20090314_Cawston Woods Circular Walk
When : 14th March 2009
Who : Just Me
Where : Cawston, Rugby, Warwickshire, England
Maps : 1:25000 Explorer Map no.222, Rugby & Daventry
Start + End Point : 482,736
Approx Distance : 2¼ miles, 3½ km
Significant Heights : None
Parking : With consideration on Lime Tree Avenue/Alwyn Road, Bilton.
Alternative Parking : Free small Car Park behind Methodist Church off Lawford Lane at western end of Bilton Village.
Public Transport : Yes, No.4 bus stops in Bilton Village.
As on most Saturday mornings, the rest of my Family were off doing other things, and I found myself on a nice early spring Saturday morning with exactly 90 minutes to myself (Son’s Footy practice 9:30 to 11:00), so I decided to take my new toy (Pentax K200D DSLR camera) and have a wander around the local countryside.
The playing fields where Craig was footballing are close to where I could start the walk, so, I parked with as much consideration as possible in the residential area of Alwyn Road/Lime Tree Avenue near Bilton Village. That way I could end the walk close to where I could collect him from.
The walk started off passing the Catholic Church (Sacred Heart I think it’s called) in Lime Tree Avenue and some homes on both sides of this long cul-de-sac. After a short while (at the drive to the Old Laurentians Rugby Club) the footpaths end, forcing you to walk on the tarmac road itself. It’s at this point that the road is lined by an avenue of tall trees … I assume lime trees, but that’s just a wild guess given the name of the road. These stretch off into the distance, a slight dog-leg to the left preventing clear view of the end of the road. This slight sense of mystery draws you on between the trees, making you really want to walk down the middle of the road, but this was countered somewhat by the many snow-drops and crocuses lining the grass verges in front of the gardens to the rather posh houses set back from the road.
The end of the road is marked by a large set of iron-work gates, quite ornate, which form the rear entrance to the retirement complex of Lime Tree Village, which has grown up around Cawston House in recent years. On the other side of the gates the road continues as a private driveway still lined by the trees.
To continue the walk, I picked up a path to the left of the gates and in front of a charming cottage which overlooks a field of crops. This cottage is quite diminutive compared to some of the properties just passed, but it fits in just right with the rural aspect it overlooks.
However, I, like so many before, followed the field boundary alongside a hedge on a good sized verge. This runs parallel to the ongoing avenue of “lime trees” as it heads off into the retirement village.
At the bottom of a gentle slope, the route turned left to continue alongside the hedge and a small drainage ditch cum stream, both of which separate the field from the retirement village. After only a hundred yards or so, the route re-acquaints itself with the official right of way, turning right to pick up a track rising gently ahead. A very tall hedge to the right screens the retirement village and an old wooden fence to the left borders a field (winter wheat I think at the time).
I loved the look of the old wooden rails and posts, the grain riven by age and the lichens growing across the tops. Why the farmer feels the need for a line of barbed wire along the fence is beyond me …. There’s no live stock to keep in, and it certainly wouldn’t deter anyone determined to enter his field, as all they’d have to do is walk to the bottom of the drive and just walk into it. Strange what folk do, don’t you think?
Back to the walk … The track soon reached a minor road (Cawston Lane), which after turning left necessitated a small amount of road walking … more or less parallel with my destination of Cawston woods, just a fields length away.
Having said that a footpath can be picked up on the opposite side of the road after only a very short distance. I, however, ignored this first path continuing up Cawston Lane (towards Dunchurch) for another 300 yards or so, until I reached the first of 3 roadside houses.
A bridle track crosses the road at this point. Turning left would take you back towards Bilton, but I crossed the road to turn right, through a wooden gate set into the roadside hedge.
The route was now down the side of a hedge heading more or less in a south westerly direction towards the woods. Looking back towards Cawston Lane, the flat terrain here was unremarkable except for the straightness of both the hedge and path. Of most interest though was the sky, a lovely blue with fluffy white clouds, adding a depth to the view not really forthcoming from the landscape alone.
Continuing on, the bridle track reaches the southernmost end of Cawston Woods (noted on my map as Boat House Spinney), where there are a series of small ponds. I couldn’t see anything resembling a boat house, or any building at-all and the ponds I could see are certainly not large enough to launch any size craft, in fact hardly big enough to sail a toy boat … so how they got the name Boat House Spinney is beyond me! Maybe I’ll have to return and look more specifically? Perhaps in many a year gone by the ponds were joined up and so much larger than today? …. Is there a local historian out there with any info’ on this?
Anyway, ignoring the bridle track heading off southwards into open farmland, I now turned right, winding my way past the pools (be warned – it can be a bit muddy here) to wind my way through the narrow strip of woods on a small path. This isn’t shown as a public right of way, on my map, but seems to be well used by the local populus. I actually felt reasonably within my comfort zone doing this route, unusual for me as I do like sticking to official rights of ways whenever I do a walk. Further on there were daffodils coming into flower, naturalised in the undergrowth and banks of the woods … perfect!
As the trees widened into the main woods proper (now called Fox Covert) I swung around to the right (northwards) through the mostly deciduous trees to rejoin Cawston Lane at a dirt lay-by (near to the main front entrance into the retirement village).
A disused circular brick waterworks construction stands sentinel to the woods here, the central metalwork still visible … but it has now been turned into a scruffy, wide rimmed, rubbish bin … It’s a shame people can’t take their junk home with them!
The route was now to the left; along Cawston Lane, and a little more tarmac walking until the A4071 Coventry road was reached (this main road into Rugby is soon to be renamed as the B4500, when the new Rugby Western Relief Road (RWRR) takes on the A4071 tag when it opens later this year (2009).
I love the shape of the old wiggly-waggly, rustic fence here; I think it’s got real character. Turning right along side the A4071 brought me only a stones throw from home on the Cawston Grange housing estate and the drifts of daffodils seemed to welcome me home, but I had to press on alongside the A4071 back into Bilton Village, quickening my step considerably, so that I’d finish the walk on time to pick up my son from football training …. I arrived absolutely smack on time! just as one of the coaches was finishing his winding up speech to the assembled mini-footballers.
Upon getting back home, Craig and I strolled back up to the A4071, by the Cawston Grange island, to spend a little longer taking pic’s of the drifts of daffodils and we were fortunate enough to see a lone bumble bee industriously working away in the cheery trumpets – another sign of winter being left behind.
It wasn’t far as walks go, with no exciting scenery, or stiff climbs to raise the heart rate: The pace was really leisurely too as I took photo’s and just enjoyed the relaxed feel to the day …. It had been a lovely Mid-March morning, the sun had come out and there was a definite feeling of spring in the air … and I’d got an hour or so to myself to play with my new camera …. Brill’
I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….
Next walk = 20090315_Brinklow Walk