20180326_Some Extra Bilton Green Crocus Pics

20180326_Some Extra Bilton Green Crocus Pics

…. Just because I can

…. and there were too many for my previous walks diary post “20180326_Cawston to Bilton Green & Back (after knee op’s)

…. so, here they are :-

20180326-23_Crocuses - Bilton Green (Rugby)

20180326-24a_Crocuses - Bilton Green (Rugby)

20180326-26_The George (Pub) Bilton Green - Rugby

20180326-32_Crocuses - Bilton Green (Rugby)

20180326-34_Crocuses - Bilton Green (Rugby)

20180326-35_Crocuses - Bilton Green (Rugby)20180326-36a_Crocuses - Bilton Green (Rugby)

20180326-37a_Crocuses - Bilton Green (Rugby)

20180326-37b_Crocuses - Bilton Green (Rugby)

20180326-38_Crocuses - Bilton Green (Rugby)

20180326-39a_Bee on Crocuses - Bilton Green (Rugby)

20180326-40a_Bee on Crocuses - Bilton Green (Rugby)

20180326-40b_Bee on Crocuses - Bilton Green (Rugby)

20180326-41a_Bee on Crocuses - Bilton Green (Rugby)

20180326-41b_Bee on Crocuses - Bilton Green (Rugby)

If you click on a pic’, it should launch as a larger image on my photostream on Flickr … a right click should give you the option of launching in a separate window/page.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my 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.

20180326_Cawston to Bilton Green & Back (after knee op’s)

20180326_Cawston to Bilton Green & Back (after knee op’s)

When : 26th March 2018
Who : Just me (oh, and my camera and my new metal knees)
Where : Cawston/Bilton to the south west of Rugby Town, Warwickshire

20180326-39b_Bee on Crocuses - Bilton Green (Rugby)

Start and End Point : SP470,735 Trussell Way.
Distance : Approx 2.6 miles (4.2 km)
Significant heights : None to speak of.

Maps : There was no point in using a map as this was only a local wander, but, if you want to know, the 1:25,000 OS Explorer map that covers the area is Map No.222 Rugby & Daventry.

Summary : A very little walk in some rare 2018 spring sunshine to stretch my legs after recent knee surgery.

If you click on a pic’, it should launch as a larger image on my photostream on Flickr … a right click should give you the option of launching in a separate window/page.

20140202_18_Coombe Country Park -Blue-Tit at the feeding postIf you’ve read my previous post [Coombe Abbey Walk] you’ll know that I’ve recently had surgery giving me two, brand new, half knee replacements (done at the same time), and as part of my recuperation I’ve been trying to get some walking miles “under my belt”, or really “in my legs” trying to get back to some kind of fitness.

Well, the day after the “Coombe Walk”, I mentioned on FB this comment :-

“After my 2.3 miler yesterday, thought a wander down to Mosaic Coffee shop for brunch would be good – So, today my muscles felt like I’d done a 17 miler the day before – Strewth I’ve got some work to do to get back to reasonable fitness levels !!!!!!!!”.

20180326-18_Mosaic Coffee Shop Main Street Bilton RugbyThat little walk to the lovely little coffee shop, on the 23rd March, was only ¾ mile, but was probably needed, just to loosen the muscles up a tad. So, to keep up the effort, I decided another local walk was needed and this time I decided a little further would be in order.

Now, the weather of late winter and early spring 2018 had been particularly poor, with periods of snow and ice making going outside a tad hazardous, especially hobbling around with two crutches, and even when there was no snow and ice, it was cold and wet and grey and miserable; Pretty much trapping me indoors and limiting me to just wandering around a supermarket’s aisles – Not very inspiring at the best of times. So, when the weather finally 20180326-26_The George (Pub) Bilton Green - Rugbyrelented, and a drop of sunshine decided to make an appearance, I decided a “stroll” down to the local village of Bilton would be a good thing to try.

I made Bilton Green the focal point of the walk, as it was covered in its annual display of crocuses and I thought trying to get a few photos would be a good motivator. It’s also a perfectly pleasant walk through the Cawston Grange estate, especially the green spaces that have been provided as part of the housing development. The area is becoming more mature now, trees and shrubs reaching a decent size, softening the hard edges of roads and houses.

20180420-H_Trussell Way (Looking Towards Cawston Grange Drive)_XperiaAs several of my past walks diaries have used Trussell Way as a start point, I’ll once again describe starting on Trussell Way on the outskirts of the estate. Until recently this was a “dead-end”, with direct access onto the perimeter path and there was roadside parking that wouldn’t have infringed too much on local residents. However, the dead-end has recently been removed; the road now pushing further on into what was farmland and is now being built on by Mssrs William Davis enlarging the housing estate further south. There are currently restrictions on the house builders parking here, but I guess the restrictions will only be relatively temporary.

To describe getting to the start-point:-

Leave Cawston Grange Drive at an island, into Trussell Way, pass the side roads of Cave Close (on the right) and Durrell Drive (on the left), and then soon after, Trussell Way crosses a grassy area, just before it starts to rise again into the new housing being built.

20180420-G2_Trussell Way (was dead end - Now extended southwards)_Anotated

20180420-I_Cawston Grange Perimeter PathThe grassy strip includes the current perimeter cinder path, which I picked up gently rising in a south easterly direction, to pass through a tall hedge line, the small trees forming an inviting arch over the path, to emerge into a narrower strip of greenery with the established houses of Durrell Drive on my left and new housing going up behind trees/hedging/shrubbery on my right. Continuing on, the path flattens out and much of the existing housing is shielded by shrubs (red stemmed cornus predominantly) maintaining a rural feel, although I guess that will wane as 20180326-01_Cawston Grange Perimeter Paththe new housing goes up and becomes lived in. I particularly like the shapes some conifer trees made here against the pale blue sky in the weak sunshine.

 

20180326-02_Conifer needles

20180326-03_Sunlight through the conifer branches

20180326-04_Conifer branches - Cawston Perimeter Path

At the top of the path, after passing through another hedge line, a tarmac path (walking and cycleway) is reached in front of a stand of large trees and undergrowth separating the path from the B4642 Coventry Road (was the A4071 until a few years ago).

20180326-05_Cawston Grange Perimeter PathIncidentally, the anti-vehicle post here was adorned with a woolly hat, I don’t know if it had been lost or if someone had taken pity on the metal post and decided it needed warming up during the recent chilly weather.

Anyway, that’s beside the point really, because, I was to turn left here, but immediately stopped to take a few photos of some cheery daffodils/narcissi that come up here every year. It wasn’t the best display I’ve seen since they were planted, but I guess that might be down to the comings and goings of all the building works happening nearby, or maybe just down to the awful winter weather.

20180326-06_Daffodils - Cawston RugbyGetting low enough to take the pic’s wasn’t terribly easy as my knees didn’t want to bend very far, and I certainly couldn’t kneel down (far too painful !), so it was a case of spreading my feet as far as I dared, bending over as far as possible, using the live view rotatable screen on my camera and at full stretch trying to keep the camera as still as I could. Being 6’4”plus, I must have looked like some kind of strange giraffe trying to take a drink in that position. I must admit most pics failed due to camera shake, but some I think look Okish.

20180326-08_Daffodils - Cawston Rugby20180326-09_Daffodils - Cawston RugbyOnce I’d managed to stand upright again and just a few paces further on, the combined path/cycleway reaches Cawston Grange Drive, which I crossed straight over to a “Welcome to the Parish of CAWSTON” brick-built planter 20180326-10_Welcome to Cawston Grangeand sign. To my mind an attractive way to say hello to the estate. However, I have heard a dissenting voice from residents of what could be described as “old Cawston” down the Coventry Road, who feel the sign should be further down towards the Brickhouse Spinney area and so include them in the welcoming of visitors; either that or it was suggested the sign ought to read welcome to Cawston Grange Estate. Looking at the parish boundary map, they do have a teeny-weeny bit of a point. Whatever the politics, personally I have no problems with the wording or the sighting of the sign, which is backed by a small stand of trees and shrubs, an attractive way to welcome visitors to the area.

20180326-11_Silver Birch (Betula) - Cawston GrangeAnyway, I passed to the left of the signage and the stand of trees to pick up a wide tarmac footpath heading across a green with a large Christmas Tree to my right [that gets lit up in the winter each year], and a line of individual trees just to the left, including some quite mature cherry trees that were just waiting for warmer times to burst into flower. They look great when they do, albeit for a very short time, and the cherries taste good later in the year too. The tarmac path follows the line of an official right of way (a bridle track) which dates way, way back, to long before the idea of a housing estate here had probably ever been dreamt up.

20180326-12_Green Space + The Bridle Way - CawstonAfter a short stretch down the tarmac bridle way, I reached and crossed Turchil Road passing a small fenced off play area designed for younger kids. This is a roughly triangular space surrounded by grass and trees softening the hard edges of the adjacent houses. All in all, a quite attractive estate green space. I particularly liked some catkins and cones hanging from a tree against the perfect early spring sky-blue sky; even local to home it’s worth looking for the little details that bring a little happiness – after-all, who doesn’t like spring catkins?

20180326-14_Catkins + Cones - Cawston

20180326-13_Catkins by the Bridle Path - CawstonThe next bit I’m gonna skip over quite quickly as I continued on, on the tarmac path, reaching Gerard Road where I then turned right, passed the small group of shops (A Chippy, Chinese Take-Away, Hair and Beauty Salon and a local CO-OP store), reaching and then crossing directly over Calvestone Road, across a small green with a few 20180326-15_Path beside the big playing field - Cawstontrees to pick up another tarmac path that soon emerges into a wide open “sports” field.

I say sports field but in reality, there’s only one “goal post” for anyone to use, but it is a large expanse of flat grassland. The path follows the edge of the field with a boundary fence separating the public space from Bilton School’s sports/playing fields along with a series of trees and large shrub hedging just coming into flower – I think probably Blackthorn (Sloe), the pretty slightly off-white petalled flowers with yellow centres indicating warmer times were on their way, hopefully a good spring being just around the corner.

20180326-16a_Spring Flowers (Blackthorn I think)

20180326-16b_Spring Flowers (Blackthorn I think)

20180326-16c_Spring Flowers (Blackthorn I think)

20180326-17_Mosaic Coffee Shop Main Street Bilton RugbyAgain, trying to stay a little brief, the path emerges onto the Coventry Road (B4642) where I crossed to the opposite side, turned left and walked into Bilton Village where the road continues as the B4642 but under the name of Main Street. Bilton itself is to me an unassuming place with a pleasant mix of housing (from old to brand spanking new), a selection of shops (including a Tesco Express and a CO-OP), some small businesses, a doctors surgery, Two Pubs (The Black Horse and The George), a butchers, a specialist cheese shop, several take-away outlets, four churches (Bilton Evangelical, Bilton Methodist, Sacred Heart RC, all within shouting distance of each other and at the opposite end of the village is St. Mark’s CofE not reached on this walk). There’s also a small (and free at the time of writing) car park just behind the Tesco store.

20180326-19_Ewart House 1890 + Rose Cottage 1885 Main Street BiltonThe other place I haven’t mentioned above, is Mosaic Coffee Shop/Café, a lovely friendly place that I would have called in to for a coffee or maybe a hot chocolate, but unfortunately, it’s closed on Mondays, so wasn’t available today.

Mosaic’s building has a plaque saying it’s called Ewarts House built 1890 and next door is Rose Cottage built 1885. If only the red brick walls could speak of all the changes they’ve seen over the last 130 years or so.

20180326-20_Stocks - Bilton GreenTalking of history, outside the CO-OP is a set of wheeled stocks kept safely behind a set of be-spiked metal railings and then a short distance away in the middle of the Triangular Green (bounded by roads) is the old Butter Cross. I say cross, but the top half is now long gone leaving just the heavy tiered stone base and bottom stump of the cross itself. The monument is also kept safe inside metal railings also adorned with spikes and with crosses at each corner. I wonder how many people even notice it’s there as they negotiate this busy junction of roads controlled by traffic lights and overlooked by the white-washed frontage of The George pub across the road.

20180326-21_Stocks - Bilton Green

20180326-25_Bilton Green - Butter Cross - The George (Pub) - Rugby

20180326-27_Fence Railings Around the Butter Cross - Bilton Green

20180326-28_Fence Railings Cross - Butter Cross - Bilton Green20180326-29_Fence Railings Cross - Butter Cross - Bilton Green20180326-30_Fence Railings - Spikes - Butter Cross - Bilton Green20180326-22_Crocuses - Bilton Green (Rugby)It was this area of “The Green” that was my motivation for the walk, as each spring the ground is briefly bedecked in the whites, purples and yellows of crocuses.

It really is quite special, especially with the sun shining and it was well worth pushing my knees to reach here for a closer lingering look, rather than a passing glance from the car window.

Anyway,I shot off far too many pic’s (again!) …. there really isn’t a shot to take that couldn’t be described as a cliché in one way or another, but hey, I don’t care.

20180326-24b_Crocuses - Bilton Green (Rugby)Crocuses are cheery, happy little flowers and I enjoyed trying to capture their character as best I could, and I make no apologies for the images contained here.

I particularly enjoyed watching a few bees attracted to the flowers, braving the chill in the air despite the early season sunshine being quite pleasant, especially compared to some of the sub-zero temperatures we‘d been experiencing not long before.

 

20180326-31_Crocuses - Bilton Green (Rugby)

20180326-33_Crocuses - Bilton Green (Rugby)

20180326-36a_Crocuses - Bilton Green (Rugby)My knees were feeling the strain somewhat, so I took time out to sit on a bench just inside the nearby Assheton Recreation Ground for a bit of rest and recuperation before thinking about the walk home. I must admit it made me feel just a little sad that a slow, flat, easy walk for little more than a mile had resulted in having to sit and rest because of pain and tiredness. I guess having to overcome self-doubt about whether it was right to have such surgery is just as important as working the physical side of building muscles and stretching tendons.

20180326-42_Perimeter Path beside the big playing field - CawstonSorry, that got a little downbeat there, but no, I picked myself up, brushed myself down and gave myself a bit of a talking to, re-motivating myself and re-cajoled my knees to straighten-up as much as possible again and carry me back down Main Street, re-passing all the previously mentioned places en-route, and re-crossing the Coventry Road back into the large sports field effectively separating Cawston from Bilton. Instead of heading back up the boundary to Bilton School, I turned left following the tarmac path running parallel to the Coventry Road separated by a mature hedge.

20180326-43_Perimeter Path beside the big playing field - CawstonThe path here is bounded by a line of trees which will in time become an avenue to walk down. Also here several stands of trees/shrub planting are now growing to be quite sizeable and break up the view across the large field. I like this path – in fact I like living on our housing estate, and it’s not only the physical surroundings, it’s the people too. Invariably most people I pass on these paths will nod, smile or say hello – I guess it’s called community.

20180326-44_Perimeter Path beside the big playing field - Cawston

Anyway, at the end of the path, it was back into streets, where I followed Kalfs Close left into Gold Avenue and left onto Calvestone Road crossing over to meet Cawston Grange Drive back at the stand of silver birch trees and the brick “welcome to Cawston” planter/sign.

20180326-45_Silver Birch (Betula) - Cawston Grange

20180326-47_Daffodil - Cawston RugbyIt was now back to re-following my earlier steps, crossing Cawston Grange Drive, passing the daffs (more pic’s taken), then right onto the perimeter path down to Trussell Way and the start point and then back to home.

20180326-46_Daffodil - Cawston Rugby20180326-01_Cawston Grange Perimeter Path

20180420-I_Cawston Grange Perimeter Path

20180420-G1_Trussell Way (was dead end - Now extended southwards)_XperiaNot quite 2½ miles but I was pretty much cream-crackered, but really very satisfied that I’d managed it, although the amount of post exercise discomfort was yet to kick in. But that’s why they supply prescription strength drugs! …. The walk also had the knock-on effect of giving me something to occupy my mind whilst in enforced rest – namely reviewing, deleting and editing my pic’s.

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.

PS. I’ve now finished and published the above diary in July 2018, some 4-months after I did the walk ….. and I’m now back at work and, amongst other walks, I’ve completed a 12 miler up in the White Peak, and a nearly 14-miler locally. Knees seem to be holding up. When I find time I’ll have to write them up/publish as well.

 

20180322_Coombe Abbey Country Park Walk, near Coventry

20180322_Coombe Abbey Country Park Walk, near Coventry

When : 22nd March 2018
Where : Coombe Abbey Country Park (just outside Coventry, in Warwickshire)
Distance : Approx 2.3 miles (3.7 km)
Significant heights, climbed or descended : None

Maps :
1:25,000 OS Explorer Map 222 Rugby & Daventry
1:25,000 OS Explorer Map 221 Coventry & Warwick
Start and End Point : SP404,795 Main Country Park Car Park (on map 222), although to be fair, you don’t really need a map at-all, and there are leaflets available from the visitor centre and at least one large notice board with a map.

20180322_A Coombe Abbey Country Park Walk (near Coventry)

If you click on a pic’, it should launch as a larger image on my photostream on Flickr … a right click should give you the option of launching in a separate window/page.

Some Background Info :-
In a way this little walk, a very gentle wander around our local country park and not even 2½ miles, is, in its own way, quite significant to me.

Why?

The Oxford Partial KneeWell, as noted in my previous post, seven weeks ago today (writing on 26th March) I had knee surgery on both my knees (half, partial or Oxford knee replacements whichever term you prefer). I’ve now had several bits of bone cut out and non-existent cartilage replaced with some very clever metal and plastic parts.

It’s no lie that getting back to some sort of normal mobility and reducing pain to a manageable level, whilst at the same time reducing the use of strong opiates, has been a bit of a challenge. The weather hasn’t helped either, with snow & ice and what seems like continuous rain and cold miserable conditions preventing me from getting out and about (even with crutches) as it often just wasn’t safe. But, I’ve done my indoors home exercises, as well as the scheduled physio sessions at the hospital, strengthening and stretching muscles and tendons and working scar tissue. I’ve even borrowed an exercise bike, now taking pride of place in my dining room for ease of use.

Slowly, as I improved, I introduced a wander down the street and back, short trips around the supermarket and a longer walk to the local shops (about a mile round trip). I started off with two crutches, then one (which didn’t work very well as I felt totally unbalanced), and I’ve pretty much discarded both crutches all the time now. That felt brilliant, especially as I could stand tall again and move a little more naturally.

So, back to Coombe Abbey …. This was to be the furthest I’d have walked since the op’s … and … with walking boots on !… and … on slightly rougher ground !… and … I must admit with a slight feeling of trepidation over how my new knees might cope.

The Walk :-
It was a dry day, quite chilly, overcast and grey, some might even say decidedly gloomy, but just about nice enough to venture out a bit further afield as there was no rain forecast. It was the sort 20180322-00_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Car Park Charges (Mar-2018)of day that you wouldn’t want to stop and linger for very long in any one place. So, accompanied by my wife and daughter, we headed the few miles to the east side of Coventry to Coombe Abbey Country Park. We parked up in the car-park (the first car-park off the main drive, not the second car-park which is to service the hotel) making a note of the charges vs times. We decided up to two hours stay would probably be about right which would cost us £2.00, over two hours would cost £3.80 quite a jump to the next time slot of two-four hours.

We started off walking over to the large visitor centre, going down the right-hand side of the large, and to my mind, ugly building (we stayed away from the other side and the rather noisier 20180322-01_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Visitor Centrekiddie’s play area). Just for your info’, if you’re in need, the toilets are down this right-hand side, near the far end of the building. From here we took the wide modern surfaced path down the slope (looking back I think the building still looks rather out of place). The park has recently developed a wildflower meadow off to the left here, but it was the wrong time of year to see anything of note, and off to the right are views across a picnic field to the old abbey buildings, albeit much of the top half has been rebuilt in modern times when it was converted into a hotel (quite a posh one at that!).

20180322-02_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Picnic Fields + Abbey Hotel

20160116-13_Coombe Abbey_Gull_In FlightDropping further down the wide path, brings you to an almost equally wide causeway. To the left is the main lake (Coombe Pool) which has been allowed to naturalize over recent years to become a major attraction for water birds, as opposed to a pleasure boating pool as it was going back to my childhood in the 60s/70s. You’ll find the obligatory mallard ducks, geese and serene snow-white swans, but there were various other sorts of ducks and gulls on show and we caught 20180322-03_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Pigeonsa glimpse of a grebe, albeit briefly, before it vanished under the water.

We didn’t stop long here, just enough time for me to snap a photo of a line of pigeons sat atop a fence and the ornamental stone balustrade (to the right of the causeway) that separates the naturalistic lake from an ornamental pool, with views up to the abbey hotel, where the rectangular pool morphs into a moat around one side of the building.

Once over the causeway, there are several options to take, too numerous to mention here right 20180322-05_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Daffodilsnow, other than to say we turned right, following the path running along-side the ornamental pool heading towards the hotel. There are several benches here, sat in front of a stone wall with various dormant climbing roses just waiting for some spring warmth to burst into life.. The wall itself retains a higher terraced area which we could have chosen to be our route. Towards the far end of the wall I particularly liked a bed of daffodils, their cheery vibrant yellow blooms brightening up the area, even in the grey overcast conditions.20180322-06_Coombe Abbey Country Park - - Daffodils

20180322-07 (20171109)_Coombe Abbey_Xperia XA1

20180322-08b_b+w_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Knot Garden & Abbey HotelWe’d now reached the top end of the ornamental pool and quite close to the abbey’s west frontage and a traditional hedge knot garden. You can enter the garden, for the classic view back down the ornamental pool to the balustrade/causeway and Coombe Pool beyond. Please note that the sun terrace directly in front of the hotel is for paying guests only.

We didn’t bother with the knot garden area 20180322-09_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Griffins or Eagles Stone Statuestoday, instead passing two stone sentinels (stylised eagles/griffins?) stood either side of a set of stone steps. My two fave ladies had made their way up a sloping path here and turned left along another path heading away from the hotel. However, as I’d dropped behind (taking a couple of photos of the daffodils and the griffins) I climbed the steps and headed off across a lawned area, cutting the corner off, as a mini-short cut, re-joining the girls near the “doggy grave stones”.

20180322-11_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Doggy Grave StonesGrowing up we’d been under the assumption that the gravestones marked where the pets were buried, which seems a reasonable assumption, but we learnt a while ago that the actual graves are elsewhere on the estate but the gravestones had been relocated to their current site many years ago. Some more clumps of cheery daff’s enhanced the area here, adding a welcome splash of colour.

 

20180322-10_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Daffodils

20160116-27_Coombe Country Park_Pine Needles RossetteThe path continues on, with private grounds off to the right and to the left, planted on a large raised bank is an arboretum, the area dominated by tall redwoods as well as other conifers and some broad-leaved trees. I just love the soft fibrous texture of the redwoods’ bark, extremely attractive and equally tactile. There are always squirrels to be seen here, obviously attracted by the cones on these conifers. I know grey squirrels are effectively an invasive species having supplanted our native red squirrels, but they are rather cute hopping about on the ground and scurrying up the trees at the slightest hint of danger.

20160116-24_Coombe Country Park_Redwood

20180322-13_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Tall RedwoodsAt the far end of the redwood area, another path joins from the left. Now, the lovely ladies in my life asked how my knees were holding up, especially as I had opted to leave my crutches at home; effectively they were giving me the option to turn left which would very quickly take me back to the causeway and the main pool. I was however feeling OK, so opted to continue on, on the perimeter path to reach “Top Pool”. This is very much smaller than Coombe Pool, and was once the kiddie’s boating pool a long time ago. Again, nature is taking over with reed beds and over-hanging trees. There always seems to be swans here too; the old landing stage now used by the swans rather than pedaloes and rowing boats. Near here is a toilet block (not open all the time) which we passed by on what was now more of a roadway than a path, soon reaching an area where The Smite Brook passes under the path/roadway.

20180322-14_Coombe Abbey Country Park - The Smite Brook Weir

Again, I could have turned left here (over Wrautums Field) to head back towards the causeway, but I was happy to carry on, the path heading out into an area of more naturalistic woodland, somewhat wilder than the walk done so far, and a complete contrast to the hotel/ornamental pool area.

20180322-16_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Buds Waiting for SpringI like it out here, the perimeter path becomes a little more rough and ready, you see fewer people, and somehow, I felt closer to nature; perhaps it was the birdsong all around and occasional glimpse of a blue tit or robin flitting between the branches, or the buds on the otherwise naked trees just starting to open-up. At one point, the path takes a right bend down a little slope and then a left to rise back up again. The path at this point skirts the outer limits of the park grounds, only separated by a line of trees most notably some tall gnarly pines (Scots Pine I think). The view out over the nearby farmland is to a large (quite ugly) building complex. It looks rather like a factory or a warehouse, but is Coventry and Warwickshire’s largest hospital at Walsgrave on the very edge of Coventry.

20140202_18_Coombe Country Park -Blue-Tit at the feeding postThe path reaches the far end of the park, well at least the part of the park with public access. The area of woods straight ahead is set aside as a nature reserve, forcing the path to take a sharp left-hand turn, dropping gently down through the woodland (the inaccessible nature reserve on the right), until it reaches the bird hide. The hide looks out over Coombe Pool, with an area of marshy ground, reeds, etc, and a small clearing with bird-feeders. The main attraction however for many people is, off to the right, an island in the lake which is the home to a sizeable heronry.

Today, it looked like there were a number of people in the hide already, so we turned left on the perimeter path, now following Coombe Pool on our right, at times quite close to the serpentine lake 20180322-18_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Glimpse of the Main Lakewhere it also feels airier where the trees make way for more open ground.

Not far after however, the path re-enters the woods, winding its way onwards a little further away from the lakeside, but where glimpses of the lake can still be had; later the path again gets very close to the lake with views emerging of the causeway and then soon after reaching an arched wooden footbridge over the Smite Brook.

20180322-19_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Bridge over The Smite Brook

20180322-20_Coombe Abbey Country Park - PigeonCrossing the bridge brought us back to near the end of the causeway, and then it was just a case of re-crossing the pool (balustrade rail on our left this time) where I stopped for more pigeon photos. Although not exactly posing, they did seem reasonably happy to oblige me; I think they are completely happy with the proximity of people who cross here, often milling around in their crowds feeding the water birds.

 

20180322-21_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Pigeon

20180322-22_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Pigeon

20180322-23_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Pigeon

20180322-24_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Daffodils + Avenue of TreesI must admit, my knees were now starting to twinge a bit, but a slow wander back up to the visitor centre was negotiated easily enough, and I felt OK enough to have a final little wander taking a few photos of large clumps of daffodils looking fantastic around the base of the trees that form an impressive avenue down the sides of the main drive.

 

 

20180322-25_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Daffodils + Avenue of Trees

And then, that was that, back to the car, and the drive home – but – calling in at The Old Smithy, a pub in Church Lawford, where we indulged with a spot of lunch in their conservatory, a super way to finish a good morning, and a good test of my new artificial knees.

The afternoon largely consisted of elevating feet and legs, applying ice packs and not much more in a well-tested method to reduce any swelling from the mornings exertions. Sounds easy, but probably one of the hardest parts of my rehabilitation. I hate being laid up inactive, makes me feel just a tad useless. I can’t wait to get back to a degree of normality and ultimately to get back to work and equally important to my wellbeing back onto the hills, valleys, moors, fells and mountains of our great country. In the meantime, though, I’ll suffice with the gentle parks and countryside of Warwickshire.

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.

20180326_Cawston Sunset

20180325-01_Cawston Sky – Rugby – Warwickshire

Photo, just because …. well, just because sunsets are beautiful, especially when the clocks have just gone forward and finally spring time is allowed to begin leaving winter behind (well let’s hope so anyway).

I just love big skies and sunsets – Cliched maybe, but hey what’s wrong with a cliche every now and again?

20180325-01_Cawston Sky - Rugby - Warwickshire

T.T.F.N. Gary

20150725_A Walk so good we did it again …… An afternoon Stroll near Crick

 20150725_A Walk so good we did it again

…… An afternoon Stroll near Crick

20150725_Reprise of a short walk near Crick, Northants

a short walk near Crick

When : 25 July 2015
Where : Crick, Northamptonshire, England, UK
Start and End Point : SP596,726
Distance : Approx 2.7 miles (4.3 km)
Significant heights : A gentle rise of approx 65 ft (20 m) … Mostly dead level.

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

If you click on a pic’ it should launch as a larger image on my photostream on flickr.

20150725-04_Seed Head Starburst

Seed Head Starburst

This is to be a short post, even shorter than my last post which describes this exact same walk only repeated a little over a year later. Again it was a Saturday, again the sun was shining and it promised to be reasonably warm, without being hot, so it occurred to me that a drink and maybe a meal on the sun terrace would be a pleasant way to spend a Saturday lunch-time, with the possibility of a min-walk afterwards …. And so it panned out.

Without much detail :

20150725-01_Lunch at The Moorings - Crick

Lunch at The Moorings – Crick

Drive Rugby to Crick. Then the Crick Bypass (A428) ignoring the turn for Crick Village itself, and then away from Crick towards West Haddon and Northampton, again still on the A428. After a short distance, over the canal on a bit of a humped-back-bridge and very soon afterwards turned right into a roughish drive to reach the car park of The Moorings bar/restaurant.

Found an outside table, bought drinks, and found some menus. Wife and son decided they were a little cool in the canal-side breeze (despite the sun being mostly out). Settled down in the leather sofa and chairs. Decided on our food order. Relaxed, chatted, slowed down, ate the excellent and interesting food and was told that yes we could leave the car in their car-park whilst we went off for our walk.

And then we set off on our stroll :-

20150725-03_Parallel Lines

Parallel Lines

Through a gate by the side of the buildings to exit onto the A428 road.

A turn to the left along the road and over the canal bridge.

Across the road to drop down to the canal towpath.

 

 

20150725-05_Dominating the Landscape

Dominating the Landscape

Headed north on towpath, with canal on our right.

Past a marina (on the opposite side).

Bend to the left, to reach an arched red-brick bridge (No.13)

Climb away from canal to cross the bridge

Follow the path/bridle track ahead (north) in a straight line (with a small hill over on our left).

 

 

20150725-06_On the Fringes

On the Fringes

Crest the rise then descend still heading straight north.

Enjoy the views from the slightly raised elevation.

Reach the canal again, cross over a bridge and drop down to the towpath.

 

 

20150725-07_Light Play

Light Play

Turn right to follow towpath (water on our left) in a big loop.

Follow the canal turning through 180 degrees in a big anti-clockwise loop.

Reach Bridge No.13 – Cross under and continue on tow path.

 

20150725-08_Stranded and Abandoned

Stranded and Abandoned

Continue on tow path, now bending around to the right.

Pass the marina entrance again (on the opposite bank).

Rise back to the A428 and return to The Moorings.

20150725-09_Bilbo Baggins

Bilbo Baggins

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, to finish, we had another quick drink before heading off, back around the Crick bypass, under the M1, through the vast DIRFT warehousing/distribution site and back into Rugby and home.

So, once again, when the weather comes good in England, we have a simply fantastic place to live and “play” in.

20140517-36_The Moorings Bistro-Cafe-Bar-Restaurant

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.

20140517_An afternoon Stroll near Crick

20140517-36_The Moorings Bistro-Cafe-Bar-Restaurant

The Moorings – Crick

20140517_An afternoon Stroll near Crick
When : 17 May 2014
Where : Crick, Northamptonshire, England, UK
Start and End Point : SP596,726
Distance : Approx 2.7 miles (4.3 km)
Significant heights : A gentle rise of approx 65 ft (20 m) … Mostly dead level.

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

20140517_A wander near Crick, Northants

If you click on a pic’ and it should launch as a larger image on my flickr photostream.

20140517-02_The Moorings_Crick

The Moorings – Crick

This is to be a short post, as it was a very short walk (a quite impromptu one at that). I’d gone in to work for most of the Saturday morning, which isn’t the greatest way to spend a week-end, especially with clear blue skies and the promise of the warmest day of the year so far, when I got a phone call from my wife saying she’d found a bar/restaurant near the village of Crick that she thought sounded could be a good place to visit, especially as it was beside a canal with the possibility of a mini-walk. Of course, I readily agreed … With the promise of food, beer and a walk, how could I possibly pass on that offer. In fact, the idea sounded doubly great, as our son was away camping at the seaside for the week-end and daughter was working until 5pm and it would have been a shame to waste the opportunity of some quality “us-time” in favour of the normal run of the mill housework, gardening jobs, shopping, etc.

20140517-29_Reflections_The Moorings Bistro-Cafe-Bar-Restaurant

The Moorings – Crick

So off we set for the short drive out of Rugby on The B4429 Ashlawn Road, A428 through Hillmorton and then through a massive DIRFT warehousing / industrial / distribution development, followed by passing under the M1 at junction-18, around the Crick Bypass (still on the A428) ignoring the turn for Crick Village itself, and then away from Crick towards West Haddon/Northampton, again still on the A428. After a short distance we crossed over the canal on a bit of a humped-back-bridge and very soon afterwards turned right into a side drive signed “The Moorings” and then followed the roughish track around to reach the car park of The Moorings bar/restaurant.

20140517-39_Green+Red against Blue

The Moorings – Crick

You can sometimes get a good feeling of a place from the moment your eyes see it, and this was one of the moments. The conglomeration of red-brick buildings, canal side setting, and sun terrace with a scattering of tables and parasols/umbrellas was very attractive and we soon settled at a table (luckily just vacated).

We ordered food (mixed olives, breads with balsamic and oil dips, chicken burger and a Portuguese style fish stew) and including a beer for me. We chatted, ate food, had another beer and chatted some more along with a touch of people-watching …. and started to burn in the sun. It was a VERY relaxed couple of hours, which I really needed after the stresses of work the week before.

 

20140517-06_Pretty in Pink_Hawthorn Flowers

Pretty in Pink_Hawthorn Flowers

The speed of service fitted in with this scenario and actually forced us to slow down – It certainly wasn’t what you could call fast-food, but the quality was excellent and the staff very pleasant to deal with.

Anyway, after a good while, we decided to drag ourselves upright and head off for a wander and so prevent what might have turned into an imperative to have another beer and so set off, finding a gate by the side of the buildings to exit out onto the A428 main road.

20140517-28_Reflections_Crick Marina Narrow Boats

Reflections_Crick Marina Narrow Boats

A turn to the left along the road and over the canal bridge allowed us to drop down to the canal towpath, where upon we headed north with the water on our right, soon passing a marina off on the opposite side. What a super little place and what a lovely thing to do; the sun was shining, there were flowers in the hedgerows, narrow boats were moored, a few passed us heading in both directions, and the nicest thing? People, complete strangers, actually said hello, passed the time of day, nodded or waved … it was an almost timeless scenario.

20140517-03_b+w_Narrow Boats_Grand Union

timeless scenario.

20140517-07_Arch_Bridge 13

Bridge 13

20140517-09_Cattle

Cattle looking for the lushest morsels

After less than ½ a mile along the canal, it bends around to the left following the contours of the land and very soon reaches a typically arched red-brick bridge (No.13) passing over the canal. There were a bunch of bullocks on the opposite side of the cut, all lined up trying to reach some waterside plants growing lushly on the canal banks. A single line of barbed wire prevented them from making any meaningful meal of the vegetation. All except one (and later two) of the beasts, who found that they could slip inch by inch under the barbed wire. In fact both ended up completely under the wire and the smaller brown one started sinking in the soft bank and had to struggle backwards reversing onto firmer land. My lovely wife was quite concerned for their welfare, convinced they’d either fall in the canal itself or just remain stuck on the wrong side of the barbed wire. But, they seemed happy, so we moved on. This entailed leaving the towpath, to rise up to and over the brick bridge and then over the canal. The path/bridle track ahead rose ahead in a straight line (with a small hill over on our left), this was easy going and didn’t take long to crest and then start descending still heading straight north. The slightly raised elevation afforded some pleasant views over the surrounding countryside. Nothing spectacular, but pretty and understated and probably under-appreciated as much of the Midlands countryside is.

20140517-12_Feathery Reeds_ Yellow Buttercups

Feathery Reeds_ Yellow Buttercups

The path brought us back to the canal, again crossing via a brick bridge and a side path dropped us easily down to the towpath once again. You’ll probably have realised by now that as the bridle track was dead straight, the canal must have bent around through 180-degrees, which is exactly what it had done in a big loop contouring around the hill. Our route now, was to follow around this loop, so we passed under the bridge and headed off on the tow-path (water on our left).

20140517-14_Protective Parents on Guard Watch

Protective Parents on Guard Watch

There was a large hedge with trees on our right, pretty much blocking any view in that direction, but on the opposite side of the cut, fields festooned with yellow buttercups stretched away from us – Beautiful. A couple of geese stood sentinel on the opposite bank at one point, quite odd really, as you’d normally expect them to be grazing. But their bolt upright stance became understandable, they had goslings nearby and we spotted a heron flying in the mid-distance and perching in some of the trees. The adult geese had obviously seen the threat long before us and parental protection was behind their strong demeanour.

20140517-16_English Reflections_Narrow Boat

English Reflections_Narrow Boat

20140517-17_Almost Full Circle_Canal Bridge 15

Almost Full Circle_Canal Bridge 15

20140517-11_Happy Cheerful Buttercups_crop

Happy Cheerful Buttercups

The day was proving to be absolutely lovely, with blue skies, more flowers, vibrant greens of spring, and perfect reflections in the canal and all the time in the world to appreciate what a wonderful place we live in.

After a while another long narrow boat, with pristine classical paintwork, came towards us. It was just shouting out for a photo or two. The chap at the tiller as he passed by asked if I could post a copy to his face book account …. Well how could I possibly refuse and so duly did later that evening having found his pages …. It turned out this was their maiden voyage which would explain the perfect finish of the boat.

20140517-23_Maiden Voyage_Narrow Boat

Maiden Voyage_Narrow Boat

20140517-25_Maiden Voyage_Narrow Boat

Maiden Voyage_Narrow Boat

Well, the canal loop, ermm, looped around, bringing us back to the bridge crossed earlier on and passed straight under (the cows had extricated themselves from the wrong side of the barbed wire), and we were soon back to the marina area and then back to The Moorings Café/Bar/Restaurant.

20140517-38_Green+Red against Blue

At The Moorings – Crick

20140517-33_Red Parasols_The Moorings Bistro-Cafe-Bar-Restaurant

At The Moorings – Crick

20140517-30_Paired Up_Parasol Reflections

At The Moorings – Crick

20140517-41_Beer Glass Reflections

At The Moorings – Crick

What to do now ? … go home, go somewhere else, stay put for another drink? … it was just soooo pleasant here that the last of these was chosen, with a phone call to daughter at work to come and join us after she’d finished, which she dutifully did to cap off a lovely day.

When the weather comes good in England, we have a simply fantastic place to live and “play” in.

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.

20140517-42_Narrow Boat Reflections

Narrow Boat Reflections – From The Moorings – Crick

20150704_Warwickshire_Cawston to Thurlaston Countryside Walk

20150704_Warwickshire_Cawston to Thurlaston Countryside Walk

20150704-01(b+w)_Sinuous Curves__Wheat Field near Cawston Rugby

Sinuous Curves__Wheat Field near Cawston Rugby

When : 4th July 2015

Summary : I’m not going to say much here today, instead just a few brief words to say the walk on a warm summer day, was from Cawston [near Bilton/Rugby] to Thurlaston [near Dunchurch] and couldn’t be more than a couple of miles.

The Route :-

• Cawston, (to the south west of Rugby),
• A4642, Coventry Road to Brickyard Spinney
• Across a wheat field (right of way footpath path hadn’t been put in by farmer yet again!!!)
• Past a small pool at Potford’s Dam/Cawston Spinney.
• Wide field verges by the side of a couple of fields, heading south.
• Look up into the sky as two jets approached us, banked around in a wide arc and disappeared into the sun.
• Up to Northampton Lane (hedge/tree lined path).
• Turn left along Northampton Lane, just briefly.
• Right down side of another wheat field (with lots of lovely poppies).
• Reach the B4429 road, another Coventry Road.
• Left alongside the road, passing Medda Place nursery, reach a very striking building with bright yellow corrugated roof
• Cross the B4429 opposite the yellow house to follow side road (Main Street).
• Main street rises a little to cross over the M45 and then into the pretty village of Thurlaston, including a set of stocks on a little green in amongst attractive cottages,
• Met my lovely wife (who was already in the village for other reasons) and got a lift  home.

20150704-01_Sinuous Curves_Wheat Field near Cawston Rugby

Sinuous Curves__Wheat Field near Cawston Rugby

And now, to follow, a set of photo’s from the walk, which are maybe a bit more interesting than my words.

If you click on a pic’ it should launch as a larger image on my photostream on flickr.

20150704-04_Big Blue Sky-Fluffy White Swirly Clouds near Rugby

Big Blue Sky-Fluffy White Swirly Clouds

20150704-03_Big Blue Sky-Fluffy White Swirly Clouds near Rugby

Some More Big Blue Sky-Fluffy White Swirly Clouds

20150704-05_Fly Past (out of the blue)

Fly Past (out of the blue) – Can anyone tell me what they are ?

20150704-07_Fly Past_Into the Blue

Fly Past_Into the Blue – Can anyone tell me what they are ?

20150704-08_Fly Past_Into The Sun

Fly Past_Into The Sun

20150704-09_Wheat Field with Poppies

Wheat Field with Poppies

20150704-10_Wheat Field with Poppies

Wheat Field with Poppies

20150704-12_Wheat Field with Poppies

Wheat Field with Poppies

20150704-15_Yellow roofed cottage_Thurlaston

Yellow roofed cottage_Thurlaston

20150704-16_ Thurlaston Stocks

Thurlaston Stocks

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.

Oh and finally, there are other paths that you can take from Thurlaston, to Dunchurch and Toft and most notably dropping down to the perimeter track around Draycote Reservoir. So it is perfectly possible to make a circular walk around this quiet part of Warwickshire. If you’d like to, please ask about the options available and I’ll try to get back to you ASAP, or you could search through my past “Cawston” or “Dunchurch” walks diaries.

T.T.F.N. Gary.