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. Oh, And don't take left or right as gospel!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Thrapston - Nene Way - Woodford - Ringstead- back via disused railwaypath

With Maureen and Gordon. Between 8 and 9 miles. Our route out crisscrossed the return path three times. Along Nene Way, return via disused railway. Lots of fields were edged by grasses full of seeds. Return very simple. Flat. Warm and sunny, with cloud later.

We set off near the Woolpack Inn, on the road into Islip. Over the road into Thrapston from the A6116, and hidden in the hedge a sign for the Nene Way footpath. We head along the track, through a gate and over a bund, where cars are not to be parked.  There's a fishing lake on our right behind the trees. We make our way south towards the railway bridge and road viaduct carrying the A14.  Not scenic but very useful. There's a boat moored almost underneath the road. 
We follow the path and when it becomes a wider track we turn to our left and walk along field edges. It's not clearly marked here on the ground, and we have to retrace our steps slightly to get back on track. 
Near the weir and footbridge to Denford we turn sharply right and head west to cross the old railway path near Woodford Lock.  
Lots of these poppies flowering at the moment. Garden escapes or just a different variety?
 There's a choice of paths into Woodford, and we take the lower one, rather than follow Nene Way signs. It comes out at a thatched cottage, with more thatched animals than I have seen in one place before.
Foxes chasing a rabbit, and a pheasant

A thatched stag

an owl
 We have a look inside the church, which is large and airy, then I make the mistake of thinking that a stile could mean a path to somewhere. It led only to a field with cows, and no exit at the other side.
The stile which fooled me.
 From now on I resolve to follow the route and the map, rather than my faulty instinct. It is straightforward and marked pretty well.  We soon arrive at another crossing of the railway path, and a sign to Woodford Mill, where the cafĂ© is not open on a Monday. Good job I'd not mentioned this to my friends in advance. 
These good-looking goats turned their backs on us
 Instead of a cafe we had our break on the grass near Willy Watt lock.
 About half a mile of road walking came next, on a raised footway at first, then turning right into Station Road, which leads only to the marina and fishing area below Great Addington.
Here we met the railway path again, and this time followed its very straightforward course back to Thrapston.
A branch of the Nene, fringed with water lilies
We saw a fair number of butterflies, damselflies etc. A swan with cygnets, various ducks, a few swallows.

Swan and cygnets - photo taken with phone. Just for the record . . .

Map and details

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Fotheringhay, Elton, Nassington circular

Thu, 2015 Jul 2 9:43 AM BST
With Gordon. Weather cloudy, very warm - though nothing like yesterday's high temperature. Good underfoot. Something over 8 miles.

This is adapted from a walk written up by Christopher Somerville
We started from Fotheringhay, not Elton, and had to divert just after Elton because the footbridge over the Nene has been declared unsafe, since June 25th. 

Our original plan was to drive through Fotheringhay to begin at Elton, but we'd chosen one of the three days when the road through the village was being resurfaced. Quick change of plan.

We walked through Fotheringhay, past the church and the Falcon pub, and a plaque to Richard III, who was born in the Castle in 1452.  

The Nene Way footpath took us past the Castle Mound,
and its memorial plaque to Richard,

 and to Mary Stuart who was executed here. 
We had a quick look at these and the river before continuing along the Nene Way. 
The path is easy to follow over fields and a dismantled railway, a footbridge over a lock, another footbridge, and past Elton Boat Club moorings, near Eaglethorpe Mill.  
Our route took us under the A605, ignoring the bridleway on our left. Next time, I will probably choose the bridleway, though Eaglethorpe is an attractive village.  In Eaglethorpe we met the road and turned to the left. Just after a right hand bend we found the footpath
sign indicating our path to the left. At this point we should have turned right after the kissing gate, and over a stile, then left between the fence and the polytunnels. We arrived there by an unofficial and more tricky route. After a few hundred meters there's a left turn through a kissing gate, leading down to the A605, which has to be crossed. . .patience . . .

On the other side we turned right then through two kissing gates - there is a warning about heavy plant - no, not Triffids. The path took us across Elton Park, from where we caught a glimpse of Elton Hall, and crossed a field of curious cows.
This is definitely not Rutland.
Over a stream and on through Elton Park lands to the road in Elton (Chapel Lane). At the end we turned left to the village green, where a handy bench provided a good stopping place.

Snack stop
We walked along Duck Street, past the Crown Inn

and Duck Cottage, followed by Waddle End - not sure if that's a duck skeleton in the window though.

Before we left Elton we passed these sheep - at first glance I was taken in.

When the road bent to the left we took the track signed to Yarwell Mill and Silson, and then a footpath left after 200 meters. Luckily there were people around who informed us that the bridge we were intending to cross was closed, and suggested an alternative route.

We returned to the road, and turned right, away from Elton, and over Elton Bridge. Shortly after the bridge, on our left was a gap and a rather overgrown path down towards the river.
There was soon a turn to the left, which went under the bridge, alongside the Nene. It joined a towpath/footpath along the river, past various moorings and boats. We rejoined our planned path at the bridge, which has been declared unsafe.

We continued along the edge of the river, then turned off to our left, crossing the field diagonally, and then the dismantled railway, and the next field.  This one had a good crop of rape, which was tough going today.
At the end of this field we went through a gap in a hedge and turned right along the field edge. Another gap in the hedge and the path followed the right hand edges of two fields. 
We could see Nassington church spire which helped confirm the direction. We came out on the edge of Nassington, and turned left to take the Nene Way footpath past the cricket ground and pre-school.  
We followed the Nene Way (at some distance from the river) past Park Spinney, then crossed a bridge over the Willow Brook. Plenty of fish swimming in it.

At Walcot Lodge and Model Cottages the track joins a minor road, turning left and leading us back toward Fotheringhay and the car.

A fair amount of insect life today, particularly butterflies, mostly of the darkish brown variety, though saw a few red admirals too. Lots of damselflies. An excellent view of a red kite helping itself to roadkill as we were driving back.
Map and details

Monday, June 29, 2015

Deene and Deenethorpe Airfield Circular

Led by Tommy. Ten of us. Around 7 miles. Warm and sunny.

We set off from Deene village hall, turning left along the road towards the church, then taking the path to St Peter's church. This was the parish church for Deene and Deenethorpe, and the Brudenaell family church, but is now looked after by the Churches Conservation Trust.  It is not often open, but today we were able to look inside.
The ceiling over the chancel is splendid.
The walls too.
There are various carved heads.
We continued through the churchyard and past the lake and weir. Plenty of water lilies coming out.
Then I put the camera away and concentrated on walking. 

In the long grass on the path we saw several common spotted orchids today.

There were a few butterflies around today, and we also saw a young deer, which had probably been resting in the long grass. I hope it settled again and that its mother found it. Of course my camera was tucked away out of reach at the time.

Map and details

Friday, June 19, 2015

Calshot to Fawley via Ashlett Creek and back.

A walk leaflet produced by New Forest National Park Authority can be downloaded or read here.

Walked 19 June 2015. Just under six miles.

I hadn't thought of walking in this area, since Fawley is well known for its refinery and the power station, which was closed in 2013. Pergegrine falcons are now said to nest in the towers, though we saw none.  We did hear a cuckoo calling - our first one this year for both of us. Late, very late.
A good cup of coffee and a shared chunk of cake set us up for the walk.
The salt marshes
The Isle of Wight Ferries pass from time to time.
The closed power station
A very convenient bench for vital contemplation.
A tall ship chugging by.
A couple of horses and a foal grazing near the power station fence.
This looks likely to produce masses of blackberries later this year.
Sea, sky and salt marsh.
Ashlett tide mill, now the home of the local sailing club.
This is where we had lunch.

Fawley church.
Country lane, foxgloves and power station chimney
Approaching Calshot on the return journey.

We walked from Calshot to Fawley, added a mini-meander around Fawley, and then returned to Calshot - between five and six miles in all, on a very warm sunny day. We paused for coffee at the Bluebird cafe before we began to walk, and had a baguette and salad at the Jolly Sailor pub.

Oyster catchers and swallows were in evidence, and the occasional blue butterfly. When we were almost back we spotted a lesser egret fishing nearby. As it flew off we could see its yellow feet.

Map track

Around Lyndhurst

I thought I'd try to walk part of the circular walk which we did in November 2013, but this time in reverse.
Mostly ok, apart from one closed footpath, and a wander off the track near Lyndhurst Hill - which is full of trees and many paths! Between six and seven miles in all. Fine weather, mostly dry underfoot - even the boggy bits were passable.
The pathway near the Waterloo Arms
plants in a wall
The beauty of alien invaders
The path between Pikes Hill and Emery Down

Lots of ponies around Emery Down
The path near Lyndhurst Hill

The Oak Inn at Bank

Bank post box.

Map to follow later.