20140110_Happy Walking – A conversation by email

Hi everyone,

Well after what seems far too long, here’s my first post of the year ….

A little while ago, a person from the Rugby area contacted me by email, (about one of my Lawfords walk posts). It’s always nice knowing that someone has not only happened upon my stuff, but even nicer when they’ve read a post and then either commented via wordpress or contacted me directly. So, just thought I’d share some of the conversation that grew from that first contact (names etc. removed), as it goes to show how all kinds of peeps and of all abilities can enjoy and get enthusiastic about walking as a great past-time. so here goes :-

28th Dec 2013 :-

Hi Gary, being a novice and late starter of doing country walks can you tell me do all your routes have right of way and we wont be chased off the land?? i would like to do The Lawords route but unsure.

29th Dec 2013 :-

Thanks for contacting me, sorry I didn’t get back to you yesterday. Virtually all of my routes are on rights of ways (Public Footpaths, Bridleways, Byways, etc. …. Personally I feel very uncomfortable when finding myself off rights-of-way. The exception is in wilder country when in designated open country. The Lawfords walks I’ve done are all on rights of ways and featured in several books of walks covering Coventry and Warwickshire. The only bit on the Lawfords walk that could be considered non-right-of-way, is immediately after crossing the Avon and then the mill race at Little Lawford, where I have walked on the drive between the buildings in order to access the track down to the ford. It’s only a matter of yards though and if you’re not comfortable doing this there is a path that heads up to the tarmac’d road north of the ford.

The only place locally where you might find I’ve been on non-rights-of-way is the area south of Potfords Dam Pool/Cawston Woods – The path is always ploughed up and field boundaries have to be used. Also, over the years all the farm tracks have been used around there by dog-walkers and the like but in recent times there have been signs going up warning about trespass and the like. Perhaps the farmer has changed and is being a little more pedantic these days, but until he marks the proper route, then you’ve got to find the best route possible.
The best advice I can give is to buy the local 1:25,000 OS map and follow the words written onto the map before you set out. I never walk purely on anybody’s written route descriptions – I always rely on my maps. I hope this helps, but if you have any more questions, I’m happy to email or comment against a particular blog post …. or, if you email a phone no. I would be happy to talk. Best regards and happy walking, Gary
29th Jan 2014 : –
Brilliant, thanks Gary…went over to Go Outdoors today for the said OS map…and came away with a new base layer, a mid layer, a new coat for Jill my wife…and the map.!! worse than going to Wilkos…
29th Jan 2014 :-
Welcome to the world of walking …. As with all hobbies there always seem to be new gadgets and the latest technology especially in clothes and boots. I was in “Go” yesterday with my wife and she bought new walking trousers and a fleece top.  If you’d like to meet up we could maybe do a local walk together ? TTFN.Gary
30th Jan 2014 :-
Hi Gary, that sounds good, thank you, give me a while to work up to a descent level as we have only just started. So far it seems 6 hours planning route, 1+ hours walk, 2hrs. cleaning boots!! all good fun.

4th Jan 2014 : –

Hi Gary, went on a good walk on Monday 30th. Harbro Magna, Easenhall across a few very muddy fields, towpath to Cathiron and back up to H. Magna. Quite hard work for us with the mud. Good walk tho…but got home and realised I had dropped my Mob phone and sunglasses..DOH!! fell out when I was checking map. Retraced steps next day and found both in a field of sheep next to Oxford canal towpath..How lucky.The main reason I am emailing is to ask you if you could recommend any good walking books or literature of Walks around Rugby. Even tho I have bought the 222 O/S map the details are still pretty small to read, I am experimenting in scanning parts of the map and blowing them up to read en route.

7th Jan 2014 :-

Great that you found a good walk …. I have passed through Cathiron before, on foot, by car, and  a long time ago by double kayak.

 As for losing things, I’ve done something similar with belongings in the past [most notably a leather clad hip flask on the north Devon/Somerset coast path – Never did find it – and it was full of a decent malt ! and sun-glasses and the like.
My fave way to suss out a walk is by trying to make up my own routes on the map, looking for natural links and trying to avoid roads where possible. However, when I’m feeling lazy or in a bit of a hurry, the four books I always return to are the ones noted below …. they’re really little more than booklets, but if the walks are good enough to be published and sold, then they’ve got to be OK I think :-
I have a couple of Coventry Evening Telegraph Books dating to the late 80’s/early 90’s by Brian Keates … Entitled “Evening Telegraph Country Walks” and are based in a big circle centered on Coventry.
The other two that are written in the same way are:-
Country Walks In The Rugby Area (2003) and More Country Walks In The Rugby Area (2007). Both are by Jim Watson and published by THISWAY BOOKS. They cost me under £5.00 each.
All the routes range from about 3.5 to 7 miles and really none are very strenuous (we haven’t got many big hills around us have we) … what I tend to do, is use the books to get an idea of an area worth going to, be it a nice view, pretty villages, or points of interest. Then, reviewing with my maps, I then decide whether to follow the route exactly, adapt it or maybe extend it somewhat. I’m confident enough to add bits on or chop bits off as I go, on the fly so to speak, whilst on the walk itself. In some cases two walks in the books may overlap, and so make for a longer figure of eight route.
Another book that I’ve bought and dipped into occasionally (and intend to do more from) is the “A Coventry Way Circular Walks” … The Coventry way is a big circular route taking in Brinklow nearest Rugby, Meriden farthest away in the west, Bedworth to the north and Stoneleigh in the south. The book has a series of circular walks that all link up so that the full way can be walked eventually.
Another way I sometimes plan my walks is for my wife to drive me out to somewhere and then I walk home in a linear route or occasionally leave home heading to some pre-arranged pick up point (a pub maybe) and get picked up from there. On several occasions over the years I’ve tried to do one of these linear routes when away on a family holiday … the sense of discovery and feeling of journey can then feel much more rewarding.
8th Jan 2014 : –
Excellent, thank you Gary for all that info. That will steer me in the right direction (no pun intended)!! last weekend, we were short of time on Sunday so we opted for a shortened walk and avoided the muddy & soaked fields around Pailton to Monks Kirby. enjoyable though. More research to do, thanks again. Best foot forward.

ps my son and his wife went up Glencoe and Fort William for a week over Christmas and New Year, bit extreme for me nowadays. Fantastic photos from that trip.

And just to finish,

I hope anyone dipping in gleans a little info. and – if there’s anyone else that would like to contact me, please do, I always try to respond as soon as I can. TTFN, Gary


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