head towards the Welland again.  We are disappointed that we can't see the river - there is a wide section of marsh. We can just about see Boston Stump, though it's rather a grey prospect today.
With the wind behind us we promise ourselves another stop after Stone Quay.  There's a lone heron by a marshy pool, a couple of ducks, and even two deer leaping over the fields towards the trees. Apart from these and a little egret earlier the wildlife isn't much in evidence.
We stop briefly by the gate to the nature reserve, have the tiniest piece of chocolate, and like giants refreshed set off to cover the remaining mile and a half back to Fosdyke Bridge.
This is as close as we got to the sea!

Disappointing weather, but an enjoyable walk nonetheless - until the wasp nest incident at the end!  We think the tractor mowing the long grass ahead of us may have disturbed a nest, and the wasps decided I was responsible - I did not know I could run so fast! Antihistamine tablets will now be added to my walkers' first aid kit, alongside the usual cream - now freshly bought and not out of date!
(added after Harry "outed" me on facebook!)

Monday, September 7, 2015

Weston, Sutton Bassett, Welham circular

Mon, 2015 Sep 7 9:35 AM BST
Led by Mel. With Jackie, Tim, Norma, Chris, Sue, Terry, Tommy, Jill and me. Fine and dry. Just over 7 miles.

A very pleasant morning's walk through fields and lanes, beginning and ending at the Wheel and Compass, in Weston by Welland.  We walk toward the village, turning left and then right near the church on to Sutton Road. Before long a footpath goes off on the left and climbs uphill. When we reach the signpost which points in six directions we take the turn to Sutton Bassett, which goes down into the valley passing Lodge Farm, and its noisy but non aggressive dogs. At the road we turn left not taking the immediate left turn, but keeping on the B664 for a short distance before the footpath continues off to the right.  We walk west for a while, and have a snack break, in the company of a friendly chicken - escapee or free range? 

 We head west for around a mile, then meet the lane between Bowden and Welham.  There is a mile and a half of road walking - but very quiet - we met one car and one bicycle.  The lane comes out near Welham church. We continue past the Red Lion and take the footpath just over the road, heading north east alongside the Welland.
 We cross the dismantled railway and reach Green Lane, where we turn right.

Another mile or so of very quiet road brings us back to the starting point, and our destination for lunch.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Along the valley to Caldecott

We went down to the Welland, hoping to see the kingfisher again. We had just a glimpse of a blue flash speeding over the water. Otherwise there were swallows, martins, a couple of teenage cygnets, the usual wood pigeons, a heron and a red kite. 

We had a stroll into Fairchild's Wood, too. I was looking out for ripe blackberries, but found none.

A rather irritating map, which is orientated in the wrong direction!

A bit more info about Fairchilds Lodge Farm.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

From Spalding (Springfields) to level with Surfleet Seas End

Thu, 2015 Sep 3 11:27 AM BST
With Marta, following the Welland. From the Springfields Centre, along the right bank of the river, as far as the point where the river Glen joins the Welland. Then back. Quite a chilly wind. As expected no way to cross the water near Surfleet. About 9 miles.

As usual, after a drive of around 50 minutes, we needed coffee before starting to walk. Hence the late start. We had thought of including a ride on the water taxi, but in the end didn't have time to spare today.
Once we'd found the route, a path beside the river starting from the water taxi boarding point, we headed downstream, following the bridleway along the bank . 
Looking back from the sluice near Springfields

A cormorant . . . with extra legs. . .

cabbages . . .

plenty of herons . . .
. . . a hovering kestrel . . . lots of swallows, swooping low, but too fast for me to snap.
lively skies . . .

the River Glen at Surfleet Seas End. . . no bridge here, though

Heading back towards Spalding

We did a mile or so extra to see this moat, but could see no way to view the ruins of St Nicholas chapel, and a deserted medieval village. Wykeham Hall was once the country residence of the Prior of Spalding.

wild or escaped plums

Rowan, or mountain ash
Another coffee before we left - a lovely walk in spite of the chilly wind, with a tiny hint of the sea ahead.