20090620_Bilton – Dunchurch Circular Walk
When : 20th June 2009
Who : Just me
Where : Bilton and Dunchurch, Near Rugby, Warwickshire
Map used : 1:25,000 OS Explorer Map 222, Rugby and Dunchurch.
Start + End Point : 482,736 [Junction of Alwyn Rd/Lime Tree Ave].
Approx Distance : 2.5 miles, 4 km
Heights : Not enough to mention
Parking : I parked as considerately as possible in the residential area where Lime tree avenue meets Alwyn road
Public Transport : No.4 bus from Rugby Town Centre stops in Bilton.
Summary : Alwyn Road, Scots Close, Cawston Lane, Northampton Lane (Bridle way), Windmill Farm, Boathouse Spinney, Footpath between Lime Tree Village (retirement homes) and crop fields, Lime Tree Avenue to finish.
I had dropped my son off at football training and, as the weather wasn’t too bad, I decided to use the 90 minutes to go for a bit of a wander. I had a quick look at my map and decided on the route, trying to fit a little variation into the fairly limited set of local footpaths that I’m now getting quite familiar with. I started off on the residential Alwyn road heading away from Bilton Village. When I reached the edge of Alwyn road recreation ground (at a bend in the road) I took a right turn to head into Scots Close, a very short close with a few homes on just one side, which then narrows to a tarmac’d drive with quite a rural feel to it. After a very short distance the drive reaches a small group of buildings at Little Scotland Farm. The well presented cottage in stark contrast to the dilapidated and broken down old barns close by.
The metalled drive stops here to be replaced by a bridle way track bounded on both sides by a wire fence, a sheep field on one side and wheat on the other ripening nicely to a lovely golden colour, a total contrast to the dark trees in the distance.
The path takes a 90-degree turn to the right and then soon after another 90-degree turn to the left where one side becomes a hedge, with a good variety of plants including brambles and Elder coming into early summer flower, (taking over from the spring flowers of blackthorn and hawthorn).
After a little while the path emerges onto Cawston Lane at Holly Lodge Cottage. I could have crossed straight over to a gate opposite and onto a path heading for Boat House Spinney, but instead I choose the less obvious route (I say less obvious ‘cause I dislike tarmac walking) turning left to follow Cawston Lane itself towards Dunchurch Village.
On the outskirts of the village, I turned right to enter the farm track of Northampton Lane.
I was pleased to see it was dry as it can be particularly muddy especially near Windmill farm, which is where I was heading.
The morning was turning out to be really quite pleasant.
The surrounding countryside here is not overly exciting but it is green and leafy and has a quiet charm if you care to walk through it rather than the normal dash of life in cars; 2mph pace lets you see so much more than the normal 100mph zoom of normal living.
As I approached Windmill Farm I looked left along a footpath (heading off almost due south) through a field of oil seed rape in full flower; the brilliant yellow quite zingy in the sunlight with the thin dark line of the path clearly visible. I was pleased my route wasn’t across here as the pollen from the rape is not nice stuff.
Continuing along Northampton lane, I passed several farm trailer implements, (they’re often parked here by the side of the track) and a reminder that this is a working environment producing food for our tables.
At Windmill Farm (at a bend in the lane) I turned right to head northwards. Here was another contrast of an attractive well kept home next to a dilapidated group of farm outbuildings, it seems strange to me that with a little investment over the years these building could have been kept perfectly viable, maybe even to house the trailers passed earlier.
After a couple of stiles, I took the path northwards away from the farm, over a couple of unremarkable fields by the side of a hedge, to reach a cross-roads of paths. Where upon, I chose the right hand option to drop down into Boat House Spinney. Keeping straight on through, I soon emerged from the other side of the narrow strip of woodland, (literally having spent no more than a couple of minutes in the trees) but not before seeing one of the most fantastic fungi I think I’ve ever seen, growing by the side of the path in the undergrowth.
On exiting the woods, the path skirted the edge of a crop field and nearing Cawston Lane for a second time, I was struck by a couple of blood red poppies rather isolated in amongst the crop. Somehow these lonely looking flowers highlighted a certain sterility of the rest of the field, hardly another “weed” in sight. It’s quite sad really, albeit very efficient from a farming point of view.
A left turn down Cawston Lane for a very short distance was followed by a right turn down a track, again with crops to my right and a very tall hedge with overhanging trees on my left marking the boundary to Lime Tree Village retirement complex.
A gentle drop brought me to a corner where I followed the field edge left and then right to climb (very gently) up to a delightfully proportioned little cottage at the end of Lime Tree Avenue. I joined the tree lined road to head back towards Alwyn road and back to the start near Bilton Village.
Not an overly exciting walk, no great sweeping vistas, no strenuous climbs, not a hill to be seen nor expansive lakes, but a nice way to spend a good part of Saturday morning and a way to escape the normal rush of modern life for a short time (despite the deadline to be back to pick my son up from footy practice).
I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….
Next walk = 20090708_Cawston and Lawford Heath Circular Walk.