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, October 5, 2015

Cranford and Grafton Underwood

Mon, 5 Oct 2015 9:36 BST
Carol, Tommy, Terry, Maureen and Gordon and me. A drizzly grey day, but we didn't get soaked. The recently ploughed fields were rather hard going. Lunch at Old Forge. A bit under 7 miles.

A grey day, and not much temptation to take photos.  We covered parts of the previous routes around here.

From the Old Forge Tearoom we walked along Top Dysons, and through the fields following the bridleway until just before the Grange. Here we turned right, roughly northeast, and continued for about a mile in this direction. At a point where there is a concrete post we turned left, heading slightly north of west, crossing a section of lime tree avenue again, until we met the road on a bend.

We turned right and walked for a few hundred yards beside the road, turning left at the next bend along a farm track. A few yards along, just after a hedge we went through a gate to a footpath on the right. this goes diagonally to a gap in the hedge, then we had to cross two ploughed fields. (Note for future reference - aim more or less for the opposite corner of the second field to find the waymarked path.) These fields were still reasonably dry.

Here we went through a gap in the hedge and then by the left hand side of a small wooded area and another couple of ploughed fields. These were getting sticky in the drizzle, so we were pleased to walk along the side of the next field, again by some trees. No alternative in the next field though, but this was a short stretch.

We managed to avoid ploughed fields by following the edges, and on one occasion taking a half-blocked path through a hedge.  The photos make it look worse than it was. Really!

The alternative was to retrace our steps, and I am loth to do that! 
We made our way past some slightly skittish horses and took a break in Grafton Underwood, once more attended by ducks and the little cat from six weeks ago
Rather than face yet more mud we walked back to Cranford along the roads - which are fairly quiet. 
The Old Forge does a good soup and substantial sandwiches which were very welcome. A short walk, but enough considering weather and conditions in some of the fields.

A brief walk near the Welland from Stamford

Sunday 4th October - on a sunny afternoon.

This began as a simple stroll from the Meadows, but in beautiful weather we kept on going.
From the footbridge - Broadeng Bridge

Autumn colours and reflections

Burrs and berries

Himalayan balsam


The Stamford Spa, restored in 1994 . . . and almost forgotten since then?

The stone head - I had no idea this spa existed

Tree in the town

Albert Bridge

Evening approaching

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Lowick, Drayton Park, Slipton, Twywell circular

Thu, 2015 Oct 1 9:22 AM BST
With Maureen and Gordon. Beautiful day - early mist then sunshine - dry underfoot. About 6.5 miles.

This walk is much the same as Monday's,  but in reverse and with some of the moonstruck meanderings straightened out . . .

We set off from Drayton Road in Lowick once more, this time walking along the road as it passed several houses, then going through the gate where the private road and public footpath begin.
A gentle climb brought us to Drayton House, which looked splendid as the last morning mist began to lift.

The avenue is a continuation of the present day road
We followed the private road as it made its way down towards Slipton. Autumn fruits hung in the bushes. 

 Some fine chickens were ranging freely
 Fields were freshly ploughed. Luckily we were not walking over these!
The tractor was still ploughing.
When we reached Slipton, we turned left and walked as far as the pub (The Samuel Pepys). 

More apples

A eucalyptus tree
 Just over the road from the pub is a footpath which we took through a field with horses. This led to the bend in a road, where there is also a footpath to the left along the hedge. The footpath comes out near Manor Farm, where the llama/alpacas are, then out on the road in Twywell. 
 We turned right along the road for a short distance before taking the footpath to Hills and Dales. The path skirts the back of the gardens in the village, and by keeping to our left we emerged near Monday's field of strange sheep and out at the other end of the village, near cottages called Cyprus Row.  Here is a fine bench on a patch of grass - an ideal point for contemplation and coffee and a scone.

From Twywell we had to walk along the road for about a mile - it's a road with little traffic, but rather spoiled by the noise from the nearby A14, hidden behind trees. At the junction with the road towards Slipton we turned left and quickly right on to the footpath we used on Monday. We followed this as it widened into a bridleway as far as the large locked agricultural building. 
One of the commas we saw

Red admiral

Starlings on the wires

A wide track between autumn hedges

A shaggy inkcap 
The path should go straight on and then left from here, but we went left then right to end up in the same place - there's a waymarker just before you cross a farm road. Then the path cuts across a field to the right hand edge of a wooded area, and follows the field edge round to the right to a footbridge over the brook.
A different view of Lowick church

Colourful trees

The footbridge
After the bridge we turned slightly left and walked gently uphill towards the road. We turned left and walked along Main Street back to Drayton Road. 
A better walk than Monday's - we missed out a couple of muddy sections and some ploughed fields!

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