20091107_A Wander in Wolston
When : 7th November 2009
Who : Just Me
Where : Wolston, Warwickshire
Maps : 1:25,000 OS Explorer Map no. 222, Rugby & Daventry.
Grid ref. : 41,75
Significant Heights : Virtually None
Summary : An autumn wander in Wolston, approx mid-way between Coventry and Rugby.
This is just a simple follow on from my last post (A wander by the Avon – Wolston) and as before, I’d dropped my son off at the Leisure and Community Centre in Wolston for an hour long Karate lesson. It was an absolutely stunning autumn morning with not a cloud to be seen and a deep blue sky. It was perfectly still, with a slight chill in the air: the sort of nice chill that makes you feel alive rather than uncomfortably cold! I left the car at the leisure centre having decided there was enough time to walk down into the village and go for a wander around with my camera.
First “port of call” though, was for a coffee from a small take-away sandwich bar (opposite the millennium stone) in Main Street near the central green … I resisted the temptation of a bacon batch (a batch is a bread roll or cob for those not from the Coventry area), which I think was very restrained of me as there’s nothing quite like the smell of bacon cooking to get the appetite going.
According to the Wolston Village website :- “In 1999, a pair of heavy Millstones was recovered from the woods near the old Wolston Mill. Several villagers had suggested that the stones should be used as a feature on the bank of The Brook, something that would act as a link with the village of the past and the village of the new Millennium. Unfortunately one of the stones disintegrated before it could be used, but the remaining stone was safely installed in August 2000. Mrs Kathleen Holloway (nee Lissaman), the oldest Wolstonian at the time, and Mackenzie Newman, the youngest child on the school roll, unveiled the Millstone and plaque on Saturday 30th September 2000, during a special ceremony to mark the event.”
Similar to the nearby Stretton-on-Dunsmore and Princethorpe villages, a brook runs through the middle of Wolston, passing in front of the millstone construction. It is culverted with brickwork banks and has a couple of simple arched bridges giving access to the row of cottages running down to the war memorial cross. My OS map doesn’t give a name to the brook and I haven’t been able to find a name via the World Wide Web either! … Perhaps it hasn’t got a name ? Can anyone tell me otherwise ?
Once past the memorial cross, I branched slightly to the left away from Main Street; the minor road passing through a set of white painted gates (in need of a spruce up) just before the village school. There’s a small path cum alleyway that heads off about here up the side of the school. The “A Coventry Way”, “Centenary Way” and “Shakespeare’s Avon Way” all utilize this path as part of their combined routes on the way to/from Ryton-on-Dunsmore.
Upon passing through the gate, on the right, there’s a meadow, which the brook bisects (but now no longer culverted), with a scattering of mature trees and nearly always a handful of livestock (mostly sheep). The trees were colouring up nicely into their autumn finery; the beech tree nearest the school particularly striking in the morning sun … lovely.
Heading further along the road, on the left, is a small area of woodland with some lonely looking fancy brick gateposts bordering the undergrowth. These were the entrance gates to the old manor, which I believe was demolished in the 1920’s (???). If that is indeed true, the old gate posts have withstood the test of time remarkably well! A grey squirrel sat for a while as I tried to get close enough to take a photo’ of him/her (my 18-55 lens wouldn’t do all the work for me so I had to do a bit of tip-toe-ing) and I managed a shot, luckily just before it zoomed off high into the tangled web of branches.
The road then led me on to St Margaret’s Church, a rather squat looking building, but attractive none-the-less and with a very rural aspect with the woods, farmland, River Avon and the meadow and brook all around. I’d guess this aspect is unlikely to change as The Avon is Liable to flood here as it has done in the past. In fact a new housing estate (more or less opposite the church on the old Bluemels’ engineering works site) has been designed and constructed with discussion with the environmental Agency. To prevent the estate increasing the risk of flooding, the houses and roads are built on raised areas. The lower areas, including the gardens and central green area have particular rules about leaving a good flow path for any potential flood waters. To this end, things like solid fences, sheds, solid paved patios, etc. are banned from these lower areas. I think the general view is flood risk to the houses is quite low though.
I’ve digressed a tad from my wander. I took the narrow fenced path that heads away from the church to rejoin Main Street, just where the brook feeds into The Avon and where Main Street crosses the old narrow brick-built bridge on its way to Brandon. There’s a set of traffic lights allowing vehicles in only one direction at a time and a separate metal footbridge runs alongside to allow pedestrians to avoid the traffic. On the other side of the Avon are some rather messy looking grassy mounds topped by a small stand of trees and bounded by an ugly rusty fence and ditch. These are the remains of Brandon Castle (dating from medieval times) consisting of a keep and moat. Heading back to the Wolston side of The Avon, I stopped to take in some nice little views of the river. I could have dallied for some time, but the hour to myself was very nearly up and I ended up having to jog most of the way back to The Community Centre to pick up my son and head back home – I don’t “do” jogging or running, preferring to walk for my exercise, but I did manage to be “on-time” for his class ending, albeit a tad out of breath. Maybe I dallied on the bridges above The Avon for a little too long after all, it’s amazing how quickly an hour can disappear!
I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….
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