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, March 20, 2017

Great Easton - Neville Holt - Drayton - Bringhurst

Saturday 11th March with Harry

The walk follows the same route as this one from 2014. We did a recce walk for Monday. The weather was dry, but very grey, with some mist.
Some paths were quite muddy.  Distance - around 6 miles.

For details of the route see the next post.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Cranford, Grafton Underwood, Warkton

Thursday 09 March, 10.00 am. With Maureen.  Beautiful sunshine, though the wind still had an edge. Most of the mud in the fields was drying. Very little climbing, but slightly longer than I thought at 8.7 miles.

Near the Old Forge cafe we followed the road out of the village (not St Andrews Lane).  After about half a mile we crossed a line of pylons and a little further on, as the road bends there is a gap stile in the hedge on the right hand side. This is the footpath - the hedge was on our left, and we followed it as it turned left and headed more or less north.  There was a short wooded section, and after almost a mile we met the road.

A wooded section of the path from Cranford
 We turned left and followed the road round a bend to the left as far as the crossroads. A right turn took us into Grafton Underwood, with its stream and bridges, and its attractive church.
The church at Grafton Underwood

Spring is springing
 Just before the village boundary is a footpath sign. We followed the path to the left, through a field with a horse and pony - I blame them for the state of the ground near the gates.
A friendly pony
 The next field had more ponies, behind an electric fence this time. It left the path pleasanter to walk on!
 We had several stiles to negotiate, one or two needing some high-stepping on our part. The ploughed fields were drying in the sun and wind, and the paths had been made clear. We have seen much worse . . .
Mud is drying, and the path is clear
 It was a relief to arrive at a stile leading into a meadow. We crossed the estate road and walked along a field edge to the path which crosses the lime tree avenue.
The lime tree avenue near Warkton
 Next we walked along the footpath which emerges next to a house on the main road through Warkton. The little green opposite is putting on its spring clothes.
Chocolate box pretty

These look like some kind of cultivated celandine
We made our way to St Edmunds Church, which has a fine selection of monuments to the Montagues, but wasn't open. Thursdays after Easter, it says.  We took advantage of the sheltered porch, in the sunshine, to have a break. Five miles down, not so many ahead!

The next section of road walking requires caution, as this road is a bit of a rat run, though not too busy at this time. As you come out of the village there is a short hill and a bend, and the verges are narrow. Then there's a straighter section with wider verges. I saw a brimstone butterfly - the first I've seen this year.

We passed a road joining ours from the right. A little further ahead the road bends to the left, and our path turns off. It's a bridleway, more or less following the line of the road. It crosses the grassy ridged and furrowed field, and goes through a gate into a wide section marked as an avenue of trees on the map. It continues following field edges, heading slightly south of east, with a short dog leg over a stream, eventually joining a wider track, where we turn ot our right and head slightly west of south. We followed this until we were opposite the buildings of the Grange. We turned left (east) and the track takes us all the way back to Cranford.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Skeffington, Rolleston, Noseley

Monday 06 March 2017.  With Norma.  About 7 1/2 miles. Muddy paths to begin with and a couple of recently planted fields, but could have been much worse. Weather was fine with some sun, and some wind.

We parked on a quiet avenue parallel to the A47, and walked a hundred yards or so down a   cul-de-sac, before taking a footpath on our right, then leading south past a very large house and into fields. 
Snowdrops are still in bloom in shaded areas.
 The path continued south towards Skeffington Vale, then turned slightly west, crossing a stream and a couple more fields, where the yellow waymarker posts were very helpful, before coming out at Rolleston Hall, close to an area where horses were being trained.

When we reached the estate road we turned left and followed it past the lake and along a bridleway heading toward the road between Goadby and Noseley.  Most of the way the path was easy to follow, over fields and then into a wooded area. After this the bridleway became rather muddy as it led down to the road.

 We took a right turn on the road, and walked for about a mile, passing the entrance to Noseley Hall, and then going up slightly to Top Lodge. We had a short break in the sun here, before taking a turning to the right, heading northwest. 
This clump of trees is called Millfield Clump - a house, a sacred grove? Who knows?
A little further on there is a small wooded area on the right, as the road bends to the left, heading almost due west.
When we reached the B6047, at the entrance gates to the Rolleston Estate, we turned sharply right (northeast now), and followed the avenue of trees. Some of these horse chestnuts are just beginning to show signs of life.
We saw a fair amount of damage - I guess Doris is to blame again.
 As we approached Rolleston Hall itself this fine carriage and four gleaming high-stepping horses drove by, with a small Jack Russell leading the way.
 We followed signs to the gated road to Skeffington and followed this route back to the start.
Dramatic lighting over the old stable block
 A straightforward walk from here, with snowdrops along the way.  the carriage and four passed us again, with the dog still gamely trotting ahead.

the occasional watery reflection

and some rather fine gardens in the village, including the crocus display above.

Glad to have had a walk in this part of Leicestershire again, and in such agreeable weather too.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Chelveston, Yelden and Melchbourne

Thursday 02 March 2017. With Maureen.  9.6 miles.  Weather quite windy, with occasional sun.
A very similar route to the one I followed with Marta on February 14th. 

Once again we called in to the churchyard, where the snowdrops were starting to fade, but daffodils were popping up here and there.

We walked away from Chelveston, through Caldecott and past the Crescent, and took the bridleway straight ahead when the road bends to the right.  The path took us into Yelden, with its Norman motte and bailey. 

We took the footpath to the right of the castle mound heading south east across the meadow.When we had negotiated a stile we followed the path to our left along the field edge then continued to the fairly quiet road and turned right. We stayed on the road until we reached the St John Arms pub. Here we turned right and walked into Melchbourne village. We had a short break outside the church. 

We took the street close to the church, turning left. Very soon a footpath goes off to the right. this leads to the road, opposite the Day Nursery and farm. 
An odd photograph . . .
Across the road we picked up the path again. a little muddy at first, but soon easy to walk on. It took us alongside fields to Crowfield Farm buildings, and we followed the surfaced track out to the road.  We turned left and walked past one footpath sign on our left before turning left ourselves at the next one, and rejoining the route we had taken from Yelden earlier, and retracing our steps to the motte and bailey.

We walked along the road with the castle on our right, then turned left along the Three Shires Way, past Bottom Farm, turning left at the sign to Middle Lodge. We followed the path through the caravan storage place, up to the wind and solar farm at the top.  The path took us straight through and down into Chelveston. 

The walk felt longer than the nine and a half miles, probably because of the wind! 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Brixworth and Brampton Valley Way

Just over 6 miles. With Norma and Ken. Although the weather was grey and showers threatened we stayed dry, apart from a few fat raindrops just as we stopped for a break.

We set off from the Country Park car park, walking towards the causeway clockwise for a few hanundred yards before taking the footpath to our left and up towards the A508. We crossed the road, and then took the right hand fork of the footpath through the houses, (the Ashway and Iron Pikes) and along Holcot Road, Harborough Road, High Street and Church Street, eventually to Brixworth church. We walked through the churchyard and turned left through a gate down Station Road. When we reached Church Street we turned right along Saneco Lane and found our foortpath through the fields and down hill towards the Spratton Crossing on the Brampton Valley Way. 

We followed the old railway path south for about a mile and half, as far as Merry Tom Crossing, then took the bridleway past Merry Tom Farm and back up to the outskirts of Brixworth.  We turned right at Northampton Road , and followed the cycle route signs to the main A508 roundabout back to the car park.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Chelveston, Yelden, Melchbourne

Tuesday 14 February 2017.  With Marta. Paths mostly good, though we could have avoided one muddy field. A bit of road walking involved, but none busy. Just under 10 miles.

Before we started the walk we called into Chelveston churchyard to admire the snowdrops and aconites - they should be in peak bloom for the Snowdrop weekend (18th and 19th).

We walked along the road from the church away from Chelveston, through Caldecott and past the Crescent. Shortly after this the road turns 90 degrees to the right, and a track/bridleway continues ahead - this is what we took. Wind turbines were on our left.  There is a short muddy section, then the track is surfaced again and leads into the pretty village of Yelden, which is in Bedfordshire.

 Yelden has the remains of a Norman motte and bailey, considered to be the finest archaeological monument in Bedfordshire, according to the information board.  The remains are yet to be explored and excavated.  The castle had fallen into disuse by 1360.
The church sporting a wind turbine hat

One view of the castle site
The notice board showed the route of a local walk to Melchbourne. Seemed like a good idea, so we decided to try part of it. We took the footpath to the right of the castle mound heading south east across the meadow.
The signs are very clear at this point.  When we had negotiated a stile we followed the path to our left along the field edge - conditions were ok. We couldn't see the mapped footpath across a ploughed field, so continued to the fairly quiet road and turned right. A couple of hundred yards later we turned right along a bridleway close to a strip of woodland called Yelden Spinney. In future I will carry on to the next track if the weather has been wet!

The path running left to Crowfield Farm, though clearly marked was muddy. Heavy, sticky stuff.

 Crowfield farm appears to be mainly used as barns. Our path from here to Melchbourne was easy to follow and there was no more serious mud. We passed a few animals.

and a pre-school in a farm.
We crossed a road and continued on the footpath , turning left at the end to Melchbourne church, where we had a break, in sunshine.
Trees through the porch window

The church of St Mary Magdalen, mostly rebuilt in 1779.Pity about the funny upper section.
A row of cottages carefully photographed to avoid the unattractive car element.
We took a slightly different route back to Yelden.

We took the road (from Knotting) to the junction with the Swineshead-Yelden road, where we turned left, at the St John Arms pub. We walked for maybe a mile along the road, then rejoined our previous route by turning left - the turn after the spinney.
Yelden again
from Yelden we took the Three Shires Way for a short distance, past Bottom Farm, turning left at the sign to Middle Lodge.  The path must pass near the area with caravans, but we mistakenly continued along the track to Manor Farm house and had to turn left again to rejoin the path.
This goes directly though the middle of the large wind farm and solar array, a section of well over half a mile, before leading alongside farmland and back into Chelveston.