20121111-17_Snowshill from the West

Taken during a Coventry CHA Rambling Club walk on 11th November 2012. The route chosen by the leader was for us to emerge from a small wood and immediately be presented with this beautiful view across pastoral fields to the village of Snowshill … Superb! …. and the pub in the village was pretty good too.

20121111_Stanton-Stanway-Snowshill-Broadway Coventry CHA Rambling Club Walk

20121111_Stanton  – Stanway – Snowshill – Broadway Coventry CHA Rambling Club Walk

20121111-10_Autumn Colours - Lidcombe Wood - Cotswolds by gary.haddenWhen : 11 November 2012 [Remembrance Day]

Who : Coventry CHA Rambling Club, Sunday Walk

Where : Cotswolds, England

Start Point : SP 068,344

End Point : SP 090,376

Distance : Approx 10 miles (16 km) including the wander up into Broadway at the end of the day.

Significant heights : 2 “climbs” worth noting …. The first after leaving Stanway of approx 660 ft (200m) in the morning, and the 2nd after lunch in Snowshill of approx 230 ft (70m)

Maps used : once I got home to look at the route : 1:50,000 OS Landranger Map No 150, but I know the leaders used an OS 1:25,000 map – I think Outdoor Leisure Map No.45 The Cotswolds.

Summary : A sunny day, across varied terrain, very pretty villages, superb autumn colours, and good company … A hilly but really not very strenuous walk in The Cotswolds lead by Janet and Jenny with The Coventry CHA rambling club – 21 of us doing the linear walk.

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

After my last few diary entries looking back at the start of the year, this diary write up is more up-to-date, being from a few weeks ago, and what a stunningly beautiful day it was for a walk. We’d been20121111_Stanton-Stanway-Snowshill-Broadway Walk - Cov CHA Rambling Club having poor weather (like much of 2012), but the forecast from some way out had been for this particular Sunday might be dry and with the promise of maybe a drop of Sunshine (wow), and it didn’t disappoint despite having to remove a good layer of frost from the car first thing in the morning.

Unlike the Midland Hill Walkers Club (that I’ve walked with most recently) whose coach sets off at 7:00 a.m. the Coventry CHA Rambling Club walks start at a more civilised time of at least an hour later. For today’s walk, the coach set off at 8:30 am from the bus-stop lay-by outside The Coventry Sports Centre & Swimming Pool entrance on Fairfax Street … conveniently opposite a large car park. I used to walk very often with the CHA some 20+ almost 30 years ago now and as my sister (Janet) and her good friend (Jenny) were leading the walk and as there was ample space on the coach, I thought I’d join them and catch up with some old friends..

I also thought it could serve as a bit of a test of my poor old semi-knackered knees; I’d had arthroscopy surgery on them both the previous December and although better than before, I hadn’t plucked up enough courage to get out and about with either the MHW or CHA clubs in the intervening time; I had no wish to have any problems out on the hills and so disrupt the leaders’ job with potentially up to 40-50 other people to consider. Having my sister in-control, kind of made it easier as she could tell me how strenuous the day was to be in advance and she’d have the confidence in me being able to tell her how I was getting on should there be a problem.

Anyway, I’d taken the plunge and enjoyed chatting with several old friends from the club that I hadn’t seen for some time during the coach journey down into the Cotswolds. It 20121111-01_Cotswold Cottages - Stanton by gary.haddendidn’t seem long before we’d reached the pretty village of Stanton (not far from the very famous Broadway). Stanton is a peaceful village, but early on a cold frosty autumn Sunday morning it was incredibly subdued, even the normally warm toned, honey coloured, stone of the cottages seemed to have taken on an aura of frosty silvery grey. I think these Cotswold villages are beautiful, not stunningly spectacular like some sights, but perfectly understated and simply proportioned in a very English way; you might even say quintessentially English, a timeless link back through the centuries and hopefully on into the future.

The coach dropped us off in the village, but only disgorged twenty-one of us, (including the two leaders) where we rescued our ruck-sacks from the coach’s hold. The rest of the passengers were to do a much shorter “B” walk or simply just head into Broadway for its multitude of cafes, pubs, shops, ET-al for the day. Rather than the potential of 40-50 20121111-04_Long Shadows - Between Stanton + Stanway - Cotswolds by gary.haddenpeep’s, 21 is a nice number to lead and we happily set off through the village on quiet roads to find and take a path heading more or less southwards across grassy fields bounded by mature hedgerows and some full grown specimen trees. We had a small amount of elevation which afforded some lovely views over to our right, and, to our left, the hillside rose up and away from us covered in long shadows, showing the relief of the ground in fantastic detail. I just loved it, and as we moved on, the farmland almost felt like parkland, reminiscent of a Capability Brown landscape.

20121111-05_Autumn Colours - Between Stanton + Stanway by gary.hadden

20121111-07_Autumn Colours - Between Stanton + Stanway by gary.hadden

The morning was turning out to be quite gorgeous, cold but with a bright blue sky, minimal white clouds and the early morning sun was lighting up the autumn colours in the trees and wider landscape brilliantly – enough to make your heart sing and add a spring to your step – Superb! and we hadn’t even had to go up hill yet, the hardest thing we’d been tasked to do being the crossing an old ridge and furrow field; crossing the 20121111-08_Coventry CHA Rambling Club - In Silhouette by gary.haddenancient farming system at 90-degrees to the ridges, making it seem you were going up and down a series of waves frozen in perpetuity.

After about a mile and a half, we entered and walked through the next village on our route – Stanway (almost a twin of Stanton) with it’s impressive church next to the old Manor House. I’d have taken some pictures, but I was in conversation as we passed through and it would have been rude to break off from our chat so you’ll just have to look elsewhere on the WWW to find some images of the pretty village. Being Remembrance Sunday/Armistice Day (11th November) there was a service in full voice going on inside, an echo of similar services in churches the length and breadth of the country.

Once we’d followed the lane through the village we met the B4077 where we turned left on a narrow footpath by the side of the road and started on the first climb of the day. The word climb suggests some hard work was now necessary, but it wasn’t really, so maybe first RISE of the day would be better suited to the story. A few cars sped past as we rose past a few cottages until the road bent round to the right and we carried pretty much straight on, on a rough drive, at a small group of buildings. After regrouping, from here we picked up a path/track heading up into some woods (Lidcombe Wood) still rising, this time a little steeper and rougher under foot now. The colours in the trees were absolutely lovely, spectacular even when lit up by the sun, both on the tree branches and 20121111-11_Autumn Colours - Lidcombe Wood - Cotswolds by gary.haddenthose that had succumbed to time and gravity and now littered the woodland floor. After a while we took a left hand branch of paths and came up to a small building housing some information about the area and commanding some nice views into a valley below. This became a coffee stop for a few minutes and a place where we could stand for a couple of minutes to observe the Remembrance Day two minutes silence at 11:00 am. There was a perceptible change in mood, as our predominantly jolly demeanour became a little more subdued – and quite rightly so.

We then returned to our earlier path up through the woods, turning left to continue the rise up the hillside and after a while took a right to climb more steeply up through the trees. 20121111-13_Coventry CHA Rambling Club - Autumn in the Cotswolds by gary.haddenWe’d become a little spread out during the climb, so a regrouping was necessary at the top of the rise, just where open countryside was regained.

The way ahead was now pretty much on the level, heading down the left hand side of a ploughed field and with the woods on our left until we reached the corner of the field. We now had a series of field boundaries to follow (ploughed ones at that) to follow, at first to the east and then almost due north. Although on the level, the route wasn’t all plain sailing 20121111-14_Muddy Fields on the Cotswold Way by gary.haddenthough, and that was due to the conditions under-foot – MUD and then some more MUD ! I’m probably exaggerating a little, but it was quite grotty, especially where one field crossed into the next, funneling all farm traffic through a restricted gap and so churning up the ground. There’s also something particularly sticky about mud that’s been frozen and then just thawed, walking boots just double in weight in next to no time – YUK.

Eventually (it was probably less time than it seemed) we emerged out of the mud onto a minor road, where we turned right, almost doubling back on ourselves, walking on hard 20121111-15_Autumn Colours - Cotswolds by gary.haddenflat tarmac almost seemed like heaven to my knees which had been feeling the strain in the muddy conditions.

We now had a different area of woods on our left (Littleworth Wood) and after a short time we branched off to the left into these woods descending gently as we went; once again, the colours were superb..

20121111-18_Approaching Snowshill from the West by gary.haddenNow, the reason we endured the muddy fields (rather than take a possible shorter route) became apparent – As we emerged from the woods into a grassy field (with sheep grazing) a lovely view opened up ahead of us looking over green fields, woods and hedgerows to the village of Snowshill, nestled into the hillside; a gentle scene, but beautiful none-the-less, especially with a lovely blue sky as a backdrop. Snowshill was our destination for lunch, which meant crossing diagonally down the grassy field to join another minor road.

20121111-19_Cotswold Lane + Autumn Colours by gary.hadden

20121111-20_Colourful Sheep Sculptures + Snowshill by gary.haddenAlmost directly opposite in another grassy field, were three life sized “fake” sheep in different patterns, the artwork advertising a local guesthouse. We turned right on the road to reach a tee-junction, where we turned left, downhill, and then followed this minor road for quite a way. I liked the dappled light on the earth banks to the side of the road, although my knees weren’t enjoying the descent on the tarmac, I’m pleased I’d taken walking poles with me – I really need to build up my muscles around my knees again!

20121111-21_Dappled Light - Hedgerow by gary.hadden

20121111-23_Cotswolds Church + Pub - Snowshill by gary.hadden

After a while, we entered the small village of Snowshill and soon found ourselves outside the pub (The Snowshill Arms), near the church and next door to The Manor House (National Trust). We were given an hour for lunch; enough time to eat our packed lunches (on the small green) and purchase refreshments in the hostelry.  There was also time for me to take a little wander in the village to take a few pic’s before we all met up again.

20121111-24_Cotswold Cottages - Snowshill by gary.hadden

20121111-25_Moss Pillows - Roof Tiles- Snowshill Manor by gary.hadden

20121111-26_Snowshill Manor - National Trust by gary.hadden

Unusually, we now had to back-track some of our earlier route, following the road back up the hill on the minor roads, all the way to the place where we saw the three advertising sheep “sculptures”.

20121111-20_Colourful Sheep Sculptures + Snowshill by gary.hadden    20121111-19_Cotswold Lane + Autumn Colours by gary.hadden

20121111-16_Snowshill from the West by gary.haddenFrom here we re-crossed the sheep field, up into and through the woods still heading uphill until we regained the earlier minor road. After the longish climb we had become a little spread out again, so another regroup was required before turning right along the tarmac to again reach the place where we’d exited the muddy ploughed fields. Thankfully we did not need to re-do the ‘orrible mud, nope, we carried on, on the road, for a short distance before branching right down a driveway 20121111-27_Cotswold Way Path by gary.haddenheading towards a farm, but ignoring a further branch going completely down to the buildings. The fenced track started to swing round to the right narrowing now; as we moved on wide views to the north opened up over the lowlands of The Vale of Evesham.

We were now following a section of The Cotswold Way and we had to descend down the side of a grassy field. The gradient was not overly steep but proved to be quite awkward for me (and I think others) because of the very wet and slippery conditions underfoot. My knees were now feeling rather tired and they really didn’t enjoy the extra strain, feeling like they could give way beneath me at any moment. But I took my time, overcoming the discomfort (well pain might be more accurate) using my walking poles as an aid – They really do help! – and soon reached the far corner where we walked into a rather scruffy farmyard with various trucks and the like, and a smoky fire in the distance. Luckily we only had to skirt the edge of the farm picking up a track still descending but much easier than before and again heading pretty much due north.

20121111-29_Broadway Tower from the West by gary.hadden

There isn’t much to say about the immediate surroundings here, with fairly boring fields either side, but the view over to the right is worth noting as the attractive hillside rises up to Broadway Tower, with a good smattering of hedgerows, lone trees and woodland adding an orange tinge to the green pastures all offset against a brilliantly clear blue sky.  After a final drop, passing by/through Broadway Coppice/Pye Corner Coppice the path 20121111-30_Autumn Colours near Broadway by gary.haddenswung right to cross a minor road (West End Lane) and then headed over a grassy field towards a church tower on the outskirts of Broadway Village. The earlier descents had dropped us off the Cotswold Scarp, with Broadway sitting down on the edge of The Vale of Evesham (Evesham town is only about four or five miles away along the A44) and we soon reached Snowshill Road just south of the church.

20121111-31_Cov CHA Ramblers approaching Broadway Church by gary.hadden

20121111-32_Memorial Green - High Street Broadway by gary.haddenIt now felt like we’d finished the walk, but we still had a fair way to go; into Broadway along Church Street; then, at the green at the bottom of High Street a turn left along the A44 (Station Road) and then another left turn into Cheltenham Road and then a further right turn into Childswickham Road to find our coach waiting for us in a coach/car park. Here we got ourselves changed into clean clothes and normal footwear and then promptly headed all the way back into Broadway to find a tea shop for final refreshments before 20121111-33_Honey Coloured Cotswold Stone Building - Broadway by gary.haddenthe journey home.

A super days walk, well led (thanks Jan and Jenny) with plenty of interest all helped of course by no rain and a lovely drop of sunshine – it really makes a difference. All in all a good day and pleasing that on the whole my knees stood up to the rigours of ten miles with some hilly bits, the most I’d put them through since my op’s almost a year previously.

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.

20091031_Wolston – Ryton – Stretton Circular Walk

20091031_Wolston – Ryton – Stretton Circular Walk

When : 31st October 2009

Who : Just Me

Where : Wolston, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Stretton-on-Dunsmore and Dunsmore Heath.

Start + End Point : 41,75 Wolston Village

Parking : Residential side-street where I parked as tidily and considerately as possible.

Public Transport : Wolston is on a bus route.

Approx Distance : 9 miles, (15 km)

Significant Heights : Gentle rolling countryside with some rises but generally no more than about 10 metres upwards at any one time and never very steep. The longest single rise however is about 30 metres (approx100 feet) spread over a bit less than a mile (from A45 near Ryton up Knightlow Hill approaching Stretton).

Maps : 1:25,000 OS Explorer Map no. 222, Rugby & Daventry and 1:25,000 OS Explorer Map no. 221, Coventry & Warwick.

Summary : Wolston village, Coventry Way, River Avon, Ryton-on-Dunsmore village, Stretton-on-Dunsmore village, Dunsmore Heath and back to Wolston.

 As I’d walked a section of the “A Coventry Way” from Ryton to Kenilworth earlier in the year (see my earlier posting), I decided to do just a little bit more of the 40-mile round, a short section between Wolston and Ryton and then make a loop back via a different route. Happily the “A Coventry Way Circular Walks“ book, I’d bought a short while before had an ideal solution with a route taking in Stretton-on-Dunsmore and then up and across Dunsmore Heath. This saved me the job of sorting a route out myself but as it happens it’s a fairly obvious circular given there aren’t a huge number of rights of way in the area anyway.

After parking up in Wolston, I headed off to Main Street and the Memorial Cross next to the brook that runs through the village (see my previous 2x recent posts for more about Wolston), from there I quickly found the path I needed – a narrow alleyway alongside the school grounds which brought me out into an area of garages associated with the nearby Manor Estate. This path is used by at least three named ways the “A Coventry Way”, “Shakespeare’s Avon Way” and “Centenary Way”. Instead of the hard surfaces past the garages/estate, you can walk through a narrow strip of woodland instead.

However, just to get a reasonable pace going to start with, I stayed out of the trees and soon reached a line of metal railings (the boundary to The Community and Leisure Centre) and on turning right the path skirted around the outside of the railings, still with the line of woods on my right. A little explore in the woods afforded some gentle views down over fields to the Avon and St. Margaret’s Church. In early spring, clumps of snowdrops and crocus’ emerge from the leaf litter in the trees – really pretty, but obviously no sign could be seen of these with autumn heading into winter.

After a short distance, the wood was left behind; an obvious path stretched out across the field ahead, this made route finding extremely easy aided by a set of circular way-mark disks advertising the previously mentioned “ways” and another one just for good measure saying “public footpath” … Having all four seems just a bit O.T.T. but leaves it in no doubt which way to go!

Carrying on, the path reached and passed alongside a small sewage works which, as is the way with these things, was a bit grotty and I certainly didn’t feel inclined to hang around too long (certainly not a good place for a picnic!) and I pressed on to rejoin more ploughed fields to meet the Avon at one of it’s meanders.  The countryside on the opposite bank was in marked contrast, consisting of the manicured greens, fairways and stands of trees of Brandon Wood Golf Course. Somehow, although being large areas of green space, golf courses seem a little sterile within the “real” countryside where they reside. They almost seem to be plonked down on top of the landscape rather being an integral part of it. This isn’t a criticism, more an observation and I’d certainly prefer this to prairie fields of crops with all hedges ripped up and the like. I wonder how many small dimpled balls are settled in the mud at the bottom of the river? or how many clubs discarded in a fit of anger at a bad shot ?

The route followed around the banks of the Avon for a short while, before cutting across fields, crossing a couple of drainage ditches on footbridges along the way.  The path wasn’t completely obvious here so a bit of map reading was called for, but it didn’t take long to suss out where to go. After crossing one of the ditches, the ground rose up ahead, the route heading roughly southwest whilst the river swung away more northwards towards Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve. The vertical height of the rise ahead was only about 10 metres or so (30 odd feet) but this was enough to make the next decision a little awkward. My compass pointed along the side of a very rough looking hedge, but which side to take ? ….

I choose the left hand side hoping there’d be a way out at the other end and that I wouldn’t have to back-track to this point again.

I needn’t have worried as the hedge turned out to be very badly maintained and large gaps soon appeared, eventually becoming just a wide and very rough “central reservation” running through the large ploughed field. Once again, I was amazed at the different attitude different farmers seem to have. The earlier fields were easy to navigate and cross with paths on the ground; here though, the field was ploughed right up to the headland which was impossible to walk on, forcing me to walk on the newly sprouted crop, the loose tilled soil sinking beneath my feet made progress quite hard work as there was no purchase to push off against. I wasn’t at-all sad when I found the exit from the field to descend a small flight of steps to a tarmac path by the side of the A45 dual carriageway.

It was here that a rather weather-beaten planning application was pinned up; Aggregate Industries UK Ltd. seeking to extract sand and gravel from the site nearby.  This would affect public rights of ways R144, R144c/d/e + f. Representations to the County Council had to be in by 28-Feb-2008 which was some 20 months earlier. [It’s now nearly another year on at time of writing this post and looking at the planning authority’s website it says the application was withdrawn in May 2008]. 

Now, I could have just tried to cross the A45, turn left and continue the walk towards Stretton; but this would have left a very short distance up into Ryton on the Coventry Way not completed. So I turned right rising up towards St. Leonard’s Church which has a super position at the top of the small hill. The A45 splits Ryton-on-Dunsmore in two here and there is a very utilitarian subway to take pedestrians under to the larger part of the village at a small row of shops, including a butchers and post office. I visited the P.O. for some cash and then the butchers for a pasty as a snack – The advantage of walking on a Saturday – and then walked up to outside The Blacksmith Arms (where my previous section of the Coventry way walk started).

It was then I realised I’d no longer got my new sunglasses with me. I quickly revisited the shops; neither place had them! … So I then started back-tracking eyes down to the ground scanning the floor! What a pain!!!! I knew I’d had them with me down by the Avon and now I didn’t – Bother! (or slightly ruder words to that effect). I re-navigated the subway, down the side of the A45 and back up the flight of steps into the ploughed field – where, after reaching the top of the rise, there they were, settled in a shallow furrow by the side of the verge. Relieved but still annoyed at myself I turned around to re-walk the ploughed field for the third time! … I was extra-pleased to re-meet the A45 once again.

I didn’t walk back up into Ryton Village again, instead I found a safe place to cross the dual carriageway – it was reasonably quiet on the road anyway but a speed camera (50mph) and traffic island at least slows the traffic down here. I then crossed the A445 near the large island to head more or less eastwards still alongside the A45 (heading towards Rugby) and after about a couple of hundred yards (at a track to manor farm) I took a path heading up Knightlow Hill, following the line of a hedge for quite some distance on grassy pastures; much nicer walking than the earlier ploughed fields. As my elevation increased some good views back over Coventry and the surrounding countryside opened up before reaching and crossing over Freeboard Lane on the outskirts of Stretton-on-Dunsmore.

Rather than take the path straight on (as suggested in the Coventry Way Circular Walks book), I decided to take the other option here, heading half-right to meet and cross Plott Lane and then walk past some allotments named “The Plot” on my map. Judging by the number and size of his crop, one of the gardeners had had a lot of success growing plastic bottles on canes alongside the path.

At a junction of paths, I took the left turn to follow alongside a sizeable hedge (on my left). On the other side was what looked like a dressage horse training arena and across one side of the arena a row of very large mirrors had been erected attached to a large wooden framework. The mirror wall consisted of several not fully aligned panels which split up and distorted the reflections of the nearby farmhouse and outbuildings. It was really quite disorientating looking into the mirrors. I can imagine it’s caught out quite a few birds as well – I wonder how many have knocked themselves senseless flying into the wall.

The path then led past some farm silos to join Fineacre Lane and I then took the dog leg in the road up towards All Saint’s Church. The lane changes it’s name to Church Hill here and I followed it past the church and down into Stretton Village itself, taking a right hand turn just past the Village Hall to reach and enter The Shoulder of Mutton Inn for a well earned pint of beer. I don’t really know why, but I prefer the Shoulder of Mutton to the villages’ other pub “The Oak and Black Dog” but you’ll need to make your own mind up about the “best one” for you – a good excuse for visiting both hostelries.

Once refreshed, I headed through the pleasant village centre with its stream and small greens, the weak sunshine of the day highlighting the autumn colours all around as I passed the village general store and “The Oak” to head out of the village on Brookside. This reaches the Fosse way (B4453) as a Tee-junction and the route crosses straight over the road to the car park of the recreation ground. A track runs up the left side of the rec’ at the rear of back-gardens to reach farm fields again. After easily navigating these I reached Rugby Lane, turned right for several hundred yards of road walking and then left into a broad and inviting bridle track heading more or less westwards. It was here that I met the only other person, (other than in shops/villages) that I saw all day and we passed the time of day briefly before heading off in opposite directions.

  

The bridle track lost its double line of hedges to open up onto a farm track heading up the final rise onto Dunsmore Heath at Limekiln Farm, where I turned left onto another farm-track heading northwards. Dunsmore Heath is a misnomer as there isn’t any moorland that the name heath conjures up; the area is almost exclusively farmland.  However there are occasional pools dotted throughout the landscape, little havens for wildlife.

The track led me to again reach the wide A45 dual carriageway which again had to be crossed. There are no speed cameras here and the 60 mph limit is regularly exceeded – excessively so by quite a lot of drivers – Please be extra vigilant and careful when crossing, which has to be done to get back to Wolston.

 

The route north of the A45 reverted to footpath status rather than bridleway and this led past a couple of attractive tall trees and their long shadows to what should have been two sizeable ponds (at The Holdings) in a stand of trees; but they were almost empty; looking like they’d just been dredged and re-landscaped – The muddy hollows just waiting to fill up with water again.

 

    

I guess the area will be really pretty when this process is complete but it more than sufficed as a bit of a refreshment stop before heading out across cow pastures to almost reach the buildings of Manor Farm. Luckily the cows were mainly in adjoining fields, but unluckily their slurry flowing away from the farm made navigating past one corner of the path decidedly awkward – Yuk!

It was now getting quite gloomy as time pressed on making me “get my head down” and pick up the pace to reach Coalpit Lane. A short section of road walking ensued until branching off diagonally left near Hill top Cottage. A few fields later (some ploughed unfortunately) brought me back to The Fosse way which was crossed as carefully as the A45 earlier. The path then climbed Lammas hill before descending into Wolston.

It was on this final section that I had a mini run-in with a dog owner who’s large dog was extremely aggressive to me (stopping short of actually biting me) but made me feel decidedly vulnerable. The owner’s attempts to call the dog back to him several hundred yards away went unheeded for what seemed ages. Eventually the dog was leashed allowing me to finish my walk in peace – Just a shame a good walk was nearly spoilt. I think my heart beat harder at this point than at any other time during the day, as I think my fight or flight adrenaline rush kicked in. I’m afraid I gave the dog-owner a bit of verbal. Why is it that dog owners seem to think everyone likes and gets on with dogs, especially theirs! – The truth is somewhat less than that. Dogs not on leads can be and at times are VERY intimidating! … oh and while I’m on the subject and in rant mode, why do some dog owners pick up their dogs mess in a plastic bag, carefully tie the open end and then instead of taking it home to dispose of, prompty throw it into the branches of trees and hedges and the like ? It’s disgusting! Why, why, why! I just don’t understand it.

Rant over, and walk just about over as well, just the short distance along village roads (Including Dyer’s Lane, School Street and Main Street) in the late afternoon gloom to re-find my car and drive home.

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….

Next walks diary = 20090911_High Street Circular Walk (from Brothers Water)

Next post = Midland Hill Walkers Photo links

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

20081021-36_Langdale Pikes from near Skelwith Force(byJS)


20081021-36_Langdale Pikes from near Skelwith Force (byJS)

The Langdale Pikes from near Skelwith Force.

The path used to head straight across the field in the foreground here, and was very often wet and semi-flooded, so after all the recent rain I was half expecting to do a bit of paddling …. I needn’t have worried as a made up path has now been constructed swinging off to the left and then in a big sweep closely following the banks of the River Brathay …. a huge improvement I must say …. and probably gives much better access to many more people of differing walking abilities. 

The following is a paragrapgh from my Elterwater Circular Walk diary (post-2) … Stickle Ghyll can just about been seen just to the right of centre in the pic just above the trees.

A glimpse of Stickle Ghyll waterfalls descending from the pikes, reminded me of the first “proper” lake-land walk I did with my Dad in the late 1970’s during a family holiday; the “tourist route” climb to Stickle Tarn from Great Langdale and back again; little more than a couple of miles, but a good climb on a hot summer’s day. Little did I know where that first walk would lead … not really to a single view point or a cool tarn to paddle in (though both superb here), but rather to a life-long love of walking, high fells and mountains (especially The Lakes), moors and dales and more views and experiences than you could shake a stick at (a walking stick that is!!!).

For the full walks diary click the links :-

https://tothehills.wordpress.com/2009/02/08/20081020_elterwater-little-langdale-colwith-force-%e2%80%93-skelwith-force-circular-walk-%e2%80%93-post-1/

 https://tothehills.wordpress.com/2009/02/08/20081020_elterwater-little-langdale-colwith-force-%e2%80%93-skelwith-force-circular-walk-%e2%80%93-post-2/

Bye for now, G.