20120527_The Bourton Festival 2012

20120527_Lias line walk to The Bourton Festival20120527_The Bourton Festival 2012

When : 27th May 2012

Who : Just Me

Where : Bourton-on-Dunsmore, Warwickshire,

Map used : 1:25,000 Explorer Map No. 222 Rugby and Daventry

Grid Ref. : SP43,70


20120527-16_Flipside Stage - Crash Jackets by gary.haddenThis is a follow on from my previous diary describing a walk from Cawston to the festival via the old Rugby to Leamington railway line (known as the Lias Line) and this is really just to finish off the day’s trip out and give a belated plug to the charity event … who knows once published on the world wide web, it might help a few people find next year’s event.

The main reason for going was as a field trip organised as part of a beginner’s photography course and this was supposed to test and improve our taking images of people, either taken candidly or by approaching someone and asking if we could take a portrait. I must admit to doing the candid shots, but being a little too shy to approach 20120527-27_Flipside Stage - Staff by gary.haddenstaff + festival goers directly … you might say that was a bit cowardly but it’s not easy going up to total strangers and sticking a camera lens in their faces. Well, I hope you like some of my pic’s … there’s some more you can go see on my flickr photostream.

Anyway, here’s some words about the festival itself …. the “blurb” below is kind of reworded from The Bourton Festival facebook site, sort of précised down for my diary after the event  … so I can’t really claim much credit for most of the words, just the order they appear in and a bit of changing the tenses around.

20120527-26_Flipside Stage - Staff by gary.haddenFace book page : http://www.facebook.com/events/209555002475168/

The day-long event (10am to 7pm) was run on behalf of Southam 2000 Rotary Club, in conjunction with The Vault nightclub in Rugby along with a bunch of other sponsors including Flipside recording studios in Coventry. The event was completely the work of volunteers and those contributing their services and time in aid of a worthy cause. The entrance costs were £4.00 including parking and under10s were free.

The festival was in aid of Rotary International’s END POLIO NOW and raised money for some of the best causes around whilst celebrating some of the best live music talent in The Midlands. One of the other charities there was SHELTERBOX which is a fantastic charity supplying practical aid into disaster areas. In my mind not well enough known – Go see what they do – and donate if you think you like their form of relief.

Also showcased were local arts and crafts and there was a classic car rally (my fave’s being the line of Triumph Stags, a Triumph Gloria, a Doretti and a Morgan). There were also stalls with home cooked food and cakes, and other stuff – including a bar (that actually ran out of beer at one point!).

20120527-07_Doretti Badge and bonnet bubble by gary.hadden    20120527-05_Triumph Gloria Wheel Nut + Spokes by gary.hadden

20120527-10_Morgan reflection by gary.hadden    20120527-01_Triumph Stags by gary.hadden

20120527-04_Triumph Gloria by gary.hadden

So, all in all, there were a wide variety of people coming together (Rock Bands and their fans, Staff, Photographers, Rotary Members, Families, etc.,) for a day of what the organisers hoped would be a joyous day of sunshine and fun! …. and looking back from a very wet November evening, it turned out to be one of the hottest and sunniest days of the year – One of the few days where you could get sun burnt (if you wanted to) – The festival got very-very lucky.

20120527-25_Flipside Stage - Photographing StoneFire by gary.hadden

20120527-24_Flipside Stage - Watching StoneFire in the Sun by gary.hadden    20120527-22_Flipside Stage - StoneFire by gary.hadden

There were three music stages :-


On the lawn in front of the manor house showcasing the best live bands all day : Sponsored by Rugby’s Vault nightclub / live music venue … They claim it’s the best, but I can’t comment as I’ve never been there!.

20120527-43_Vault Main Stage - White Men Can't Funk by gary.hadden    20120527-32_Vault Main Stage - Morningstar Setting Up by gary.hadden

20120527-42_Vault Main Stage - White Men Can't Funk by gary.hadden


On the back lawn of the house, hosting new and exciting alternative acts good enough to rival those playing the main stage : Sponsored by the recording studio FLIPSIDE … They claim it’s the premier studio in Coventry, but I can’t comment as I’ve never used it.

20120527-18_Flipside Stage - Crash Jackets by gary.hadden

20120527-20_Flipside Stage - StoneFire by gary.hadden    20120527-19_Flipside Stage - StoneFire by gary.hadden


In an intimate little copse around the back of the house, this was a completely acoustic stage … Why it was called a village, I’ve no idea as it was just a small tent and some open air seating, so village was a complete misnomer.

20120527-35_Acoustic Tent - Getting Close listening to Damion Lee Taylor by gary.hadden     20120527-33_Acoustic Tent - Damion Lee Taylor by gary.hadden

Well that’s about it really. I hope you enjoyed my scribblings and pic’s ….

If you’d like to comment on my diary or any of my pic’s please feel welcome. I’d love to hear from you.

T.T.F.N. Gary.

20120527-41_Vault Main Stage - Doing The Cha Cha Slide by gary.hadden

20120527-40_Vault Main Stage - Doing The Cha Cha Slide by gary.hadden


20120527_Lias Line Walk to The Bourton Festival

20120527_Lias Line Walk to The Bourton Festival

When : 27th May 2012

Who : Just Me

Where : Cawston near Rugby, Dismantled Railway (Lias Line), Bourton-on-Dunsmore, Warwickshire,

20120527-V_Church Spire - Bourton-on-Dunsmore by gary.haddenMap used : 1:25,000 Explorer Map No. 222 Rugby and Daventry

Start Point : SP472,734 ….. End Point : SP437,704

Distance : Approx 4 miles (6.3 km)

Significant heights : A very short but steep bank up onto railway embankment and Approx 100 ft (30m) on a road, so not difficult at-all.

Summary : A short morning walk to  get to a local charity rock festival (run by Southam 2000 Rotary Club) where I was to meet up with some fellow students on a beginners photography course; the walk passes through typical Warwickshire countryside mostly on the old disused Rugby to Leamington Railway also known as The Lias Line.

Click on a pic’ and it should launch as a larger image on my flickr photostream.

On the face of it there couldn’t be much to say about this walk as it was only about 4 miles in length, but, as it turns out, I’ve found plenty to ramble on about – So, here goes :-

I was due to meet some friends on a beginners photo’ course “field trip” (run out of The Percival Guildhouse in Rugby) and because it was such a warm sunny day (a rarity in 2012) I decided to 20120527_Lias line walk to The Bourton Festivalhead down to Bourton-on-Dunsmore on foot instead of driving there …. I had planned to and was perfectly prepared to walk back in the afternoon via a different route, but in the end I didn’t need to, as my family joined me at the festival (by car) so I got a lift home.

Well, that’s the basic background … I left my front door on the Cawston Grange estate, and then used the perimeter pathway (shown from the end of Trussell Way on the attached map) to join the B4642 Coventry Road (was the old A4071) where I turned right to follow a path set back from the road heading away from Bilton/Rugby. This is a very pleasant road being lined either side by cherry trees etc., very leafy and quite stunning in the spring when in full blossom and with daff’s scattered about in the verges. After passing a nursery school and Cawston Farm, at 20120527-A_Gate + Stile_Cawston nr Rugby by gary.haddenthe point where the road starts to bend slightly right and downhill, I crossed over the road to then cross a stile next to a farm gate. The wide pathway here leads on for a short distance behind Brickyard Spinney, a stand of trees growing up out of a hollowed out bowl in the ground. I think this was a clay pit in times long since gone, but it’s now a woodland glade garden, again quite stunning with spring bulbs early in the year.

The path ahead then cuts downhill across a crop field (it’s been oilseed rape, potatoes, and wheat over the years) to reach the right hand end of a line of trees in the middle distance. Occasionally the path has been visible as a line on the ground, but more often than not it’s been completely invisible, ploughed up and planted over …. However, it’s not difficult to aim for the end couple of trees as a rough direction 20120527-B_No access_Cawston Spinney by gary.haddenindicator when nothing’s visible on the ground, but it can be impassible when planted with maturing crops.

Just around the back of the trees is an attractive pool or mini-lake, in reality it’s a small reservoir, the water being held back by a very low curving earth bank or dam. My map doesn’t give the pool a name, but is known by various names including Potford’s Dam Pool, Cawston Woods Pool, or other similar names. In the past, there has been access into the verges around the pool and various routes into/around the woods here. These were never official rights of ways, just something people have done over many years, but recently there have been signs going up restricting access saying the pool / Cawston Spinney are now a nature conservation site. That’s all very good, but surely if these traditionally used “routes” are now out-of-bounds then the official paths MUST be set 20120527-C_Right of Way But No Path Through Crops by gary.haddendown on the ground more distinctly than they are! If anything, the paths have been ploughed up and not re-instated more often in recent years, which effectively forces route finding OFF the official ways. Surely this is completely counter-productive as potentially each person passing through here will find a different way each time.

Now, from here, I needed to get up onto the old disused railway line over to my right and the map shows the official footpath heading off into the middle of a large field, towards an isolated looking building in the distance up the rise. There’s even a direction marker saying the same thing. From this path on the map, a bridleway is shown half doubling back towards Potford’s Dam Farm, crossing the railway in the process. Wonderful you might think; 20120527-D_Vergeside flowers_Cawston nr Rugby by gary.haddenjust what I needed, BUT, neither the footpath nor the bridleway have ever existing on the ground in the decade I’ve lived nearby. So, using a little local knowledge, instead of trying to do this, I turned right to head directly across the bottom of the field (can be very wet and muddy) following the line of a drainage ditch. In the corner (which is a tad scruffy and unkempt) you can make your way up the steep side of the railway embankment to reach the old track-bed with a view down to the A4071 road and across to the aforementioned Potford’s Dam Farm. As said above, if the official right of way is blocked or non-existent, you’ve got to find an alternative, so that’s exactly what I did.

20120527-E_Damp Loving Spring Flowers by gary.hadden

Turning left on the railway the way was now very easy, being almost completely level (as is the way with old railways) and I now quickened my pace. It is very 20120527-I_Overgrown verges to the Lias Line nr Potfords Dam Farm by gary.haddenevident walking along here that the bridle-path mentioned earlier really doesn’t exist; the crops, brambles, fencing, scrub and other such obstacles making it absolutely impossible to follow the rights of ways shown on my OS map. A little further on though, there is a gap allowing access into the fields near Station Farm. Whilst it then looks possible to then make your way around the wide field-side verges here-abouts, this again isn’t an actual right of way.

20120527-L_Muddy Path_Lias Line at Dunchurch Station by gary.haddenHowever, this wasn’t a problem for me today, as my route was to continue roughly south-westwards on the railway. However, a different problem now presented itself, and one I was expecting. The old railway now heads into a cutting rather than on top of the embankment of earlier, and passes through the remnants of what was Dunchurch Station. As it does so, the ground underfoot becomes VERY wet; the mud and puddles being quite deep and also particularly smelly. There is just no alternative other than to just press on and squelch your way through the middle of the quagmire. One day (although it doesn’t seem to be happening very quickly) Sustrans who 20120527-P_Lias Line_Grotty Slime Under A45 by gary.haddenown the railway are going to “do it up” to extend their cycle route-41 through here to the Cawston Greenway and Rugby Western Relief Road (RWRR). I’m not holding my breath waiting for it to happen though! as I think I’d turn a very peculiar shade of purple and drop down dead in the process; so I think it’s best that I carry on breathing as normal.

Anyway, I’ve digressed a little, I pressed on through the uggghy stuff to reach where the old railway passes underneath two bridges carrying the dual carriageway of the A45. The path is wider here allowing for a little easier negotiation of the wet and mud. However, the environs are horrible, the puddles being covered in a thick green 20120527-M_Lias Line_Grotty Slime Under A45 by gary.haddenslime (which I certainly wouldn’t want to walk though) and various bits of detritus such as traffic cones and shopping trolleys discarded randomly in the muck.

From here though things start to improve, there’s still some muddy places as the railway passes through a small group of trees (Far Popehill Spinney) and alongside Whitefields Golf Course. There is a footpath that heads through the golf course to get to Thurlaston, but it wasn’t taken on today’s walk though. No, I just carried on to where the railway has been surfaced suitable to be used as part of Sustrans’ National Cycle Route 41. The railway here becomes much more elevated with views across the local farmland and it has a number of information boards explaining about the Lias Line Meadows and the flora and fauna of the area.

20120527-Q_Lias Line_Sustrans route 41_nr Draycote by gary.hadden

20120527-R_Route 41 Sustrans Signpost nr Draycote by gary.hadden

20120527-S_Hawthorn Blossom - Lias Line by gary.hadden

I left the railway at the second minor road that the railway crosses (just outside the village of Draycote). I now had some road walking to do, heading up the hill (away from Draycote) to reach Bourton-on-Dunsmore’s Church. I could hear the festival’s music coming over the local fields. I almost said wafting over the fields but thumping rock beats can hardly be described as wafting anywhere, although the sounds were now rather muted. Walking on the road was no hardship as it was very quiet from a traffic point of view, and it didn’t take long to reach the corner of the church grounds where a path cuts through the grave yard; the mellow ancient looking gravestones and stonework of the church itself are typical examples of country churches throughout our beautiful country; they have become part and parcel of what our country is, perfectly attuned with the fabric of our villages and countryside, harmoniously slotting into the landscape.

20120527-X_Church Stonework - Bourton-on-Dunsmore by gary.hadden  20120527-W_Church Gravestones - Bourton-on-Dunsmore by gary.hadden

20120527-Y_Church Yard Stone Crosses - Bourton-on-Dunsmore by gary.hadden

Well that’s almost the end of the walking part of the day, all I needed now was to 20120527-30_Vault Main Stage - Logic and Faith by gary.haddenfollow the road away from the church to find the entrance to Bourton Hall where the festival event was being held, flashed my ticket and headed into the grounds. My next diary entry will describe what I found inside, so for now I’m signing off.

T.T.F.N, I hope you enjoyed my scribblings and pic’s ….

If you’d like to comment on my diary or any of my pic’s please feel welcome. I’d love to hear from you.

T.T.F.N. Gary.

20120522_The Lawfords – An Evening Circular Walk – Near Rugby

20120522_The Lawfords – An Evening Circular Walk.

Long Lawford, Little Lawford, King’s Newnham and Church Lawford.

20090823-36_River Avon at Little Lawford by gary.haddenWhen : 22 May 2012

Who : Me, my wife and our 10 y.o. son

Where : Long Lawford + Church Lawford, Near Rugby, Warwickshire, England

Start and End Point : SP 472,760

Distance : Approx 5 miles but could be approx 4 miles without our “extra little bit”.

Significant heights : Some very gentle rises but nothing significant to worry about.

Map : 1:25,000 Explorer Map No. 222 ; Rugby and Daventry

Summary : A walk from one village to the next that ended up much longer than planned.

Click on a pic’ and it should launch as a larger image on my flickr photostream.

We had to drop our daughter off somewhere for the evening (I can’t remember where now), but what I do remember is it left the three of us with a couple of hours or so and as it was a really pleasant late spring evening, we decided a little walk might be nice (and quite convenient as daughter doesn’t really like country walking). There was a promise of a little 20120522_The Lawfords – An evening Walkdrink involved as well and we found ourselves parked up in Main Street/Bailey’s Lane in Long Lawford ready for the short stretch across the fields next to The River Avon to Church Lawford and back again.

It started off all hunky dory, at first walking on the streets of Long Lawford; Main Street and along West Street to reach Chapel Street and we found the footpath we wanted almost directly across the road heading off as a track in a westerly direction. After just a matter of yards the route passes into a field and the way ahead is very easy following the line of a hedge soon crossing a small bridge, over an equally small stream, on its way to join the River Avon. Just for a bit of interest, tracing the stream on my map, it rises about 2½ or 3 miles to the south, feeding down from Cawston Woods and pool and up on Lawford Heath before descending down a shallow valley which now has the new A4071 Rugby Bypass running close by for a short time.

Anyway, that’s by-the-by really, we crossed the bridge and continued up the side of the hedge. The grass was quite long making walking side by side difficult (but not impossible), it just meant one person not being able to walk in the double “track” we were following. The next field was in exactly the same direction, still alongside a hedge and similar underfoot and after a very short while we reached the far corner where we needed to cross into the next field and head off diagonally left.

HOWEVER, There was a problem

….or ….

SEVERAL rather BIG problems.

These problems came in cow shapes and cow sizes:

In fact there were quite a few real live cows – a whole herd of cows !

AND an even BIGGER problem ….

and IT was BULL shaped and BULL sized !

Now you might say a bull in a field of cows ISN’T a problem; I believe it is perfectly legal …. BUT …. my lovely wife just does not do cow fields at all well, and the bull really ermmm put the cat amongst the pigeons so to speak. Both I and our son tried cajoling and talking down of “the problem” by saying we’d take a wide berth around the livestock, I’d take the nearest side to the beasts and we’d hold hands and make ourselves look big. But all the talking and pontificating and looking across the couple of hundred yards to the next stile were to no avail and we turned around and retraced our steps back to Long Lawford.

Ermmm, what to do now?

20110814-01_Track + Bridge over River Avon - Little Lawford by gary.haddenWe could have just headed into one of the two pubs right next door to each other on Main Street. But we decided that would be quite unrewarding, so I suggested we walk down to the ford at Little Lawford and then decide if we wanted to carry on and “do” the classic walk to Church Lawford. Justine and Craig were up for this, even though it was going to extend the walk quite considerably from our original intentions. So off we went, down Chapel Street in a generally northerly direction passing through the western fringe of Long Lawford as we went. Shortly after passing the old church at the end of Chapel Street, we picked up a fenced footpath/bridleway through a number of horse paddocks, which, after a couple of bends, dropped down to a farm bridge over The River Avon shortly before reaching the old watermill buildings at little Lawford.

20110814-05_The Ford - Little Lawford by gary.haddenRather than take the path over a small footbridge into another cow field, we took the non-right of way route on the driveway between the buildings to reach the small Clayhill lane. Turning left dropped us down to the ford which Justine had never seen before. Craig on the other hand had been here several times on previous walks with me and knew exactly where we were, including turning around to walk back up the lane passing a really (I mean REALLY) old building dating back to 1604. Now was the 20090823-29_1604 building Little Lawford by gary.haddentime to either: head back to Long Lawford and so call it a day, or to carry on further, and between us it was decided to continue on.

This meant taking the short lane to reach the more major Little Lawford Lane (only a minor-road, but properly surfaced and at times carrying cars etc. at some speed). We needed to turn left on to this road and follow it up the hill (not very steep) for just less than a mile until reaching near the crest of the rise where a footpath crosses the road. From here we turned off the road (turning left), crossing into a field (no livestock) and headed across to the far right hand corner.

I think if Justine had realised the distance involved [for what was really a massive diversion from the original route] she might have thought better of the idea (road walking can do this to anyone, even over relatively short distances), but there was no turning back now and so we continued on, downhill now across a crop field, the path very clearly visible dropping diagonally towards the far corner (sort of south 20110814-09_Ancient Tower - King's Newnham by gary.haddenwesterly now) towards a group of farm buildings that make up a part of King’s Newnham. I think me saying that I’d finish off the walk and go get the car and bring it back to Church Lawford helped as this precluded the thought of the BULL FIELD on the final leg back to Long Lawford.

Anyway, the walk is really quite pleasant here, crossing the slightly scruffy field past the buildings (marked as Manor House on my map) and down a steepening grassy slope to drop to a long modern footbridge crossing The Avon for a second time. If you do this walk, just before the bridge, keep an eye out for the remains of 20110814-10_Broken Machinery Cogs - King's Newnham by gary.haddensome old rusting machinery; cogs and wheels and brickwork, and what looks to me to be an old man-made water course, now little more than a dry shallow ditch – I assume this all adds up to some kind of water-power arrangement now long since dispensed with!

Once over the footbridge, the path heads almost due south through a crop field and then rising through a couple or so small grassy fields skirting the village of Church Lawford to meet Green lane and then very soon after reach The Old Smithy Pub. There was no doubting what needed to happen next and yep, you’ve guessed it, in we went, purchased some drinks and headed out into the outdoors garden 20110814-14_The Old Smithy Pub - Church Lawford by gary.haddenarea. I’m now pleased we did so, as little did we know that there would be precious few evenings in the summer of 2012 even remotely conducive to sitting out for an evening (we had a pretty miserable 2012 summer here in England).

It seems odd looking back now, but I hadn’t taken a single photo all evening – an oddity for me – so all the pic’s on this diary so far have been from other similar walks prior to this one, just for illustration purposes. 20110814-15_Decorative Building (Manor House perhaps) - Church Lawford by gary.haddenOnce I’d imbibed my pint of bitter, I bought another round for Justine and Craig, said my au revoirs and set off for Long Lawford about a mile and a half away. The route is very easy walking through livestock/grass fields  but first I needed to take Church Lane, past the ornately decorated Manor House, through St. Peter’s Church graveyard and then across a series of fields, at first south easterly but then swinging round to the east as the path passes close to a loop of the River Avon.


20120522-01_Sunset over Church Lawford by gary.hadden

Dusk was drawing in quite quickly now; the sunset silhouetting the church behind me. I didn’t need to be hanging around, not wanting to be walking in the dark, so I picked up the pace somewhat but I couldn’t resist taking a few photo’s of some passing trains zooming along the West Coast Mainline which runs almost parallel to the path here. The low light conditions were quite challenging, but with some playing with camera settings and panning round with the speeding trains, I ended up with some pic’s I quite like – I think they convey the speed of the trains anyway.

20120522-02_Virgin Train - West Coast Main Line Near Rugby by gary.hadden

20120522-03_Local Train - West Coast Main Line Near Rugby by gary.hadden

20120522-04_Virgin Train - West Coast Main Line Near Rugby by gary.hadden

20120522-05_Silhouetted Tree by gary.hadden

I was also quite taken with the shape of a tree silhouetted against the rapidly fading but still lovely coloured pinky-blue sky. However, I still needed to cross the cow/bull field – which I negotiated with no difficulty at-all (all the animals had wandered to the far corner, so I didn’t need to get anywhere near them). Once out of the bull field, I was back on familiar ground (where we’d turned around earlier) and soon found myself back in Long Lawford, passing the two pubs (The Caldecott Arms and The Lawford Arms) both looking rather inviting. I resisted ! ; I had to drive back to Church Lawford and pick up my wife and son, which I duly and dutifully did.

20120522-08_The Lawford Arms - Long Lawford - Near Rugby by gary.hadden   20120522-06_The Caldecott Arms - Long Lawford - Near Rugby by gary.hadden

20120522-09_The Lawford Arms - Long Lawford - Near Rugby by gary.hadden   20120522-07_The Caldecott Arms - Long Lawford - Near Rugby by gary.hadden

In the end I’d walked about 5 miles (including the aborted beginning) so I guess the full round would be about 4 miles (without the covering of the same bit of ground three times!).

Well, I hope you enjoyed my scribblings …. If you’d like to comment on my diary or any of my pic’s please feel welcome. I’d love to hear from you.

T.T.F.N. Gary.