20170329_Boggle Hole – Ravenscar – Fylingdales Moor Circular Walk Post #4 of 5 …. Some info about wildlife on Fylingdales Moors

20170329_Boggle Hole – Ravenscar – Fylingdales Moor Circular Walk

Post #4 of 5 …. Some info about wildlife on Fylingdales Moors

When : 29 March 2017
Who : Just Me
Summary : Some extra info about wildlife on Fylingdales Moors
Where : North Yorkshire Moors

You may well have come across this diary entry via my walking diary posts, where I’d walked from Boggle Hole, along the beach to Stoupe Beck Sands, up to Ravenscar on the coast path, across a lot of moorland and then farmland back to Boggle Hole.

My other posts are :- Post-1 Boggle Hole to Ravenscar ; Post-2 Info about Peak Alum Works ; Post-3 Ravenscar to Stony Leas on Fylingdales Moor ; Post-5 Stony Leas to Boggle Hole.

20170329_A North York Moors + Coast Circular WalkHowever, if you’ve just come to this post directly and not via my walks diary, none of the above really matters, as this info is relevant just as a standalone post if you want it to be. The following is info’ taken from a leaflet I picked up at Boggle Hole Youth Hostel, and I think makes an interesting supplement to my walks diaries.

Fylingdales Moor is managed as a conservation area by “The Hawk and Owl Trust” on behalf of the Strickland Estate. It covers about 6,800 acres of land of the eastern part of the North York Moors National Park near Whitby.

20170329-31_Straight Path Through Howdale Moor + Helwath Grains

This vast heather moorland with its scattered trees and wooded valleys and gullies, is being managed for its wildlife and archaeological remains. The key aim of the trust’s habitat management is to encourage merlins, harriers, short-eared owls and other moorland birds, such as red grouse and curlew, to breed.

20170329-41_Burn Howe Dale Joining Jugger Howe Beck Valley

The moor is nationally and internationally recognised as a :-
• SSSI – Site of Special Scientific Interest
• SPA – Special Protection Area (for merlin and golden plover)
• SAC – Special Area of Conservation

It is home to :-
• Over 135 bird species,
• Many mammals, including otter and water vole,
• Plants ranging from three kinds of heather to bog myrtle, orchids, sundews and sedges,
• And, Insects like the large and small pearl-bordered fritillary butterflies and emperor moth.

20170329-43_Jugger Howe Beck

On my walk across/through the moors, I didn’t see anything (except for hearing skylarks, and seeing a dead stoat/weasel type of animal lying on the path), but the leaflet I’d picked up says to look out for all sorts of wildlife depending on the time of year including :-

• Spring and Summer :-
Harriers, Merlin, Golden Plover, Linnet, Curlew, Whinchat, Reed Bunting, Cuckoo, Wheatear, Stonechat and Yellowhammer.
Orchids, Heathers and other spring/summer flowering plants.
Butterflies and Dragonflies around ponds and becks.
• Autumn and Winter :-
Snow Bunting, Crossbill, Great Grey Shrike and Winter Thrushes.

20170329-32_Moorland Pool between Howdale Moor + Helwath Grains

• All Year :-
Kestrel, Red Grouse, Skylark, Marsh Tit, Willow Tit, Bullfinch, Lapwing, Snipe, Meadow Pipit and Wood Warbler.
Otter, Water Vole, Roe Deer, Brown Hare, Stoat, Weasel, Badger.

The Hawk and Owl trust’s partners in the conservation management of Fylingdales Moor include :-
• The Strickland Estate (which owns the moor),
• Fylingdales Moor ESS Ltd, (I believe ESS = Environment Stewardship Scheme)
• The North York Moors National Park Authority,
• Fylingdales Court Leet, (ancient institution of control over common land and is the guardian of the moor)
• Natural England.
• And, also works closely with its neighbour, The Forestry Commission.

20170329-33_Standing Stone between Howdale Moor + Helwath Grains

I hope you’ve enjoyed my scribblings, or at least found it useful …. If you’d like to comment on my diary please feel welcome. I’d love to hear from you. Having said that, I’m no expert on birds or bird watching and if you want more info on the technical/legal side of the moors management, access, etc, please do a bit of “google-ing” for yourself. I will try to add some links, but over the years I’ve found that “official” web sites such as *.gov addresses often seem to become unobtainable and you’ll end up having to search further anyway.

T.T.F.N. Gary.

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20170329_Boggle Hole – Ravenscar – Fylingdales Moor Circular Walk Post #2 of 5 …. Peak Alum Works … Ravenscar.

20170329_Boggle Hole – Ravenscar – Fylingdales Moor Circular Walk

Post #2 of 5 …. Peak Alum Works … Ravenscar.

When : 29 March 2017
Who : Just Me
20170329_A North York Moors + Coast Circular WalkSummary : Some extra info about Ravenscar Alum Works site, which I walked through during a circular walk from Boggle Hole.

Where : On the North Yorkshire Moors and Coast, near to Ravenscar village, on the Eastern edge of The North York Moors National Park …. North of Scarborough and south of Whitby/Robin Hood’s Bay (village) and overlooking Robin Hood’s Bay (part of the North Sea).

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.

20170329-03_Coastal Cliffs _ Boggle HoleYou may well have come across this diary entry via my earlier post where I’d walked from Boggle Hole, along the beach to Stoupe Beck Sands and then followed the coast path on The Cleveland Way to Ravenscar village, which, if that’s the case you’ll already know the route had taken me right through the site of the old Alum Works.

My other posts are :- Post-1 Boggle Hole to Ravenscar ; Post-2 Info about Peak Alum Works ; Post-3 Ravenscar to Stony Leas on Fylingdales Moor ; Post-5 Stony Leas to Boggle Hole.

20170329-B_Cleveland Way route through Peak Alum Works (Ravenscar)However, if you’ve just come to this post directly and not via my walks diary, none of the above really matters, as the site can be reached on foot from Ravenscar village, via tracks and footpaths.

So, what is or was the site of Peak Alum Works ?

I’ll just pick out a good selection of the info from the information boards that were dotted around the site, and if you want to know more, you could open my photo’s (when added) and zoom in on the text. Please forgive the odd precis and paraphrasing.

20170329-G_Information Board - Peak Alum Works +Ravenscar - Location MapWhat Is The Site ?
An important industrial heritage/archaeological site, in the care of The National Trust since 1979.

What Is Alum ?
Alum is a crystal containing aluminium sulphate produced by a chemical process. It was ground into a “flour” used as a fixing agent in the textile dyeing industry and as a preservative for tanning leather.

Why Are The Alum Works Here ?
20170329-16_Wave Cut Platform - Ravenscar - Robin Hoods BayFrom 1650 Peak was a thriving hub of alum production for over 200 years. It closed in 1860 after the introduction of cheaper manufacturing methods. Peak was an ideal location; the vast amounts of alum shale required for the process could be quarried from the hills nearby. Other materials such as human urine and seaweed were easily transported by boat. They docked at the foot of the cliffs below the Alum House from where the final product “alum flour” was transported across Britain and Europe.

20170329-F_Information Board - The Peak Alum Works - RavenscarThe Work Force
Alum production was very labour intensive. Up to 150 men quarried shale, converted aluminium sulphate into a soluble form then processed this in the Alum House complex. They were housed in small communities below the quarries and near the Alum House.

One of Britain’s First Chemical Industries
Alum was one of Britain’s first chemical industries. Following the discovery of alum-bearing shale in North Yorkshire, over 30 alum sites were established in the 17th and 18th centuries. By about 1780 they were producing 5,000 tons of alum a year; at Peak, output was about 10% of the total. By-products of the process included Epsom salts used in the production of medicine.

20170329-C_Information Board - Peak Alum Works - Transport - RavenscarBoats
The cheapest way of bringing materials in and out of the works was on small sailing boats. They could carry between 50 and 80 tons. From about 1650, boats would berth on the rocky shore below the Alum House. During the 1800s a narrow inlet was blasted into the rock to allow boats to get near the foot of the cliffs. A steep causeway and an inclined railway were used to haul materials up and down the cliffs.

Materials Per Year
IN: 3,500 tons of coal; 400 tons of kelp; 200 tons of urine; lead, timber and iron.
OUT: Up to 600 tons of alum across Britain and Europe.

20170329-E_Information Board - Peak Alum Works - Quarries - RavenscarThe Quarries
Nearby are the remains of two quarries containing alum-bearing shale. Quarrying of this Jurassic rock began in 1650. Pickmen extracted a measured volume or “task” of shale; they had to quarry 100 tons of shale to produce just 1 ton of alum.

 

Extraction, Burning and Liquor Production
• Before shale could be extracted the “overburden” (unwanted soil and rock) had to be removed.
• Exposed shale was cut down.
• The shale was then carted by “barrowmen” on raised walkways to the base of the quarry.
• Brushwood was used to ignite the heaps of shale that were up to 100 ft high and 200 ft long. The “clamps” burnt for almost a year, producing an acid which converted the aluminium sulphate in the shale to soluble form.
• The grey shale turned bright red after burning for a year.
• The “liquorman” then washed the shale with water to produce a raw alum liquor.
• The liquor was channelled from the stone steeping pits to quarry cisterns; from there it passed down a wooden trough to the Alum House for storage in preparation for the crystallisation process.

20170329-D_Information Board - Peak Alum Works - The Alum House - RavenscarThe Alum House, Crystal Production and The Final Product.
• The Alum House complex is where alum was converted from a liquid to a solid crystal. The process took 3-weeks.
• Buildings were arranged so that liquid flowed by gravity and included central reservoirs for storing water and alum liquor.
• The alum liquor was boiled then left to stand, allowing impurities to settle.
• The liquor was concentrated to produce alum crystals. It was boiled over a coal-fired furnace for 24 hours.
• An alkali was added to reduce the acidity of the liquor, either potash from burnt seaweed or stale human urine containing ammonia.
• After four days the first alum crystals had formed.
• Further washing, dissolving and recrystallising was carried out and after 8 days the crystals had formed a solid block weighing over a ton.
• After standing for another 8 days and the draining off of any remaining liquor, the alum block was ground into alum “flour” ready for transporting.

Well, that’s a rather cut down version of what was on the information boards around the site. But a NT gentleman I got talking to added a bit more info’ that is, arguably, a little more interesting and some is certainly more controversial.

20170329-20_Ravenscar Alum Works (NT) (Ruins)• A lot of the human urine was transported up from London in barrels, probably not a nice cargo to carry (I feel for the crew members on board ship). The urine had to be collected around the streets of London and to encourage the populace to keep their wee for collection, they were paid a small amount. This is the root of the saying “to spend a penny”.

• A follow on from this, and maybe it’s not altogether true, but the word is that the emptied urine barrels were then reused to send Yorkshire butter back down to London …. BUT …. Without washing them out first!, thus adding the saltiness of the butter. Truth? Maybe, maybe not. However I reckon the story itself perhaps says how much love is lost between the north and south of our quite small country. Even today we often talk/hear of the north-south divide, even in recent weeks there were reports of Yorkshire wanting a degree of devolution from central government in London, similar to Scotland and Wales. Now, being from slap bang in the middle of the country, I can attest no political affiliation to neither north nor south; ‘cause northerners consider The Midlands to be the south yet southerners consider The Midlands to be in the north.

I hope you’ve 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.

The Lake District – World Heritage Site Status

20090913-03_Ullswater Reflections

The Lake District – World Heritage Site Status

I’ve often been asked where my fave place is in the UK to walk/visit … and there are many places I love, such as The Yorkshire Dales, Peak District (White Peak and Dark Peak), Cotswold Hills and Villages, South West Coast Paths and Moors, Malverns, Welsh Border Country, Snowdonia, Black Mountains/Brecon Beacons, Pembroke, etc., etc., etc., …. but ultimately it’s The Lake District that’s really got my heart. As I turn off the M6 heading to Kendal (South Lakes) or Keswick (North Lakes) there’s a little bit of me comes alive, as if that part of me is left dormant when-ever I’m not there.

Well now UNESCO have recognised The Lake District as a World Heritage Site, confirming what I’ve always known from my first visit as a teenager all those years ago. Here’s a passage from their web-pages :-

The English Lake District

“Located in northwest England, the English Lake District is a mountainous area, whose valleys have been modelled by glaciers in the Ice Age and subsequently shaped by an agro-pastoral land-use system characterized by fields enclosed by walls. The combined work of nature and human activity has produced a harmonious landscape in which the mountains are mirrored in the lakes. Grand houses, gardens and parks have been purposely created to enhance the beauty of this landscape. This landscape was greatly appreciated from the 18th century onwards by the Picturesque and later Romantic movements, which celebrated it in paintings, drawings and words. It also inspired an awareness of the importance of beautiful landscapes and triggered early efforts to preserve them.”

The words hardly do justice to the beauty of the place, especially when you get away from the “honeypot” touristy places, into the high places, the quiet places and remote places. It’s always beautiful there, but as the wettest place in England you have to take the “rough with the smooth” – however, when the sun shines and with blue skies, the place is just magnificent.

If you’ve never visited The lake District and especially never walked there, I’d say go, do it, high level or low level, it’s great place to walk, view, take photo’s, and well just get away from it all.

TTFN for now,
Gary

20150523_Echium Pininana (Tree Echium)

20150523_Echium Pininana (Tree Echium)
When : Spring 2015
Where : My Front Garden, Rugby, Warwickshire.

When you click on a photo’ it should open larger on my photostream on flickr.

20150523-05_Echium Pininana Plants - Flower SpikesI have two main interests, which, if you’ve peeked at any of my previous posts you’ll know more or less what I’m about to write …. But if you’re new to my blog, I’ll reiterate again just especially for you.

My first interest is : Country Walking, Hill Walking, Hiking, Rambling, Fell Walking or what-ever other term you’d like to call it.

My second interest is : Photography …. Unlike above, it’s kind of hard to find another descriptive term, except to say, I like taking pictures with a camera.

 

Now, over the last few years I’ve published a series of blog posts describing my country walks 20150523-11_Echium Pininana Plants - Bumble Bee Magnetand enhanced/illustrated them with my photo’s. Most of the time I would describe myself as a walker who takes photo’s. However, I think that’s starting to change, as my knees are becoming worse for wear as I get older, so much so that at times that I feel more like a photographer who can walk a bit. Whichever way I look at it, both interests interlock and complement each other just fine for my blog.

20150523-11_Echium Pininana - Bumble Bee - Heavy CropHowever, as a third interest, I also enjoy a touch of gardening. But I don’t blog much about this, as it hasn’t got that much in common with my walking stuff.

HOWEVER, this post is an attempt to bridge that gap, albeit with a very tenuous link, but hey, I want to show off a bit.

 

20150523-03_Me with Echium Pininana Plants in FlowerLet’s start by going back to a family holiday [2008/2009 ish it must have been], to the Torbay area of south Devon with a combination of walking/sightseeing/normal touristy stuff. On one walk (tenuous link) around some hilly gardens on the outskirts of Torquay, we came across a tall exotic looking flower spike many feet taller than me (I’m just over 6-feet 4” tall) and my lovely wife said “Can you grow me one of those please ? I’d like one very much”, or words to that effect.

I’d never seen one of these plants before, but, luckily there was a big clue as to what the plant was, as there was a label stuck in the ground near where it’s single thick stem anchored it onto the hillside. So I learnt that it was an ECHIUM PININANA and I took a photo just to remind me later (did you notice the tenuous link to my photography 20150523-07_Echium Pininana Plants - Flower Spikesinterest there). Little did I know that this chance finding would lead to this blog post some seven or eight years later.

We found a couple of garden centres in the area but no one seemed to know anything about these Echiums, they certainly didn’t stock any plants and didn’t have any seeds either. So, upon reaching home, some research on the internet and a trawl through different potential suppliers, led us to a nursery/garden centre in Cumbria who sold seeds and we ended up with a packet being sent through the post. Of the seedlings I managed to germinate, I got one to flower (a neighbour helped over-winter it in a pot in his greenhouse for me), the others succumbed to the winter cold and died. However, the one flower spike seeded which has eventually resulted in what I can now call a successful growing, with 20150523-04_Echium Pininana Plants - Flower Spikesnine plants now in flower, the smallest just under 6-feet tall, the tallest well over 13-feet tall I reckon. They are certainly the hardest plant I’ve ever tried to grow.

Why are they hard to grow ? Because Echium Pininana plants are Non-Hardy plants native to The Canary Islands … They can grow on the south coast of England without protection (like we saw whilst on holiday).

But I’ve grown these in Rugby in the English Midlands nowhere near a maritime climate and where we can get some quite hard and persistent frosts.

I’ve managed to cajole my current crop to flower by :-

• The luck of two relatively mild winters,
• Planting near a south facing wall,
• Protected by other shrubs against the wind, and
• The use of copious swathes of horticultural fleece.

Apparently, sometimes these plants are biennials but I’ve had to nurture them through two winters as triennials ….. they are now in their third year and flowering !

• Self seeded 2012 (from the previous flower spike).
• Seedlings came up 2013.
• Over-wintered 2013/2014.
• Carried on growing 2014 (reached about 5-feet tall).
• Over-wintered 2014/2015.
• Started really growing on Spring 2015.
• AND they have really taken off, late spring 2015 and in flower.

 20150523-10_Echium Pininana Plants - Flower Clusters

20150523-09_Echium Pininana Plants - Flower Clusters

20150523-06_Echium Pininana Plants - Flower SpikesOne spike in particular is heading skywards, I think it’s easily 13 feet tall and maybe even more …. They are now coming into flower and the spikes are becoming a head turner in the street ….

Interestingly, the flowers spikes have come out in different shades of colour. One is almost white, there are pinks on view, and one is has a purpley-blue tint.

From a distance the spikes themselves are quite impressive, but up close, the flower clusters are pretty as well and worth a closer look.

 

And a final word … Once they’ve seeded they will, sadly, die.

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.

20150412_Daffodil Festival Monks Kirby

20150412_Daffodil Festival Monks Kirby

When : 12th April 2015
Where : Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.
Distance : A little wander – Not even worth measuring the distance.
Significant Heights : None to speak of.
Maps : 1:25,000 OS Explorer Map No.222 Rugby and Daventry (but not needed).
Start + End Point : approx. SP 477,835

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

This is not really a walking post this one, but still kind of out-doorsy all the same, and it is associated with raising money for charity so I’ve deemed it more than worthwhile writing about it on my blog.

20150412-A_Monks Kirby Daffodil Festival 2015_Daffs

Daffs _ At 2015 Daffodil Festival, Newnham Paddox, Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.

20150412_Monks Kirby Daffodil Festival

A rough indication of the “walk” around the festival’s grounds

Every year, the village of Monk’s Kirby (a member of the Revel Villages), holds its annual daffodil festival, a sort of village fete, at Newnham Paddox, at the kind permission of The Earl and Countess of Denbigh who live there. It’s all organized by and in aid of The Friends of the C-of-E Revel Churches.

There was a small entrance fee of £3.00 for adults and £1.00 for children.

…..

……..

…………

20150412-C_Monks Kirby Daffodil Festival 2015_Wooded Glade

Wooded Glade _ At 2015 Daffodil Festival, Newnham Paddox, Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.

The six churches of The Revel Group are, in no particular order :-

• St Leonard’s, Willey,
• St. John The Baptist, Brinklow,
• St. Denys’s, Pailton,
• All Saints, Harborough Magna
• Holy Trinity, Churchover
• And of course in Monks Kirby, St Edith’s.

Once in the grounds of Newnham Paddox, there were various stalls to peruse, live music, performances and displays to enjoy and, of course, food and drink to be had.

Performances this year (I’m writing in 2015) included :
Ocho Rios Steel Band, Jill Bartlett School of Dancing and Dunchurch Silver Band.

Foody stuff had all the usual suspects ;
Ice Cream, Cakes, Hot Dogs, Hot Drinks, etc.

Other exhibitors etc. included ;
Coombe Abbey Woodturners, Beekeepers, CPL, Jewellery, Kids Games, Alpacas, RSPB, Preserves, Donkey Rides, and various others, notably a super Model Woodyard.

20150412-K_Monks Kirby Daffodil Festival 2015_Cherry Blossom

Blassom _ At 2015 Daffodil Festival, Newnham Paddox, Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.

Despite all these attractions, the star of the event, was the grounds themselves. The initial “fete” area, leads into a shallow valley, surrounded by farmland (mostly crops), and within the valley are a couple of ornamental lakes. Well, lakes may conjure up an image of huge, wide expanses of water, but these aren’t in that league. No, they’re more like sizeable ponds, but large enough to be in scale with the surrounding landscape, mature trees and shrubs making a slightly wild appearance whilst also being obviously planned out. In fact, the drive up to the entrance, out of Monks Kirby village, is along a sweeping drive through landscaped grassy parkland, [by Capability Brown between 1745 and 1753] with individual specimen trees apparently randomly scattered across the pastures.

20150412-E_Monks Kirby Daffodil Festival 2015_Spring Bud

Spring Buds _ At 2015 Daffodil Festival, Newnham Paddox, Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.

20150412-D_Monks Kirby Daffodil Festival 2015_Primroses

Primroses _ At 2015 Daffodil Festival, Newnham Paddox, Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.

Getting back to the grounds; there are large drifts of daff’s, blossom trees, mature deciduous trees coming into bud after their winter slumber and interspersed with evergreen conifers. Other spring flowers graced the area, including some beautiful clumps of primroses. I don’t think the grounds are overly gardened though, they certainly aren’t very manicured. However, there is a certain unkemptness which maybe adds to the charm rather than detracts. The lakes themselves are lined with sizeable areas of reeds and rushes and the whole area doesn’t take long to walk around, unless of course, like me you stop to look closer at the details and attempt to take photo’s, trying to do the place justice.

20150412-B_Monks Kirby Daffodil Festival 2015_Poolside Daffs

Lakeside Daffs _ At 2015 Daffodil Festival, Newnham Paddox, Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.

20150412-G_Monks Kirby Daffodil Festival 2015_Decaying Wood

Decaying Wood _ At 2015 Daffodil Festival, Newnham Paddox, Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.

20150412-F_Monks Kirby Daffodil Festival 2015_Decaying Wood

Decaying Wood _ At 2015 Daffodil Festival, Newnham Paddox, Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.

I say attempt, because I wasn’t really happy with my photographic attempts today; I just couldn’t find a decent exposure setting, but hey, maybe there are days when things just don’t work out OK.

20150412-I_Monks Kirby Daffodil Festival 2015_Cheetah Sculpture (b+w)

Cheetah Sculpture _ At 2015 Daffodil Festival, Newnham Paddox, Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.

In the past, the lakes area was laid out as an outdoor sculpture park, with some very large pieces of art (including a couple of huge plate-iron elephants), but I was disappointed to find that over the last few years (when I haven’t visited) many of these art-works have gone and not been replaced, leaving only a few pieces of note. Of these, I think my fave would be the Cheetah and cub.

20150412-H_Monks Kirby Daffodil Festival 2015_Cheetah Sculpture

Cheetah Sculpture _ At 2015 Daffodil Festival, Newnham Paddox, Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.

I’ve had a look on the inter-web and cannot find any recent web-pages/sites that suggest the Art-Park is currently open, but I stand to be corrected. Good luck if you fancy finding out more yourself.

20150412-J_Monks Kirby Daffodil Festival 2015_Sun Bleached

Sun Bleached Branch/Stick _ At 2015 Daffodil Festival, Newnham Paddox, Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.

Anyway, I don’t think there’s much more to add, apart from I’m sorry that I’m posting well after this year’s event; but it is an annual happening, so make a note and next spring, sometime around Easter, go find out about 2016’s event and hope for some sunshine to make the day really extra special.

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings and my photo’s such as they are …. 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.

20150426_Cawston Woods Walk – Bluebell Meander

20150426_Cawston Woods Walk – Bluebell Meander

20150426_Cawston Woods - Bluebell Meander

The route, mapped on WalkJogRun

When : 26th April 2015
Who : Me and my kids
Where : Cawston, Rugby, Warwickshire.
Start + End Point : Cawston Grange Housing Estate
General Grid Ref. : SP47,72
Distance : Approx 2.25 miles (3.6 km)
Significant heights : None to speak of

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

Summary : An hour or so just wandering or meandering to enjoy the bluebells.

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

Also, please use this link to my pic’s of Cawston Woods and surrounding area, from my this and previous visits.

20150426-10_Cawston Bluebell Woods - Tree Trunks + Bluebells

Bluebells and Tree Trunks – Cawston Woods

20150426-05_Cawston Bluebell Woods - New Leaves (colour)

I really liked the way the light shone through the leaves

I’m not going to say much at all in this post, it’s really just a reprise of other diary posts I’ve written about Cawston Woods, BUT, it’s almost an annual pilgrimage during each springtime, and with good reason, every year at the end of April and beginning of May a good proportion of the woods are blanketed with bluebells. They only flower for a couple of weeks and I nearly always seem to arrive just as they are going over, but this year I went a tad earlier only to find them not quite in full bloom but lovely all the same.

20150426-21_Cawston Bluebell Woods - Bluebells

Bluebell Flowers – Lovely

My kids came with me (they love our local woods too) and they went off happily chatting together whilst I wandered taking photographs. In the greater countryside the woods are really quite small, but large enough for them both to disappear from view. However, I knew exactly where to find them; at the top of their favourite yew tree. If you didn’t know they were perched in amongst the top branches you wouldn’t notice them at-all, they almost disappear completely.

20150426-20_Cawston Bluebell Woods - Tree Trunk + Bluebells

Bluebells

Equally as interesting as the bluebells, are the trees themselves, don’t forget to look up into the canopy, I love the silhouetted shapes of the branches against the bright blue skies and fluffy white clouds. The newly emerging leaves are fresh and bright as well and I like the way they contrast against the dark shady areas in the trees. Also, if you just sit and be quiet the bird song is just beautiful and you may catch a fleeting glimpse of a grey squirrel or two (assuming there aren’t too many dogs being walked in the area). If you are extremely lucky you might even see a Muntjac Deer.

20150426-07_Cawston Bluebell Woods - Rape Seed Field

Rape Seed Field next to Cawston Woods (the round object rotates as a bird scarer)

Anyway, the route …. I’ll not bore you too much with a detailed description this time, instead I’ll do it as bullet points :-

• Start :- Cawston Grange Estate. Let’s say I started on Trussell Way, just past the side roads of Cave Close and Durrell Drive. Trussell Way is currently a dead end with plenty of easy parking (until they push the road further into the local farmland as the next phase of housing is built).

20130519-21_Cawston Grange - Perimeter Path - Bridleway

Perimeter path around the Cawston Grange Housing Estate

• Head out onto a strip of grass at the end of Trussell Way to join the Perimeter path around the edge of the current housing. (Turn left on the path).

 

• Exit the housing estate and turn right to follow the Coventry Road B4642 (was A4071) away from Bilton/Rugby.

20140309-09_Cawston Farm + Public Footpath

Cawston Farm on the right … Nature Trails Nursery to the left.

• Cross the road to pass between Nature Trails Nursery School and Cawston Farm buildings.

 

 

 

 

20130512-02_Public Footpath passing Cawston Farm - Rugby Warwickshire

Farm Track heading towards Cawston Woods

• Follow farm track down a gentle slope, passing some low barns and heading towards some woods.

• Enter the woods to the left of the farm-track and wander on the small paths under the trees (just coming into leaf). By the way, the woods to the right of the track are now designated “out-of-bounds” as a nature reserve and now no longer accessible to the general public.

,

20150426-26_Home Building_Lime Tree Village Expansion Cawston Rugby

Retirement Home Complex_Lime Tree Village Expansion, Cawston, Rugby, Warwickshire

• Exited the woods onto Cawston Lane, opposite where the Lime Tree Retirement housing “village” is currently being extended.

• Turn left up Cawston Lane, which is quite narrow, so walk in single file taking care of the traffic using the road to/from Dunchurch.

 

20140309-05_Road-side trees + Fence_Cawston B4642 Coventry Road (old A4071)

Coventry Road (B4642 was A4071) at Cawston, Rugby

• Meet The Coventry Road at a tee junction, and turn right/cross again.

• Re-join the perimeter path around Cawston Grange houses.

• Finish, where you started.

 

20150426-30_Daisy Flowers_Cawston Rugby WarwickshireAnd to finish, I spent another half an hour taking photo’s of the little display of tulips and wallflowers I have in flower in my front garden – They were just about at their best in the afternoon sunshine – Happy flowers in a range of colours including yellows, oranges, pinks, russets, rusts and maroons.

20150426-45_Tulip Pink

20150426-34_Wallflower Rust Red Orange

20150426-50_Tulip Pink

And to really finish, if you want to just visit the woods without the walk around Cawston Grange/Coventry Road, there is limited parking space on a rough layby on Cawston Lane, opposite the Lime Tree Village complex.

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.