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.


20121201_A Frosty Short Walk – Cawston Rugby

20121201_A Frosty Short Walk – Cawston Rugby

When : 1st December 2012

Who : Me and my son Craig

Where : Cawston, Rugby, Warwickshire

Map : 1:25,000 OS. Outdoor Leisure Map No.222, Rugby & Daventry

Approx Start and End Point : SP470,735

Distance : Approx 2.7 miles (4.3 km)

Significant heights : None to speak of.

Summary : A short walk from our front door through local farmland and woods around Cawston to the south-west of Rugby.

20121201-01_Rustic Fence_Cawston Rugby by gary.haddenWell, you could have knocked me over with a feather, as this little morning jaunt around Cawston was prompted by my eleven year old son who ASKED to go for a walk as he wanted to take some photo’s of the frosty conditions we’d woken up to. Now if you’ve read any of my other diaries you’ll know my passions in life include country walking and taking photo’s whilst out on my country walks … so, you’ll also realise I’d have readily said yes, Okey Dokey, let’s wrap up warm and get our boots on. A few minutes later (well half an hour maybe), we were walking through the streets to find the perimeter path around the Cawston Grange estate where we live (for convenience I’ve used the end of Trussell Way for measuring distances and on the “walk jog run” map I’ve traced the route on). I was armed with my Pentax K200D DSLR and Craig had our little digital compact Kodak C195.

Click on a pic’ and it should launch as a larger image on my flickr photostream. You’ll see that some of the pic’s are kind of doubled up – This is because Craig and I took pictures of the same subjects but from different perspectives and different angles (height, age and camera differences make for different image).

20121201-03_Rustic Fence_Cawston Rugby by gary.haddenThere isn’t too much to say about the perimeter path other than it rapidly took us out onto the B4642 (the old A4071) where we crossed straight away to reach an old rustic wooden fence bounding a ploughed field. I like this fence, I know it’s only of simple construction, but it’s rather unkempt with broken slats, bits semi-rotten and tangled with weeds. The sun had risen enough to have started melting the frost on the ground and foliage, including the trees above us which periodically would drip a fine mist of water droplets over us – refreshing? Ermm, no, not really, just wet and cold! We stayed here for a few moments taking some pic’s of the fence, dew drops, frost, leaves on the ground, etc.

20121201-04_Tangled - Rustic Fence_Cawston Rugby by gary.hadden   20121201-05_Tangled - Dew Drops_By Craig by gary.hadden

20121201-02_Rustic Fence_Cawston Rugby by gary.hadden   20121201-08_Frosty Leaf - Soft Focus_By Craig by gary.hadden

20121201-07_Patch of Light on Leaves by gary.hadden

20121201-11_Frosty Bridle Path_Cawston Rugby_By Craig by gary.haddenWe then moved on, crossing back over the main road, and then heading away from Rugby, passing the end of Cawston Lane, and opposite this, the start of a bridle path heading off between two properties. Although inviting, we ignored this path to carry on, on the roadside path passing in front of a series of houses (some quite posh!) making up the old part of Cawston as opposed to the new Cawston Grange Estate where we live. We were fortunate to get a short burst of a rainbow arching above the roofs – Another photo opportunity.

20121201-09_Rainbow over Cawston Rugby by gary.hadden

20121201-10__Rainbow over Cawston Rugby_By Craig by gary.hadden

Further along the road a small rose bush was still in flower despite having lost most of its leaves to the early winter weather; the few pink blooms hanging on to life with a frosting like a sprinkling of sugar on the petals enhancing the prettiness rather than detracting from arguably one of the most attractive of flowers.

20121201-12_Frosty Rose_Cawston Rugby by gary.hadden

20121201-13__Frosty Rose_Cawston Rugby_By Craig by gary.hadden

We now had to re-cross the B4642 main road to pick up a footpath heading off behind Brickyard Spinney (by crossing a stile beside a large metal gate). Weather-wise it had now started to cloud-in somewhat, shrouding the low sun which was desperately trying to resist, but only 20121201-14_Watery Winter Sun_By Craig by gary.haddensucceeded in creating a watery wintry grey. After maybe a hundred yards (if that) down the side of Brickyard Spinney, we had to cross a ploughed field. However, luckily for us, the farmer had only reached half way across the field, so giving us a harder surface to walk on, albeit over the stiff short stubble of the cleared crop. The route was now diagonally down across the field heading towards the right hand end of a line of trees in the distance (a telegraph pole in the middle of the field gives a rough direction marker).

20121201-15_Cawston or Potfords Dam Pool_By Craig by gary.haddenAt the bottom of the slope, and secluded behind the trees, is a small pool of water. It’s a purely subjective thing, but I think it’s hardly big enough to be called a lake but I’d say too large to be called a pond, so pool will have to do. In effect it’s a small reservoir, formed behind a low arching earth bank. There used to be pretty much free access around one side of the pool which locals used for years for dog walking etc., but recently some signs have gone up saying it has been closed as part of a “wildlife conservation area”, along with a chunk of Cawston Woods. Although there’s not a public right of way here, personally I think stopping people walking around the edge of the pool is unnecessary and maybe 20121201-16_Cawston or Potfords Dam Pool by gary.haddena little spiteful; there were never hoards of people that went here to “disturb” the few ducks and coots that come here; so I think there’s possibly a different ulterior motive behind the decision – but it is private property, so I guess there’s nothing that can be done about it.

Anyway, enough of countryside politics, at least for now, we took a couple of pic’s each in the light rain that had now started to fall and I talked to Craig about how to “frame” a photo by using tree branches and the like. It was good having a little father and son time – I appreciate it now and I hope in later life it will give good memories for Craig. The outflow from the pool is little more than a drainage ditch, but after all the wet weather we’d had during 2012 it had a fair amount of water in it … eventually it flows past/through Lawford Heath to join The Avon at Long Lawford a few miles to the north.

20121201-17_Drainage Ditch_Potfords Dam-Cawston by gary.hadden   20121201-18_Drainage Ditch_Potfords Dam-Cawston_By Craig by gary.hadden

Heading back to the official path brought us to a direction indicator post, showing the right-of-way heading straight out into the crop field. Now back to politics – This path has NEVER been on the ground since I moved here over ten 20121201_A Frosty Short Walk - Cawston Rugbyyears ago now. Instead, there’s a wide verge left around the left hand side of the field, and effectively we were forced to walk off the official path, rising up the side of a hedge roughly heading south towards the left of an isolated property. Near to this property, we met a farm track, even though not an official right of way, this has also been used for years by local dog walkers and I chose to turn left along here rather than continue south to reach Northampton Lane (which IS an official path) marked by a line of trees in the distance.

We were now walking on the hard surface of the farm track in an easterly direction and almost dead flat with fields on both sides. The rain had now stopped and although slowly thawing, the puddles on the track were still frozen with patterns in the ice, kind of reminiscent of contour lines on a map – quite attractive really – but not easy to get a half decent photo of. Craig has just this moment told me how much he liked the ice patterns, but once he’d taken a few pic’s it didn’t stop him stamping in the middle of some of them, enjoying the crunching, cracking sounds of boots on breaking ice!

20121201-19_Frozen Puddle Patterns by gary.hadden      20121201-20_Frozen Puddle Patterns_By Craig by gary.hadden

After a good while the track takes a sharp bend to the left, heading towards Cawston Woods. It was a nice feeling to get back onto an official right of way here; I always feel more comfortable knowing that I’m allowed to be on the path. The track soon headed into the woods dissecting the trees with Cawston Spinney on our left and Fox Covert on our right. We had a choice of continuing along the farm track to rise up to Cawston Farm and the B4642, or the choice we actually took, turning right onto a narrow dirt path heading into Fox Covert. It’s surprising how much warmer it felt in the trees even without their canopy of leaves, but it still felt rather damp. A fallen tree slowly rotting in the undergrowth and in the wet conditions had become the perfect host for loads of small bracket fungi – another photo opportunity.

20121201-21_Fungi_Cawston Woods_Rugby by gary.hadden       20121201-22_Fungi_Cawston Woods_Rugby by gary.hadden

Continuing through the woods we chatted, to emerge onto Cawston Lane at a small dirt lay-by by the side of the road (parking for a handful of cars) where we turned left along the narrow road and keeping well into the side as it can be quite busy with cars which often move far too fast for the size of road.

It didn’t take long to be back at the B4642 and the rustic fence again, and then a final cross over the main road to reach the perimeter path we’d originally set off on. The 20121201-24_Red Cornus Plants_Cawston Grange Perimeter Path by gary.haddendrizzle had stopped, and the grey cloud had lifted, thinned and broken up a little and the soft brightness helped highlight and lift the colour in the red cornus plants lining the path; a lovely way to end our walk.

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings and our photo’s; I found it interesting comparing Craig’s efforts with mine; different cameras, and a different take on the world, which would be expected given our height differences …. If you’d like to comment on my diary or any of our pic’s please feel welcome. I’d love to hear from you.

T.T.F.N. Gary.

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.

20110814_Long Lawford to Cawston via Church Lawford Walk

20110814_Long Lawford to Cawston via Church Lawford Walk

20110814-02_River Avon at Little Lawford by gary.haddenWhen : 14th August 2011

Who : Me and my 9 year old Son Craig

Where : Long Lawford to Cawston (West + South of Rugby, Warwickshire).

Maps : OS 1:25000 Outdoor Leisure Map No.222 Rugby and Daventry

Start Point : Approx SP471,758…. End Point : Approx SP474,734

Distance : Approx  10.3 km (6.4 miles)

Heights Climbed : Nothing really very significant at all, certainly nothing steep. See the end of diary for some details though.

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

Summary : A nice countryside wander across mixed farmland on the outskirts of Rugby. Starting in Long Lawford ; Crossing the River Avon ; Little Lawford ; King’s Newnham ; Across the Avon again ; Church Lawford (passing The Old Smithy Pub) ; Under the west coast mainline railway ; Lawford Heath ; Rugby Western Relief Road ; Old Rugby-Leamington Railway (Cawston Greenway) ; and then a final bit of ruralness before arriving home in the newish Cawston Grange Housing Estate.

20110814_Long Lawford to Cawston Via Church Lawford + Lawford Heath

20110814-05_The Ford - Little Lawford by gary.haddenAfter writing the above, I’ve kind of almost said it all the nitty gritty stuff really, but I’ll expand the story anyway. It was a lovely Sunday morning, so I decided it’d be just perfect for a bit of a local wander and I busied myself getting a little bit of kit ready, when Craig piped up and asked if he could come too. Delighted that he wanted to come with me, I readily agreed and we soon found ourselves being dropped off  in Long Lawford (near the corner of Chapel Street on Railway Street), by my lovely wife, sort of en-route to taking our daughter to a cello lesson.

It was an easy start to the walk, heading north on Chapel Street, until just past St. John’s Church at the end of the road. From here we picked up an obvious path heading slightly to the left, which soon took a dogs-leg left and then bent round back northwards again bounded by fences on both sides. The small fields either side would probably be better described as paddocks’ as they often house a selection of ponies. 20110814-01_Track + Bridge over River Avon - Little Lawford by gary.haddenIt’s quite amazing how quickly built up areas can become rural and this walk certainly fits that bill as the track drops gently down to cross the River Avon via a farm bridge.

The Avon here is really very small, little more than a stream really, meandering through the fields. However, don’t be completely fooled, the river can and does flood quite frequently after heavy rain, evidenced by the raised walk-way approaching and crossing the bridge at least a couple of feet above track level. A short distance further on and we entered the Mill complex at Little Lawford. This is an attractive group of buildings which have timeless feel about them. From here we should have crossed a small wooden footbridge, but the cattle on the far side somehow looked a bit skittish, and I felt quite uneasy about taking Craig into their field. This didn’t matter overly, as I took us through the old mill complex on its wide track (slightly off the right of way, I’m afraid though), but this also had the side effect of bringing us out close to the old ford.

20110814-04_Cooling off at The Ford - Little Lawford by gary.haddenThe little detour down to the river is worth doing (it’s only a few yards) and whilst we were there we were lucky enough to be joined by 3 riders on horseback. The three of them slowly entered the ford and one of the horses in particular really seemed to enjoy itself, stamping its front legs, splashing at the waters. I was surprised when they turned around and headed back from 20110814-06_1604 building - Little Lawford by gary.haddenwhere they’d come, rather than head all the way through the ford and out the other side – it transpired it was just a cooling off detour.

Anyway, enough of the ford, because, as pretty as this spot is, we had to drag ourselves away and continue our walk, heading up the lane passing a really old building built from grey stone. The very square, almost severe, looking house has the date 1604 set into the stonework. I’m not hot on my history, but this dates back to when :-

  • The Stuarts were the ruling Royal family, James 1st of England had just come to the throne, taking over from Elizabeth-1st.
  • Protestants and Catholics were at loggerheads (1605 = Gunpowder plot).
  • James 1st commissioned his authorized version of The Bible.
  • Shakespeare was walking the boards (probably the most famous Warwickshire person of all time ?)
  • and … a little later on in 1607, marked the establishment of Jamestown in the “New World”.

And the list goes on …. So I guess if the walls could talk, they’d have some tales they could tell us.

We carried on (up Clay Hill Lane) to meet Little Lawford Road and turned left (westwards). My plan was to walk along the road for maybe half a mile or so, to pick up a footpath across to King’s Newnham; but Craig had other ideas, not wanting to walk on the road at-all, his demeanour was quite adamant to avoid the tarmac if at-all possible!. So, after just a few yards (at the junction with a minor road heading north towards Cathiron) we turned off right taking a footpath diagonally across the pasture field. The path is on the map and access into the field is fine, but the path didn’t show up on the ground, so, trying to be as accurate as possible I took a compass bearing across the wide field. 20110814-07_Duck Pond - Brown's Spinney nr Little Lawford by gary.haddenOnce through the next boundary we emerged into an area with some duck ponds; one of which was quite sizeable and quite attractive, with its backdrop of Brown’s Spinney framing the pool nicely.

The scene was further enhanced by a pair of swans and a good number of ducks including a large crèche of nearly-grown ducklings, well over 2-dozen of them, congregating together like teenagers wandering the local high street; the associated adult ducks were sensibly keeping well clear of the throng in a smaller group under the tree branches at the far side of the pool.

It’s so easy to spend too long near water, and we again had to encourage ourselves to move on again, now having to concentrate on map reading to work out where the right of way went to get past the pools and then skirt to the south of Fennis Fields Farm. The navigation wasn’t too taxing on my aging brain cells though and we’d soon reached where a path turned half-left, heading diagonally across a semi-ploughed field. The path was faintly on the ground saving the need to take a compass bearing. As we stopped here for a quick drink, 20110814-08_Cloudscape + farmland nr King's Newnham by gary.haddena couple of fellow walkers passed by, heading off on the same path we were soon to take. I liked how quickly they became diminutive figures, dwarfed by a big sky and billowing clouds above; I particularly liked the sense of space here (an unusual feeling for me in Warwickshire) as we set off in the same direction.

I wouldn’t say this was a very large field, but I’m pleased it wasn’t fully ploughed and wet, ‘cause it could have been quite hard work rising up to the hedge in the distance. Once through the hedge the path continued across the next field, also in a diagonal direction. The two walkers that had passed us earlier had (for some reason or another) decided to skirt around the field edges instead, which meant by the time we’d crossed the field and stood back on Little Lawford Road we were now ahead of them again, rather than walking in their footsteps.

20110814-09_Ancient Tower - King's Newnham by gary.haddenCrossing straight over the road, we then had a small field to cross, heading for the corner, where a small square was partitioned off (little more than allotment sized) with a tiny crop of maize growing. At the corner we crossed into the next rather scruffy field, which, after skirting the manor house complex of King’s Newnham (previously known as Newnham-Regis) we got a view of the ancient tower. Sorry, but 20110814-10_Broken Machinery Cogs - King's Newnham by gary.hadden I don’t know much about this, however, I’ve found out the tower is the ruined remains of the demolished Church of St. Lawrence. I’ve read that it may date back as far as the 12th Century, but this is uncertain and the church was demolished in the middle of the 18th Century; just leaving the tower which now stands in a Farm yard.

From The Manor, we dropped down towards the River Avon again, passing close to a dilapidated set of cogs and associated broken down machinery. The earthworks here-about suggest to me this was perhaps a small water “mill” of some kind,  long since defunct and out of use. 20110814-13_River Avon - at King's Newnham + Church Lawford by gary.haddenA few yards further on brought us to a long footbridge leading us over The Avon for the second time in the day. The actual stream was almost hidden from view by the profuse and vibrant reeds and other water loving plants.

Once over the bridge, we continued on, almost due south now, gently rising through some more small scruffy fields, to 20110814-14_The Old Smithy Pub - Church Lawford by gary.haddenreach Green Lane, which soon brought us into the heart of Church Lawford village at The Old Smithy Pub. Craig fancied a call-in for a J20 and a packet of peanuts, but I resisted the temptation (a pint would have been nice, but really wasn’t needed) and instead we perched ourselves on a bench opposite the entrance, on the small village green, for the refreshments (including mini-apple pies) that I’d had the foresight to pack.

20110814-15_Decorative Building (Manor House perhaps) - Church Lawford by gary.haddenOnce sated, we set off again heading down Church Road (eastwards now) past the very ornate and attractive Manor House (circa 16th C) to reach St. Peter’s Church. The path heads through the graveyard to the right of the church and emerges into pasture fields; the path plainly visible marking our route. This is so well walked I can’t imagine it will ever disappear. In fact, I think every book, without exception, of local walks I’ve picked up has this route published in some guise or another :- A mini Coventry and Warwickshire classic! …. The views back to the church here epitomise rural Warwickshire, beautiful in a gentle, understated way.

20110814-17_Church Tower - Church Lawford by gary.hadden

A couple of fields further on and after crossing a field boundary, the path diverges into two: One carries straight on (easterly) which would bring you back to the start point in Long Lawford [in less than a mile], giving a very pleasant circular; The second and less obvious route swings south to cross under the West Coast Mainline railway (Rugby-Coventry section) via a brick archway. We were lucky enough to see a Virgin Pendolino hurtle past on its dash towards Rugby and I guess beyond to Euston in London. The resulting photo I took is OK I think, where I tried to keep the arch sharp and allow the train to blur to give an impression of speed. I’ll let you decide if it works OK or not.20110814-20_Virgin Train - Railway Arch  Between Church Lawford + Long Lawford by gary.haddenA wide access track then brought us up past what appears to be some kind of water treatment works to meet the A428 Coventry Road. Our route turned us right along the road for a couple of hundred yards or so, to mid-way along a small spinney, where we then carefully crossed to pick up a bridleway heading south up towards Lawford Heath. The right of way basically follows the hedge line of a couple of sizeable fields on wide verges. We should have made good time here with the lack of stiles and map-reading to do, but no, new distractions 20110814-23_Hay bales_Rotoballe - Lawford Heath by gary.haddenemerged to keep the pace quite slow; this included Craig catching grass-hoppers in the tall grasses with his bare hands (he’s good at this!) and then wanting to “surf” on top of several of the “rotoballe” hay-bales scattered around one of the fields. I don’t know if it’s sad or not, but I do like the imagery of these rolled up hay-bales and I could have spent as long trying to compose the perfect photo as Craig would have spent climbing on the cylindrical objects.

20110814-24_Cloudscape + Rotoballe Hay Bales - Lawford Heath by gary.haddenTime was passing though and we needed to press on, the bridleway fairly easy to navigate as it leveled out to reach a minor country road [Ling Lane], where we turned left for a couple of hundred yards of road walking. Even this was interrupted for several minutes as Craig watched a tractor pulling a small harvesting device which every now and again would “give birth” to another rotoballe hay-bale, spitting them out around the field at regular intervals.

At the end of Ling Lane (T-Junction with the slightly larger Lawford Heath Lane) we 20110814-26_Big Foot Bridge - Over Rugby Western Relief Road A4071 - Cawston by gary.haddencrossed straight over to join another bridleway heading down the side of a hedge and it wasn’t far before we started an easy descent into a shallow valley; after dropping down the side of a second field we crossed a small footbridge to then rise up to a brand-spanking new major footbridge across the Rugby Western Relief Road (A4071). The size of this is bridge seems rather incongruous when considering the mini-bridge we’d crossed moments earlier, but it is a stand-out structure in the landscape and isn’t by any means unattractive.

Almost as soon as we’d crossed the new bridge, we had another, much older one to cross, this time made of blue brick rather than shiny steel. This crosses over the old Rugby to Leamington Railway Line (or what was known as The Lias Line) and is now long since defunct as a working railway. Over the years the line has become overgrown and naturalised, almost a long thin wood with a sinuous pathway down the middle. This is used by ramblers, dog walkers and off-road cyclists but can be muddy and quite narrow in places ….

20090708-02_Old Railway-Cawston-Rugby by gary.hadden   20110123-05_Old Lias Line - Cawston Greenway New Clearing by gary.hadden

20110814-27_Cawston Greenway - Old Lias Line (Rugby-Leamington Railway) by gary.hadden

Above 3x Pix are taken from the same place, in JULY-2009, JAN-2011 + AUG 2011

 …. but these problems are improving dramatically as a local community project called Cawston Greenway (running alongside the Cawston Grange Housing Estate) is turning it into a nature reserve. This is being done, oddly enough, by cutting back and thinning the trees and rough undergrowth to allow sunlight to reach the floor and hopefully dry out the ground and at the same time allow grass and wild-flowers to grow, creating whole new habitats to encourage a diverse selection of wildlife.

From the bridge there’s a way down the bank to reach the old track bed, but that wasn’t for us, as we headed straight over the bridge to enter a pasture field (often with 20110814-28_Footpath through the Wheat - Cawston Rugby by gary.haddencows or sheep or sometimes both) to follow a hedge on our left. At the end of this field we crossed into the next one, which was full of a ripening wheat crop, the path ahead plainly obvious. Craig, even though he’d walked nearly 6 miles, set off at a run and was soon way ahead of me; I had no concerns though, as we’ve walked this path so many times now I’ve lost count. He waited at the far end of the field for me to catch up, where we then continued between a couple of houses to reach the newly renamed B4642 Coventry Road.

Please note, THIS Coventry Road (B4642) is NOT the same Coventry Road (A428) crossed earlier in the walk and to confuse matters even more, online maps and even 20110814-29_Harvesting - Cawston - Rugby by gary.haddenlocal sign-posts still sometimes insist this is the A4071, whereas the tag A4071 is now attached to the Relief Road, also crossed earlier in the walk. If you’re following this route, the path emerges almost opposite Cawston Lane, and there is no confusion about that name! We stood for a moment or two watching a combine harvester noisily unloading its load of grain into a trailer in the field next to the lane. Our walk was now nearly over, as we turned left alongside the Coventry Road (towards Rugby) and then keeping slightly left at a small stand of tall trees.

We were now on the edge of the fairly new Cawston Grange Housing Estate, and we took a left turn onto a gravel path that runs around the estate. Now, we live on the estate, so it was just a case of walking through the streets to home and a coffee. I’m sorry, but as I don’t live in a coffee shop I’m gonna leave this post as finishing at the end of Trussell way (not my home), which is where I’ve started/finished several of my other walks diaries, so it seems logically neat to end here. Trussell Way also has plenty of room for parking, so it’d be easy to be picked up from here. Alternatively, you could easily add a couple more miles to the walk and drop down to Long Lawford via several routes. If you want, have a browse through some of my other local routes for some ideas how to do this … Maybe this one might fit the bill.

Well that’s about it, the end of another enjoyable day in the countryside with the added bonus of my son’s company on the walk:- Super !

T.T.F.N. Gary

Rough idea of up-hill heights during the walk (I’m reluctant to call them Climbs coz they’re so not difficult).

  • 1 = approx 20m / 66 ft (Avon at Little Lawford to Before King’s Newnham)
  • 2 = approx 15m / 50 ft (Avon at King’s Newnham to Church Lawford)
  • 3 = approx 30m / 100 ft (Railway Arch nr Avon to Lawford Heath)
  • 4 = approx 10m / 33 ft (Mini Footbridge nr Relief Road to Cawston)

Ta-Ta again, Gary.

20100101_Cawston – Potford’s Dam Pool Sunset Walk

20100101_Cawston – Potford’s Dam Pool Sunset Walk

 When : 1st January 2010 

Who : Just Me 

Where : Cawston, Rugby, Warwickshire. 

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

Grid ref. : Potford’s Dam Pool = 465,727  

Approx Distance : About 1.5 miles (2.5 km) on top of my walk earlier in the day. 

Significant Heights : None worth mentioning … a couple of gentle rises.

Summary : A small extension to a family walk down to the pool at Potford’s Dam/Cawston Spinney to see the sunset (and take a few photo’s) which I guessed could be worth braving the cold for. 

We (that’s me and my family) had nearly completed our New Years Days Walk and we’d emerged from Cawston Woods using the track that separates Fox Covert from Cawston Spinney and made our way up to the B4642 (was called the A4071) Coventry Road at Cawston (on the south-western outskirts of Rugby near Bilton Village). 

As we rose up the incline on the farm track, approaching the main road, the snow clouds had begun to disperse and clearer skies were breaking through. The clouds themselves were taking on an orangey-pinky glow as the sun dropped towards the horizon. I liked the colours, (who doesn’t like a nice sunset) and I imagined it might be worth seeing over the waters of Potford’s Dam Pool on the western fringes of Cawston Spinney. 

So upon reaching the B4642, we all crossed the main road where my lovely wife and kids turned right (heading off towards the Cawston housing estate and home), whilst I turned left and set off in the opposite direction on my own. After just a hundred yards or so, I re-crossed the road to find a path heading diagonally away from the road behind Brickyard Spinney. The spinney forms part of the gardens of a rather nice looking home; the grounds below the trees are landscaped in a rough bowl shape and in the spring a sprinkling of flowering bulbs lights up this corner of Cawston. 

Anyway, I’ve digressed, the path here is wide and grassy and even if I hadn’t walked this way before, it would have been very obvious where to go ….. after a very short distance a ploughed field is reached and the way is nearly always completely indistinct. My map however shows it cutting diagonally across whatever crops are planted. The field dips about half way across, meaning the far end of the path can’t be seen, so in the past I’ve tended to use a compass here to be as accurate as possible, but in general the aim is to the right hand end of a line of trees … Since doing this walk, I’ve had to force my way through growing oil seed rape (yuk) and I’ve also been forced to skirt around the outside edge of the field because the direct path has been made completely impassable by the crops – it’s still perfectly possible but is a longer route to reach the desired destination. 

Don’t be put off though, if the way across the field isn’t easy, the destination really is worth it, because sat behind the line of trees in the bottom of the dip, is a small reservoir …. To use the word “pond” would seem to diminish the waters too much, but I certainly wouldn’t use the term “lake” either, as that would suggest a much larger body of water …. so pool it will stay, at least for the purposes of this blog. My 1:25000 scale OS map doesn’t name the pool at all …. I’ve always known it as Potford’s Dam Pool but I’ve also heard it called Cawston Woods Pool or Cawston Woods Lake … probably all equally as descriptive as each other as it’s the only one hereabouts. 

I’ve digressed again – Back to my walk – The sun was setting quite quickly, creating a pretty rather than spectacular scene, but there was still enough light to make a complete circuit of the pool taking some photo’s as I went. It’d obviously been really cold all day long here in the dip, evidenced by virtually the whole pool being frozen over. The icy pool diffused the light from the sunset and the whole atmosphere was subdued and quiet, as if the whole world had gone to sleep, even the hum of traffic in the distance seemed particularly hushed …. The whole feel was quite magical really and I felt honoured to be the only one around to see it. 

The circuit around the west and south of the pool is very easy, on wide paths, much on the low arching embankment which forms the dam holding the waters back (I’m guessing, but I don’t think the pool can be very deep). Eventually the path becomes sandwiched between a ditch and the pool itself as it narrows to its inflow brook emerging from the woods. Once in the woods, I found a place to cross the brook and climb a bank on the other side, rising to join a wide verge around a ploughed field. I turned left to skirt the northern edge of the pool, a narrow line of trees growing on the bank dropping between me and the water’s edge. In a couple of places I managed to get down the slope in an attempt to get some better framed pic’s with the sun setting over the pool. I’m not overly sure about the results, but I quite like some of the effects the twigs made silhouetted against the lighter backdrop of the sky and pool.

The sun itself had disappeared completely now and it’s parting salvo was to intensify its orangey glow briefly – lovely. It was now time to go, for three reasons: I was starting to feel the cold seep into my bones; If I’d stayed much longer and I’d have been walking back across the fields in the pitch black; and I guessed my family would be wondering if I’d ever rejoin them (it’s amazing how time flies when you’re enjoying yourself). So, I retraced my steps back over the ploughed field to Brickyard Spinney and thence to the main road. Once back at the top of the rise, I thought I might just get a half-decent image of the sunset from under the old railway bridge, off down the hill to my left. I even managed a bit of a jog down the side of the road to try and get there before the glow faded and destroyed my idea. 

As it happened, the scene didn’t materialise quite as expected, the fading glow of the sunset didn’t quite line up with the bridge arch as I’d hoped. However, I did like the effect of the passing cars with their lights reflected on the wet tarmac and in particular in a large puddle by the road side, framed by the arch of the brick bridge. It often floods here after rain – the drainage is terrible despite some recent works to improve the situation. It’ll be interesting to see whether the new round-about and other road works associated with the new Rugby Western Relief Road [starts/finishes just the other side of the bridge] improves or worsens the flooding here.


After taking a few pic’s, I turned around and headed back up the road away from the bridge and soon picked up a tarmac path which became set back from the side of the road. I could stride out here and started to generate a little warmth in myself again as I passed Cawston Farm and the Nature Trails Nursery Building (where I’d separated from my family earlier) and I soon found myself nearing home, leaving the main road to join the perimeter path around the Cawston estate.

The glow from the sunset had re-intensified, so I fired off a few more pic’s and actually I’m quite happy with this last little set of images. It didn’t take long from here to reach home and rejoin my family. 


This little walk was a super ending to a New Years Day; Much better than soporifically watching the old Goggle-Box (TV for those who don’t know the term) all day long. 


I hope you enjoyed my scribblings. TTFN. Gary. 

Oh, and one final aside …. Instead of using the correct name of “Potford’s Dam”, “Potsford” is very often used (both spoken and written), so if you’re searching for more info’ on the W-W-Web you might like to deliberately misspell your search entry – you might find some different results.

Bye again. Gary.

Next post = 20100102_Cawston-Potfords Dam Pool Dawn Walk

20091011_A walk through Cawston Woods

20091011_A Walk Through Cawston Woods

When : 11th October 2009

Who : Just Me

Where : Cawston, Rugby, Warwickshire

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

Start + End Point : Cawston Housing Estate – South West of Rugby

Approx Distance : Couple of miles or so.

Significant Heights : None worth mentioning.

Summary : A wander of a walk starting (and therefore finishing) at Cawston to the south west of Rugby, taking in :- The A4071 B4642 ; Cawston Lane, Cawston Woods and back again.

There’s not much to say as a pre-amble to this really, other than I live close to Cawston Woods; I had an hour or two to spare and there were blue skies, stormy looking clouds and a bright low sun, all of which combined to make a lovely interesting light and long shadows.

I used the perimeter path that skirts the outside of the new Cawston housing estate to reach what was the A4071 but has now been renamed the B4642 since the opening of the Rugby Western Relief Road and crossed over to head down Cawston Lane (towards Dunchurch).

After about ¼ of a mile at a slight bend in the road (and just before the entrance into the Lime Tree Village retirement complex) is a dirt lay-by which can take a handful of cars (often used by dog walkers) and it’s here that I headed into Cawston Woods. To be more accurate, according to the OS map, this is called Fox Covert and it merges into both Boat House Spinney and Cawston Spinney, but collectively they are known locally as Cawston Woods. At first there’s an old disused circular brick built water-works construction and a couple of pathways then lead into the woods with improvised “bridges” to cross some boggy/muddy bits.

I think the woods themselves are probably quite unremarkable in the wide scheme of things, but in this part of Warwickshire they are by far the largest grouping of trees for many a mile, a green island in a very gently rolling sea of fields. If you look at the Rugby and Daventry OS map there really is a dearth of green splodges representing woodland, so I suppose the resource really is quite important for both wildlife and humans alike.

I guess they’ll always be a degree of conflict between nature and people, and at times between people and people who want different things from life. This is shown quite markedly by youngsters who very resourcefully dug-out and constructed a bike jumps track and they zoom back and forth, at times flying through the air before landing and heading off to the next jump. I will say that when-ever I’ve had to walk on the paths across the line of jumps the cyclists have always stopped to let me pass. However, there is a claim that they’ve dug up and displaced the residents of a badger sett which if accurate would seem a terrible shame. There is a new campaign just starting up trying to redress this and restrict/stop the dirt-trackers. As I said people in conflict with people, people in conflict with nature … it’ll be interesting to see if there’s a compromise that can be had, especially as I believe the woods are private property and there’s no official access at-all apart from two footpath rights-of-way that briefly pass through. What I hope is that the outcome isn’t that the landowners ban everyone from the woods (probably impossible now, but let’s hope there isn’t another conflict brewing!)

I like the woods, they’re a good place to wander, I especially like early morning or late afternoon and you don’t need to go very far in to get a degree of quietness with the noise of normal life being left at least a little way behind; the sound of cars being replaced by bird-song and the rustle of the breeze in the tree tops (oooo that’s almost poetic, but hardly Wordsworthian!). Anyway, I did a bit of a circuit enjoying the dappled light piercing through the trees casting long shadows onto the undergrowth and crunchy leaf-litter below and I was soon back to the lay-by on Cawston lane.

Turning left, I headed back up the lane towards Cawston and was struck how wild a couple of the fields looked, perhaps giving a glimpse of how the area could revert to the heath-land that long ago once covered this region but is now tamed and lives on only in names like Marton Moor, Bog Spinney, Bourton Heath, Dunsmore Heath and closest to Cawston Woods, Lawford Heath. Also dotted around are farmsteads with names like Heath’s Barn, Heath farm (more than one), Wilcox’s Gorse and Heath House.

Stopping to take a photo’ of this scene allowed me to see a large but rather raggedy looking red-admiral butterfly alight on some ivy in the hedge here. It stayed still just about long enough for me to take a couple or three close up pic’s (well as close as my kit-lens could cope with) and which proves that if you take time to look there’s allsorts to be seen.



The trees lining the A4071, B4642, were turning colour with a vengeance now that autumn had well and truly arrived, the low sun picking out the yellows, oranges and browns: A portent that winter was coming [and what a winter it turned out to be, the coldest and snowiest for years]. Crossing the main road, I was soon back to the outskirts of the Cawston Grange housing estate and it didn’t take long before I was home again.


Not a long walk by any means, but enjoyable none-the-less and all within minutes of my front door – wonderful, the type of thing that moving out of Coventry to the outskirts of Rugby was meant to achieve.

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….

Next walk = A wander by The Avon – Wolston

20091004_Early Morning Cawston Circular Walk

20091004_Early Morning Cawston Circular Walk

When : 4th October 2009

Who : Just Me

Where : Cawston, Rugby, Warwickshire

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

Start + End Point : End of Trussell Way on Cawston Housing Estate GR.469,735

Approx Distance : 5.5 miles, 8.5 km

Significant Heights : Just one rise of approx 100 ft (30m) when leaving Draycote Water, otherwise none worth mentioning.

Parking : On street parking on the estate … end of Trussell Way, off Cawston Grange Drive, I suppose is as good as any, put please park politely and with consideration as this is a residential area.

Public Transport : No.4 Bus from Rugby travels along, and drops of on, Calvestone Road near the large island at 474,734

Summary : Circular walk starting (and therefore finishing) at Cawston to the south west of Rugby, taking in :- The A4071 B4642 ; Cawston Woods ; Northampton Lane ; End of M45/Start of A45 ; Thurlaston Village ; Draycote Water ; and Cawston Woods again.

I was up and about quite early and as there wasn’t anything particularly happening during the morning, I decided to take advantage of what looked like some nice settled weather. The sun hadn’t come up properly yet but the pre-dawn glow looked extremely promising, so, up I got and readied myself quite quickly (and as quietly as possible so as not to disturb my family). I didn’t really know exactly where I’d end up or how far I’d go, except I knew I maybe had to get the other side of Cawston woods to stand a chance of seeing the sun come up to best effect.

I used the perimeter path that skirts the outside of the new Cawston housing estate (it passes the end of Trussell Way) to reach what was the A4071 but has now been renamed the B4642 since the opening of the Rugby Western Relief Road (The RWRR is now called the A4071). I love the old rickety rustic fence here especially when it’s silhouetted against the dawn sky; it might seem a bit sad (little things please little minds), but I like the juxtaposition of the relatively neat field boundary with a slightly run down rustic unkempt feel. The sun was just coming up, with the glow (a mix of soft yellow, orange and pink colours) picking up some light cloud and wispy vapour trails – lovely!


I was certainly moving quite quickly as I strode out down the side of the Coventry Road (A4071-B4642) to cross over at Nature Trails Nursery/Cawston Farm and then headed off down the farm track towards Cawston Woods (Fox Covert + Cawston Spinney). Once through the woods and up the track into open farmland again, I felt I could relax a little and I spent a little time trying to take a few pic’s with the sun rising above the horizon. After that little interlude, I headed off over some grassy fields to emerge onto Northampton Lane a short distance west of Windmill Farm and cottages.

Turning right, I headed out along the broad track of Northampton Lane which (although a bridle track) narrowed to little more than a path as it continued between hedges and mature trees. Although quite good underfoot (it can get rather muddy) I was forever getting gossamer threads of spider webs across my face as they stretched across the path – horrible stuff – occasionally the threads were highlighted by the early morning sun allowing me to wave them aside but more often than not the first time I knew of them was as they wrapped themselves around my face – Yuck!.

After about a quarter of a mile I left Northampton Lane; taking a footpath (heading off southwards) to reach the B4429 (Coventry Road). Turning right alongside the road, I soon reached a major traffic island where the M45 starts (or terminates depending on direction of travel). I carefully crossed to the opposite side of the island and after a little searching I found the footpath I wanted heading away (south eastwards) down the side of a field … a field of gold bathed in the early morning sun … After a few hundred yards the path emerged into Stocks Lane on the outskirts of Thurlaston.


Thurlaston is a very pretty village, with its converted windmill, leafy lanes and attractive cottages. Having been through here on numerous occasions before, I soon found my way through the village, taking Stocks Lane, passing the stocks themselves; Main Street and Church Lane.


At the end of Church Lane just past St Edmunds’ church and quite close to the old windmill, a track drops down to Draycote Water (pronounced Dray-cott).  I skirted the reservoir (in a clockwise direction) briefly on the perimeter road and then by dropping right down to the waters’ edge to try and get some photo’s of the sunrise. I was surprised at the low level of the reservoir considering the really poor summer we’d just had.

After a very short distance, at the north-easterly point of the reservoir, I left the water behind to take a track heading pretty much northwards up a hillside to pick up the National Cycle Network route-41 crossing under the wide line of the M45, past Ryefield Farm and on to the B4429 Coventry Road. Crossing straight over, the path then continued northwards, through a small plot of allotments and then across a single field to reach Northampton lane for a second time, this time just about 100 yards or so to the east of Windmill Farm. Luckily the lane was reasonable dry and I didn’t have lots of smelly farmyard mud to contend with as can often be the case here. Turning left along Northampton lane, I then turned right onto another path at the small grouping of buildings. The route was again heading north following the line of a hedge for a couple of fields to a junction of footpaths. Ignoring the side paths to the right and left the path continues down the side of a ploughed field. The farmer always leaves a good strip of land here, so walking was quite easy and it wasn’t long before the path opened up into a farm track dropping gentle down into Cawston Spinney.

I was now back on the track first used at the start of the day and after passing straight through Cawston Spinney/Fox Covert, I was soon back at Cawston Farm and The Nature Trails Nursery on the B4642 (old A4071). There is a tarmac footpath on the other side of the main road (please be careful crossing) and it didn’t take long to be back into the Cawston Grange Housing Estate … and back home …. and all before the rest of my family were up and moving. A superb start to a day.

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings and pics ….

Next walk = 20091004_Stretton – Princethorpe Circular Walk