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!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Empingham to Barnsdale Woods

Thursday 26th April with Maureen. In search of bluebells. About 8.5 miles. Chily and mostly cloudy with a few glimpses of sunshine.

From Empingham village, we crossed the main road and walked down Nook Lane to the footpath between two houses. Through a gate and down across the field. we climbed a stile and followed the path to the entrance to the woods. Then it was over a stile and a plank bridge, through the woods, over another stile, across a field and another stile. This brought us out below the dam.  We kept the fence on our right and headed for the gate which meets the entrance road to Sykes Lane car park.

After this we followed the path to Whitwell and then to Barnsdale. The bluebells were out in force.

 We then returned to Empingham and lunched at the Orchard cafe, Welland Garden Centre in Uppingham.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Foxton Locks to Lubenham and Marston Trussell.

With Marta. About 8 miles.  Weather sunny at times, with a few showers.The same walk as on April 19th, but starting from the Foxton Locks long-stay car park, then taking the path from the bridge, heading south east over the fields toward Holme's Farm and the fishing lake, with its horses nearby. (More detailed instructions in the previous post.) we crossed the road between Foxton and Lubenham and walked into the village via the path at the bottom of Mill Hill, through the recreation ground.

Rather a fine-looking beast
After we crossed the main road, our way through village took us along Rushes Lane, past the Tower House and the church, across the Wealland and under the double arched railway bridge.

 The Tower House was the home of BJ (Cherry) Angell, the owner of the horse which won the first National Hunt Challenge Cup, run in Lubenham and the precursor of the Grand National.

We had a quick look at the moat of Thorpe Lubenham Hall.
 Then we took the footpath across the field below the hall,  crossed the drive at the bridge and followed the Welland along to the road into Marston Trussell.
Although the sky was grey when I took the photo, we had some sun, and very little rain.

We retraced our steps through to Lubenham, crossed the road and took the path through the recreation ground, but this time continued straight up Mill Hill, leaving the beacon to our left.

As before we folllowed a clearly marked path, to the left of Gartree prison, eventually coming out close to the school in Foxton. We got slightly wet at this point walking through 
a field of wet oilseed rape plants.

We took the road into Foxton for a few yards, then the footpath on the right hand side, which took us behind Foxton church and into the village.

We turned left then right at the junction, in order to join the canal towpath at North Street.
It's about half a mile to the locks. We had lunch at Bridge 61, and were lucky to escape the heaviest shower of the day while we ate.  The walk up past the flight of locks and back to the car park completed our day.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Grafham Water anti-clockwise.

Monday 23 April. With Marion, Maureen, Kate and Eddie.  Weather dry but with a chilly wind. Summer has taken a break! 9 miles in all.

We set off towards Grafham village, following the cycle route rather than the footpath closer to the water. As we reached the village it felt a little like herding cats, as Eddie went in one direction to see if he could see the community shop, while I waited for the other three to catch up. Luckily, they are more amenable than cats, and ther are not many places to get lost on the way round.

We continued past the church, then took the road past the caravan site and the cottages called Orchard row, and walked round as far as the spinney and up the small incline, before having a short break. This was at about three miles into the walk.

As we walked round the next section bluebells were in evidence - they've come out since our last visit two weeks ago, though without sunlight they don't look too spectacular on the photo.

The cafe was an excuse for a second stop and hot drinks all round at the six mile mark, then it was just a matter of the walk through part of Perry, and across the dam back to the visitor centre and the car park.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Marston Trussell to Foxton Locks and return

Thursday 19th April 2018
With Maureen on what felt like the first day of summer - all in the past now!  
About 8 miles, and mostly on field footpaths which were not sticky with mud. Lunch at Foxton before returning via a slightly different route.

We walked from Marston Trussell church along the road towards the main road to Lubenham and Market Harborough. 

Marston Trussell church
 Shortly after a small bridge crosses the river Welland, a footpath leads off to the right, more or less following the river and county boundary.
View from the bridge
This section of the walk was idyllic, slightly wet in one or two places, but no sticky mud!
The beautiful Welland

The river goes under the drive to Thorpe Lubenham Hall. We cross this and pick the path up on the other side, where it heads across a field with cows and horses. The river is over on our left hand side.

We emerge on to the road into Lubenham, near the hall moat.

The railway bridge has two arches. Under the second one the road is lower, in order to allow high loads to pass through.

We walked past the church and the Tower House, and straight ahead to the main road. We crossed the road and took the small road to the left, and a footpath to Foxton via Mill Hill and the recreation ground. there's a short steep climb to the top of Mill Hill, and then you follow the well-marked footpath, or on one occasion the nearby field edges. Some of the route is enclosed between fences, which helps to keep us on track.

The fields are not far from housing close to Gartree prison, but the prison is not obvious from this route.

It was getting warm, so we decided to have a break, and took this selfie to send to my daughter who was bemoaning the fact that she was stuck at work, instead of out on her bike.

At a fork in the path we took the left hand option which comes out near Foxton School. There was a magnificent gate, but it looks a bit redundant.

Lovely situation for a school, with some open views. We turned left along the road to Foxton, and very soon took the footpath to our right, which runs along the edge of the field.
There's a view of Foxton church I haven't had before.
We turned left along Swingbridge Street, then right along Main Street until we joined the canal. A left turn took us onto the towpath and we headed northwest then southwest for a good half mile to reach bridge 61 pub at the bottom end of the flight of locks. Sandwich and coffee to fortify us - sitting outside in the sun, with parasols! 
 We continued our walk south along the towpath beside the flight of locks, and along the upper section of the canal until it meets the road.
 After crossing the bridge, we took the signed footpath which heads southeast, diagonally across the field, leaving the car park over to the left. It's pretty easy to follow over a few stiles past what is marked as a disused camp on the map, and a fishing lake. We walk with the lake on our left.
 Just after this was the only place we had to look around for the path. There's a farm type track which bends to the right and forms a sort of cross roads with the field edges.  The stile was slightly to the left of the crossing point, and then the path keeps to the left along the field boundary. Once we'd found it all was clear again. Footpath markers and stiles led us over the fields to meet the Lubenham to Foxton Road.
Spring springing

We didn't count the stiles, but there were a few! 
Our footpath continued on the other side of the road, but it turns left near some farm buildings, and then heads towards another stile. All of the time we were going south east, until we reached Lubenham again.

A break near the church - it was hot! and then the final stretch, retracing our steps past Thorpe Lubenham Hall and along the Welland to Marston Trussell.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Hallaton, Glooston, Cranoe circular

Monday 16 April, with Maureen and Norma. Track and quiet roads. Just over 7 miles, but a little hard on the feet!

We parked near the Fox Inn at Hallaton, and walked out of the village along the Goadby Road, which turns into a farm track and makes its way gradually uphill, past mounds of earth marking the site of the castle, and onward. We decided against taking any of the footpaths, since fields were still sticky after the winter's rain.  After a couple of miles we reached a T junction, where we turned left towards Glooston. 

 The donkeys were in a field just after Glooston Lodge.

 Lots of primulas and primroses on the way.
The road led us to the junction where the road turns left towards Cranoe, four miles into the walk, and just missing most of Glooston village.  A further mile of quiet road walking took us to Cranoe, where we made good use of the bench in the sun, outside the church.
 The house nearby had a lovely display of aubrieta on the garden wall.
 At the bottom of the hill, we turned left again and followed the slightly busier road for a couple of miles into Hallaton. Sandwiches at the Fox rounded the walk off for us.

The Fox Inn in the 1920s

The Fox Inn in 2018, from a slightly different angle.