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.

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20100427_Evening Circular Walk – Cawston Woods and Potford’s Dam Pool.

20100427_Evening Circular Walk – Cawston Woods and Potford’s Dam Pool. 

20100427-07_Potford's Dam Pool - Near Cawston Woods (Rugby) by gary.haddenWhen : 27th April 2010

Who : Me and Craig

Where : Cawston, Rugby, Warwickshire, England.

Maps : Ordnance Survey Explorer Map No. 222

Start + End Point : Cawston Grange Estate, SP47,73 and Farthest Point : SP464,726

Approx Distance : 2.2 miles (3.5 km)

Heights : None to speak of really (30-foot rise from Potford’s Dam Pool to Brickyard spinney max) 

20100427_Evening Circular Walk – Cawston Woods and Potford’s Dam Pool.

Following my previous post about an evening wander in the Cawston area of Rugby, here’s a short diary post about another evening stroll around Cawston but this time on the other (southern) side of the Coventry Road. This was again with my son (then aged 8 ) and I really like him wanting to come out with me on these little expeditions; who knows in later life, when he’s bigger and fitter than me, he’ll be taking me out for a walk out in the countryside. 

20100427-01_Potato ridge and furrow - parallel line perspective by gary.hadden

From our home on the Cawston Grange Estate we headed up to The Coventry Road, turned away from Bilton/Rugby and then took a left into Cawston Lane and set off down the country road. The fields on both sides behind the hedges were still pretty much bare, but one in particular had been tilled up into the very distinctive ridge and furrows of a potato crop. I like the strong lines that this produces, especially with the low evening sun casting shadows across the field, enhancing the perspective effect of converging parallel lines. 

20100427-02_Bluebells - Cawston Woods - Fox Covert - Rugby by gary.haddenAfter a few hundred yards, Cawston Lane makes a bit of a bend to the left with a dirt lay-by on the right, large enough for several cars. From here a path heads off into Cawston Woods (Fox Covert to give the proper name here) passing a quite ugly looking disused circular water treatment construction on the way. Once we were a little further into the woods we were greeted by a carpet of bluebells, one of those sights that just can’t help but lift the spirits – We’re so lucky to have the woods so close to home – it even works for youngsters, evidenced by Craig dashing back and forth along the paths criss-crossing through the flowers. 

We eventually arrived at a sizeable farm track that divides the woods in two, and promptly crossed straight over into the trees on the other side (now called Cawston Spinney) to follow a winding narrow path down to a mini-stream and from there we found our way 20100427-06_Potford's Dam Pool - Near Cawston Woods (Rugby) by gary.haddenout to a small expanse of water. For description purposes, (although it’s rather subjective) I’d say it’s bigger than a pond but smaller than a lake, maybe a good sized pool is apt enough … but maybe you’d be better off just looking at my pic’s to get an impression of how big it is. My map doesn’t actually name this small reservoir, so I guess any one of several names would fit :- Cawston Woods Reservoir?, Cawston Pond?, Potford’s Dam Lake?, or my personal fave’ Potford’s Dam Pool …. anyone have a definitive answer? Please? 

20100427-10_Nesting Coot in Reeds - Potford's Dam Pool by gary.haddenThe pool is not an overly exciting place in terms of national landscape, but I like it here! It is very roughly triangular in shape, bounded by the woods down half of one side and a steep bank and a line of trees along another, the remaining margins open up into ploughed farmland. There is a tranquility here that seems a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. This was exemplified by a coot sat on its nest in the bank-side reeds, no more than a few feet away from the path – she (or he?) was completely un-phased by our presence.

20100427-11_Reeds - Potford's Dam Pool - Near Cawston Woods (Rugby) by gary.hadden

20100427-12_Potford's Dam Pool - Near Cawston Woods (Rugby) by gary.hadden

20100427-13_Tranquility Shattered by gary.haddenWe had only moved on a short way, when the peaceful almost mirror like waters were well and truly shattered, when a dog appeared all of a sudden, launched itself off the bank, to land with a large splaaa-doosh in the water – quite spectacular, but it did destroy the quiet time we’d just spent watching the coot a few moments earlier. The dog and its owner soon moved on, leaving the pool to return to the placidness of before – Lovely. 

20100427-15_Moon-rise_Potford's Dam Pool + Cawston Woods by gary.haddenTime was now pressing on with daylight giving way to a special pinky-blue light of late evening; We were superbly fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to see the moon rise, peeking over the tree tops of the now shadowy, gloomy woods – Beautiful is an overly used word sometimes, but this was, simply, beautiful!

20100427-14_Moon-rise_Potford's Dam Pool + Cawston Woods by gary.hadden     20100427-17_Moon-rise over Cawston Woods + Oil seed rape field by gary.hadden

With evening rapidly drawing in, it was time to head back home and we easily found the path that heads from Potford’s Dam Pool up to Brickyard Spinney. For once the path was actually on the ground here (it often isn’t) which I was really, really happy about, especially as it rose straight through an oil-seed-rape crop as tall as Craig’s shoulders and sometimes completely above his head. The icing-on-the-cake, so to speak, was again watching the moon rise above the tree line (it’d disappeared from view as we left the pool) and the soft remnants of the sun setting over the horizon, beyond Lawford Heath. 

20100427-18_Sunset over Lawford Heath from Cawston (Rugby) by gary.hadden

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings and my pix ….

T.T.F.N. Gary.

20100102_Cawston – Potford’s Dam Pool Dawn Circular Walk

20100102_Cawston – Potford’s Dam Pool Dawn Circular Walk 

When : 2nd 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 : 4 miles (6.5 km). 

Significant Heights : Negligible… a couple of gentle rises.

Summary : An early morning walk to the frozen pool at Potford’s Dam/Cawston Spinney to see the sun rise as opposed to watching the sun set the evening before (and take a few more photo’s) which I guessed could be worth braving the cold for again. 

I’d woken up early with the first signs of the dawn light which seemed just a little brighter than normal. The reason soon became evident; there’d been a light sprinkling of snow overnight and this was adding its own special feel to the morning. So, I quickly decided to grab my camera and head out for a dawn walk before my family got themselves going for the day. 

I hurried myself and was very soon out on the perimeter path that skirts the outer edge of the Cawston Grange Housing Estate and was approaching the B4642 (was A4071) Coventry Road on this path when the sun just raised itself above the horizon. I love being out early to see this happen; it’s difficult to say exactly why, but there’s something special about this exact moment in the change from night to day. A couple of minutes later and I was out on the Coventry Road (near the end of Cawston Lane) and the orangey glow of the sunrise had intensified even in that short time. I knew this wouldn’t last long though and I quickly weighed up where I’d get the best view of the developing sunrise. I figured it might take too long to reach the other side of Cawston Woods and a decent place for a few photo’s and decided a visit back to Potford’s Dam Pool might be worth a try … effectively reprising my evening walk of the day before. The idea of adding a set of sunrise pic’s to go with my set of the sun-setting over the pool appealed, so off I set at a very brisk pace (and I mean a VERY brisk pace – Not quite at a run, but certainly shifting some). 

The route was down the side of the Coventry Road (away from Bilton), on a path set back from the road, straight past Nature Trails Nursery and Cawston Farm (both on the opposite side of the road) to cross the main road at Brickyard Spinney. I was exactly re-tracing my route of the day before, taking the path behind the spinney and then crossing a ploughed field, roughly heading for the right hand end of a line of trees in the dip ahead, this in turn brought me to the reservoir pool. I was expecting the pool to still be frozen over from the day before, but what I wasn’t expecting was the almost perfectly pristine covering of snow over the pool’s surface; it looked like the whole area had been dusted with icing sugar. 

By dropping down to the pool the sun had disappeared from my view again, hidden by the dark mass of Cawston Woods (more correctly known as Cawston Spinney here) and the pool was completely in shadow. I figured that I might just get a sighting of the sun rising above the trees by heading over to the old disused Rugby to Leamington railway line that passes very close by, on a raised embankment. So, off I set, again at a brisk pace, skirting a field boundary, avoiding some very large frozen puddles on my way to where I could see a thin pathway up the side of the bank. 

Once on top of the bank, the view back over to the pool and the impending rise of the sun over the trees didn’t in fact produce the hoped for photo opportunity. However, looking over the other side showed a perfect view of the new traffic island forming the brand new A4071/B4642 junction. This is the southern end of The Rugby Western Relief Road [it hadn’t opened at the time, but it has now]. 

I headed back to the pool, descending the narrow path down the embankment with care, the frost and snow making it rather slippery. Back at the water’s edge the sun did start its appearance, peeking out from behind the trees, however, by now the orange glow of earlier had been burnt off and the emerging light was bright and rather harsh in comparison. Taking photo’s in that direction proved nigh on impossible but what was lost in colour was gained by the way the snow covered pool was lit up; I particularly liked the alternating streaks of light contrasting with the long shadows of the trees and waterside bull rushes stretching across the surface. 

I wandered back and forth on the broad sweeping path of the reservoir dam, trying to get some half decent images; I tried to be a little inventive regarding some of the camera angles to avoid the harshest of light from the low sun …. I’ll leave it to you to decide how successful I was, but I quite like some of my shots, hope you do too. 

 

                             

                             

After that I headed into the woods, winding my way through on a rough track, to meet a farm track that splits the woods in two. The area just walked through is Cawston Spinney; on the other side of the track is Fox Covert. It was so dark in amongst the trees it wasn’t worth even trying to take a photo, but after turning right up the track I liked the way the silhouettes and diffused light interacted together as I reached the woods’ boundary with mixed use farmland, both arable and pastureland.

Once out of the woods I picked up paths and bridleways across the farmland, criss-crossed by fences and hedges with occasional specimen trees.

I touched on Boat House Spinney before reaching Cawston Lane, crossing straight over to follow a bridle track down to Little Scotland Farm and then on to Alwyn Road. Crossing straight over, I followed the tarmac drive down the side of the sports pitches (both association and rugby union codes of football) of Alwyn Road Rec’, passed the 7th Rugby (Bilton) Scout Hut and then through allotment gardens to emerge onto Magnet Lane next to Bilton Infant School. I again crossed straight over to follow a path between fences and after a very short time this reached the centre of Bilton Village near to the CO-OP convenience store (where I bought a newspaper).  Directly opposite is The George Pub, but I can’t say what it’s like inside as I’ve never been in, but I’ve always thought it looks a little downbeat from the outside, although it did rather standout in the sunshine, almost like it was guarding the main road junction and village-cross on the small green near-by. From here, I turned left to follow the main road all the way through Bilton passing a good variety of shops as I went [including a couple of small supermarkets, a Lloyds bank, hairdressers, Chippy, Chinese take away, Black Horse Pub, Florist, Chemists, Bookies, Post-Office, Funeral Directors and a couple of churches, etc. etc.]. Once out of Bilton it becomes more rural again and I continued on to Cawston, where I headed into the new housing estate at a large traffic island …. and thence to home … and still in time for breakfast. 

­­­­­­­­­­­I hope you enjoyed my scribblings.

T.T.F.N. Gary 

Next posts = 20100103_Brinklow-Wolston-Coombe Abbey Circular Walk (section-1) and 20100103_Brinklow Circular Walk (section-2)

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

20090510_Early Morning Cawston Circular Walk

20090510_Early Morning Cawston Circular Walk

When : 10th May 2009

Who : Just Me

Where : Cawston, Rugby, Warwickshire, England

Maps : 1:25,000 OS. Explorer Map 222, Rugby & Daventry Southam & Lutterworth

Start + End Point : 473,733

Approx Distance : Something like 3 miles or so

Heights : Very gently undulating, no significant rises or drops worth mentioning.

Parking : Yes, see below

Public Transport : No-4 bus, see below

Summary : Cawston Grange, A4071, Cawston Lane, Cawston Woods, Potford’s Dam/Cawston Spinney Reservoir Pool, Northampton Lane (bridle track), Cawston Woods revisited, back to A4071 and Cawston Grange.

I’m writing this as if the walk started on the A4071 just on the outskirts of the Cawston Grange Housing Development, near to the large island and not far from Bilton Village. As I live further into the new estate, I had a little bit of street walking to start with to reach the start :- A little loop of path/cycleway separated from the A4071 main road by a small stand of tall trees. Heading away from rugby, the path merges with the main road and it was here that I crossed to a path on the other side.

There’s an old rustic wooden fence alongside the field here which I think is brill’, the repeated patterns, irregular shapes and unkempt nature much more interesting than the all too common wire fences and strings of barbed wire seen these days too often as field boundaries. Having said that, this immediate area is quite well blessed with hedgerows, and long may that continue!

 

Incidentally, just as an aside (writing in Sept-2009)Just to confuse everyone in the near future, when the nearby Rugby Western Relief Road (RWRR) opens, the new road will become the A4071. According to Warwickshire County Council the existing A4071 at Cawston will then become the B4500. This was due to happen in the autumn of 2009, but it’s now said the southern end should open by the end of this year …. I really hope it will as I’m getting a tad fed-up with the road works near Potford’s Dam, but hey who really knows when it’ll open? The northern section isn’t due to be completed until the end of 2010 – At least a year late!!!

( http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/RWRR ),

If you do this walk by public transport, the number-4 bus drops just a little way away on Calveston Road. To get to the “start”, you’ll need to cross Cawston Grange Drive at the large island, to pick up the pathway tucked slightly away from the main road behind a small stand of trees and landscaping planting.

If you arrive by car, there’s parking at the end of Trussell Way at 469,736. From there, there’s a path that leads you south-east(ish) between a farm and the outer edges of the estate to emerge at the stand of trees mentioned above.

I can’t remember why, but I was awake very early, before dawn, and I decided it was a perfect morning to get out and about just as the sun was rising. I love the freshness of an early morning, especially at springtime, and today was a perfect example with light mists hugging the ground, not yet burnt off by the rising sun.

   

The route from the main road was down Cawston Lane, for a few hundred yards, where the hedgerow flowers seemed particularly fresh looking in the dew, especially the newly opening hawthorn blossom.

I entered Cawston woods (Fox Covert on the map) at a dirt lay-by at a bend in the road (incidentally, there’s room for about half-a-dozen cars here). The woods were still quite dark and gloomy, with only shafts of light highlighting the fringes, the sun not yet high or strong enough to make inroads through the trees. The birds however in the tree tops were by now well into the day, with the noise of their song almost deafening against the quiet of the morning (ever so slight exaggeration but I’m sure you get the idea).

Instead of trying to pick my way through the trees of Cawston Spinney, all the way to the reservoir pool (at the western end of the woods), I decided to exit the woods on a major farm track/path heading towards Windmill Farm/Northampton Lane. Immediately on exiting the woods, I turned right to skirt the irregularly shaped southern edge of Cawston spinney (heading generally westwards) on a wide verge left unploughed and uncropped by the farmer. This was a very unusual occurrence for me, as this is off-rights-of-way and I felt most uncomfortable, especially as a farm worker was trundling up and down on a vehicle spraying the newly flowering oilseed rape in the field. However, all these verges seem well used by dog-walkers etc. from the local area, so I decided [rightly or wrongly] to follow suit, albeit at quite a pace, wanting to be back on official paths as soon as possible. I tried to be as unobtrusive as possible hugging the tree-line, but that’s not easy for someone who’s 6’4” tall and more than 16 st. in weight – really I’m anything but unobtrusive!

After a while, I reached the pool, still mostly in shadow, as the sun started to rise above the adjacent trees.

This was a lovely spot, with mists hanging around over the placid waters and the winter seed heads of reeds and bull-rushes adding an interesting texture to the scene. I spent quite some time here enjoying the peacefulness and trying to capture at least a snippet of the tranquillity with my camera.

   

Eventually I needed to move onwards, deciding to head up the gentle rise to Northampton Lane (Bridle track) maybe ½ mile to the south. Now the path should have headed off into the middle of the crop (oil seed rape as it happens), but as normal here, the official path wasn’t “on the ground” at-all. Looking the opposite way, nor was the path across towards the A4071 at Brickyard Spinney.

Therefore, I picked up another wide verge around the edge of the field heading south away from the pool. I was again not a right of way, but with no choice in the matter this time I felt much more confident in myself as the farm worker approached in his spraying vehicle.

Now, I have to praise the young man in charge of his machine, because, instead of chastising me about not being on a right of way, he stopped his machine some distance ahead of me, turned off his sprayers and waited until I’d passed by, nodding good morning as I did so. He again waited for some time before commencing his work again. My thanks go to him, and it certainly assuaged some of my annoyance about the paths not being correctly on-the-ground. After a while I looked back over the sea of yellow, the only trace of non-ruralness being the plume of smoke rising up from the Rugby Cement Chimney.

Getting back to the walk, I headed up to a building at the top of the field (Station Farm Cottage I think it’s known as), which sits like an isolated island all on it’s own in the midst of the farmland. I understand it’s got nothing to do with the farming around about, being a private dwelling I think. I was pleased that the frankly aggressive dogs inside its perimeter fences were held in behind the entrance gates. This was especially so, as at the south western corner of the property another path is supposed to head off across the field (wheat I think this time), and I had to spend a couple of minutes working out what to do; the extremely noisy barking and snarling not making concentration any easier as I worked out a compass bearing on where the path ought to have been.

You’ve probably guessed that the path I was intending to take was also not on-the-ground and I felt I was again required to head off-rights-of-way, back-tracking to pick up the wide unploughed verges and hedgerows again, until a short section where the field HAD to be crossed to reach Northampton lane.

This last couple of hundred yards was not at-all difficult though, as the farmer had driven his tractor across here, effectively inserting a path to walk on through the crops. Why he couldn’t do that for the official path is beyond me, it would make life so much less complicated and would ensure the legality for both him (the landowner) and me (the public). Either that, or maybe he ought to apply to the County Council for a permanent route change to the right of way, and if accepted, sign post it accordingly. Even unofficial “can you please use field edges” type signage would help. [Little rant over].

Once on Northampton lane, route finding became much less problematic. The bridle track is bounded by hedges and mature trees, hawthorn bushes, wild flowers, etc.

The lane runs east-west (or west-east if you prefer) and I took the easterly direction towards Dunchurch, the narrow path quickly widening to become an attractive farm track.

 

1. Two words of warning :-Parts of Northampton lane here can become very muddy, especially close to Windmill Farm and Cottages.

2. I’m told off road motor-cyclists have been using the path (illegally) and obviously could prove to be a hazard if encountered. If you do meet such motorised off-roaders, please contact the paths authorities per the final paragraph of this post.

Thankfully neither of the above were a problem to me for the short distance I used it for (about 1-km), the only downside being the many gossamer threads of cob-webs strung across the path, which felt horrible across my face as I walked into them. I ended up constantly waving my map ahead of me in a vain attempt to break them before they wrapped themselves around my head – Urrgh!

After the short walk along here, I turned off left, skirting a hedge for about 100 yards, before going through the hedge and crossing a ditch via two stiles and a plank bridge. I stopped here for a cup of coffee (I’d been compos mentis enough to fill it before leaving the house). It was here that I rang home, just to ensure they knew where I was … it was now just turned 7am, and I figured my family might be just about stirring. As it happens I woke my good lady wife, which I don’t think went down too well! Sorry again darling.

A diagonal path across the grassy field ahead and down the side of the next field brought me onto familiar ground at a point where various paths meet; all of which I’ve walked before. I chose to turn left, crossing a stile to head generally northwards towards Cawston Spinney down the side of a recently planted potato field.  The spuds were just showing through the strikingly shadowed parallel ridge and furrows, almost like a huge piece of corrugated cardboard or art installation (using just a bit of imagination).

I was soon back in Cawston Woods (having now completed a very rough circle) the sunlight highlighting the carpets of bluebells and vibrancy of the trees just coming into full leaf. The birdsong hadn’t let up at-all, but was now having to compete with the sounds of traffic in the far distance as the residents of Cawston, Bilton and Rugby started to rise and move about. After a wander through the bluebells in the woods, a quick return up Cawston Lane, brought me back to the A4071 and my fave’ rickety fence. I re-crossed the main road to head back into the modern housing estate and home again enthused, wide awake and ready to do the day.

 

  

   

It’s sort of difficult to say what distances I covered very accurately, as I was doing a bit of exploration; taking photo’s; mucking about with route finding, etc,. All in all it was probably about 3 miles or so and thoroughly enjoyable despite the path finding difficulties.

For reporting or commenting on any path problems etc, [or I suppose equally to praise good way marking or the like] the contact tel-no. is 01926 413427, or email paths@warwickshire.gov.uk ; I got these numbers from a signpost on another path in Warwickshire recently so hopefully will work.

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….

Next walk = 20090517_Coventry CHA Rambling Club Walk – Sugar Loaf Linear Walk.

20090314_Walks and Wildlife near Rugby – A query from a Neighbour.

20090314_Walks and Wildlife near Rugby – A query from a Neighbour.

I recently received a nice email (early in 2009) from a gentleman who must live quite close to me on the outskirts of Rugby, Warwickshire … this is what he wrote :-

“Hi, I saw some of your photos of Cawston woods on Flickr. These woods are 5 minutes from me and as Spring approaches am looking for somewhere to walk and try find some wildlife – pretty slim in Rugby. I’m just wondering if you know any really great parts of the woods or areas round Rugby and if you’ve seen much wildlife – insects, amphibians, anything. Great pictures mate,”

I replied with the following, about access into Cawston Woods, and I hope this will be useful to him and for that matter anyone else wishing to do a bit of exploring :-

I’ve been local to “Cawston Woods” myself for the last 8 years and it was only last Feb’ that I first ventured off the official rights-of-ways into the woods themselves.

On the OS 1:25000 Explorer map (sheet 222) the Woods are not called Cawston Woods … They’re called “Cawston Spinney”, “Fox Covert” and “Boat House Spinney”, although they are in effect all part of the same wooded area. Although not big in size, the woods are the largest single area of woodland for miles around.

From the A4071 there is a track (official footpath) that starts between Cawston Farm and the “Nature Trails” Nursery. The track drops down gently to split the woods in two, later to emerge into farmland heading off towards the Northampton Lane farm track near Dunchurch.

As you enter the woods from the A4071 there is a little track that heads off to the right to pick up a little brook and it can be a tad wet (at least it was the one time I went this way). The path gets a bit indistinct but I managed to find a way through to a small reservoir pool. I would imagine there’d be some kind of wildlife in this area as I think it’s probably not frequented very much. At the north-western end of the pool you can pick up an official footpath again and head up the ploughed field to emerge back onto the A4071 again.

Back in the woods, instead of heading right off the main track as described above, you can turn left on a much more pronounced track and it crosses an area where the local BMX bikers have built themselves an informal jump track. The track then continues sort of Eastwards to reach Cawston Lane at the lay-by near the entrance to Lime Tree Village. It’s this area between the main footpath and Cawston Lane that’s ablaze with Blue Bells in the spring.

If you enter the woods from the Lay-by on Cawston Lane, it’s possible to swing left (southwards) through the woods and they narrow considerably to make a sort of finger in the surrounding farmland. At the southern end of this “finger” of woods are a number of small ponds and boggy areas, again I’d guess reasonable for insects and other small wildlife. There are a couple of official rights of way that cross this finger of woods that link with Northampton Lane and Cawston Lane. Both give good access to the woods.

One word of caution … I’ve described what is “on the ground” but there are no “rights of way” to the woods according to my OS map … So access is at your own discretion/risk, what I would say is that they seem well frequented by dog walkers, boys on BMXs and people like me just out for a wander …. In fact I was there on Saturday morning just to enjoy the morning Sun and take some photo’s of the Daffodils just coming into bloom.

Close by is Cock Robin Wood near Sainsbury’s, which I’m told is OK for pond-dipping (Cub-scouts and Brownies go there).

Also there’s the old dismantled railway behind the new Cawston Estate which is walkable and is home to at least one badger sett.

Further afield there are the more formal Ryton Pools, Coombe Country Park, Draycott Water and Daventry Reservoir/Country Park to perhaps give you a few options, but they all have their slightly wilder areas. Also there are several canals nearby always good to for a bit of wildlife.

The info’ centre shop in Rugby Library sells some inexpensive books of local walks … I’ve also posted a couple of local routes I’ve done in my walks diary blog www.tothehills.wordpress.com if you’d like to visit.

Whether that helps anyone thinking of exploring “Cawston Woods” I don’t know, but if it does : wonderful, enjoy.

Bye for now,

Gary.

http://www.rugby.gov.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=468&pageNumber=23

http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/web/corporate/pages.nsf/Links/07D163D4AAF7750180256B7D004FB522

http://www.warwickshire.co.uk/page_10839.html

http://www.coventry.gov.uk/ccm/navigation/leisure-and-culture/parks-and-recreation/country-parks/