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!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Pitsford Water anticlockwise

Monday 16 January 2017, with Norma and Maureen.
Weather damp and drizzly, so we fortified ourselves with coffee or hot chocolate before we set off.
On the way we saw a couple of herons, a fair number of lapwings and a little egret, as well as the usual geese, swans and gulls.

 The drizzle relented enough for us to fit in a scone break after crossing the causeway, then we walked to the cafe for a sandwich and cuppa.
Pleased with our decision to brave those elements today.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Old, Mawsley

Monday 09 January 2017, 10 am.  With Maureen. Grey, drizzly - what a contrast to last Thursday!

An unpromising look to the weather, with drizzle and showers forecast, followed by heavier rain.
Warm though, and not a lot of wind. 
The pub and church clearly have a close relationship in Old.

This rural/agricultural area gets very muddy after a spell of wet weather, and the main downside was mud.  Yes, we've tackled worse, but when combined with grey skies and drizzle blurred views, it's not a lot of fun. When the rain showed no sign of stopping, we cut the walk short, and turned left along Mill Road, which took us back to Old. 

The church porch offered a space for us to have a hot drink and a scone, and a couple with the keys showed us the interior - including the kneelers embroidered as a millennium project, most of which include a letter hidden inside, telling the story of why each person chose their particular design, often in memory of a family member or friend.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Lamport, Scaldwell, Hanging Houghton, Lamport

We followed the route of this walk from August 2011. Map and details  are still accurate, and I used them as a quick reference. I walked with Maureen and Harry, and the walk is about 8 and a half miles.

Today was frosty, which improved conditions underfoot,  since some potentially soft and sticky mud was frozen.  Brilliant sunshine and blue skies with very little wind made this an enjoyable walk, with fine views of rolling Northamptonshire farmland, villages and trees.

We parked on the road not far from the church, and walked north east to a road junction, where we turned right. After a quarter of a mile or so we turned right along a path which took us through parkland and pasture behind Lamport Hall.

The path is crossed by another one in the middle of an arable field. Not clear on the ground, but we turned left and aimed for the gap in the hedge, where we found a waymarker. 

We followed the path along the hedge for a while, then had more arable fields to cross - here the path was fairly clear on the ground, heading towards the village of Scaldwell, which we could see at the top of the slope.
Heading towards Scaldwell
We walk past a few houses as we enter the village, then follow the road to the right, past the church. The road swings left, and just after The Grange we see a footpath sign pointing right.
Professorial owl

Is that the old road or the road to Old?

Festive birds

Scaldwell church

Is it coffee time?

The Grange
We followed the path through fields near some stable buildings, then a field with sheep and llamas (or alpacas?).

The footpath was pretty clear from here towards Hanging Houghton, which we reached after crossing the A508.

Sunny, not over warm, but time for coffee and a slice of cake or a scone.

We walked down Manor Road, which has almost no traffic. it crosses the Brampton Valley Way and a stream and turns into a farm track/ byway - easy walking for a while.
When we reached the T-junction we turned right towards Blueberry Lodge. Around here we saw lots of fieldfares, a couple of buzzards which had landed in the field, and a red kite, as well as the usual gulls.

At Blueberry Lodge we turned right again along a bridleway-cum-muddy footpath now heading back to Lamport.
Once againt the path was pretty clear through rolling farmland, eventually reaching the Brampton Valley Way once more. A convenient bench was too tempting, and we had the company of a bold robin - we fed it a few crumbs before tackling the final uphill stretch into Lamport.
From the footway alongside the A508 we had good views of the church and Lamport Hall through the bare trees.

This would make a fine setting for a story - the Old Rectory garden.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Two bike rides near Fordingbridge

The first in Boxing Day was about six miles of gentle riding pretty much along the Avon Valley, towards Ibsley and Harbridge.
We returned later to sketch the church.

Cold but bright.

The second on Dec 27 2016, probably just over ten miles?
From Fordingbridge and up to Whitsbury, with its large stud farm, and entrance for visiting mares . . .  imagined by Harry as elegantly dressed for the visit to the local gentlemen . . .

Then down to Rockbourne of Roman Villa fame, and back via Sandleheath. We were not tempted to see if the Augustus John produced better coffee than fish and chips. Ok, we must have hit a bad day a couple of years ago!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Lamport and Draughton

Thursday 08 Dec 2016. 10 am. With Maureen and Gordon. 5.6 miles. Some muddy fields, but we have seen worse!  Weather a little drizzly to start with, but the sun emerged occasionally before we finished the walk.

Time seems to be standing still in this part of Northamptonshire, judging by the church clocks.

We leave  Lamport  at about 10am - or 3.05? . . . 
From Lamport we walked along the pavement next to the A508 towards Harborough , then took the bridleway to our left downhill to the Brampton Valley Way.
Sheep on the bridleway down to the Brampton Valley Way
 We turned right along the dismantled railway track, crossing the A508 once more and continuing for about a mile. 

Mosaics - and plenty of benches along the old railway
We left the Brampton Valley Way , turning right just after an old footbridge, a short distance before Draughton Crossing. We headed slightly uphill across a field planted with a crop. the path was clear and not too muddy. Then we kept to the edge of the next field for a while, but had to brave another muddy patch just before Draughton. The way was not clear at the end, but there is a stile in the top left corner, before reaching Home Farm. Another stile took us onto the Maidwell Road into Draughton. We went straight ahead to the church, and had a break and snack in the church porch.
One hour later in Draughton - it's 3.15!

Refreshed and ready for action after a break

I'm not sure what this flowering shrub is.
 We followed the road out of the village, and turned right when we came to a footpath sign.
The first section of this was no problem, but we had to cross another large field, with no signs that we could see, in order to reach a fairly busy stretch of road near Short Wood and Shortwood House.  We turned right along the road, then left along a byway past a house of barking dogs.

There were glimpses of fairytale countryside through hazy sunshine - very pretty.
A lovely view if you could see it better
We turned right near the top of a slope along a pleasant wooded path, before following field edges to the road into Lamport. We turned right and followed our noses back to the car.
A path through the woods returning towards Lamport.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Harringworth, Shotley, Wakerley, Barrowden, Harringworth.

With Marta on a murky day - we saw the sun, veiled by mist, briefly! This is the same walk as on October 31st 2016, but in reverse, checking a few details of the route. For some reason it seems to have been over 8 miles this time.

We had a sandwich in the Community Shop at Barrowden.
Yes, it's definitely a red kite.

The vegetation around Barrowden Mill pond has been cleared

A duck with a topknot? A doodle?

Harringworth- Barrowden-Wakerley- Shotley- H'worth

Monday 5 December 9.20 am. With Harry, Maureen, Gordon and Eddie. The walk covered mostly the same ground as the walk on November 8th 2016. 7.3 miles. Fine though not as clear as last time. A frosty start but some fields were muddy later. 

Lots of fieldfares in evidence, as well as a heron and red kites. 

We started the walk by turning left from the road past the stables, and crossing the field full of horses.
The path continues by the Welland, crossing Turtle Bridge, and later the disused railway line, before tackling the drag up the fields to Barrowden.

We rewarded ourselves with cake and coffee at the table near Barrowden duckpond. The ducks had a little ice free area to swim in.

We went along Mill Lane and followed the Jurassic Way path past the pond, before crossing the footbridge over the Welland.

The path crosses the field, and then there's a bridge under the disused railway. The track leads to the main road through Wakerley.
We turn right and follow the road round until we reach a metal gate with a stile next to it after the last farmhouse. We take this path, with a minor diversion to avoid a very muddy field where sheep are feeing on the remains of the crop. At the road we turn right and walk for a short distance before turning left along a bridleway - it's the first surfaced track, though the bridleway sign is no longer clear since it was chopped with the hedge cutter.

We continue to the bridleway above Shotley with views of the viaduct, and follow the Jurassic Way down hill into Shotley and then Harringworth.