20090708_Cawston-Lawford Heath Circular Walk

20090708_Cawston-Lawford Heath Circular Walk

When : 8th July 2009

Who : Just Me

Where : Cawston, Rugby, Warwickshire

Map : 1:25000 Outdoor Leisure Map 222, Rugby and Dunchurch.

Start + End Point : 469,736

Approx Distance : 4¾ miles, 6 km

Significant Heights : Not much, about 230ft (about70m) over 2 rises (100ft 1st rise, 130ft 2nd rise … both quite gentle really).

Parking : On street parking in Cawston Grange Estate (see below)

Public Transport : No.4 bus from Rugby Town Centre drops on the estate on Calveston Road.

Summary : An evening walk including : Cawston Grange Estate, Coventry Road (A4071/B4500), Across Rugby Western Relief Road, Lawford Heath Road, Re-Cross Rugby Western Relief Road, Back into Cawston Grange Estate.

I’m writing this as if the walk started at the end of Trussell Way, in turn just off Cawston Grange Drive, on the new Cawston Grange housing Estate. Actually I started elsewhere on the estate (where I live) and you don’t really want to hear about the streets I walked to start with; but the end of Trussell Way is a good place to start.

There is a small car park at the end of Trussell Way, but I’ve noticed recently that a barrier has been dropped down across the entrance and padlocked in place, but there is room for on-street parking, just please be considerate how and where you park as this is a residential area. From here, cross the strip of grass at the end of the road towards farmland, to join a gravel path just in front of a hedge; then turn left slightly uphill, to skirt the outer edge of the estate. After a short while the path emerges onto a little loop of path/cycleway separated from the A4071 main road by a stand of tall trees.

Incidentally, just as an aside (writing in Oct-2009) … Just to confuse everyone in the near future, when the nearby Rugby Western Relief Road (RWRR) opens, the new bypass will become the A4071. According to Warwickshire County Council the existing A4071 at Cawston will then become the B4500. This was due to happen in the autumn of 2009, but it’s now said this southern section of the RWRR should open by the end of this year.

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

Turning right the path joins the main road, where upon I continued heading away from Rugby for a short distance until opposite the side road of Cawston Lane. Then, turning right (with Cawston Lane now directly behind me) I headed up a bridle track between two homes to reach a gate and stile. The farmer had put up a warning sign saying “Livestock Grazing in this field walkers enter at their own risk”. The cattle in the field were particularly inquisitive … No, I’d say almost downright aggressive!, with them running back and forth in front of me and directly at me a couple of times as I crossed directly over the field on the right of way. It certainly raised the pulse a little as the fight or flight reaction kicked in, but I held my nerve and marched on waving my arms and generally trying to make myself look big and kind of “in charge”.

I’d be interested in knowing of the legality of the above … as the sign implies that the farmer knew the cattle could pose a risk to walkers, and as such could this be deemed an effective blocking of the right of way (at least to the more nervous members of the public) and maybe even be a breach of public liability ? … ermm, interesting one. I’m very pleased I didn’t have a dog with me as I fear it could have degenerated into a quite dangerous situation. Anyway, the path heads straight across, to just to the left of a large mature tree and passes into the next quite uninteresting field where the hedge straight on is followed (with it on your right hand side). At the end of the field, in the corner, is an old gate which gives access to an over-grown farm bridge, passing over the bed of an old railway cutting.

Incidentally, there is access down to a path that follows the course of the old railway, a green corridor through the countryside as it sweeps generally north/south separating Cawston and Lawford Heath.

Once over this old brick bridge I emerged to the sight of a new substantial bridge directly in front of me crossing the new Rugby Western Relief Road (currently under construction, in Oct-09).

    

The bypass (RWRR) generally runs parallel to the old railway here and although the bridge maybe doesn’t look out of proportion to the road, it does seem completely overkill to me for what traffic (on foot, horse or pushbike) in will see.

However, I had to admire the sweep of the superstructure and I spent quite some time trying to get some “arty” photo’s (one or two I think worked out OK).

  

    

Once over the bridge I dropped down a broad track, pausing to admire a group of thistles just coming into flower, before following a thin but definitely visible path down to a wooden footbridge over a small stream. The path then rises up the side of the next large field with a mature hedge on the right. The field was full of potatoes which were being given a helping hand by some industrial scale water sprinklers being fed by a quite sizeable pipeline snaking its way across the fields.

At a small pond, pretty much hidden away behind trees the path continues straight on, but the hedge switches to your left. There were a few patches of daisy “weeds” in flower here, a minor foothold in amongst the sterility of the crops. From here (aided by the slope becoming almost level) it didn’t take long to reach Lawford Heath Lane.

I turned right to follow the road northwards, towards Long Lawford for about 1km (pounding the tarmac out of necessity to keep the circular walk fairly short) my view constantly being pulled to my left, where the sun was beginning to drop behind clouds towards the horizon. A lovely sight – I, like most people, do like a good sunset, but it wasn’t developing into the spectacle I’d hoped for.

After a little joggle in the road and soon after passing Lawford Mill and Lawford Grange Farms there is a footpath that branches off to the right and this is what I intended to take, the starting point confirmed by a prominent marker post by the side of the road. However, this is where the ease of route ended, as the way through to the next field was on a rather overgrown plank footbridge over a drainage ditch. This was immediately followed by a difficult clamber over a fallen tree covered in Ivy and brambles. If I, at over 6’4” tall and reasonably agile found this somewhat awkward how anyone of shorter stature would fare I’m not sure!

The problems didn’t dissipate once over the two obstructions, as the path was not “on-the-ground” through the maize field ahead. I’m sure the farmer has a legal requirement to clear the way through, the easiest way being to just drive a tractor down the line of the path. Anyway, with a bit of careful map reading and another helpful way-marker, I worked out a point to walk to in the distance heading diagonally down and directly through the crop.

I was pleased it was early in the growing season as I guess it would be very much more difficult doing this later in the year with the crop over 6’ tall and much denser to push through.

Anyway, once through the crop, I reached and passed through a hedge to turn right alongside a cereal crop and then left in the field corner to rise gently up, to join another path; a very obvious path this time.

Turning right (rising gently) the path becomes narrowly hemmed in between two hedges, the upper branches joining to form a gloomy tunnel as day light faded into the evening. I had to stoop down to negotiate my way for a short distance before the path opens up joining a rough driveway to emerge on Bilton Lane at a quite sharp bend in the road.

Heading straight on (towards Bilton), I reached the major construction of the RWRR to re-cross the new road for the second time. There will be a major traffic light junction here when they finally get around to finishing off the bypass. It was a mess here in July and to be honest, it’s still a bit of mess here some 3 months later. I’d be hard pressed to say what really significant changes have happened in that time. I hope I’m not talking out of turn, but it is a tad annoying as it looks like this southern section could be finished off very quickly – if they’d just get on and do it!

It was getting quite dusky now and I with a lot of will-power decided to ignore The Bear Pub, instead I headed right (directly away from the pub) into Lawford lane, and then (at a bend in the residential road), straight on, heading along a wide pathway to reach into the northern reaches of the new Cawston Grange Estate, and a final short walk home.

There are various ways to make the route back to Trussell Way. Probably the most rural feeling route (although not the shortest) is to turn right at the first road reached (Whitefriars Drive). Head along here until the first island is reached, cross over the wide Cawston Grange Drive and then pick up a path heading down and to the left. This runs parallel to the road at first, but then rises in a sweep to the right leaving the road behind. The path now turns left to skirt the outer edge of the estate, quite close to the old railway for a time, then swinging left towards a small kiddies playground, there’s a low marshy area off to the right here. At a T-junction of tarmac paths, just before the playground, turn right past a small pond and then straight on, rising as you go on a gravel path and this soon brings you back to the end of Trussell Way. During my walk back through the estate the previously hoped for spectacular sunset finally lit up the sky in the distance, a blazing combination of yellows and oranges. It’s just a pity most of it was obscured from view and I had to content myself with glimpses as I made my way home.

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….

Next walk = 20090805_Lacock Circular Walk

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2 thoughts on “20090708_Cawston-Lawford Heath Circular Walk

  1. I have done the very same walk, with a couple of variations. The cows in the field, and the sign on the gate. I have spoken to the Council about this and whilst the sign is probably worded incorrectly, the farmer is within his rights to let the cattle roam free. To solve this problem, it is better to walk northbound from your starting point and find a large gap in the hedge, this gives entry to the old Rugby to Leamington railway line. You can walk southbound for half a mile to the victorian bridge that you mention, which has now been cleared of hedgerow, and pick up your route from there, bit of a steep bank to get up but not too bad. Also, the part of the walk where you leave Lawford Heath Lane over the plank footbridge, better to carry on up the hill of Lawford Heath Lane and join the bridleway that you eventually came out on, from the road. Rather nice views as you look over Long Lawford, so worth it. Probalby worth mentioning that there is a buzzard that lives in the field before getting to Lawford Heath Lane and it swoops from tree to tree sometimes.

  2. Thanks for your comments Paul. It’s nice to know someone has actually read one of my “posts”. I walk the cow field quite regularly and only on this one particular occasion have I felt a little nervous … they were extremely boisterous last July!

    Thanks for the suggestion about other access points to the old railway, I’ve used several of these for nearly eight years now (since I moved onto the Cawston estate) and the old railway bed is a superb facility, when it’s not over-grown (or flooded where it passes under the A45).

    Also likewise with the paths of Lawford Heath Lane. I must admit that when there is blatant blocking of an official right of way it kind of gets my back up and I try to use it come what may. I sometimes fail (but not often!) … In this case I did get through and it does give a chance to practice compass skills where the path isn’t obvious on the ground.
    I really should have informed the footpaths authorities at the time but I was a tad lazy on this occasion and didn’t.

    Thanks again for your comments.
    Gary.

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