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!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Fineshade - Kings Cliffe - Blatherwycke

With Maureen. 10 am Thursday 24 November. Dry but cold and cloudy. Just over 6 and a half miles. Surprisingly little mud or bog. The route is the same as this one.

From car park at Top Lodge, we walked through the cafe building and turned left, following the main track. Keep straight on past the Westhay Wood sign, ignoring all turns until you reach the wood yard above King's Cliffe.  We walked along the road downhill to the village, and crossed the main road. 

We took the path parallel to the main road, between it and the Willow Brook. It continues past allotments, and through a couple of fields and then to a footbridge over the brook. Keep the stream on your right until you reach Alders Farm - the path is clearly marked.  
We had to cross a ploughed field at this point, though it was pretty firm underfoot.  After this we kept along the hedge until the path divides. Follow the left-hand branch through the break in the hedge and along to Blatherwycke Lake.

We passed some young trees which should look good in autumn in a few years. The path continues, with clear signs. 

A rather fine building and the church lie to the left of the path.  The path itself leads to the southern end of the village of Blatherwycke.

We turned right along the road - in one of the gardens was this white peacock.
We had a fairly brief break on a seat on the far side of the bridge.

Our route continued along the road past Glebe Farm, and at the second turning to the left, the footpath leaves the junction and is clearly marked across three fields, then follows the edge of a fourth field round to the corner of Lynn Wood, where it joins the Jurassic Way from Wakerley Woods.

Fineshade Abbey stables came into view, and a field with Jacob's sheep.  We took the path uphill towards a small building, climbed the stile and followed the narrow path between two fences - with views of the ornamental lake. This path was a bit muddy.

The well-signed path heads across the meadow, into the woods and finally through a field until you reach the road from the A43 to Top Lodge.

We finished our outing with lunch at the Top Lodge cafe.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Along the Roaches

With Harry. Saturday 19 November. Very cold and windy, snow on the ground, sun in the sky. Some very boggy sections on lower footpaths, but a very satisfying walk all the same.
About 8 miles, with about 1000 feet of ascent, to a high point of around 1657 feet (505 meters).

When we woke up on Saturday morning there was plenty of snow on the ground, and the moon was playing hide and seek through the mist. After breakfast the mist had gone, and there was a hint of sunshine. 

We were staying at Anroach Farm, and set off along the drive/track, then turned right along a boggy footpath.

Clouds mimicking the shape of the rocks

A hardy horse

Across the boggy path
We headed southwest toward Gib Tor Rocks. 
From the rocks we followed the road west to a junction where we took the track to Moss End farm. Just before the farm our path branches off to the left going downhill between two walls. It was very muddy - not great!  When we reached the valley we found the footpath sign "To Roach End" - but still the conditions were not easy.
Onwards and upwards
We crossed the brook and climbed gently up to Roach End, (403 meters high)  where we met the road, crossed over and began the walk to the summit (505 meters). This part of the walk was cold and windy in parts, but underfoot conditions were much better, and the views were magnificent, with Tittesworth Reservoir to the south, and the dish of Jodrell Bank Observatory to the west on the Cheshire plain.
Tittesworth reservoir
 We even found a sheltered spot behind a large rock for our coffee break. 
Plenty of people up here on such a fine day to be out. There's parking space at the other end.
Up on the ridge is Doxey Pool - I was not tempted to dip my feet in today!
Legend has it that this pool is inhabited by a mermaid called Jenny Greenteeth , also known as the blue nymph. She fell in the pool on a foggy day whilst walking along the top of the Roaches. Ever since that day she has been enticing unsuspecting victims down to the pool and to their watery grave. . .

Looking down southwards

From the southern end of the Roaches
We passed groups of rock climbers, groups of walkers and the odd group who didn't look quite prepared for the conditions and were finding it tricky. If you wandered from the path the terrain was pretty rough and steep. 

Once on the path the way down to the road was straightforward. There is a tea room about half a mile towards Upper Hulme but we didn't visit it today.  
Hen Cloud - to the south of the Roaches
Instead we decided to head back following a footpath north and slightly east which meets a minor road where we turned right. We passed a couple of footpath signs and another road joined us from the right. At the junction with yet another road, near Newstone Farm we picked up a footpath which took us pretty well north all the way to Gib Tor Farm.

The terrain was rough, and boggy in places, but I have rarely met a patch as boggy and impossible to avoid as the last few yards before we reached the road at Gib Tor Farm.
Luckily it was less than a mile back to base from there, but it has taken two days for my boots to dry out! I'd do it all again, but would take spare socks next time.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Empingham circular via Rutland Water and Normanton

Thursday 17 November 2016.  7.5 miles.   
This was the same route as we followed in February 2014.  Time flies indeed. Just myself and Gordon.  Today's weather was windy and quite cold. There were plenty of clouds, but we felt no more than a few drops of rain. Autumn colours still in evidence, mainly from oak and beech trees.

We parked near Empingham church, then walked up the road, turned left and crossed the A 606 near the White Horse. We walked down Nook Lane and took the footpath which goes between two houses. 

There were no problems following the route today - all very clear across the fields, through the woodland, and across more grassland to the far end of the dam.
Then we turned left, crossed the dam
and followed the reservoir track round to Normanton car park.  
We paused for a break when we arrived at the tables near Normanton church. 

The weather turned less sunny after this and I took no more photos.
We left Normanton car park and turned left along the main road for a short distance, then turn right along the minor road leading to Ketton.  We passed Oak farm on our left, and after about the same distance again we took a footpath to our left just before Top Cottages, and about a hundred yards before a road junction. The path follows an overgrown and rather tumbledown wall.  It heads more or less north, past Normanton Lodge Farm and Whare Koa on our right. It joins a minor road with views of the reservoir and the dam on our left.  When the road bends to the right, at Normanton Cottages,  a path continues ahead. We kept to the road, following it to a T junction where we turned right.

After climbing gently for about 400 yards we took a path which turns sharp left and heads North. This is part of the Hereward Way. We crossed the A606 and continued north along the Hereward Way,  crossing another path, and emerging on to a small road just past a house.  Mill Farm is nearby, up the hill.

We turned left from the track and made our way over a footbridge and through a couple of fields, one with some placid bullocks, and into Empingham. We walked along Willoughby Drive, parallel to the main road, and found our path which goes alongside the church, emerging as Crocket Lane.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Brigstock, Bocase farm

Another short walk from Brigstock. Just over 5 miles. With Gordon, Maureen, Tommy, Norma. Eddie and me.

A damp day, not really wet, and quite warm. Some of the route near the Bocase stone was pretty muddy, but otherwise easy walking on field paths.

We saw a few red kites, but no sign of Robin Hood's ghost. There are rumours he hid hid bow in the original Bocase tree. Bow - cache? But as a Nottinghamshire-born person, i can't accept that!

No sign of the rumoured black panther of Brigstock/ Rutland/ Northants either.

We had lunch at the Skylark cafe in Brigstock Country Park.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Barrowden, Wakerley, Shotley, Harringworth

Monday 7th November, with Harry.  Seven and a half miles. fine cold morning, though there was some mud underfoot after yesterday's rain.

Pretty much as the walk a week ago.
There's still plenty of colour on Barrowden village green.

The leaves are falling now.

We walked past the old mill pond .  . .

across the field and under the disused railway . . .
through Wakerley with views of the lime kilns and Morcot windmill.
From the path above the Welland valley, the view of the viaduct and Harringworth is clearer today. We saw several red kites, a few buzzards and a couple of jays.

Back down in the valley, we walked through Shotley and Harringworth, and took the footpath just before the stables. We crossed Turtle Bridge and followed the footpath back to Barrowden.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Brigstock and Bocase Stone

Thursday 03 November 2016. With Gordon. Just under 6 miles, Flat, a little muddy along Harry's Park Wood.

We walked from Brigstock, starting in the main square. Just past the Green Dragon, we walked up Stable Hill, and turned left near the top along a footpath across fields to the A6116 . Not a bad place to cross, as you can see for a fair way in both directions. 

After climbing the grass bank on the other side, and the stile, we continued north east to Mounterley Wood and along the edge of Samby Sykes. Then it's a left turn to head north to the Benefield Road  at Lodge Cottages near Fermyn Hall. 

We didn't divert to look this time, but turned right and walked laong the road for about 100 yards, then turned  left along bridleway leading to Blackthorn Lodge.

A short distance before the end of the field, the route of the path cuts diagonally to the corner of Cockendale Wood, then continues along field edges, until we reach our path which turns left and continues just inside Harry's Park Wood. This section can be muddy, but there is a slightly longer route, if needed.  

Time for a rest?

In this place grew Bocase tree - probably a boundary marker between Brigstock and Benefield
see below.

Knight in armour

We continued for a mile or so to reach the Bocase Stone and Bocase Farm, then slightly downhill along the quiet road past Bushy Lawn Lodge and on to cross the A6116 once more. Again it's not a difficult place to cross. Then we follow a track slightly on the left on the other side of the road, taking us into Brigstock past the old boot factory. A few hundred yards and we were back at the main square.

Lots of red kites in evidence today - I always wonder if they're waiting for unsuspecting walkers to drop dead so that they can eat well.

Brigstock Woods Trail and info

Bocase Tree and Stone

Monument. Date indeterminate, probably C18. Limestone ashlar. Rectangular slab. Inscription at bottom of slab, "Here Stood Bocase Tree", and inscription at top of slab, "In This Place Grew Bocase Tree". Probably a forest boundary marker. (Markham, C.A., Stone Crosses of Northamptonshire, p.30).

Robin Hood in Corby?

In Corby can be found the magnificent Rockingham Castle - where records show a man called Robyn Hode was imprisoned in 1354. Robin Hood is not normally associated with this part of England, but there is a reference in Dryden’s Memorials Of Old Northamptonshire (1903) to a boundary stone near Brigstock called the Bocase Stone – so called, intriguingly, because Robin himself is said to have hidden his bow and arrows in a tree that once stood at the spot after slaying Sir Hugh de Hanville.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Barrowden, Wakerley, Shotley and Harringworth

Barrowden to Wakerley, Shotley and Harringworth.

Monday 31 October 2016. 7.75 miles. Led by Tommy, with Gordon, Norma and me.

From Barrowden village green, near the Marquis of Exeter pub, we walked east along Main Street, turning slightly right opposite Kings Lane, and joining Mill Street. We had a small delay while the owner of a bounty of apples insited on giving us one each, and provided us with a bag of windfalls to take home after our walk.

Mill Lane becomes a narrow path past the old mill and the millpond, then through a wooded area. Shortly afterwards a footbridge crosses the Welland - this path is part of both the Jurassic Way and the Rutland Round long distance walks.  

This path lead across the fields, under the disused railway, and into Wakerley. We turned right along the road, and soon came out of the village. We took the footpath where the road bends.
This has a good view of the old lime kilns and Barrowden church behind. 
Our path cuts off the corner of the fields and rejoins the road again. We turned right here.

There was a couple of hundred yards of road walking before we took the first bridleway (sign missing) heading more or less south towards the woods. It crosses a disused airfield and leads into Wood Hollow, which is at the south west end of Wakerley Woods.  There is a fairly wide path where we turned right (west). This leads out of the woodland and towards an open field. We turned slightly left, now heading northwest. We crossed a track, then more fields, turning left along the edge of a field, before the dip of the old quarry.

We passed some bales of straw, and paused for a snack, sitting on an old trailer. From here the path took us west and then slightly north, joining the Jurassic Way as it descends into Shotley.  On this section of the route there are superb views of the valley, featuring the viaduct and the windmill at Morcott . 

I must go back on a clearer day! 
 From Shotley we followed the path and then the road towards Harringworth village centre, turning right at the footpath just before the road to the stables.  This led us through a field of horses and to the Welland, which was on our left all the way to Turtle Bridge. The river was clear and calm today.

Up to the left along the track for a short distance, then before the old railway we turned right again keeping the trees on our left. After a few fields we crossed the old railway and carried on with it on our right for a short distance. The path then heads diagonally across the field and continues until it reaches the road with new houses.  We carried on to the crossroads and followed the road into Barrowden and back to the green. We stopped for lunch at the Community shop and Café.

This is a remarkably pleasant scenic route, and the climbs are pretty gentle.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Pitsford Water clockwise

Friday 27 October 2016 - 7 miles.  With Marta.  The default walk, when we haven't got a plan!

Large flocks of lapwing along the causeway - they all flew off bar this one!

Dramatic lighting effects

Sun and shadow


A spindle tree