The bench is back!!

Check out Cawston Greenway’s latest blog post … Some good news on the developments on the nature reserve bit of the old Leamington/Rugby railway line (The Lias Line) and especially interesting info’ on something being done on the old trackbed through Dunchurch Station. This bit has been incredibly wet and boggy for years and it now looks like someone is trying to do something about it – Could it be Sustrans themselves ? or some other organisation ? who-ever it is the amount of hardcore being put down is on an industrial scale not the odd bucket load – Thanks to whomever has done this.

Use this link for the full post – Hold down the ctrl key and left mouse click at the same time …. The bench is back!!.



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.

20110824_Sunset wander and photo experimentation.

20110824_Sunset wander and photo experimentation.

When : 24th August 2011.

Who : Me and my 15 y.o daughter Katie.

Where : Cawston (near Rugby).

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

Summary : An evening wander  from our front door [hoping for a nice sunset over Lawford heath from the old Lias line railway track-bed] which turned into something just a little bit different.

20110824_cawston (Rugby) Sunset wander and photo experimentation.

20110824-14_Light-Trail Experiment_Green on Dark Green by gary.hadden

This is one of those short posts that really isn’t a country walk, but a bit of fun really … The evening looked like it could develop to have a nice sunset and I mentioned I might go out for a wander with my camera for company …. Then, low and behold, my daughter (who doesn’t “do walking”) said she’d come with me – Well you could have knocked me over with a feather, but readily agreed.

We set off on the estate’s perimeter paths, ending up joining the old and disused Lias Line (Rugby to Leamington) railway near Drummond Road. The railway has a path running along the old track bed which over the years has proven to be rather over-grown at this time of year, with bramble, briar rose and other scrub plants trying to bar the way. However, due to the sterling efforts of a small band of volunteers the path was easily passable, the undergrowth having been cut back considerably earlier in the year.

20110824-03_Evil Eyes - Cawston Sunset - Rugby by gary.haddenThe old Lias Line Railway is being transformed into a local nature reserve and is becoming known as Cawston Greenway. The volunteer group has obtained a little sponsorship and with advice from conservation groups are making clearings etc. to encourage a wider diversity of both flora and fauna … a fantastic effort that will be an asset to the whole local community (especially when Sustrans improve the section south of Potford’s Dam). The “Friends of Cawston Greenway” are easy to find on the internet and I believe the next round of work-days are soon to be started, now the bird nesting season is over for the year. I’m also sure they’d welcome any new-comers to the cause.

Anyway, as we walked northwards chatting, we soon reached a break in the trees giving a view over the farmland of Lawford Heath (out beyond the new Rugby Western Relief Road not more than a 20110824-04_Evil Eyes - Cawston Sunset - Rugby by gary.haddencouple of hundred yards away). We lingered here for a while, taking a few photo’s of the pretty but hardly spectacular sunset over to the west. The most remarkable thing was some breaks in the clouds that (with a little imagination) looked like angry devils eyes glowering down on the gloom covered landscape below.

Compared to some sunsets we sometimes get hereabouts, I was a tad disappointed with this evening’s offering, but despite this we moved on, further away from home, still on the greenway and soon reached a modern concrete 20110824-12_Light-Trail Experiment_Yellow on Blue + Beige by gary.haddenunderpass next to one of the old Victorian brick built bridges. The underpass takes the path below the Cawston link road out onto the relief road. It was here we climbed the quite steep bank to reach the road into the estate …. very quickly we reached a still unfinished traffic island with tall lamp-posts lighting up the gloom.

20110824-08_Light-Trail Experiment_Yellow on Green + Orange by gary.haddenA very poor photo, looking past these lights (low light + slow shutter speed x hand held camera = very shaky image) was instantly deleted. However, this gave me an idea for an experiment. I put the camera setting to B and kept scene on Sunset, then, whilst wiggling the camera about, I held the shutter release button down for several seconds giving a long exposure. Katie loved the resulting effect (I think her very words 20110824-09_Light-Trail Experiment_Pink on Blue + Purple by gary.haddenwere something like “Oh Wow, That’s Cool” or at least something very similar …. We then stood for some time playing, trying to get the best effects we could. Once it started to get properly dark (the sun had gone completely now, with just a faint glow in the distance), we headed home – just a few minutes away along the road.

20110824-13_Light-Trail Experiment_Pink on Purple + Brown by gary.hadden

20110824-10_Light-Trail Experiment_Pink on Purple + Orange by gary.haddenLater, myself and my 10-y.o. son Craig played around with the better of the images on the computer, enhancing/intensifying/distorting the photo’s to make some very colourful results; I quite like them, I hope you do to …. They are certainly a major departure from the landscapes I normally take, upload to flickr and attach in my blog.20110824-11_Light-Trail Experiment_Pink on Cerise by gary.hadden

Well, that’s that, I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….

If you’d like to comment on my diary or any of my pic’s please feel welcome.


T.T.F.N. Gary.

20110130_Frankton-Draycote-Bourton on Dunsmore Circular Walk

20110130_Frankton-Draycote-Bourton on Dunsmore Circular Walk

When : 30th January 2011

Who : Just Me

Where : Warwickshire villages and countryside south-west of Rugby

Maps : OS 1:25000 Explorer Map No. 222, Rugby & Daventry ….. Start + End Point : 426,703

Approx Distance : 6 miles, (9.5 km)

Heights : 100 ft (about 30m) from lowest point to highest

Parking : On street parking … I parked outside The Friendly Inn in Frankton

Summary : A pleasant circular walk with a reasonable amount of interest over gently rolling countryside with some nice views …. including Frankton, Birdingbury Bridge, Draycote Village, brief visit to Draycote Reservoir, Old Lias Line disused railway, Bourton-On-Dunsmore and return to Frankton.

As with several of my other local walks, the kids were off doing their thing, my wife had some home-study to do towards her degree and it left me at a bit of a loose end for a couple of hours or so …. So, on the spur of the moment I decided a mornings walk would be in order . To cut the decision time down, I consulted my books of local walks and settled on one from Jim Watson’s “More Country Walks in the Rugby Area” listed at just 4-miles in length. During the walk I made a bit of a detour from the suggested route, but that’s what I sometimes do when I’m out on my own, just kind of adapt as I go, and in the process added a little more distance and time to the walk. 

One of the reasons behind choosing the walk was the proximity to where I live, around about 10-minutes drive away, and I was soon parked up on the road outside the fantastically named “Friendly Inn” at Frankton. It didn’t take long before boots were laced, ruck-sack was hoisted over a shoulder and car was locked up and being left behind. It was an easy start, at first heading down Main Street (south westwards) passing various cottages and other houses spread out along the road and then crossed straight over a at a cross-roads to continue down as far as St. Nicholas’ church. This more or less marks the end of the village and I felt very honoured to see a large red fox saunter over the road a little way in front of me; cross part of the church grounds and then disappear off into the farmland beyond … a surprising sight given it was broad daylight, but Mr. (or Mrs.) fox didn’t seem to have a care in the world and certainly wasn’t fazed by me! 

From outside the churchyard, I left the road to pick up a path heading directly way from the church (roughly south eastwards) to rise up a gentle slope along the right hand edge of a field and then as the field boundary took a joggle to the right, I headed across to the far right hand corner of the field to reach a stile in the fence. As I approached my heart sank just a bit, for a large area in front of the stile was a morass of churned up mud and green slimy slurry and I started to work out the best way to get to the crossing point in the barbed wire fence. It turned out much better than I’d first thought though, because the lumpy mud was frozen solid and even better, so was the liquid slurry, which was solid for maybe a couple of inches … not quite enough to support my 16 stones weight (224 lbs for our American friends) but OK to get across – Yea! 

Continuing over the next quite large grassy field was easy walking but I needed to think about direction, as I couldn’t see the next stile where the slope began to drop away. As I strolled onwards, some lovely wide views opened up over the Leam valley and over to Draycote Water, where I could just make out a thin sliver of silvery light indicating the position of the reservoir maybe a mile and half away as the crow flies. From here the path dropped more quickly over a couple more grassy fields – very easy walking – and I soon emerged onto a minor road just as it passes under a large multi-arched viaduct and right next to the River Leam, as it also passes under another arch.


I spent quite a few minutes exploring the area including climbing up the railway embankment to reach the old track bed of The Lias Line (disused Rugby to Leamington Railway). A short distance along the line is the old Birdingbury Station, where the old platforms are still visible through the undergrowth. The old railway here forms part of Sustrans route No.41 and it deserves it’s own diary post, so watch the next space. Once I’d “mucked about” not moving very far, I returned to the road where it passes under the viaduct had headed towards Birdingbury but only for a matter of yards, where I immediately turned left onto a drive running parallel to the railway embankment. After a couple of hundred yards or so, the path leaves the drive to diagonally cross a grassy field, staying a good way to the left of a small pond, and then re-crosses the drive that had itself bent round to cross the field on it’s way to cross a small stream. 

I was starting to stride out and despite the cold, my outer layers had to be peeled off as I warmed up and soon reached the edge of the grassy field to cross a stile and wooden “bridge” over a ditch.  This led me into a very long narrow ploughed field bounded on one side by the straight line of the old railway and on the other side edged by the winding route of a small stream (a tributary of the River Leam). My map shows the path going straight through the middle of the field which I ignored, instead favouring the wide verge/farm track following the curve of the stream, much easier than the ploughed field and not much of a detour at-all. The field is about a mile long and narrows considerably at its far end and I must admit I was quite happy to pass through a gate into a smaller grassy field where the path heads diagonally down to Manor Farm, positioned on a very minor road on the outskirts of Draycote Village. 

I’d never been to Draycote (pronounced Draycott) before, and it does seem very secluded and out of the way, set down below one of the dams of Draycote Water Reservoir to which it lends it name. It’s an attractive quiet little place with attractive cottages and I spent a few minutes just wandering up to Glebe farm (according to the guide book it dates back to the 16th C). At this southern end of the village the wiggly road comes to a dead-end so forcing a retrace of my steps back to the centre of the village and then headed up the hill on the road swinging round to the right. 


I’d now departed from the route in the guide book and was adding extra distance, instead of following the published route, I carried on up the road to reach a track heading off on the right with a plethora of signs confirming this would take me up to Draycote Water following the Sustrans route 41. It’s not like I don’t know the route around the reservoir, but I wasn’t sure where the link from the village to the lake actually was, so this was really a little recce for potential walks in the future. Anyway after reaching the nothern end of the western dam, I promptly turned around and retraced my steps back down the track to the road again. Rather than head down the hill into the village again, I turned right to head uphill on the road. At the next bend in the road I happened upon another point of interest – Draycote Meadows SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) a nature reserve recognised as the best example of unimproved grassland remaining in Warwickshire (there’ll be another diary post about this place later). Returning to the road I headed under a railway bridge and immediately found an access path up the embankment to rejoin the old Lias Line disused railway for the second time in the day. 

This time I was going to walk a section of the line. Heading north-east for a couple of miles would have taken me to the section being worked on as The Cawston Greenway Nature Reserve very close to home. However, this wasn’t today’s’ route – Nope, I set off south westwards away from home. I generally don’t like walking old railways, I find them pretty boring on the whole, so I wasn’t sad to turn off right down the embankment after only a few minutes walking. The descent brought me onto a footpath that comes up from Draycote village which passes under an arched bridge here … I was now back on the route in the guide book.

Heading north away from the railway took me through a tilled field; the crop showing through a vibrant green. The path was plainly visible as a straight line rising to a gap in a hedge, although trodden down it was still rather sticky and by half way across my boots felt they’d doubled in weight and necessitated frequent sharp kicks to dislodge some of the mud. Thankfully the field wasn’t large and the next field was grassy on the final rise up to Hill farm. The views had opened up again back over to where I’d come from, with Draycote Water again visible as a thin shiny strip in the distance. 

At Hill farm I took a left turn to head down the side of a ploughed field, cutting the corner off as sign-posted, to cross through to the next field and a short climb up past Bog Spinney onto the flat farmland of Bourton Heath. It was now pretty unremarkable stuff following the line of a hedge through ploughed fields, the most notable thing being an old farm trailer slowly rusting by the field side. It’s always amazes me how farmers can apparently let their expensive equipment just lie around to rot away ….perhaps there’s enough money in the farming industry for it not to matter! 

After passing the trailer, it didn’t take long to reach a minor road and from here it was all road walking back to the car, first turning left into Bourton on Dunsmore and it’s very impressive houses and then taking another road off to the right at the village hall. All that remained was the final stretch down to Frankton of maybe about half a mile. 

And that was that, I really enjoyed this little walk, despite the cold and predominantly overcast conditions … but it didn’t rain and I’d got to explore some local places I’d not visited before.  

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….

T.T.F.N. Gary.

Associated posts : Draycote Meadows SSI info’ … and … Lias Line Sustrans 41 info’.

Next walk : 20110220_Eathorpe Wappenbury Hunningham Circular Walk

20110123_Cawston to Long Lawford Walk via Cawston Greenway

20110123_Cawston to Long Lawford Walk via Cawston Greenway 

When : 23rd January 2011.

Who : Me and my son Craig

Where : Cawston, Long Lawford, Near Rugby, Warwickshire, England.

Maps : 1:25000 OS Explorer Map 222, Rugby & Daventry.

Start Point : 47,72.    End Point : 47,76.

Approx Distance : Just under 3 miles (4.5 km).

Heights : Flat or downhill – Virtually no height gained. 

Summary : A short walk from Cawston to Long Lawford in Warwickshire … including seeing the progress made so far on “The Cawston Greenway” nature reserve project [The Old Lias Line – Rugby to Leamington disused Railway]. 

20110123_Cawston to Long Lawford Walk via Cawston Greenway

The summary above, almost tells the walk in one go, but I’ll enhance it a tad with a bit more detail anyway. I was going visiting in Long Lawford Village, which is only a few minutes’ drive away from home (a couple of miles at most maybe) but as it was dry, albeit quite grey and cold, I decided it’d be a pleasant diversion to walk there, get some fresh air and stretch my legs instead of taking the car. I was more than happy when my 9-year old son asked if he could join me … you just don’t say no to that, so it was a case of grabbing a smaller pair of hiking boots from the garage as well as mine.

From the Cawston Grange housing estate, we actually started off in completely the opposite direction to our destination, heading through the streets to pick up the perimeter path and then turning left to skirt between the new houses and farmland to meet the B4642 (the old A4071) Coventry Road near the end of Cawston Lane. Opposite Cawston Lane, we turned right away from the main road taking a bridleway between a couple of properties, to then cross through the middle of a pasture field (with a small group of cows in a far corner) and then enter another similar field (with no livestock) only this time walking close to a hedge on our right. Many of our local walks together have started this way and Craig was happy to just chat alongside me rather than run ahead as normal. It didn’t take long to reach the far corner of the field where we passed through an old rusty gate to cross an even older blue-brick bridge (Victorian maybe ?). This used to be very overgrown with nettles, alder and other scrub but it’s now been cleared and is now very easy to cross.

The bridge crosses an old disused railway which is used by local walkers and cyclists as a green corridor, the old track-bed, embankments and especially the cuttings have slowly been taken over by trees and brambles, nettles and rose and all kinds of scrub. In places this naturalisation has resulted in a tangled mass of undergrowth, at times making walking along the track very awkward (late summer is the worst time because of the recent seasons’ growth). However this is now improving a great deal, because a volunteer group has been started with the vision of turning a good stretch of the railway into a nature reserve and making access to and along the route much more easy and enjoyable. 

This volunteer group is called the “Friends of Cawston Greenway” and the leading light and visionary is Paul Hart …. it doesn’t take a genius to work out the old Lias Line is now becoming known as “The Cawston Greenway”.  I’ve been out a couple of times to help cut back some of the scrub (brash as I now know it to be called) when they’ve had working parties out. In fact as we looked over the parapet of the bridge, there was a gent’ (with a chain saw) pollarding a hawthorn tree below us. Once over the bridge we were to turn right to descend past where he was working but not before Craig had run out onto another bridge just ahead of us. This one in contrast is brand spanking new, crossing over the equally new Rugby Western Relief Road (RWRR – A4071). It does seem to be rather over-engineered for what it does, but hey what do I know. Craig spent about 5-minutes waving at the traffic passing beneath, hoping to illicit a similar response from below …. They were a miserable lot today though, not one reciprocal wave was received until a big truck passed by and then not only did he get a cheery wave from the two truckers in the cab, but also a long loud double blast on the trucks air-horns. I could then persuade Craig to move on at this high point in the game. 

Dropping down the cutting to The Greenway here has been made much easier than in the past, as the volunteer workers have now constructed some rudimentary steps down the bank, where before it was just quite a steep slope. In fact this area is ear-marked to become a picnic area and there has been a tremendous amount of clearance of both undergrowth and tree canopy from around here. At the bottom we stood and chatted with the amateur tree surgeon for a few minutes.

The idea here is to allow sunlight to reach the ground and at the same time allow better airflow and dry out the floor. This should then encourage a host of plants to populate the area and so attract butterflies, insects, birds and other wildlife to return. The following two pic’s, (as a now and then comparison) show the amount of work done here and even allowing for different times of year the difference is quite marked!


July 2009                                   January 2011                    


Part of the work is the building of piles of the cut tree trunks and branches, which as they decay will give homes to insects, etc. as they breakdown naturally.

One such pile was already growing some kind of fungi and a ladybird had braved the chill, sitting out on the end of one log. Craig took great interest as I tried to explain the thinking behind this and the process of decay leading to new life.



Another part of the action plan is to create several of these wide glades or clearings at intervals along the greenway, linked by narrower pathways, thus maintaining some of the tree cover and scrub, such as blackberry brambles, blackthorn (sloe), hawthorn, rose, etc. which wildlife can still use …. only this will be cut back somewhat to give better access along the route and again hopefully allow the path to dry out and become less muddy. 

If you’re interested to find out more or even minded to help out, all comers are welcome and I think it best to point you to the following internet pages for further information ….

Anyway, back to our walk. We said our good-byes to the gent’ with the saw, which he fired up, to restart his controlled attack on the felled hawthorn tree and we set off northwards on the quite muddy pathway.

It was very evident where a lot of effort had been put in and the shape of how the Greenway may develop. As we walked and chatted, we passed a number of rabbit burrows, and what I took to be a badger sett which Craig particularly liked. 

Other landmarks along the way included where part of  the Cawston Grange Estate gets quite close to the path, with a couple of easy access points ; a new underpass where a new road passes overhead (it links Cawston Estate with The RWRR) ; and a couple more of the old brick bridges as well. After negotiating a very wet area – it was almost a stream; it was at one of these bridges that we climbed up the right bank to emerge onto Lawford Lane/Bilton Lane near The Bear Pub. We then promptly turned a full 180 degrees to cross the bridge and in the process get a final view down onto The Greenway.



Our route was now to cross over the Rugby Western Relief Road at a traffic light junction and just beyond this at a corner where Bilton lane bends sharp right, we headed straight on onto a track cum driveway, invitingly leading down to a large white gate. Once through the gate, the track continues narrowing drastically after passing the last of the properties here, to become a simple countryside path enclosed by hedges and trees.

After a short distance, the aspect opened up again giving good views over pleasant rolling countryside to Lawford Heath . The obvious path ahead now widened again as it dropped down to meet Lawford Heath Lane. 

From here it was all road walking …. first turning right to take Lawford Heath Lane, passing some of the dirtiest sheep I think I’ve ever seen, to reach a cross roads, crossing straight over the A428 Coventry Road, to follow The Green/Chapel Street up and over the west coast main line railway and then into the village of Long Lawford where we passed The Memorial Hall on Railway Street to reach two pubs positioned right next door to each other on Main Street. This would seem to be as good a place as any to stop this diary, although we didn’t go in for a drink in either The Lawford Arms or The Caldecott Arms…. nope, we continued further into the village to make the visit we’d set out to do a little earlier, meeting my wife and daughter who’d driven down as original planned for us all. After a cuppa and a chat we drove home together in a fraction of the time it’d took to walk. 

And here ends this little walk’s write up. 

Oh, one more thing … if you wanted to turn this into a circular walk, there’s a footpath that heads out from Long Lawford, in a westerly direction, heading towards Church Lawford. Not long after reaching a large bend in The River Avon, branch left to cross under the mainline railway, make a right along the A428 for a very short distance and then turn left (crossing the road) to pick up a bridleway heading south up the rise ahead, through farmland. This bridleway emerges onto Ling Lane where you’d need to turn left to soon meet Lawford Heath Lane. Cross straight over to travel down the side of a hedge on another bridleway which soon descends a shallow valley, crosses a small footbridge over a brook and then rises gently to a large new footbridge over the RWRR …. This is where we’d been near the start of the walk (just before picking up The Greenway) … and all that’d be left to do from here, would be to cross the old railway bridge and the last couple of fields back to Cawston and the end of a half decent circular walk to the west of Rugby Town. 

…. or …. for a longer circular you could use this link taking in Long Lawford, Little Lawford, King’s Newnham, and Lawford Heath to get back to Cawston.

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….

T.T.F.N. Gary

Workday 20th June 2010 (via Cawston Greenway’s Blog)

Anyone with an interest in country walking/rambling near Rugby, Warwickshire, might get something out of this site … who knows you might even want to get involved in creating the Cawston Greenway. There’s also some walk routes/descriptions on their site if you need a little inspiration and they nicely tie-in with some of my local walks as well … just go to the “W01_Cov, Warks + Close By” Category.

Workday 20th June 2010 Howdy! Next workday is Sunday 20th June 1pm to 3pm. Really just a bit of litter picking and general maintenance for now. However, come September and the real work starts. In my mind’s eye (with inspiration and pics from BTCV)…. We need to cut back the trees and scrub to make a three metre wide path. Ideally this needs to be curving from left to right in gentle arcs to stop any wind-tunnel effect that we might get if we have a straight run, and … Read More

via Cawston Greenway’s Blog