20100101_Cawston – Potford’s Dam Pool Sunset Walk

20100101_Cawston – Potford’s Dam Pool Sunset Walk

 When : 1st January 2010 

Who : Just Me 

Where : Cawston, Rugby, Warwickshire. 

Maps : 1:25,000 OS Explorer Map No.222, Rugby & Daventry, Southam & Lutterworth. 

Grid ref. : Potford’s Dam Pool = 465,727  

Approx Distance : About 1.5 miles (2.5 km) on top of my walk earlier in the day. 

Significant Heights : None worth mentioning … a couple of gentle rises.

Summary : A small extension to a family walk down to the pool at Potford’s Dam/Cawston Spinney to see the sunset (and take a few photo’s) which I guessed could be worth braving the cold for. 

We (that’s me and my family) had nearly completed our New Years Days Walk and we’d emerged from Cawston Woods using the track that separates Fox Covert from Cawston Spinney and made our way up to the B4642 (was called the A4071) Coventry Road at Cawston (on the south-western outskirts of Rugby near Bilton Village). 

As we rose up the incline on the farm track, approaching the main road, the snow clouds had begun to disperse and clearer skies were breaking through. The clouds themselves were taking on an orangey-pinky glow as the sun dropped towards the horizon. I liked the colours, (who doesn’t like a nice sunset) and I imagined it might be worth seeing over the waters of Potford’s Dam Pool on the western fringes of Cawston Spinney. 

So upon reaching the B4642, we all crossed the main road where my lovely wife and kids turned right (heading off towards the Cawston housing estate and home), whilst I turned left and set off in the opposite direction on my own. After just a hundred yards or so, I re-crossed the road to find a path heading diagonally away from the road behind Brickyard Spinney. The spinney forms part of the gardens of a rather nice looking home; the grounds below the trees are landscaped in a rough bowl shape and in the spring a sprinkling of flowering bulbs lights up this corner of Cawston. 

Anyway, I’ve digressed, the path here is wide and grassy and even if I hadn’t walked this way before, it would have been very obvious where to go ….. after a very short distance a ploughed field is reached and the way is nearly always completely indistinct. My map however shows it cutting diagonally across whatever crops are planted. The field dips about half way across, meaning the far end of the path can’t be seen, so in the past I’ve tended to use a compass here to be as accurate as possible, but in general the aim is to the right hand end of a line of trees … Since doing this walk, I’ve had to force my way through growing oil seed rape (yuk) and I’ve also been forced to skirt around the outside edge of the field because the direct path has been made completely impassable by the crops – it’s still perfectly possible but is a longer route to reach the desired destination. 

Don’t be put off though, if the way across the field isn’t easy, the destination really is worth it, because sat behind the line of trees in the bottom of the dip, is a small reservoir …. To use the word “pond” would seem to diminish the waters too much, but I certainly wouldn’t use the term “lake” either, as that would suggest a much larger body of water …. so pool it will stay, at least for the purposes of this blog. My 1:25000 scale OS map doesn’t name the pool at all …. I’ve always known it as Potford’s Dam Pool but I’ve also heard it called Cawston Woods Pool or Cawston Woods Lake … probably all equally as descriptive as each other as it’s the only one hereabouts. 

I’ve digressed again – Back to my walk – The sun was setting quite quickly, creating a pretty rather than spectacular scene, but there was still enough light to make a complete circuit of the pool taking some photo’s as I went. It’d obviously been really cold all day long here in the dip, evidenced by virtually the whole pool being frozen over. The icy pool diffused the light from the sunset and the whole atmosphere was subdued and quiet, as if the whole world had gone to sleep, even the hum of traffic in the distance seemed particularly hushed …. The whole feel was quite magical really and I felt honoured to be the only one around to see it. 

The circuit around the west and south of the pool is very easy, on wide paths, much on the low arching embankment which forms the dam holding the waters back (I’m guessing, but I don’t think the pool can be very deep). Eventually the path becomes sandwiched between a ditch and the pool itself as it narrows to its inflow brook emerging from the woods. Once in the woods, I found a place to cross the brook and climb a bank on the other side, rising to join a wide verge around a ploughed field. I turned left to skirt the northern edge of the pool, a narrow line of trees growing on the bank dropping between me and the water’s edge. In a couple of places I managed to get down the slope in an attempt to get some better framed pic’s with the sun setting over the pool. I’m not overly sure about the results, but I quite like some of the effects the twigs made silhouetted against the lighter backdrop of the sky and pool.

The sun itself had disappeared completely now and it’s parting salvo was to intensify its orangey glow briefly – lovely. It was now time to go, for three reasons: I was starting to feel the cold seep into my bones; If I’d stayed much longer and I’d have been walking back across the fields in the pitch black; and I guessed my family would be wondering if I’d ever rejoin them (it’s amazing how time flies when you’re enjoying yourself). So, I retraced my steps back over the ploughed field to Brickyard Spinney and thence to the main road. Once back at the top of the rise, I thought I might just get a half-decent image of the sunset from under the old railway bridge, off down the hill to my left. I even managed a bit of a jog down the side of the road to try and get there before the glow faded and destroyed my idea. 

As it happened, the scene didn’t materialise quite as expected, the fading glow of the sunset didn’t quite line up with the bridge arch as I’d hoped. However, I did like the effect of the passing cars with their lights reflected on the wet tarmac and in particular in a large puddle by the road side, framed by the arch of the brick bridge. It often floods here after rain – the drainage is terrible despite some recent works to improve the situation. It’ll be interesting to see whether the new round-about and other road works associated with the new Rugby Western Relief Road [starts/finishes just the other side of the bridge] improves or worsens the flooding here.


After taking a few pic’s, I turned around and headed back up the road away from the bridge and soon picked up a tarmac path which became set back from the side of the road. I could stride out here and started to generate a little warmth in myself again as I passed Cawston Farm and the Nature Trails Nursery Building (where I’d separated from my family earlier) and I soon found myself nearing home, leaving the main road to join the perimeter path around the Cawston estate.

The glow from the sunset had re-intensified, so I fired off a few more pic’s and actually I’m quite happy with this last little set of images. It didn’t take long from here to reach home and rejoin my family. 


This little walk was a super ending to a New Years Day; Much better than soporifically watching the old Goggle-Box (TV for those who don’t know the term) all day long. 


I hope you enjoyed my scribblings. TTFN. Gary. 

Oh, and one final aside …. Instead of using the correct name of “Potford’s Dam”, “Potsford” is very often used (both spoken and written), so if you’re searching for more info’ on the W-W-Web you might like to deliberately misspell your search entry – you might find some different results.

Bye again. Gary.

Next post = 20100102_Cawston-Potfords Dam Pool Dawn Walk


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