20110130_Warwickshire Wildlife Trust_Draycote Meadows SSSI

20110130_Warwickshire Wildlife Trust_Draycote Meadows SSSI

When : 30th January 2011

Who : Just Me

Where : Warwickshire to the south-west of Rugby

Maps : OS 1:25000 Explorer Map No. 222, Rugby & Daventry ….. Grid Ref. 448,706

Summary : Some info about Draycote Meadows SSSI, touched on during a circular walk including Frankton, Birdingbury Bridge, Draycote Village, Bourton-On-Dunsmore and return to Frankton. 

This is an addendum to my walks diary as there was quite a lot of extra info available on the path side information board and the following is a re-writing of the info … it’s easier than trying to read my photo …. of course it’d be even better to get out there and actually get a feel for the area and see it for yourself. 

I’m sure the info board sponsors Warwickshire Wildlife Trust will have no objection to me regurgitating their efforts; the info boards are in the public domain after all. 

 

Info’ board @ Grid Ref. 448,706

Draycote Meadows SSSI

One of a nationwide network of Wildlife Trust nature reserves

Near Draycote and Thurlaston Villages 

Please respect the meadows and their wildlife:

  • Leave nothing but footprints.
  • Take nothing but photographs.
  • Stay on the bridleway and paths round the edge of the first meadow.
  • Please keep quiet and enjoy what you can see and hear.
  • Keep dogs to the line of the bridleway.

Welcome to Draycote Meadows a 5.5 hectare Nature Reserve that has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest as the best example of unimproved grassland remaining in Warwickshire. The reserve consists of two wildflower meadows surrounded by ancient Hedgerows, a spring-fed stream with small areas of scrub and wet rushy grassland. 

Draycote Meadows owe their existence to medieval farming practices that created the distinctive ridge and furrow pattern on the landscape. The two meadows are a superb example of how our countryside used to be before twentieth century agricultural improvement. 

The wildflower display begins in April when cowslips cover the ridges, with lady’s smock in the damper areas. In May the meadows are at their most spectacular when thousands of green-winged orchids bloom. The display continues in summer with other flowers typical of old hay meadows such as common spotted orchid, yellow rattle and knapweed.  

Adders tongue fern is widespread and the reserve is the only site in Warwickshire where the rare moonwort fern is found. The diversity of flowers supports a range of insects including butterflies such as orange tip and small copper. 

In the 1840’s clay was dug to make bricks to build the nearby railway bridge. This has left a clay pit and mound, which can be seen just inside the entrance. The green-flowered twayblade, a species of orchid, grows here. 

Green-winged OrchidTo safeguard the diversity of wildflowers the traditional pattern of management is maintained whereby both meadows are cut for hay after the wildflowers have set seed and then grazed by cattle in the autumn.

Access to the first meadow is provided along the public bridleway. Access to the second meadow is restricted to the annual guided walk timed to view the green-winged orchids flowering in May. 

 

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust is the leading local environmental charity conserving wildlife and natural places throughout Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihul. As a membership organisation we need your support to help our work for nature conservation and the environment. 

We safeguard local wildlife by

  • Caring for over 55 nature reserves.
  • Campaigning for wildlife and the environment.
  • Working with schools and community groups.
  • Encouraging volunteers

If you would like information on membership or volunteering please contact us : 

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, Brandon Marsh Nature Centre. Brandon Lane, Brandon, Coventry, CV3 3GW, Tel: 024 7630 2912, Email: admin@warkswt.cix.co.uk , www.warwickshire-wildlife-trust.org.uk , Registered charity 

 

And finally, a little more info’ from me ….

This is very close to the old Lias Line (disused Rugby-Leamington railway). Heading away north-east from here it passes under the A45, through the old Dunchurch Station to reach the new A4071 Rugby Western Relief Road at its southern end at Potford’s Dam. At the same time it also becomes part of a new nature reserve project just started-up by volunteers last year (2010) called Cawston Greenway. Roughly speaking, this will stretch from Potford’s Dam through to Lawford Lane/Bilton Lane alongside the new Cawston Grange Housing Estate on the outskirts of Rugby. Hopefully the work being done by the volunteer-group on Cawston Greenway will both benefit-from and compliment the established wildlife at Draycote Meadows. Maybe the route of the railway will become a green corridor for both humans and flora and fauna alike. 

The old railway between Draycote and Potford’s Dam is walkable already, but needs some work to bring it up to scratch, in particular the area under the A45 is pretty grotty. Also, very close by, the old Dunchurch station is almost always very wet underfoot …. but it is passable, especially with waterproof boots.  

I hope you enjoyed bothWarks Wildlife Trust’s  information and my scribblings ….

Oh, and one last thing; the links in the text above are what I’ve found on the internet, not noted on the “blurb” on the info’ board, just stuff I’ve found, so can’t vouch for anything on the other sites but they do seem genuine and as far as know accurate. I’ve no reason to distrust the info’.

T.T.F.N. Gary.

Associated posts :- Lias Line Sustrans 41 Info … and Frankton Circular Walk

Thanks to  my fellow flickr membersWalwyn and Andrew and John for use of their superb photo’s.

20110130_Disused Rugby – Leamington Railway – Lias Line – Sustrans 41

20110130_Disused Rugby – Leamington Railway – Lias Line – Sustrans 41

When : 30th January 2011

Who : Just Me

Where : Warwickshire to the south-west of Rugby

Maps : OS 1:25000 Explorer Map No. 222, Rugby & Daventry ….. Grid Ref. : 431,691 to 448,707

Summary : Some info about the old Lias Line touched on during a circular walk including Frankton, Birdingbury Bridge, Draycote Village, Bourton-On-Dunsmore and return to Frankton. 

This is an addendum to my walks diary as there was quite a lot of extra info available on path side information boards and the following is a re-writing of the info … it’s easier than trying to read my photo’s …. of course it be even better to get out there and actually get a feel for the area and make use of the line either on either foot or bike. 

I’m sure the info’ board sponsors of Warwickshire County Council, Rugby Borough Council and Sustrans will have no objection to me regurgitating their efforts, the info’ boards are in the public domain after all. 

 

Info board @ Grid Ref. 431,691

Lias Line Cycleway

National Cycle Network Route 41. Rugby – Warwick Section.

Birdingbury 

The Lias Line is named after the underlying geology of lower lias clays and limestone laid down in the Jurassic Period (206-144 million years ago). Since the early 1800s this lower lias has been quarried extensively for clay and limestone. Ordnance Survey maps of the 1890’s show a number of “Lime Works” dotted around this area. The area was therefore much more industrial than it is today.

Nearby you can see a private dwelling that used to be the former Birdingbury station. If you compare the image based on the 1950’s below with the modern dwelling, the form of the old station is still clearly discernable. The former station platforms can still be seen clearly although they are now very overgrown. The station was opened in March 1851 and served rail passenger traffic between Rugby and Leamington until 1959. Quarried materials transportation continued until 1985 after which the line was closed having provided 134 years of service. 

Fossil evidence shows that 250 million years ago tree-like ferns dominated the local landscape. Two species of their descendants can now be found growing on the walls of the remnant platforms. It is worth noting how little vegetation there was in the 1950’s. 

The trees and shrubs you see along the path include naturally generated hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel, ash and birch together with some planted alder and poplar. Ragwort is a native plant that naturally occurs on the bare areas. Although toxic to livestock and horses if eaten in large quantities, it is a vital host to the black and yellow caterpillars of the cinnabar moth. 

 

 

Info board @ Grid Ref. 448,707

Lias Line Cycleway

National Cycle Network Route 41. Rugby – Warwick Section.

Draycote 

You are standing on the disused Leamington to Rugby railway line. This line was opened in March 1851 as a single track line. Birdingbury and Marton were the initial intermediate stations opening with the line and provided both passenger and quarried materials transport services from the outset. A second track was laid in 1882 to accommodate increasing commercial traffic. In 1959 the line was closed to passenger services, and finally closed to commercial services in 1985, having provided 134 years of service. 

If you were standing on this land 200 million tears ago you’d be in the middle of a warm, muddy sea near the equator. Following intermittent hot and dry spells spanning millions of years and northwards continental drift, the ground beneath you turned into a multilayered sandwich of Jurassic clay and limestone that geologists call lower lias. Since the early 1800s this lower lias has been quarried extensively for clay and limestone. When in operation this line played its part in transporting these quarried materials to make cement. 

Since the line was closed, vegetation has taken over. The trees and shrubs are naturally generated hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel, ash and birch and there is some planted alder and poplar. In places wild rose and blackberry push their way through the shrubbery. There is a thriving eco system of mammals, birds and insects. At points along this route you will see open grassland, meadows, wetland and evidence of mediaeval agriculture all supporting their particular kind of wildlife. 

 

And some general info on Sustrans and the National Cycle Network 

Sustrans is the UK’s leading sustainable transport charity, working on practical projects so people can choose to travel in ways that benefit their heath and the environment. The charity is behind many groundbreaking projects including the National Cycle Network, over 12,000 miles of traffic-free, quiet lanes and on-road walking and cycle routes around the UK. We are the charity making a difference today so everyone can live better tomorrow. 

You are standing on a path that was constructed by Sustrans and opened in 2004. The path was created to benefit pedestrians and cyclists. It was funded by a landfill tax grant and Warwickshire County Council. 

Support Sustrans. Join the movement. For information on the National Cycle Network, to buy maps and guides, or to become a Sustrans Supporter visit or call www.sustrans.org.uk  0845 113 0065

 

 And finally, a little more info’ from me ….

The Sustrans route 41 leaves the old Lias Line at grid ref. 448,707 to head off around Draycote Water and thence into Rugby. However the railway heading north-east from here is proposed to become part of the National Cycleway, passing under the A45, through the old Dunchurch Station to join the cycleway already created alongside the new A4071 Rugby Western Relief Road at its southern end at Potford’s Dam. At the same time it would also become part of a new nature reserve project just started-up by volunteers last year (2010) called Cawston Greenway. Roughly speaking, this will stretch from Potford’s Dam through to Lawford Lane/Bilton Lane alongside the new Cawston Grange Housing Estate on the outskirts of Rugby. 

The old railway between Draycote and Potford’s Dam is walkable already, but needs some work to bring it up to scratch, in particular the area under the A45 is pretty grotty. Also, very close by, the old Dunchurch station is almost always very wet underfoot …. but it is passable, especially with waterproof boots. 

 

    

 

I hope you enjoyed both Sustrans information and my scribblings ….

Oh, and one last thing; the links in the text above are what I’ve found on the internet, not noted on the “blurb” on the info’ boards, just stuff I’ve found, so can’t vouch for anything on the other sites but they do seem genuine and as far as I know accurate. I’ve no reason to distrust the info’.

T.T.F.N. Gary.

Associated posts : Frankton Circular Walk … and … Draycote Meadows Info’

20110130_Frankton-Draycote-Bourton on Dunsmore Circular Walk

20110130_Frankton-Draycote-Bourton on Dunsmore Circular Walk

When : 30th January 2011

Who : Just Me

Where : Warwickshire villages and countryside south-west of Rugby

Maps : OS 1:25000 Explorer Map No. 222, Rugby & Daventry ….. Start + End Point : 426,703

Approx Distance : 6 miles, (9.5 km)

Heights : 100 ft (about 30m) from lowest point to highest

Parking : On street parking … I parked outside The Friendly Inn in Frankton

Summary : A pleasant circular walk with a reasonable amount of interest over gently rolling countryside with some nice views …. including Frankton, Birdingbury Bridge, Draycote Village, brief visit to Draycote Reservoir, Old Lias Line disused railway, Bourton-On-Dunsmore and return to Frankton.

As with several of my other local walks, the kids were off doing their thing, my wife had some home-study to do towards her degree and it left me at a bit of a loose end for a couple of hours or so …. So, on the spur of the moment I decided a mornings walk would be in order . To cut the decision time down, I consulted my books of local walks and settled on one from Jim Watson’s “More Country Walks in the Rugby Area” listed at just 4-miles in length. During the walk I made a bit of a detour from the suggested route, but that’s what I sometimes do when I’m out on my own, just kind of adapt as I go, and in the process added a little more distance and time to the walk. 

One of the reasons behind choosing the walk was the proximity to where I live, around about 10-minutes drive away, and I was soon parked up on the road outside the fantastically named “Friendly Inn” at Frankton. It didn’t take long before boots were laced, ruck-sack was hoisted over a shoulder and car was locked up and being left behind. It was an easy start, at first heading down Main Street (south westwards) passing various cottages and other houses spread out along the road and then crossed straight over a at a cross-roads to continue down as far as St. Nicholas’ church. This more or less marks the end of the village and I felt very honoured to see a large red fox saunter over the road a little way in front of me; cross part of the church grounds and then disappear off into the farmland beyond … a surprising sight given it was broad daylight, but Mr. (or Mrs.) fox didn’t seem to have a care in the world and certainly wasn’t fazed by me! 

From outside the churchyard, I left the road to pick up a path heading directly way from the church (roughly south eastwards) to rise up a gentle slope along the right hand edge of a field and then as the field boundary took a joggle to the right, I headed across to the far right hand corner of the field to reach a stile in the fence. As I approached my heart sank just a bit, for a large area in front of the stile was a morass of churned up mud and green slimy slurry and I started to work out the best way to get to the crossing point in the barbed wire fence. It turned out much better than I’d first thought though, because the lumpy mud was frozen solid and even better, so was the liquid slurry, which was solid for maybe a couple of inches … not quite enough to support my 16 stones weight (224 lbs for our American friends) but OK to get across – Yea! 

Continuing over the next quite large grassy field was easy walking but I needed to think about direction, as I couldn’t see the next stile where the slope began to drop away. As I strolled onwards, some lovely wide views opened up over the Leam valley and over to Draycote Water, where I could just make out a thin sliver of silvery light indicating the position of the reservoir maybe a mile and half away as the crow flies. From here the path dropped more quickly over a couple more grassy fields – very easy walking – and I soon emerged onto a minor road just as it passes under a large multi-arched viaduct and right next to the River Leam, as it also passes under another arch.

 

I spent quite a few minutes exploring the area including climbing up the railway embankment to reach the old track bed of The Lias Line (disused Rugby to Leamington Railway). A short distance along the line is the old Birdingbury Station, where the old platforms are still visible through the undergrowth. The old railway here forms part of Sustrans route No.41 and it deserves it’s own diary post, so watch the next space. Once I’d “mucked about” not moving very far, I returned to the road where it passes under the viaduct had headed towards Birdingbury but only for a matter of yards, where I immediately turned left onto a drive running parallel to the railway embankment. After a couple of hundred yards or so, the path leaves the drive to diagonally cross a grassy field, staying a good way to the left of a small pond, and then re-crosses the drive that had itself bent round to cross the field on it’s way to cross a small stream. 

I was starting to stride out and despite the cold, my outer layers had to be peeled off as I warmed up and soon reached the edge of the grassy field to cross a stile and wooden “bridge” over a ditch.  This led me into a very long narrow ploughed field bounded on one side by the straight line of the old railway and on the other side edged by the winding route of a small stream (a tributary of the River Leam). My map shows the path going straight through the middle of the field which I ignored, instead favouring the wide verge/farm track following the curve of the stream, much easier than the ploughed field and not much of a detour at-all. The field is about a mile long and narrows considerably at its far end and I must admit I was quite happy to pass through a gate into a smaller grassy field where the path heads diagonally down to Manor Farm, positioned on a very minor road on the outskirts of Draycote Village. 

I’d never been to Draycote (pronounced Draycott) before, and it does seem very secluded and out of the way, set down below one of the dams of Draycote Water Reservoir to which it lends it name. It’s an attractive quiet little place with attractive cottages and I spent a few minutes just wandering up to Glebe farm (according to the guide book it dates back to the 16th C). At this southern end of the village the wiggly road comes to a dead-end so forcing a retrace of my steps back to the centre of the village and then headed up the hill on the road swinging round to the right. 

 

I’d now departed from the route in the guide book and was adding extra distance, instead of following the published route, I carried on up the road to reach a track heading off on the right with a plethora of signs confirming this would take me up to Draycote Water following the Sustrans route 41. It’s not like I don’t know the route around the reservoir, but I wasn’t sure where the link from the village to the lake actually was, so this was really a little recce for potential walks in the future. Anyway after reaching the nothern end of the western dam, I promptly turned around and retraced my steps back down the track to the road again. Rather than head down the hill into the village again, I turned right to head uphill on the road. At the next bend in the road I happened upon another point of interest – Draycote Meadows SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) a nature reserve recognised as the best example of unimproved grassland remaining in Warwickshire (there’ll be another diary post about this place later). Returning to the road I headed under a railway bridge and immediately found an access path up the embankment to rejoin the old Lias Line disused railway for the second time in the day. 

This time I was going to walk a section of the line. Heading north-east for a couple of miles would have taken me to the section being worked on as The Cawston Greenway Nature Reserve very close to home. However, this wasn’t today’s’ route – Nope, I set off south westwards away from home. I generally don’t like walking old railways, I find them pretty boring on the whole, so I wasn’t sad to turn off right down the embankment after only a few minutes walking. The descent brought me onto a footpath that comes up from Draycote village which passes under an arched bridge here … I was now back on the route in the guide book.

Heading north away from the railway took me through a tilled field; the crop showing through a vibrant green. The path was plainly visible as a straight line rising to a gap in a hedge, although trodden down it was still rather sticky and by half way across my boots felt they’d doubled in weight and necessitated frequent sharp kicks to dislodge some of the mud. Thankfully the field wasn’t large and the next field was grassy on the final rise up to Hill farm. The views had opened up again back over to where I’d come from, with Draycote Water again visible as a thin shiny strip in the distance. 

At Hill farm I took a left turn to head down the side of a ploughed field, cutting the corner off as sign-posted, to cross through to the next field and a short climb up past Bog Spinney onto the flat farmland of Bourton Heath. It was now pretty unremarkable stuff following the line of a hedge through ploughed fields, the most notable thing being an old farm trailer slowly rusting by the field side. It’s always amazes me how farmers can apparently let their expensive equipment just lie around to rot away ….perhaps there’s enough money in the farming industry for it not to matter! 

After passing the trailer, it didn’t take long to reach a minor road and from here it was all road walking back to the car, first turning left into Bourton on Dunsmore and it’s very impressive houses and then taking another road off to the right at the village hall. All that remained was the final stretch down to Frankton of maybe about half a mile. 

And that was that, I really enjoyed this little walk, despite the cold and predominantly overcast conditions … but it didn’t rain and I’d got to explore some local places I’d not visited before.  

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….

T.T.F.N. Gary.

Associated posts : Draycote Meadows SSI info’ … and … Lias Line Sustrans 41 info’.

Next walk : 20110220_Eathorpe Wappenbury Hunningham Circular Walk

20110123_Cawston to Long Lawford Walk via Cawston Greenway

20110123_Cawston to Long Lawford Walk via Cawston Greenway 

When : 23rd January 2011.

Who : Me and my son Craig

Where : Cawston, Long Lawford, Near Rugby, Warwickshire, England.

Maps : 1:25000 OS Explorer Map 222, Rugby & Daventry.

Start Point : 47,72.    End Point : 47,76.

Approx Distance : Just under 3 miles (4.5 km).

Heights : Flat or downhill – Virtually no height gained. 

Summary : A short walk from Cawston to Long Lawford in Warwickshire … including seeing the progress made so far on “The Cawston Greenway” nature reserve project [The Old Lias Line – Rugby to Leamington disused Railway]. 

20110123_Cawston to Long Lawford Walk via Cawston Greenway

The summary above, almost tells the walk in one go, but I’ll enhance it a tad with a bit more detail anyway. I was going visiting in Long Lawford Village, which is only a few minutes’ drive away from home (a couple of miles at most maybe) but as it was dry, albeit quite grey and cold, I decided it’d be a pleasant diversion to walk there, get some fresh air and stretch my legs instead of taking the car. I was more than happy when my 9-year old son asked if he could join me … you just don’t say no to that, so it was a case of grabbing a smaller pair of hiking boots from the garage as well as mine.

From the Cawston Grange housing estate, we actually started off in completely the opposite direction to our destination, heading through the streets to pick up the perimeter path and then turning left to skirt between the new houses and farmland to meet the B4642 (the old A4071) Coventry Road near the end of Cawston Lane. Opposite Cawston Lane, we turned right away from the main road taking a bridleway between a couple of properties, to then cross through the middle of a pasture field (with a small group of cows in a far corner) and then enter another similar field (with no livestock) only this time walking close to a hedge on our right. Many of our local walks together have started this way and Craig was happy to just chat alongside me rather than run ahead as normal. It didn’t take long to reach the far corner of the field where we passed through an old rusty gate to cross an even older blue-brick bridge (Victorian maybe ?). This used to be very overgrown with nettles, alder and other scrub but it’s now been cleared and is now very easy to cross.

The bridge crosses an old disused railway which is used by local walkers and cyclists as a green corridor, the old track-bed, embankments and especially the cuttings have slowly been taken over by trees and brambles, nettles and rose and all kinds of scrub. In places this naturalisation has resulted in a tangled mass of undergrowth, at times making walking along the track very awkward (late summer is the worst time because of the recent seasons’ growth). However this is now improving a great deal, because a volunteer group has been started with the vision of turning a good stretch of the railway into a nature reserve and making access to and along the route much more easy and enjoyable. 

This volunteer group is called the “Friends of Cawston Greenway” and the leading light and visionary is Paul Hart …. it doesn’t take a genius to work out the old Lias Line is now becoming known as “The Cawston Greenway”.  I’ve been out a couple of times to help cut back some of the scrub (brash as I now know it to be called) when they’ve had working parties out. In fact as we looked over the parapet of the bridge, there was a gent’ (with a chain saw) pollarding a hawthorn tree below us. Once over the bridge we were to turn right to descend past where he was working but not before Craig had run out onto another bridge just ahead of us. This one in contrast is brand spanking new, crossing over the equally new Rugby Western Relief Road (RWRR – A4071). It does seem to be rather over-engineered for what it does, but hey what do I know. Craig spent about 5-minutes waving at the traffic passing beneath, hoping to illicit a similar response from below …. They were a miserable lot today though, not one reciprocal wave was received until a big truck passed by and then not only did he get a cheery wave from the two truckers in the cab, but also a long loud double blast on the trucks air-horns. I could then persuade Craig to move on at this high point in the game. 

Dropping down the cutting to The Greenway here has been made much easier than in the past, as the volunteer workers have now constructed some rudimentary steps down the bank, where before it was just quite a steep slope. In fact this area is ear-marked to become a picnic area and there has been a tremendous amount of clearance of both undergrowth and tree canopy from around here. At the bottom we stood and chatted with the amateur tree surgeon for a few minutes.

The idea here is to allow sunlight to reach the ground and at the same time allow better airflow and dry out the floor. This should then encourage a host of plants to populate the area and so attract butterflies, insects, birds and other wildlife to return. The following two pic’s, (as a now and then comparison) show the amount of work done here and even allowing for different times of year the difference is quite marked!

    

July 2009                                   January 2011                    

 

Part of the work is the building of piles of the cut tree trunks and branches, which as they decay will give homes to insects, etc. as they breakdown naturally.

One such pile was already growing some kind of fungi and a ladybird had braved the chill, sitting out on the end of one log. Craig took great interest as I tried to explain the thinking behind this and the process of decay leading to new life.

    

 

Another part of the action plan is to create several of these wide glades or clearings at intervals along the greenway, linked by narrower pathways, thus maintaining some of the tree cover and scrub, such as blackberry brambles, blackthorn (sloe), hawthorn, rose, etc. which wildlife can still use …. only this will be cut back somewhat to give better access along the route and again hopefully allow the path to dry out and become less muddy. 

If you’re interested to find out more or even minded to help out, all comers are welcome and I think it best to point you to the following internet pages for further information ….

Anyway, back to our walk. We said our good-byes to the gent’ with the saw, which he fired up, to restart his controlled attack on the felled hawthorn tree and we set off northwards on the quite muddy pathway.

It was very evident where a lot of effort had been put in and the shape of how the Greenway may develop. As we walked and chatted, we passed a number of rabbit burrows, and what I took to be a badger sett which Craig particularly liked. 

Other landmarks along the way included where part of  the Cawston Grange Estate gets quite close to the path, with a couple of easy access points ; a new underpass where a new road passes overhead (it links Cawston Estate with The RWRR) ; and a couple more of the old brick bridges as well. After negotiating a very wet area – it was almost a stream; it was at one of these bridges that we climbed up the right bank to emerge onto Lawford Lane/Bilton Lane near The Bear Pub. We then promptly turned a full 180 degrees to cross the bridge and in the process get a final view down onto The Greenway.

                                        

                                         

Our route was now to cross over the Rugby Western Relief Road at a traffic light junction and just beyond this at a corner where Bilton lane bends sharp right, we headed straight on onto a track cum driveway, invitingly leading down to a large white gate. Once through the gate, the track continues narrowing drastically after passing the last of the properties here, to become a simple countryside path enclosed by hedges and trees.

After a short distance, the aspect opened up again giving good views over pleasant rolling countryside to Lawford Heath . The obvious path ahead now widened again as it dropped down to meet Lawford Heath Lane. 

From here it was all road walking …. first turning right to take Lawford Heath Lane, passing some of the dirtiest sheep I think I’ve ever seen, to reach a cross roads, crossing straight over the A428 Coventry Road, to follow The Green/Chapel Street up and over the west coast main line railway and then into the village of Long Lawford where we passed The Memorial Hall on Railway Street to reach two pubs positioned right next door to each other on Main Street. This would seem to be as good a place as any to stop this diary, although we didn’t go in for a drink in either The Lawford Arms or The Caldecott Arms…. nope, we continued further into the village to make the visit we’d set out to do a little earlier, meeting my wife and daughter who’d driven down as original planned for us all. After a cuppa and a chat we drove home together in a fraction of the time it’d took to walk. 

And here ends this little walk’s write up. 

Oh, one more thing … if you wanted to turn this into a circular walk, there’s a footpath that heads out from Long Lawford, in a westerly direction, heading towards Church Lawford. Not long after reaching a large bend in The River Avon, branch left to cross under the mainline railway, make a right along the A428 for a very short distance and then turn left (crossing the road) to pick up a bridleway heading south up the rise ahead, through farmland. This bridleway emerges onto Ling Lane where you’d need to turn left to soon meet Lawford Heath Lane. Cross straight over to travel down the side of a hedge on another bridleway which soon descends a shallow valley, crosses a small footbridge over a brook and then rises gently to a large new footbridge over the RWRR …. This is where we’d been near the start of the walk (just before picking up The Greenway) … and all that’d be left to do from here, would be to cross the old railway bridge and the last couple of fields back to Cawston and the end of a half decent circular walk to the west of Rugby Town. 

…. or …. for a longer circular you could use this link taking in Long Lawford, Little Lawford, King’s Newnham, and Lawford Heath to get back to Cawston.

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….

T.T.F.N. Gary

20100106_Coventry War Memorial Park in the Snow

20100106_Coventry War Memorial Park in the Snow

When : 6th January 2010

Who : Just Me

Where : The War Memorial Park, Earlsdon, Coventry

Approx Distance : Just a short wander, about a mile at a guess.

Heights : None

Parking : Car Park just off The Leamington Road

Public Transport : Park and Ride Busses use the main Car Park off the Kenilworth Road. 

 

This is just another of my lunch time wanders to stretch my legs and take some wintery pictures during my lunch hour …. it’s a bit of a dash, but I can get maybe 20-30 minutes in the park between driving from and to my workplace. 

Well, I certainly wasn’t going to do the whole perimeter path today, but it was fun (if decidedly chilly) trying to get some snowy snaps of the park … it’s not often we get a really good covering here in Coventry, but January 2010 had more than many years. 

    

    

      

Anyway that’s about it really, I just hope you like my pic’s.  

If you want to see them bigger just click on the image and it should hopefully launch from my Flickr pages. 

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….

T.T.F.N. Gary. 

Next walk/post = A jump to January 2011 …. 20110123_Cawston to Long Lawford Walk via Cawston Greenway

2010 in review … Stat’s info’ from wordpress

A bit of fun … You can’t believe all you see though, as the figures below are – ermm – open to interpretation … some web sites open multiple pages (machine searched) and occasionally give false readings … I find it a real pain (I hate alphainventions, mariaozawa and others) … I like to know about the genuine hit’s I’m getting, not the auto-generated stuff that I just know isn’t getting read by real people.

If however you are genuine, I do hope you enjoy my walks diaries … I’d love to get feedback from anyone about my wordy-bits and/or photo’s, most of which should link back to my Flickr stuff.  Cheers, Gary

 Oh and here’s the graphics and  other stuff from wordpress.

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,400 times in 2010. That’s about 8 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 45 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 132 posts.

The busiest day of the year was June 14th with 51 views. The most popular post that day was My Links.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were flickr.com, search.bt.com, en.wordpress.com, mariaozawa2u.blogspot.com, and tips-tools-tutorials.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for cawston woods, distance around memorial park coventry, helm crag walk, cawston woods rugby, and “foxes knob” hawkstone.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

My Links November 2009

2

Coventry War Memorial Park – Perimeter Distance July 2009

3

20090510_Early Morning Cawston Circular Walk October 2009
4 comments

4

20090801-08_A Walk Around Lacock January 2010

5

20081020_Grasmere, Helm Crag Ridge, Easedale Circular Walk – Post-1 January 2009

20100103_Brinklow-Wolston-Coombe Abbey Circular Walk (2)

20100103_Brinklow-Wolston-Coombe Abbey Circular Walk

Section-2 … Wolston to Brinklow via Coombe Abbey

When : 3rd January 2010

Who : Me and for part of the walk my Son Craig

Where : Brinklow-Wolston-Brandon-Coombe Abbey, Warwickshire.

 

Maps : Virtually all on 1:25000 O.S. Explorer Map No.222 Rugby & Daventry plus a tiny bit on the neighbouring Explorer Map No.221 covering Coventry.

Start + End Point : Grid Ref. 436,795 

Approx Distance : Full walk = 10.5 miles (17 km) …. This Section = 7 miles (11.5 km) 

Heights : Some very gentle rises, I’m hard pressed to note anything of any real significance – I guess about 25m rise between The Avon at Brandon up to Coventry Stadium is the longest “climb” but it’s really not enough to be of concern. 

Parking : I parked on the street in Brinklow … but as a circular you could start anywhere, the most obvious other places being in Wolston or at Coombe Abbey Country Park (charges apply at the park-but you are off road). 

Public Transport : Bus services do run through the villages and to Coombe.

20100103_Brinklow-Wolston-Coombe Abbey Circular WalkSummary : A circular walk midway between Coventry and Rugby taking in the villages of Brinklow, Bretford, Wolston and Brandon and the historic Coombe Abbey. 

This is the continuation from the 1st leg of this walk …. and now it was only me walking, my son having been picked up by Mum as he’d had enough by the time we reached Wolston. Once I’d waved them off, I was freed up to stretch my legs and being able to ignore the frozen puddles (you’ll know the significance of this if you’ve read my earlier diary post) I started to move rather more quickly now. As I was on very familiar ground I didn’t need to do any map reading for quite some way … The route headed down Wolston Main Street, passed the Memorial Cross, alongside a small pasture taking in the view over to St. Margaret’s Church and re-crossed The River Avon via a metal footbridge next to the single lane stone bridge. 

   

Once over the footbridge (after pausing to admire a couple of swans on the river) the path swung right, passing the earthworks of Brandon Castle before reaching and passing under the substantial arches of a rather impressive viaduct. This carries the West Coast Main Line Railway between Rugby and Coventry. A combination of The River Avon and the railway effectively keep Wolston and Brandon as separate identities, albeit Brandon being much smaller in size. 

Once on the Brandon side of the viaduct, I managing to ignore the charms of the nearby Royal Oak Pub and headed through the village to pick up the A428 at the end of Avondale Road. The route was to turn left, heading up the main road, passing some attractive cottages and another memorial cross to start the longest rise of the day, however it’s all on road side paths and quite easy going, the gradient not very taxing at-all. I was now following the route of The Centenary Way and soon reached the rather ugly Coventry Stadium …

This is the home of Coventry Bees Speedway and interestingly it’s not actually in Coventry, you’ve got to travel a mile or more through Binley Woods to reach the city boundary. 

At the far end of the stadium area, I took a right hand turn onto a track heading off alongside a wood and after a very short distance turned left onto another bridle track … Not that I needed any help, but a finger post confirmed that this was indeed the route to Coombe Abbey. The path bisects the deciduous woods in a dead straight line in an almost perfectly north-south direction, hence its name of “Twelve O’Clock Ride”. The path was still frozen hard with a white sheen of frost, the trees having kept the path in the shade all day long. After about half a mile the wide path leaves the woods behind to continue between fences through open farmland. Unlike in the woods, the path here had seen some sunshine and the top surface had thawed enough to make a slippery, almost slimy, film of mud which was quite difficult to walk on allowing very little purchase under foot, but I got my head down, worked hard and soon reached the B4027 opposite the entrance gates to Coombe Abbey. 

 

 

    

    

The tree lined avenue ahead serves both a hotel (in the old moated Abbey buildings themselves) and a country park which I believe is owned by Coventry City Council and open to the public for free (except for parking charges). I’ve visited here since childhood and I’ve always liked the avenue of trees lining the entrance drive down to the Abbey. Before the old buildings were renovated and converted into a hotel, the buildings formed the main entrance into the park. Now however, a new route has been constructed leading down to Coombe Pool from a rather incongruous, almost ostentatiouslooking, visitor centre – Personally I don’t think the scale or style fits in with the parkland nor the Abbey in anyway what so ever. From the visitor centre a broad surfaced path leads down to the Pool, crossing a sort of causeway separating the naturalistic lake from the ornamental pond leading up to a moat around the Abbey. 

The causeway is an extremely popular place for feeding the large numbers of ducks, geese and swans and various other water-birds that congregate here and I didn’t linger around the large and rather noisy group of people throwing bread to the birds – instead I headed down the side of the ornamental pond to reach the knot garden in front of the Abbey, where I struggled to keep upright on the very frosty and rather uneven flagged path, taking my life in my hands just for a couple of pic’s – but I was happy with the results!. 

   

   

From here I made my way back to the causeway, turned right on a wide path for a very short distance to cross a footbridge and follow the lakeside path for a short way, (just to take some more pic’s) before returning to re-cross the bridge. I turned left away from the noise of the duck-feeders to follow a wide path, sandwiched between a stream (that feeds the lake) and a raised hill topped with some large and impressive redwood trees to reach a toilet block and a smaller lake. After taking a track to the left into the woods, I had to concentrate on finding a path heading north away from Wrautums Field which at times could be glimpsed through the trees. 

I kind of felt a little sad upon exiting the woods as I really like the park, but time stands still for no-one and dusk was drawing in … there wasn’t long before daylight would start disappearing, so I pressed on, rising up through farmland (still on The Centenary Way) on a particularly muddy and slippery path (yuk!) to reach a bridle path on a farm track near Walsgrave Hill Farm. I turned right and now had the opportunity to open my stride again in an attempt to make up some of the time spent dawdling taking pic’s in the park. With the day drawing to a close, the cold had started to descend again and the increased pace certainly helped warm me up a tad, but I did stop briefly in an attempt at some arty photo’s of ice crystal formations in the frozen puddles and again of the sunset reflected in the black plastic wrappings of some hay-bales at Hill Fields Farm.

   

The track had made a right and left dogs-leg whilst passing through the farm and was now heading eastwards skirting just south of the large Rolls Royce Factory (Ansty works) and emerged onto a minor road (Coombe Fields Road). Here I turned left and then almost immediately right to Follow Peter Hall Lane for a stretch of road walking. Looking back to the west from where I’d come from gave a super view of the sun setting, the cloudless sky a pastel pallet of colours grading through blues to oranges to pinky-red with the remaining semi circle of the sun glowing a pale yellow – Simply beautiful ! 

With the sun going down, light was now going to be limited and I still had some way to go … the best part of two miles or more depending on the choice of route I now had. Rather than take the longer but easiest map reading option of staying on country roads, I decided to take the shorter cross country option, figuring there would be enough dusky light left to finish the walk …. So, immediately after Peter Hall I picked up a clearly visible path heading diagonally across a crop field, which then turned half-left and eventually skirted just north of The Grange to emerge onto the B4029 road. It was getting quite gloomy now and I stepped up the pace again, heading right for a few hundred yards along the road, to reach Walker’s Terrace (a small group of buildings) to leave the road to the left. I picked up a path heading south-east through the middle of a ploughed field to the far corner and then across a grassy field with a series of ridge and furrows (I assume the remnants of ancient allotment farming) to then reach and follow the line of a hedge for another field (now on the Coventry Way) having merged with another path. At the far end of this field the path takes a left turn across a final field to enter Brinklow at the Recreation Grounds and the final rise up to Broad Street via Barr Lane. 

And that, as they say, is that … A super winter’s walk which I thoroughly enjoyed despite the almost excessive pace at the end to finish before I needed to break out my head torch.  

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….

T.T.F.N. Gary. 

Next walk/post = Coventry War Memorial Park in the Snow