20110625_A Walk around Ryton Pools
When : 25th June 2011
Who : Me and my Son Craig
Approx Distance : Just a short wander, of about 1.6 miles (2.5km).
Heights : None worth mentioning
Parking : Car Park at the park (pay at entrance barrier – small charge)
Route Map :
This walk was a reconnoitre for a forthcoming Cub-Scout outing to teach some map reading/navigating skills that our Akela had asked me to do. Despite knowing Ryton Pools really quite well, having visited here for many years now, I wanted to test my ideas on how to organise the outing that had taken shape in my head vs how it might work in practice. Having Craig in the Cub Pack gave me the perfect “guinea pig” …. and he was quite happy to head out with me – especially as it looked like a reasonably nice morning, albeit a little overcast with what the forecasters called the risk of occasional showers.
I’m writing this now on a cold and damp December day, and it’s nice revisiting this now, looking back to the longest days of the year – it seems a long time ago now! If you’re new to Ryton Pools the entrance is easy to find on the A445 roughly midway between the villages of Ryton-On-Dunsmore and Bubbenhall. Once off the main road a surfaced drive leads to a barrier, which, once you’ve paid the small entrance fee (bring some change) allows access to various parking areas, the first and largest one being close to a visitor centre/shop, toilets and a small cafe (check opening times before relying on this for refreshments though!)
It was this first car-park we used and headed straight into the visitor centre for me to review the various maps they sell for a small amount. I perused the selection on offer, including a colourful birds-eye representation of the park and several orienteering maps covering different length routes; finally I settled on the colourful “tourist” map and one of the orienteering maps and then we were ready to set off.
To be as accurate as possible with timings, I handed the map (and compass) to Craig and told him the route I wanted to take. He looked around, orientated himself and low and behold set off in completely the right direction [perhaps my past tutoring has paid off!!!]. We talked about features on the map and how they related in reality on the ground and he navigated around the wide pathways with some aplomb – We weren’t moving quickly (just as I wanted really, simulating how I imagined the speed of the cubs would be), and this slow pace became a full stop! when we came across dozens, no, maybe hundreds of teeny weeny froglets hopping about on the path and verges. I must say, they were cute! And Craig loved allowing them to jump up on his hands and then he took control of my camera whilst I let a froglet walk around on my hands and wrist.
After a while we needed to move on, where we promptly met and had a chat with a lady walking in the opposite direction. She informed us there were some orchids close by set back from the path, so we set off on a mini detour and eventually discovered a few of the Pyramidal Orchids in varying states of bloom. They aren’t by any means the biggest, gaudiest, or in-your-face flowers I’ve ever seen, but they are very pretty and fit into their surroundings perfectly.
We weren’t very far from Paget’s Pool, which can be seen from near a set of picnic tables and an information board saying what was here in pre-history times and we were just toying with the idea of going down to the bird hide when a cloud burst above us. The rain made up our minds very quickly and we made the short descent to the wooden hut beside the sizable pool at all haste, albeit a little damp! The inside of the hide is covered in colourful posters naming the various birds and flowers that can be seen in the park throughout the year, including confirming the name of the orchids seen a few minutes earlier. Out on the pool the water birds were the usual suspects – Swans, Geese, Mallard Duck, and Coots. The Coots were probably the most entertaining as they were building a nest where a clump of trees touched the water’s edge on a small island.
The heavy rain kept us captive for some 20 to 30 minutes before easing enough for us to continue our wander. Again Craig took “control” of the map reading as I kept asking him exactly where we were, to keep the concentration going. A short distance down the track, a side path branched off to the right heading up into some woods – Craig wanted to head up there, but that wasn’t in my brief for the day so I dissuaded him. Had it been spring I might have more inclined as there are some lovely bluebell glades here that are well worth the visit.
Moving on we soon reached a children’s adventure play-ground with a few climbing frames etc. which to be honest, I think initially looks better than it is in reality. We then headed round the side of the main lake in the park, “Ryton Pool”. The path goes around the pool in its entirety but we skirted around clockwise to reach a car park and an area where people feed the water birds where we stood for a while, watching the usual suspects once again.
From here we headed up onto a nearby picnic area with several tables spread out over the field. I did some compass work with Craig here, finding north, orientating the map and relating map to ground again trying to simulate how I thought the future cubs session might work-out. I suppose we must have been there for about half an hour or so before the final few hundred yards back to the visitor centre area passing the small gauge railway track and mini-station (Ryton Halt) on our way.
Once ice-creams bought in the cafe were eaten, we then set off home (just as another shower decided it’d try to catch us), instead of taking the direct route up the A45 we took the “pretty route” through Princethorpe and the straight mile up towards Rugby and the end of another pleasant stroll with my son.
I hope you enjoyed my scribblings and pic’s …. T.T.F.N. Gary.