20120522_The Lawfords – An Evening Circular Walk – Near Rugby

20120522_The Lawfords – An Evening Circular Walk.

Long Lawford, Little Lawford, King’s Newnham and Church Lawford.

20090823-36_River Avon at Little Lawford by gary.haddenWhen : 22 May 2012

Who : Me, my wife and our 10 y.o. son

Where : Long Lawford + Church Lawford, Near Rugby, Warwickshire, England

Start and End Point : SP 472,760

Distance : Approx 5 miles but could be approx 4 miles without our “extra little bit”.

Significant heights : Some very gentle rises but nothing significant to worry about.

Map : 1:25,000 Explorer Map No. 222 ; Rugby and Daventry

Summary : A walk from one village to the next that ended up much longer than planned.

Click on a pic’ and it should launch as a larger image on my flickr photostream.

We had to drop our daughter off somewhere for the evening (I can’t remember where now), but what I do remember is it left the three of us with a couple of hours or so and as it was a really pleasant late spring evening, we decided a little walk might be nice (and quite convenient as daughter doesn’t really like country walking). There was a promise of a little 20120522_The Lawfords – An evening Walkdrink involved as well and we found ourselves parked up in Main Street/Bailey’s Lane in Long Lawford ready for the short stretch across the fields next to The River Avon to Church Lawford and back again.

It started off all hunky dory, at first walking on the streets of Long Lawford; Main Street and along West Street to reach Chapel Street and we found the footpath we wanted almost directly across the road heading off as a track in a westerly direction. After just a matter of yards the route passes into a field and the way ahead is very easy following the line of a hedge soon crossing a small bridge, over an equally small stream, on its way to join the River Avon. Just for a bit of interest, tracing the stream on my map, it rises about 2½ or 3 miles to the south, feeding down from Cawston Woods and pool and up on Lawford Heath before descending down a shallow valley which now has the new A4071 Rugby Bypass running close by for a short time.

Anyway, that’s by-the-by really, we crossed the bridge and continued up the side of the hedge. The grass was quite long making walking side by side difficult (but not impossible), it just meant one person not being able to walk in the double “track” we were following. The next field was in exactly the same direction, still alongside a hedge and similar underfoot and after a very short while we reached the far corner where we needed to cross into the next field and head off diagonally left.

HOWEVER, There was a problem

….or ….

SEVERAL rather BIG problems.

These problems came in cow shapes and cow sizes:

In fact there were quite a few real live cows – a whole herd of cows !

AND an even BIGGER problem ….

and IT was BULL shaped and BULL sized !

Now you might say a bull in a field of cows ISN’T a problem; I believe it is perfectly legal …. BUT …. my lovely wife just does not do cow fields at all well, and the bull really ermmm put the cat amongst the pigeons so to speak. Both I and our son tried cajoling and talking down of “the problem” by saying we’d take a wide berth around the livestock, I’d take the nearest side to the beasts and we’d hold hands and make ourselves look big. But all the talking and pontificating and looking across the couple of hundred yards to the next stile were to no avail and we turned around and retraced our steps back to Long Lawford.

Ermmm, what to do now?

20110814-01_Track + Bridge over River Avon - Little Lawford by gary.haddenWe could have just headed into one of the two pubs right next door to each other on Main Street. But we decided that would be quite unrewarding, so I suggested we walk down to the ford at Little Lawford and then decide if we wanted to carry on and “do” the classic walk to Church Lawford. Justine and Craig were up for this, even though it was going to extend the walk quite considerably from our original intentions. So off we went, down Chapel Street in a generally northerly direction passing through the western fringe of Long Lawford as we went. Shortly after passing the old church at the end of Chapel Street, we picked up a fenced footpath/bridleway through a number of horse paddocks, which, after a couple of bends, dropped down to a farm bridge over The River Avon shortly before reaching the old watermill buildings at little Lawford.

20110814-05_The Ford - Little Lawford by gary.haddenRather than take the path over a small footbridge into another cow field, we took the non-right of way route on the driveway between the buildings to reach the small Clayhill lane. Turning left dropped us down to the ford which Justine had never seen before. Craig on the other hand had been here several times on previous walks with me and knew exactly where we were, including turning around to walk back up the lane passing a really (I mean REALLY) old building dating back to 1604. Now was the 20090823-29_1604 building Little Lawford by gary.haddentime to either: head back to Long Lawford and so call it a day, or to carry on further, and between us it was decided to continue on.

This meant taking the short lane to reach the more major Little Lawford Lane (only a minor-road, but properly surfaced and at times carrying cars etc. at some speed). We needed to turn left on to this road and follow it up the hill (not very steep) for just less than a mile until reaching near the crest of the rise where a footpath crosses the road. From here we turned off the road (turning left), crossing into a field (no livestock) and headed across to the far right hand corner.

I think if Justine had realised the distance involved [for what was really a massive diversion from the original route] she might have thought better of the idea (road walking can do this to anyone, even over relatively short distances), but there was no turning back now and so we continued on, downhill now across a crop field, the path very clearly visible dropping diagonally towards the far corner (sort of south 20110814-09_Ancient Tower - King's Newnham by gary.haddenwesterly now) towards a group of farm buildings that make up a part of King’s Newnham. I think me saying that I’d finish off the walk and go get the car and bring it back to Church Lawford helped as this precluded the thought of the BULL FIELD on the final leg back to Long Lawford.

Anyway, the walk is really quite pleasant here, crossing the slightly scruffy field past the buildings (marked as Manor House on my map) and down a steepening grassy slope to drop to a long modern footbridge crossing The Avon for a second time. If you do this walk, just before the bridge, keep an eye out for the remains of 20110814-10_Broken Machinery Cogs - King's Newnham by gary.haddensome old rusting machinery; cogs and wheels and brickwork, and what looks to me to be an old man-made water course, now little more than a dry shallow ditch – I assume this all adds up to some kind of water-power arrangement now long since dispensed with!

Once over the footbridge, the path heads almost due south through a crop field and then rising through a couple or so small grassy fields skirting the village of Church Lawford to meet Green lane and then very soon after reach The Old Smithy Pub. There was no doubting what needed to happen next and yep, you’ve guessed it, in we went, purchased some drinks and headed out into the outdoors garden 20110814-14_The Old Smithy Pub - Church Lawford by gary.haddenarea. I’m now pleased we did so, as little did we know that there would be precious few evenings in the summer of 2012 even remotely conducive to sitting out for an evening (we had a pretty miserable 2012 summer here in England).

It seems odd looking back now, but I hadn’t taken a single photo all evening – an oddity for me – so all the pic’s on this diary so far have been from other similar walks prior to this one, just for illustration purposes. 20110814-15_Decorative Building (Manor House perhaps) - Church Lawford by gary.haddenOnce I’d imbibed my pint of bitter, I bought another round for Justine and Craig, said my au revoirs and set off for Long Lawford about a mile and a half away. The route is very easy walking through livestock/grass fields  but first I needed to take Church Lane, past the ornately decorated Manor House, through St. Peter’s Church graveyard and then across a series of fields, at first south easterly but then swinging round to the east as the path passes close to a loop of the River Avon.

.

20120522-01_Sunset over Church Lawford by gary.hadden

Dusk was drawing in quite quickly now; the sunset silhouetting the church behind me. I didn’t need to be hanging around, not wanting to be walking in the dark, so I picked up the pace somewhat but I couldn’t resist taking a few photo’s of some passing trains zooming along the West Coast Mainline which runs almost parallel to the path here. The low light conditions were quite challenging, but with some playing with camera settings and panning round with the speeding trains, I ended up with some pic’s I quite like – I think they convey the speed of the trains anyway.

20120522-02_Virgin Train - West Coast Main Line Near Rugby by gary.hadden

20120522-03_Local Train - West Coast Main Line Near Rugby by gary.hadden

20120522-04_Virgin Train - West Coast Main Line Near Rugby by gary.hadden

20120522-05_Silhouetted Tree by gary.hadden

I was also quite taken with the shape of a tree silhouetted against the rapidly fading but still lovely coloured pinky-blue sky. However, I still needed to cross the cow/bull field – which I negotiated with no difficulty at-all (all the animals had wandered to the far corner, so I didn’t need to get anywhere near them). Once out of the bull field, I was back on familiar ground (where we’d turned around earlier) and soon found myself back in Long Lawford, passing the two pubs (The Caldecott Arms and The Lawford Arms) both looking rather inviting. I resisted ! ; I had to drive back to Church Lawford and pick up my wife and son, which I duly and dutifully did.

20120522-08_The Lawford Arms - Long Lawford - Near Rugby by gary.hadden   20120522-06_The Caldecott Arms - Long Lawford - Near Rugby by gary.hadden

20120522-09_The Lawford Arms - Long Lawford - Near Rugby by gary.hadden   20120522-07_The Caldecott Arms - Long Lawford - Near Rugby by gary.hadden

In the end I’d walked about 5 miles (including the aborted beginning) so I guess the full round would be about 4 miles (without the covering of the same bit of ground three times!).

Well, I hope you enjoyed my scribblings …. If you’d like to comment on my diary or any of my pic’s please feel welcome. I’d love to hear from you.

T.T.F.N. Gary.

20110814_Long Lawford to Cawston via Church Lawford Walk

20110814_Long Lawford to Cawston via Church Lawford Walk

20110814-02_River Avon at Little Lawford by gary.haddenWhen : 14th August 2011

Who : Me and my 9 year old Son Craig

Where : Long Lawford to Cawston (West + South of Rugby, Warwickshire).

Maps : OS 1:25000 Outdoor Leisure Map No.222 Rugby and Daventry

Start Point : Approx SP471,758…. End Point : Approx SP474,734

Distance : Approx  10.3 km (6.4 miles)

Heights Climbed : Nothing really very significant at all, certainly nothing steep. See the end of diary for some details though.

If you click on a pic’ it should launch as a larger image on my flickr photostream.

Summary : A nice countryside wander across mixed farmland on the outskirts of Rugby. Starting in Long Lawford ; Crossing the River Avon ; Little Lawford ; King’s Newnham ; Across the Avon again ; Church Lawford (passing The Old Smithy Pub) ; Under the west coast mainline railway ; Lawford Heath ; Rugby Western Relief Road ; Old Rugby-Leamington Railway (Cawston Greenway) ; and then a final bit of ruralness before arriving home in the newish Cawston Grange Housing Estate.

20110814_Long Lawford to Cawston Via Church Lawford + Lawford Heath

20110814-05_The Ford - Little Lawford by gary.haddenAfter writing the above, I’ve kind of almost said it all the nitty gritty stuff really, but I’ll expand the story anyway. It was a lovely Sunday morning, so I decided it’d be just perfect for a bit of a local wander and I busied myself getting a little bit of kit ready, when Craig piped up and asked if he could come too. Delighted that he wanted to come with me, I readily agreed and we soon found ourselves being dropped off  in Long Lawford (near the corner of Chapel Street on Railway Street), by my lovely wife, sort of en-route to taking our daughter to a cello lesson.

It was an easy start to the walk, heading north on Chapel Street, until just past St. John’s Church at the end of the road. From here we picked up an obvious path heading slightly to the left, which soon took a dogs-leg left and then bent round back northwards again bounded by fences on both sides. The small fields either side would probably be better described as paddocks’ as they often house a selection of ponies. 20110814-01_Track + Bridge over River Avon - Little Lawford by gary.haddenIt’s quite amazing how quickly built up areas can become rural and this walk certainly fits that bill as the track drops gently down to cross the River Avon via a farm bridge.

The Avon here is really very small, little more than a stream really, meandering through the fields. However, don’t be completely fooled, the river can and does flood quite frequently after heavy rain, evidenced by the raised walk-way approaching and crossing the bridge at least a couple of feet above track level. A short distance further on and we entered the Mill complex at Little Lawford. This is an attractive group of buildings which have timeless feel about them. From here we should have crossed a small wooden footbridge, but the cattle on the far side somehow looked a bit skittish, and I felt quite uneasy about taking Craig into their field. This didn’t matter overly, as I took us through the old mill complex on its wide track (slightly off the right of way, I’m afraid though), but this also had the side effect of bringing us out close to the old ford.

20110814-04_Cooling off at The Ford - Little Lawford by gary.haddenThe little detour down to the river is worth doing (it’s only a few yards) and whilst we were there we were lucky enough to be joined by 3 riders on horseback. The three of them slowly entered the ford and one of the horses in particular really seemed to enjoy itself, stamping its front legs, splashing at the waters. I was surprised when they turned around and headed back from 20110814-06_1604 building - Little Lawford by gary.haddenwhere they’d come, rather than head all the way through the ford and out the other side – it transpired it was just a cooling off detour.

Anyway, enough of the ford, because, as pretty as this spot is, we had to drag ourselves away and continue our walk, heading up the lane passing a really old building built from grey stone. The very square, almost severe, looking house has the date 1604 set into the stonework. I’m not hot on my history, but this dates back to when :-

  • The Stuarts were the ruling Royal family, James 1st of England had just come to the throne, taking over from Elizabeth-1st.
  • Protestants and Catholics were at loggerheads (1605 = Gunpowder plot).
  • James 1st commissioned his authorized version of The Bible.
  • Shakespeare was walking the boards (probably the most famous Warwickshire person of all time ?)
  • and … a little later on in 1607, marked the establishment of Jamestown in the “New World”.

And the list goes on …. So I guess if the walls could talk, they’d have some tales they could tell us.

We carried on (up Clay Hill Lane) to meet Little Lawford Road and turned left (westwards). My plan was to walk along the road for maybe half a mile or so, to pick up a footpath across to King’s Newnham; but Craig had other ideas, not wanting to walk on the road at-all, his demeanour was quite adamant to avoid the tarmac if at-all possible!. So, after just a few yards (at the junction with a minor road heading north towards Cathiron) we turned off right taking a footpath diagonally across the pasture field. The path is on the map and access into the field is fine, but the path didn’t show up on the ground, so, trying to be as accurate as possible I took a compass bearing across the wide field. 20110814-07_Duck Pond - Brown's Spinney nr Little Lawford by gary.haddenOnce through the next boundary we emerged into an area with some duck ponds; one of which was quite sizeable and quite attractive, with its backdrop of Brown’s Spinney framing the pool nicely.

The scene was further enhanced by a pair of swans and a good number of ducks including a large crèche of nearly-grown ducklings, well over 2-dozen of them, congregating together like teenagers wandering the local high street; the associated adult ducks were sensibly keeping well clear of the throng in a smaller group under the tree branches at the far side of the pool.

It’s so easy to spend too long near water, and we again had to encourage ourselves to move on again, now having to concentrate on map reading to work out where the right of way went to get past the pools and then skirt to the south of Fennis Fields Farm. The navigation wasn’t too taxing on my aging brain cells though and we’d soon reached where a path turned half-left, heading diagonally across a semi-ploughed field. The path was faintly on the ground saving the need to take a compass bearing. As we stopped here for a quick drink, 20110814-08_Cloudscape + farmland nr King's Newnham by gary.haddena couple of fellow walkers passed by, heading off on the same path we were soon to take. I liked how quickly they became diminutive figures, dwarfed by a big sky and billowing clouds above; I particularly liked the sense of space here (an unusual feeling for me in Warwickshire) as we set off in the same direction.

I wouldn’t say this was a very large field, but I’m pleased it wasn’t fully ploughed and wet, ‘cause it could have been quite hard work rising up to the hedge in the distance. Once through the hedge the path continued across the next field, also in a diagonal direction. The two walkers that had passed us earlier had (for some reason or another) decided to skirt around the field edges instead, which meant by the time we’d crossed the field and stood back on Little Lawford Road we were now ahead of them again, rather than walking in their footsteps.

20110814-09_Ancient Tower - King's Newnham by gary.haddenCrossing straight over the road, we then had a small field to cross, heading for the corner, where a small square was partitioned off (little more than allotment sized) with a tiny crop of maize growing. At the corner we crossed into the next rather scruffy field, which, after skirting the manor house complex of King’s Newnham (previously known as Newnham-Regis) we got a view of the ancient tower. Sorry, but 20110814-10_Broken Machinery Cogs - King's Newnham by gary.hadden I don’t know much about this, however, I’ve found out the tower is the ruined remains of the demolished Church of St. Lawrence. I’ve read that it may date back as far as the 12th Century, but this is uncertain and the church was demolished in the middle of the 18th Century; just leaving the tower which now stands in a Farm yard.

From The Manor, we dropped down towards the River Avon again, passing close to a dilapidated set of cogs and associated broken down machinery. The earthworks here-about suggest to me this was perhaps a small water “mill” of some kind,  long since defunct and out of use. 20110814-13_River Avon - at King's Newnham + Church Lawford by gary.haddenA few yards further on brought us to a long footbridge leading us over The Avon for the second time in the day. The actual stream was almost hidden from view by the profuse and vibrant reeds and other water loving plants.

Once over the bridge, we continued on, almost due south now, gently rising through some more small scruffy fields, to 20110814-14_The Old Smithy Pub - Church Lawford by gary.haddenreach Green Lane, which soon brought us into the heart of Church Lawford village at The Old Smithy Pub. Craig fancied a call-in for a J20 and a packet of peanuts, but I resisted the temptation (a pint would have been nice, but really wasn’t needed) and instead we perched ourselves on a bench opposite the entrance, on the small village green, for the refreshments (including mini-apple pies) that I’d had the foresight to pack.

20110814-15_Decorative Building (Manor House perhaps) - Church Lawford by gary.haddenOnce sated, we set off again heading down Church Road (eastwards now) past the very ornate and attractive Manor House (circa 16th C) to reach St. Peter’s Church. The path heads through the graveyard to the right of the church and emerges into pasture fields; the path plainly visible marking our route. This is so well walked I can’t imagine it will ever disappear. In fact, I think every book, without exception, of local walks I’ve picked up has this route published in some guise or another :- A mini Coventry and Warwickshire classic! …. The views back to the church here epitomise rural Warwickshire, beautiful in a gentle, understated way.

20110814-17_Church Tower - Church Lawford by gary.hadden

A couple of fields further on and after crossing a field boundary, the path diverges into two: One carries straight on (easterly) which would bring you back to the start point in Long Lawford [in less than a mile], giving a very pleasant circular; The second and less obvious route swings south to cross under the West Coast Mainline railway (Rugby-Coventry section) via a brick archway. We were lucky enough to see a Virgin Pendolino hurtle past on its dash towards Rugby and I guess beyond to Euston in London. The resulting photo I took is OK I think, where I tried to keep the arch sharp and allow the train to blur to give an impression of speed. I’ll let you decide if it works OK or not.20110814-20_Virgin Train - Railway Arch  Between Church Lawford + Long Lawford by gary.haddenA wide access track then brought us up past what appears to be some kind of water treatment works to meet the A428 Coventry Road. Our route turned us right along the road for a couple of hundred yards or so, to mid-way along a small spinney, where we then carefully crossed to pick up a bridleway heading south up towards Lawford Heath. The right of way basically follows the hedge line of a couple of sizeable fields on wide verges. We should have made good time here with the lack of stiles and map-reading to do, but no, new distractions 20110814-23_Hay bales_Rotoballe - Lawford Heath by gary.haddenemerged to keep the pace quite slow; this included Craig catching grass-hoppers in the tall grasses with his bare hands (he’s good at this!) and then wanting to “surf” on top of several of the “rotoballe” hay-bales scattered around one of the fields. I don’t know if it’s sad or not, but I do like the imagery of these rolled up hay-bales and I could have spent as long trying to compose the perfect photo as Craig would have spent climbing on the cylindrical objects.

20110814-24_Cloudscape + Rotoballe Hay Bales - Lawford Heath by gary.haddenTime was passing though and we needed to press on, the bridleway fairly easy to navigate as it leveled out to reach a minor country road [Ling Lane], where we turned left for a couple of hundred yards of road walking. Even this was interrupted for several minutes as Craig watched a tractor pulling a small harvesting device which every now and again would “give birth” to another rotoballe hay-bale, spitting them out around the field at regular intervals.

At the end of Ling Lane (T-Junction with the slightly larger Lawford Heath Lane) we 20110814-26_Big Foot Bridge - Over Rugby Western Relief Road A4071 - Cawston by gary.haddencrossed straight over to join another bridleway heading down the side of a hedge and it wasn’t far before we started an easy descent into a shallow valley; after dropping down the side of a second field we crossed a small footbridge to then rise up to a brand-spanking new major footbridge across the Rugby Western Relief Road (A4071). The size of this is bridge seems rather incongruous when considering the mini-bridge we’d crossed moments earlier, but it is a stand-out structure in the landscape and isn’t by any means unattractive.

Almost as soon as we’d crossed the new bridge, we had another, much older one to cross, this time made of blue brick rather than shiny steel. This crosses over the old Rugby to Leamington Railway Line (or what was known as The Lias Line) and is now long since defunct as a working railway. Over the years the line has become overgrown and naturalised, almost a long thin wood with a sinuous pathway down the middle. This is used by ramblers, dog walkers and off-road cyclists but can be muddy and quite narrow in places ….

20090708-02_Old Railway-Cawston-Rugby by gary.hadden   20110123-05_Old Lias Line - Cawston Greenway New Clearing by gary.hadden

20110814-27_Cawston Greenway - Old Lias Line (Rugby-Leamington Railway) by gary.hadden

Above 3x Pix are taken from the same place, in JULY-2009, JAN-2011 + AUG 2011

 …. but these problems are improving dramatically as a local community project called Cawston Greenway (running alongside the Cawston Grange Housing Estate) is turning it into a nature reserve. This is being done, oddly enough, by cutting back and thinning the trees and rough undergrowth to allow sunlight to reach the floor and hopefully dry out the ground and at the same time allow grass and wild-flowers to grow, creating whole new habitats to encourage a diverse selection of wildlife.

From the bridge there’s a way down the bank to reach the old track bed, but that wasn’t for us, as we headed straight over the bridge to enter a pasture field (often with 20110814-28_Footpath through the Wheat - Cawston Rugby by gary.haddencows or sheep or sometimes both) to follow a hedge on our left. At the end of this field we crossed into the next one, which was full of a ripening wheat crop, the path ahead plainly obvious. Craig, even though he’d walked nearly 6 miles, set off at a run and was soon way ahead of me; I had no concerns though, as we’ve walked this path so many times now I’ve lost count. He waited at the far end of the field for me to catch up, where we then continued between a couple of houses to reach the newly renamed B4642 Coventry Road.

Please note, THIS Coventry Road (B4642) is NOT the same Coventry Road (A428) crossed earlier in the walk and to confuse matters even more, online maps and even 20110814-29_Harvesting - Cawston - Rugby by gary.haddenlocal sign-posts still sometimes insist this is the A4071, whereas the tag A4071 is now attached to the Relief Road, also crossed earlier in the walk. If you’re following this route, the path emerges almost opposite Cawston Lane, and there is no confusion about that name! We stood for a moment or two watching a combine harvester noisily unloading its load of grain into a trailer in the field next to the lane. Our walk was now nearly over, as we turned left alongside the Coventry Road (towards Rugby) and then keeping slightly left at a small stand of tall trees.

We were now on the edge of the fairly new Cawston Grange Housing Estate, and we took a left turn onto a gravel path that runs around the estate. Now, we live on the estate, so it was just a case of walking through the streets to home and a coffee. I’m sorry, but as I don’t live in a coffee shop I’m gonna leave this post as finishing at the end of Trussell way (not my home), which is where I’ve started/finished several of my other walks diaries, so it seems logically neat to end here. Trussell Way also has plenty of room for parking, so it’d be easy to be picked up from here. Alternatively, you could easily add a couple more miles to the walk and drop down to Long Lawford via several routes. If you want, have a browse through some of my other local routes for some ideas how to do this … Maybe this one might fit the bill.

Well that’s about it, the end of another enjoyable day in the countryside with the added bonus of my son’s company on the walk:- Super !

T.T.F.N. Gary

Rough idea of up-hill heights during the walk (I’m reluctant to call them Climbs coz they’re so not difficult).

  • 1 = approx 20m / 66 ft (Avon at Little Lawford to Before King’s Newnham)
  • 2 = approx 15m / 50 ft (Avon at King’s Newnham to Church Lawford)
  • 3 = approx 30m / 100 ft (Railway Arch nr Avon to Lawford Heath)
  • 4 = approx 10m / 33 ft (Mini Footbridge nr Relief Road to Cawston)

Ta-Ta again, Gary.

20110123_Cawston to Long Lawford Walk via Cawston Greenway

20110123_Cawston to Long Lawford Walk via Cawston Greenway 

When : 23rd January 2011.

Who : Me and my son Craig

Where : Cawston, Long Lawford, Near Rugby, Warwickshire, England.

Maps : 1:25000 OS Explorer Map 222, Rugby & Daventry.

Start Point : 47,72.    End Point : 47,76.

Approx Distance : Just under 3 miles (4.5 km).

Heights : Flat or downhill – Virtually no height gained. 

Summary : A short walk from Cawston to Long Lawford in Warwickshire … including seeing the progress made so far on “The Cawston Greenway” nature reserve project [The Old Lias Line – Rugby to Leamington disused Railway]. 

20110123_Cawston to Long Lawford Walk via Cawston Greenway

The summary above, almost tells the walk in one go, but I’ll enhance it a tad with a bit more detail anyway. I was going visiting in Long Lawford Village, which is only a few minutes’ drive away from home (a couple of miles at most maybe) but as it was dry, albeit quite grey and cold, I decided it’d be a pleasant diversion to walk there, get some fresh air and stretch my legs instead of taking the car. I was more than happy when my 9-year old son asked if he could join me … you just don’t say no to that, so it was a case of grabbing a smaller pair of hiking boots from the garage as well as mine.

From the Cawston Grange housing estate, we actually started off in completely the opposite direction to our destination, heading through the streets to pick up the perimeter path and then turning left to skirt between the new houses and farmland to meet the B4642 (the old A4071) Coventry Road near the end of Cawston Lane. Opposite Cawston Lane, we turned right away from the main road taking a bridleway between a couple of properties, to then cross through the middle of a pasture field (with a small group of cows in a far corner) and then enter another similar field (with no livestock) only this time walking close to a hedge on our right. Many of our local walks together have started this way and Craig was happy to just chat alongside me rather than run ahead as normal. It didn’t take long to reach the far corner of the field where we passed through an old rusty gate to cross an even older blue-brick bridge (Victorian maybe ?). This used to be very overgrown with nettles, alder and other scrub but it’s now been cleared and is now very easy to cross.

The bridge crosses an old disused railway which is used by local walkers and cyclists as a green corridor, the old track-bed, embankments and especially the cuttings have slowly been taken over by trees and brambles, nettles and rose and all kinds of scrub. In places this naturalisation has resulted in a tangled mass of undergrowth, at times making walking along the track very awkward (late summer is the worst time because of the recent seasons’ growth). However this is now improving a great deal, because a volunteer group has been started with the vision of turning a good stretch of the railway into a nature reserve and making access to and along the route much more easy and enjoyable. 

This volunteer group is called the “Friends of Cawston Greenway” and the leading light and visionary is Paul Hart …. it doesn’t take a genius to work out the old Lias Line is now becoming known as “The Cawston Greenway”.  I’ve been out a couple of times to help cut back some of the scrub (brash as I now know it to be called) when they’ve had working parties out. In fact as we looked over the parapet of the bridge, there was a gent’ (with a chain saw) pollarding a hawthorn tree below us. Once over the bridge we were to turn right to descend past where he was working but not before Craig had run out onto another bridge just ahead of us. This one in contrast is brand spanking new, crossing over the equally new Rugby Western Relief Road (RWRR – A4071). It does seem to be rather over-engineered for what it does, but hey what do I know. Craig spent about 5-minutes waving at the traffic passing beneath, hoping to illicit a similar response from below …. They were a miserable lot today though, not one reciprocal wave was received until a big truck passed by and then not only did he get a cheery wave from the two truckers in the cab, but also a long loud double blast on the trucks air-horns. I could then persuade Craig to move on at this high point in the game. 

Dropping down the cutting to The Greenway here has been made much easier than in the past, as the volunteer workers have now constructed some rudimentary steps down the bank, where before it was just quite a steep slope. In fact this area is ear-marked to become a picnic area and there has been a tremendous amount of clearance of both undergrowth and tree canopy from around here. At the bottom we stood and chatted with the amateur tree surgeon for a few minutes.

The idea here is to allow sunlight to reach the ground and at the same time allow better airflow and dry out the floor. This should then encourage a host of plants to populate the area and so attract butterflies, insects, birds and other wildlife to return. The following two pic’s, (as a now and then comparison) show the amount of work done here and even allowing for different times of year the difference is quite marked!

    

July 2009                                   January 2011                    

 

Part of the work is the building of piles of the cut tree trunks and branches, which as they decay will give homes to insects, etc. as they breakdown naturally.

One such pile was already growing some kind of fungi and a ladybird had braved the chill, sitting out on the end of one log. Craig took great interest as I tried to explain the thinking behind this and the process of decay leading to new life.

    

 

Another part of the action plan is to create several of these wide glades or clearings at intervals along the greenway, linked by narrower pathways, thus maintaining some of the tree cover and scrub, such as blackberry brambles, blackthorn (sloe), hawthorn, rose, etc. which wildlife can still use …. only this will be cut back somewhat to give better access along the route and again hopefully allow the path to dry out and become less muddy. 

If you’re interested to find out more or even minded to help out, all comers are welcome and I think it best to point you to the following internet pages for further information ….

Anyway, back to our walk. We said our good-byes to the gent’ with the saw, which he fired up, to restart his controlled attack on the felled hawthorn tree and we set off northwards on the quite muddy pathway.

It was very evident where a lot of effort had been put in and the shape of how the Greenway may develop. As we walked and chatted, we passed a number of rabbit burrows, and what I took to be a badger sett which Craig particularly liked. 

Other landmarks along the way included where part of  the Cawston Grange Estate gets quite close to the path, with a couple of easy access points ; a new underpass where a new road passes overhead (it links Cawston Estate with The RWRR) ; and a couple more of the old brick bridges as well. After negotiating a very wet area – it was almost a stream; it was at one of these bridges that we climbed up the right bank to emerge onto Lawford Lane/Bilton Lane near The Bear Pub. We then promptly turned a full 180 degrees to cross the bridge and in the process get a final view down onto The Greenway.

                                        

                                         

Our route was now to cross over the Rugby Western Relief Road at a traffic light junction and just beyond this at a corner where Bilton lane bends sharp right, we headed straight on onto a track cum driveway, invitingly leading down to a large white gate. Once through the gate, the track continues narrowing drastically after passing the last of the properties here, to become a simple countryside path enclosed by hedges and trees.

After a short distance, the aspect opened up again giving good views over pleasant rolling countryside to Lawford Heath . The obvious path ahead now widened again as it dropped down to meet Lawford Heath Lane. 

From here it was all road walking …. first turning right to take Lawford Heath Lane, passing some of the dirtiest sheep I think I’ve ever seen, to reach a cross roads, crossing straight over the A428 Coventry Road, to follow The Green/Chapel Street up and over the west coast main line railway and then into the village of Long Lawford where we passed The Memorial Hall on Railway Street to reach two pubs positioned right next door to each other on Main Street. This would seem to be as good a place as any to stop this diary, although we didn’t go in for a drink in either The Lawford Arms or The Caldecott Arms…. nope, we continued further into the village to make the visit we’d set out to do a little earlier, meeting my wife and daughter who’d driven down as original planned for us all. After a cuppa and a chat we drove home together in a fraction of the time it’d took to walk. 

And here ends this little walk’s write up. 

Oh, one more thing … if you wanted to turn this into a circular walk, there’s a footpath that heads out from Long Lawford, in a westerly direction, heading towards Church Lawford. Not long after reaching a large bend in The River Avon, branch left to cross under the mainline railway, make a right along the A428 for a very short distance and then turn left (crossing the road) to pick up a bridleway heading south up the rise ahead, through farmland. This bridleway emerges onto Ling Lane where you’d need to turn left to soon meet Lawford Heath Lane. Cross straight over to travel down the side of a hedge on another bridleway which soon descends a shallow valley, crosses a small footbridge over a brook and then rises gently to a large new footbridge over the RWRR …. This is where we’d been near the start of the walk (just before picking up The Greenway) … and all that’d be left to do from here, would be to cross the old railway bridge and the last couple of fields back to Cawston and the end of a half decent circular walk to the west of Rugby Town. 

…. or …. for a longer circular you could use this link taking in Long Lawford, Little Lawford, King’s Newnham, and Lawford Heath to get back to Cawston.

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….

T.T.F.N. Gary

20090823_Long Lawford – Newbold on Avon Circular Walk

20090823_Long Lawford – Newbold on Avon Circular Walk

When : 23rd August 2009

Who : Me and my son Craig

Where : Long Lawford, Newbold On Avon, Near Rugby, Warwickshire.

Map Used : 1:25,000 OS Explorer map 222, Rugby and Daventry.

Start Point : 476,766

1st End Point in Long Lawford : (2x pubs on main street) 472,759

2nd Start Point : (2x pubs) 472,759

2nd End Point : 47,73 (Cawston Grange)

Approx Distances : 3.75 + 1.88 miles (6 + 3 km)

Heights : nothing significant (bit of a rise on the 2nd stage of the walk of about 100 feet (30 metres)

Parking : On street parking in Long Lawford – Please park considerately as this is a residential area.

Public Transport : Long Lawford is serviced by a local bus route.

Summary : A pleasant mornings walk just to the west of Rugby, with plenty of variation, including : Long Lawford ; River Avon ; Newbold On Avon ; Oxford Canal ; Newbold Tunnel ; Cathiron ; Little Lawford ; River Avon (again) and back to Long Lawford … and then an extension of the walk, up a rise on the northern outskirts of Lawford Heath back home to Cawston Grange ; and all with relatively little road walking

Although the route fairly jumps out of the map as a very obvious circular, I also referenced a couple of books I have of local walks, both of which describe virtually the identical route as each other :

  • Evening Telegraph Country Walks by Brian Keates, bought way back in 1993 for £2.45 some 17 years ago now, so whether it’s still in print I’ve no idea, I doubt it somehow. … says 4 miles for the circuit.
  • Country walks in the Rugby Area, Jim Watson, This Way Books, first published 2003 but I purchased it in the last couple of years from Rugby Info’ centre so it may well still be in print today (Apr 2010 at the time of writing this post) … says 3.75 miles for the circuit.
  • Although 10 years apart and with different authors, both of these books follow almost identical layouts, style of prose, sketch maps, distances and illustrations (Brian’s book uses his photo’s ; Jim’s his drawings). It’s interesting to see real inflation in action here, the price of these almost identical publications has roughly doubled in about 15-years and there are 30 walks in Brian’s book (8p per walk) as opposed to 20 in Jim’s (24p per walk).

It promised to be a nice day and as the girls of the family were doing their own thing during the morning I thought it would be a good idea for me and my son Craig (he was not quite 8 y.o. at the time) to have a bit of Father and Son time together on a short walk close to where we live. Craig was “up for it” so I put up a small packed lunch and some drinks and we donned walking boots to be dropped off at the northern most corner of the Long Lawford housing estate on Ashman road/Prentice Close.

The girls drove off, leaving us to find our bearings … I soon worked out this meant heading down a narrow passageway between a couple of houses to immediately reach a pasture field with some horses grazing happily in the shadow of Rugby Cement works. The ugly grey works and chimney were to be visible for much of the walk, but not to it’s detriment really, just a point of interest worth noting. The walk across the field was interrupted briefly for Craig to say hello to a friendly pony who had wandered up to us and was quite happy to be stroked and tickled behind it’s ears. At the far side of the field we picked up a metal footbridge to cross the gentle river Avon. The bridge appears to be much longer than necessary, but this must be to allow for times of flood which is not uncommon further to the west towards Bretford so I guess could be the same here-abouts also.

Picking up an access track (access to Peninsular Farm) we crossed under a railway bridge (Rugby-Nuneaton line) where we briefly passed the time of day with a gentleman spraying weed-killer on the road margins. Looking back we were lucky enough to see a train zooming by, before we branched right on a narrow path. Tall grasses and thistles bounded us on both sides fairly dwarfing Craig who struggled to see over the tops, but he did like the thistle seed heads being blown about in the stiffish breeze. Soon after, the path opened up to follow a small avenue of trees leading the way through a field of cows to the church at Newbold On Avon (St Botolph’s according to both books mentioned above).

The route passes into the Church yard itself and the path passing the church leads out onto The Rugby Road (B4112). A brief turn right down the hill and a careful cross of the road (Main Street) took us into a side road to pass two pubs side by side; firstly The Boat, and immediately afterwards The Barley Mow. A few paces further on and we were on the tow path of The Oxford Canal.

A turn left took us very quickly to Newbold tunnel … A couple of notice boards gave some details about the tunnel and the canal hereabouts, from which I tried to impart some info’ to Craig, but all he really wanted was to get inside. I’d been clever enough to take a head torch and passed it to Craig who thought he looked really cool as he clicked through its various brightness options, settling on the red light as his preferred setting. Part of the info’ read about outside was about some special lighting installation dating back to 2005. Well some 4 years later and I think they’ve either turned the display off or all the bulbs have blown ‘cause I wasn’t aware of any special rings of different coloured lights down the tunnel. The best effect was from when Craig shone the head torch at the arched walls/roof.

There was a steady amount of traffic using the canal in both directions ; maybe the bright weather had enticed people out onto the water. We got a cheery hello from most people as they passed on their journey through the long tunnel.

I’d like to say with a degree of certainty how long the tunnel is … one sign informed that it is 189 metres long but another says 230 metres. (a quick conversion shows 189m = 620 ft and 230m = 755 ft) which is correct I can’t guess at, perhaps they’re both wrong, they definitely can’t both be right ! … can they ? There are even more distances published on various sites on the internet including 250m and ¼ mile, so who knows what is correct. One point of interest we noticed was the coating of lime obliterating some of the brickwork, and in places hanging in mini curtain and pendulous stalactites.

After the gloomy interior, it seemed particularly bright as we exited the north-west end of the tunnel where we continued on, on the tow path, to soon pass under the Rugby Road, before having to cross an attractively arched iron bridge over a side arm of the canal (this arm doesn’t go anywhere now, but used to be the main canal route before it was re-routed when the Newbold Tunnel was constructed to cut journey times). Continuing on the towpath a small boat works was passed (on the opposite bank) before reaching the next brick bridge over the cut. At this point we left the canal, climbing up to reach the farm track the bridge carries. This seemed a good place to stop for a bite to eat and we found a spot to sit for our refreshments, chatting about this and that as we refreshed ourselves. I had to bodily pick up Craig to allow him a view down to the waterway below.

Once watered and fed (tea cakes with apricot jam if I remember correctly) we followed the farm track (Cathiron Lane) westwards to reach a minor road very close to Tuckey’s bridge near Cathiron. However we didn’t head towards Cathiron, instead turning left on the minor road we headed south towards Little Lawford maybe some ¾ of a mile away. After a few hundred yards down this road we crossed another transport corridor for the second time; the 4-tracks of the Rugby to Nuneaton Railway line. The towers of Rugby Cement stood sentinel over the tracks a couple of miles away on the horizon, silhouetted against the bright sky. Immediately over the bridge the scenery returned to completely rural with sheep fields on one side and recently harvested wheat fields on the other. I always think the large round bales of straw left strewn about always look rather attractive in a random kind of way somehow.

  

The downhill stroll along the road was easy and we soon reached Little Lawford, one of the stone buildings here carries a date of 1604 …. over 400 years old – wow! Passing the ancient building, I took Craig down to see the ford where the track crosses The River Avon …. Much too deep to walk through, and I suspect too deep for most vehicles, maybe it’s OK for tractors and horses only? A battered depth gauge indicates how deep the river can get when in flood. After a chat with a lady walking her dog, our route was back a short way to head through the mill buildings complex to find a small footbridge over the mill race and then on to cross the Avon itself on a wider track/bridge. All in all Little Lawford is a charming hamlet in a pretty position, somehow with a timeless feel about it.

We stopped to take in more refreshments on the bridge above the meandering river (mini Swiss roll chocolate cakes – Yummy). I think this is a good tip for anyone walking with small children – frequent stops, places of interest, some word games (yes, including I-spy)  and tasty bribes, errrmm, I mean tasty snacks to keep them going works wonders. Anyway, heading away from the river on the gently rising track took us through more gentle Warwickshire countryside and we were soon back near our starting point back in Long Lawford.

Once in the village we headed for my Brother-in-law’s home on the off-chance that he and his family might be in. Rather than a cup of tea it didn’t take much persuading for us to head off to one of the pubs just a short walk away for a pint. I’m sure it was The Caldecott Arms we visited rather than The Lawford Arms right next door. My young nephew and niece came too and it was amazing to see how the energy levels in Craig raised themselves from flagging to a run as he played with his cousins in the pub back garden (well more of a yard really) … My sister in law joined us a little later and it would have been rude not to have another pint with her too …. well it would wouldn’t it ?!!!

After a while I decided it was time to move on … there were two options on offer :- Ring home to get the girls to come and get us or walk the extra distance back home and not trouble the girls at-all …. I gave the choices to Craig expecting him to favour the car ride, but I was wrong, he almost immediately said he wanted to carry on walking – brill’, I liked that. It seems a bottle of cola and a run around with his cousins had given him a new lease of life. So after our goodbyes, we headed off southwards to pick up Railway Street and then left into the wider road of Chapel Street/The Green, to cross over a different main line railway this time running between Rugby and Coventry. It’s odd how the view eastwards down the tracks looks for all the world that the lines go straight through the buildings of Rugby Cement.

The road led us down to the A428 Coventry Road at a cross roads. Our route took us straight over into Lawford Heath Lane. We had about 500 yards or so of road walking to navigate before turning left into a broad green lane bounded by hedges on both sides. Not long after we came across a load of corrugated panelling, I assume fly tipped by some uncaring so-and-so. It’s not the first time I’ve seen this here and I don’t like it! Once past the ugly obstruction, the track rose quite steadily through gentle countryside and in the warmth of the early afternoon Craig started to flag again, but I managed to cajole and inspire him onwards as the track narrowed to a path and the hedges closed in to be quite claustrophobic. All of a sudden the path opened up again to join a relatively manicured driveway and the slope eased as we continued on to soon arrive at a bend in Bilton Lane. 

Going straight ahead we had to cross a major road junction under construction, where the new Rugby Western Relief Road (not yet opened) crosses Bilton Lane. They seem to have been doing this for far too long now and the opening date seems to be slipping back constantly.

Immediately after crossing a bridge (over a disused railway line) and just opposite The Bear Pub our route turned right into Lawford lane passing a few houses before heading straight on onto a tree/hedge lined walkway leaving the road behind. This brought us into the new Cawston Grange housing estate where we headed off for home but not before picking some blackberries growing in the hedgerows etc.

All in all I reckon we’d covered the best part of about 6 miles, not bad for a 7-year old … I remember thinking how much I’d tired him out as we finished off down our street, but within minutes of being home he was out in the back garden bouncing up and down on our trampoline – amazing.

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….

Next few walks and the like = 20090827-31_A short holiday on the north Yorkshire coast at Boggle Hole near Robin Hoods Bay.

Some external sites I have found, obviously not by me, so I’ve no control over the info in them but they might be of interest.

http://www.stbotolphstjohn.org.uk/stbotolphshistory.htm

http://www.long-lawford.co.uk/

http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=57124

http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/web/corporate/pages.nsf/Links/BD9B147EC456E9268025719C004DF54A

http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/Web/corporate/pages.nsf/Links/B06EAE07BCD7F782802571EE0055919B

http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/RWRR

20080511_Cawston Grange + Lawford Heath Walk

20080511 Cawston Grange + Lawford Heath Walk
When : 11 May 2008
Who : Me and Craig
Where : Rugby – Warwickshire – England
Approx distance : 10 km : 6¼ miles
Significant height : Nothing really significant – couple of gentle climbs.
Map used : 1:25000 OS Explorer Map 222 Rugby & Daventry
Start Grid Ref : 469,735
End Grid Ref : 469,735
Parking : Car Park at end of Trussell Way
Public Transport : Bus route – drops off on Calvestone Road, on the Cawston Grange estate near the large island on the A4071.

Route Summary : Cawston Grange – A4071 – Rugby Western Relief Road – Lawford Heath – A428 Coventry Road – River Avon – Long Lawford – Bilton Lane – Cawston Grange …

Included : pleasant rolling countryside, Hawthorn in flower, Bird-song, Wildflowers, Rape in full bloom, reasonably way-marked paths, no particular obstacles but for normal stiles, gates, crops, etc., route finding was easy.

As I live locally to this walk, I didn’t need to use the car, but I’ll write it up as if I’d started at the end of Trussell Way on the outer edge of the new Cawston Grange housing development to the south west of Rugby, and bordering some gentle Warwickshire countryside.

If you are arriving by car, it’ll probably be on the A4071 either from the direction of the A45, or from Bilton Village/Rugby … at the large island turn into Cawston Grange Drive, at the next island turn left into Trussell Way. Trussell Way is a short road and comes to an abrupt end next to the countryside where there is a small car park.

From the car park you’ll need to cross a strip of grass (heading directly away from the end of Trussell Way) to join a path skirting around the outer edge of the estate where it adjoins farmland. Turn left on the path heading up a rise to start the walk. It was this path that Craig and I joined from elsewhere on the estate, Craig running on ahead full of energy (as young boys tend to do).

The brisk pace suited me fine, as I could stretch my legs out accordingly trying to keep up, especially as there was a coolness in the early morning air. We had both woken early (or if my memory serves me right, it was really that Craig had come and woke me early!) and as the girls of the household were to be otherwise busy later in the day, I decided that a walk was just the thing for a Sunday morning, especially as the weather was to be fine and dry. We set off well before 8 O’clock to enjoy the early freshness and the spring bird-song.

After a short while, the path emerges from the estate to meet the A4071 road into/out of Rugby. We turned right alongside the main road for several hundred yards until again turning right onto a bridle track heading off between two properties (almost directly opposite Cawston Lane).

I really like this little section of bridle track, as it tapers slightly, narrowing to a gate and it seems to draw you into the countryside, inviting you to leave the busy road behind. This was enhanced by the splash of pale pink from a clematis in full bloom climbing up and over a shed in the adjacent garden.

 

 

The way ahead, in a generally north westerly direction, is over a couple of pasture fields. In the first, the route goes straight across the middle; in the second, it follows the hedge line. These fields often contain a selection of sheep and cattle and today was no exception, except this time a large ram stood slightly away from the other sheep and cows … it seemed to have a superior air of aloofness about itself and it didn’t bat an eye-lid as we passed close by. Craig had never seen a ram before and was amazed at its size compared to the nearby ewes. At the far corner of the second field the path leaves it to cross an old farm bridge over a disused railway cutting.

It is possible to descend onto the old railway and use it for other walks (for instance to Draycote Water), but in this case we crossed straight over, picking our way through the stinging nettles to emerge into open space but immediately confronted by a huge scar doing its best to bar our way. This was the Rugby Western Relief Road under construction and the farmland had been ripped up leaving a mud brown streak, running pretty much north/south and parallel to the old railway. At the time of writing (Oct 2008), this is now being tarmac’d over.

I won’t get too political here as there are valid arguments for and against new road developments such as this bypass. Although it isn’t pretty, on the whole I’m for this road, so long as it doesn’t put extra pressure on the green belt between Rugby and Coventry. I suppose only time will tell on that one. I don’t know what provision is to be made to cross here in the future when the road is open (sometime in 2009 I think), but please be careful once it has cars and lorries speeding up and down.

Anyway, back to the walk, we crossed the “new road” to drop into a shallow valley with views to the gentle rise on the other side of a small stream (a tiny feeder into the River Avon) which we crossed by means of a small footbridge. We would re-cross the stream later in the day just outside Long Lawford.

 

We then climbed alongside mature hedges to reach Lawford Heath Lane, where we continued straight ahead into Ling Lane, walking on the road for a couple of hundred yards or so before turning right across the field on an indistinct path (bridle track on the map). The route then crossed and bounded several fields eventually dropping down, in a northerly direction, to meet the A428 Coventry road opposite a little wood. Crops grown here include maize, potato, beet, wheat and oil seed rape (in full flower when we did the walk) and I’m sure several other crops as well.

    

Please appreciate the countryside here, because, although it is not overly exciting or unique, it had been proposed that the largest airport in Europe and potentially the world could have been built right here … and there wouldn’t have been any countryside at-all !

Route finding was not a problem as the path although not particularly distinct was evident on the ground, although Craig did enjoy pushing his way through a short section of wheat where it was trying valiantly to hide the way ahead.

Thankfully we didn’t need to cross a rape field and all that yellow pollen!, although we did walk down the side of a large planting of rape where Craig mused that he’d love to be one of the butterflies (or flutter-bys as we sometimes call them) flitting about, as there were so many flowers to feed from.

Upon reaching the A428 we carefully crossed over and turned right on the road side path for a short time, before turning left on a wide track to go under the mainline railway from Rugby to Coventry. If you’re lucky you might even get to see a train zooming by (we didn’t). Immediately after emerging from the bridge-cum-tunnel (owl hoot echo’s tried) we branched half right across a pristine grass meadow, Craig at a run as he vehemently shouted to me “there is no river!” as I jokingly warned him not to fall in.

He soon had to eat his words as we reached a lovely little viewpoint on an embankment above a loop in the River Avon, as it meanders westwards towards Kings Newnham & Church Lawford and Later Bretford, Wolston and Brandon before eventually turning south to the honey pots of Warwick, Stratford-upon-Avon, etc.

Nearly all books of local walks I’ve seen seem to have the classic round including this stretch of the River Avon and the villages of Long Lawford, Church Lawford, Kings Newnham and Little Lawford and it’s easy to see why, as this is a lovely spot.

However, we only managed to stay with the river for just a short time, before all too soon heading across pastureland away from the river. After about 3 or 4 fields we crossed a little stream where we lingered watching some little fish (juvenile brown trout perhaps?). This was the 2nd crossing of the steam mentioned earlier. I hope the outwash from the new road when operational does not pollute the ecology of this tiny stream. Heading on we entered the village of Long Lawford to meet a minor road. There are a couple of pubs in Long Lawford, just a couple of streets away, but we (I) resisted their call. Our route turned right along the road rising up to cross the main-line railway (this time above the tracks) on a road bridge, continuing on to meet the A428 Coventry road again.

Crossing straight over this busy road with care, we then had a little more road walking to do along Lawford Heath Road as it rises, in a southerly direction back up towards Lawford Heath, but not long afterwards we turned left up a farm track, still rising on the longest climb of the day. It was now getting quite warm, and I now had to use my powers of persuasion to keep Craig with me, his running ahead now long since replaced with dragging heels in the heat of the day.

After a while the track narrows to just footpath width and it was at this point that some anti-social oik had fly-tipped a load of old furniture and other junk. Disgusting is the only way to describe this pathetic behaviour! The rest of us use the facilities supplied by the local council, why not these obnoxious numbskulls?

We continued up the enclosed path, leaving the eye-sore behind, to meet Bilton Lane, just where it will make a large traffic light junction with the new bypass. Crossing the swathe of construction mud, we then continued along the road across a bridge, to cross the old disused railway again.

It was here that the call of The Bear Pub couldn’t be resisted and as the walk was nearly complete we succumbed and stopped off for a nice pint of best bitter for me and a soft drink for Craig. We sat out in the sun enjoying the midday break.

Soon after and reinvigorated we set off south picking up a bridle track that heads off through the middle of the Cawston Grange development. There are several ways back to Trussell Way, the easiest to describe being straight on, on the bridle track until you reach the large island on the A4071, and then cross over Cawston Grange Drive, past a stand of tall tress and soon after turning right picking up the estate path first started out on. However, you might like to find the path that skirts the development in a big sweep to the west of the houses, or perhaps pick your way through the streets just following your nose. We just made our way straight home.

A nice walk, in nice weather, at a nice time of year, and two boys (one old, one young) well satisfied with the day. It goes to prove you can enjoy a country walk without having to drive miles and miles to reach mountains and moors elsewhere in the country.

My next walk(s) … 4 days in the Lake District, on my own, in June, but that hadn’t been planned then. Links as below :

http://tothehills.wordpress.com/2008/09/13/200806218_mellbreak-from-buttermere-village/

http://tothehills.wordpress.com/2008/09/15/20080619_fleetwith-pike-haystacks/

http://tothehills.wordpress.com/2008/10/03/fleetwith-pike-video/http://tothehills.wordpress.com/2008/09/16/20080620_great-gable/

http://tothehills.wordpress.com/2008/09/17/20080620_castle-crag-borrowdale/

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….