20110819_A Sunset Walk Around Draycote Water

20110819_A Sunset Walk Around Draycote Water

When : 19th August 2011.

Who : Just Me

Where : Draycote Water (near Dunchurch).

Maps : 1:25000 OS Explorer Map no. 222, Rugby & Daventry.

Start Point + End Point : SP469,709

Approx Distance : Just over 5 miles (8 km).

Heights : Pretty much flat, some extremely gentle undulations.

Parking : On street parking in Thurlaston (as prettily and as considerately to the local residents as possible).

If you click on a pic’  it should launch as a larger image on my flickr photostream, or if you don’t wont words, use this LINK for a slide show with some extra pic’s as a bit of a bonus.

Summary : An impromptu summertime evening walk around the local reservoir hoping to be rewarded with a half-decent sunset.

Route Map :

20110819_A Sunset Walk Around Draycote Water

20110819-23_Sunset reflections + Swans_Rainbow Corner_Draycote Water by gary.haddenThe night before had turned out to have a lovely pinky-orange gentle glow, just before dusk had taken over completely, and driving home from work I felt the skies promised something similar for this evening. Then, once our family dinner was served, eaten, and tied away I decided to get out and about hoping that a half decent repeat would happen again. I figured the angles might be about right to get some reflections across Draycote Water, although I set off more in hope than expectation that my plan might indeed come to fruition.

The car journey lasted all of five, well, maybe ten minutes, as I parked up next to the small church (near the windmill) in the village of Thurlaston. My plans had started to look a little dodgy as a shower had necessitated windscreen wipers as I pulled into the village and it was still spitting as I set off through a large gate to head down the slope ahead on a wide concrete drive. The sky didn’t look heavily laden with rain so I set off anyway and I was proven right as that was the last rainfall of the evening.

20110819-02_Toft Bay or Shallows_Draycote Water by gary.haddenAfter a couple of hundred yards at the bottom of the hill the path heads into a wooded area (just to the right of some large metal utility gates) and soon crosses a small footbridge and equally as soon, emerges out onto a tarmac’d roadway. This roadway is the perimeter drive that creates a full circuit of Draycote Water, which is by far the largest body of water for miles around and as such is a magnet for waterfowl of all sorts, including a large colony of gulls and various varieties of ducks, grebes, cormorants and other water loving birds. In turn, these attract birdwatchers and there is a bird hide near Toft Bay in the north-east corner of the reservoir. Also, fishermen, sailors and windsurfers use the water; there is a sailing club on the bank almost directly opposite where the path from Thurlaston meets the perimeter road.

I had a decision to make, not an easy one, but with only two options, so I had a fifty-fifty chance of getting it right … a) Turn right on the road to go around anti-clockwise or b) Turn left and head on the road in (you’ve guessed it) a clockwise direction. My difficulty was trying to predict how long any sunset would take to develop and then how long it might last for and where the best place would be to get the best reflections.

I decided to turn right and headed off lickety-split at a fair old pace but it didn’t take long for the clouds of midges to force me off the road and down to the water’s edge where there was a stronger breeze and fewer flying insects. Also, I was in luck in that the waters were quite low and a soft verge, almost like a sandy/muddy beach allowed me to walk around the lake shore with relative ease; occasionally I just had to be careful of the softest mud so that I didn’t start to sink!

20110819-04_Swans taking off_Dunns Bay_Draycote Water by gary.haddenI was generally heading into the sun as it sank towards the horizon, but as yet it hadn’t coloured up at all, but was quite dramatic with the broken clouds and light dancing on the reservoir’s waters lapping at the shore – almost completely monochrome. I particularly liked a small group of four swans at one small bay, and was lucky enough to see two of them sprint across the water before taking to the air as I approached. The other pair were quite happy to see me just walk by, maybe no more than ten feet away.

20110819-05_Swans_Dunns Bay_Draycote Water by gary.hadden

20110819-06_Draycote Water North Shore nr Valve Tower by gary.hadden

20110819-08_Valve Tower_Draycote Water by gary.haddenI now needed to return to the road, and got my head down to pick up the pace once more (staying aware of the handful of lone cyclists that passed me by in both directions) and soon arrived at the northern end of the western dam. This is marked by the valve tower sat in the reservoir and probably in very deep water and is linked to the dam via a walkway (no public access). Although utilitarian, the construction has some degree of design about it, and sort of reminds me of the old round cafe in the lower precinct in Coventry not far away. I think I like it, but I can’t quite put my finger on why, as I don’t generally appreciate “modern” building. I think having the glow of the low sun on the walls helped.

20110819-09_Draycote Bank (Dam)_Draycote Water by gary.haddenIn fact, the sunset had now started to colour up a little, and lit up the grassy banks of the dam’s slopes so that the dry grass almost glowed a rich yellowy colour. This counterpointed with the now two roadways disappearing into the distance in parallel lines converging at the horizon. I tried walking across the dam at a fast pace, but was continually slowed to view the ever changing light playing on the clouds with a small sliver of orange building on the horizon.

20110819-13_Warwickshire Sunset from Draycote Bank_Draycote Water by gary.hadden

20110819-10_Flock-Murder-Storytelling-Muster-Parcel or Horde of Crows by gary.haddenA heron kept flying out ahead of me down by the water’s edge, always just out of reach of my camera lens, so I switched focus onto a very large congregation of crows sat on the grassy slopes. I figured they’d maybe all fly off en-masse and hoped to get them silhouetted against the sky, but they didn’t really oblige, instead of flying upwards above the horizon they all stayed low so I didn’t quite get the result I’d hoped for. After that I did indeed pick up the pace and soon reached the southern end of the dam where the two roads merge back into one as they take a sharp turn eastwards.

20110819-16_Sunset reflections + Swans_Rainbow Corner_Draycote Water by gary.hadden

20110819-20_Sunset reflections + Angler_Rainbow Corner_Draycote Water by gary.haddenThis corner was populated with a smattering of fly fisherman, some out in small boats, others wading out to stand almost thigh deep in the water. The sunset had now intensified considerably and I lingered for some time trying to get some half decent images …. I’ll let you decide if you think they’re any good, but I like them so that’s probably all that matters really. 20110819-22_Sunset reflections + Swan_Rainbow Corner_Draycote Water by gary.haddenI can’t decide if I like the ones with the fishermen or the ones with the feeding swans best.

After a while the glow diminished and the gloom of dusk started to roll in – and I still had almost half of the circuit to complete! So once again I headed off at a good pace on the perimeter road, in fact I even broke into a run (not easy in hiking boots). This was not so much down to a sense of time, but because of the incredible clouds of midges, gnats and mosquitoes around here – Some of them were huge and I didn’t want to hang around with them buzzing around me, getting in ears and nostrils and potentially biting great chunks out of any exposed skin.

20110819-28_Yacht Masts_Sailing Club_Draycote Water by gary.haddenA slight rise brought me to the back of the sailing club, with a multitude of masts pointing skywards. I’ve tried numerous times to get a decent photo of yacht masts like this – there’s an good image there somewhere – but I always seem disappointed with my results – today was no different, and I’ve only kept one from about half-a-dozen this time round and I’m not really convinced by that one, but it helps tell the story of what the walk was like that evening.

20110819-30_Small fishing boats coming in at sunset_Draycote Water by gary.haddenLeaving the yacht club, I dropped down to the start of the eastern dam and almost as soon stopped again, this time to try and get some images of the motor boat marina and the fishermen returning from the far corner before night benighted them out on the water. I set off again across the dam, reaching the north eastern corner known as Toft Bay with the sun now gone completely. 20110819-31_Toft Bay or Toft Shallows at Dusk_Draycote Water by gary.haddenJust a soft blue glow and wispy (almost stormy looking) clouds allowing me to navigate along the road, but this was to almost disappear as I entered an area much more wooded. It was so gloomy that I walked straight past the set-back gate and path back up into Thurlaston and that was despite looking out for it. It only took a minute or two to realise I had started to reprise the outward part of the walk and soon back-tracked and rose up the concrete drive to the church and my parked car.

The whole walk had taken less than 2 hours, which given the time spent taking photo’s, I think is remarkable, showing that when I was moving I must have been moving quite rapidly. Perhaps I’m regaining a little of my old fitness levels? But there again, perhaps not! … to be really tested on the next walk planned, with The Midland Hill Walkers, in the Brecon Beacons on the following Sunday (diary and pic’s of that walk to follow at some point I’m sure).

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

20100101_Cawston-Dunchurch Circular New Years Day Walk

20100101_Cawston-Dunchurch Circular New Years Day Walk 

When : 1st January 2010

Who : Me and my Family

Where : Cawston, Rugby, Warwickshire.

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

Start + End Point : 469,735 Cawston Estate (end of Trussell Way is as a good place as any to start from).

Approx Distance : 6.25 miles, (10 km)

Significant Heights : approx 70 ft (25m) climb up Toft Hill., otherwise none worth mentioning.

Parking : On street parking on the Cawston Estate – end of Trussell way off Cawston Grange Drive I suppose is as good as place as any …. Please park politely and with consideration as this is a residential area.

Public Transport : No.4 Bus stops on the estate, on Calvestone Road near the large Island at 474.734.

Summary : Circular walk starting (and therefore finishing) at Cawston, south-west of Rugby and including :- Cawston, Cawston Woods, Northampton Lane, Thurlaston, Toft Hill (near Draycote Water), Dunchurch, Dun Cow Pub, Northampton Lane (again), Cawston Woods (again), Cawston.


This is almost a reprise of my early morning walk of 4th October 2009, but this time it was with my family as a “New Year’s Day – Clear-away the Christmas Holiday Cobwebs Walk” in pleasant countryside near where we live. This time though, instead of autumn it was very much winter and the timing was much later in the day – I don’t think my family will ever be out walking with me before sunrise, as I’ve occasionally done in the past – I think they think I’m a bit loopy enjoying being out that early!

New Year’s Day turned out to be bright and chilly and I readily agreed to a family walk when my wife suggested we take advantage and get some fresh air. Our two kids took a bit longer to persuade, but they eventually came round to the idea (they had no choice in the matter really). We all donned warm clothes and suitable foot-ware (walking boots or wellies) and headed through the Cawston Estate to join the perimeter path (it passes the end of Trussell Way). Turning left along the path lead us up to the B4642 (used to be called the A4071) where we turned right for a very short distance before then turning left to cross the main road into Cawston Lane. This looks to be a quiet lane, but don’t be fooled as it sees regular traffic and cars can (and do) zip along here at a rapid rate of knots. So, single file was required until we reached a dirt lay-by at the boundary with a small wood. This is Fox Covert, but it’s better known as Cawston Woods and it was here we turned right off the road, to enter the woods passing a disused brick water-works construction as we went. 

I’d tried to sort out a route that I thought would give plenty of interest throughout, (especially good if you’re walking with youngsters), and the woods really fitted this self-imposed brief very well … woods always have interest, especially deciduous ones, and we decided to take a longish route through them, making an arching swing to the left, to follow a pathway up into Boat House Spinney. I’m not sure where exactly the woods change name, but they narrow to a quite thin strip between farmer’s fields until a group of small ponds is reached. Even though sheltered by the trees the ponds were frozen over, in places the crystalline structure being quite pronounced and pretty to look at … along the path though, the ice didn’t completely save us from some muddy patches – small enough for me to stride over and shallow enough for welly-booted feet to test out.

20100101-06_Mud + Wellie-Cawston Woods
 At the end of Boat House Spinney a bridle track crosses to get us onto an official right-of-way and we turned right (heading south) across pastureland, easy grassy walking to reach Northampton Lane – another bridle track, but this time a very well used farm track which can be very muddy at times, the tractor ruts being very pronounced.

We turned right to reach and pass Windmill Farm. Luckily, it wasn’t as muddy as I’d feared, because the heavy frost had hardened the mud and grassy verges to a solid, allowing us to easily circumvent the deep puddles, themselves with a frozen film of ice. It took quite an effort to keep my 8 year old son from trying to walk on water – his hiking boots are not Gore-Tex lined and would have soon left him with soggy feet! 

Upon passing Windmill Farm and Cottages (no sign of a windmill though!), the track becomes better finished as a drive (called Windmill Lane) and makes a left bend heading towards the B4429 Coventry Road.  Rather than head down the drive, almost straight away we turned off to the right to pick up Northampton Lane once again. The Lane pretty much continued as before with distinct lines of tractor ruts heading off in front of us, a perfect example of perspective – parallel lines converging to a vanishing point in the distance. 

Everyone seemed very happy, highlighted by the two girls singing songs. Craig and I were serenaded with a combination of Christmas carols and not so seasonal pop songs … They even played Mica, Natasha Bedingfield and Take That on one of their phones to sing along to … Craig was happy just breaking the ice on the puddles, although I did manage to get a photo of one that stood out from the others, it’s formation had resulted in a series of concentric rings, looking a bit like the contours of a hill on my map (imagination is a wonderful thing). As for me, it was just nice being out in the sunshine with my whole family. 

Anyway, the green lane gave way to become just a pathway with the way ahead narrowing, with more trees either side in the substantial hedgerows. I got everyone to keep a look-out for a footpath heading off on the left. The path was duly found (it wasn’t difficult to spot really – it’s harder in the summer when the verges are in full growth). Once we’d left the bridle way we headed almost due south to join the B4429 Coventry Road, where we turned left for a several hundred yards to reach a small group of buildings. These included a pick-your-own farm and a used car lot. However, by far the most stand-out building was a large but simple cottage with extremely bright white-washed walls (nothing unusual in that you might say) but topped off with an even brighter sunshine yellow roof made from some sort of corrugated material (metal at a guess) … Personally it’s not to my taste, but hey what a statement! 

Almost directly opposite is a side road (Main Street) and we crossed the main road to follow this (heading south) where it rose gently to a bridge crossing the M45 motorway and then a gentle decent on the other side which brought us into the village of Thurlaston. We took advantage of a bench on a small green next to a set of stocks for some refreshments (I had the drinks and snacks in a rucksack). The stocks are positioned at the junction of a side road (imaginatively named Stocks Lane). The younger members of our party enjoyed pretending to be trapped as I think kids of all ages tend to do.

I like Thurlaston, with its mix of cottages: – some thatched/some tiled; some modern/some old; some half-timbered/some not; but the most visible is the old converted windmill which stands tall above the surrounding buildings. Quite close to this, is St Edmunds Church and my kids liked the nativity scene in the grounds just off Church Lane (note, Church Lane not Church Walk). From the corner of Church Lane, our route took us through a large gate to drop down a drive to some trees at the bottom of the slope. We had to take particular care near the bottom in the shade because the frost was still quite hard and very slippery…. a short distance later we emerged onto the perimeter road that encircles Draycote Water Reservoir.



Draycote Water (pronounced Dray-kott) is the largest body of water for many a mile and the full circuit is about 5 miles, but this wasn’t our plan; our route was to turn left for a fraction of that distance, to reach the most north easterly tip of the reservoir. I think this northern edge of the lake is the most interesting, with a few ups and downs and groupings of trees. Along the little section we were walking there’s been a wooden walkway constructed nearer the water’s edge to give good views out over Toft Bay where quite a number of gulls and other water birds congregate. 

There are several possible paths that can be taken here and we chose the bridle track heading up the hill to Toft House. It’s a bit of a pull up this hill compared to the rest of the walk, but really nothing to write home about and we soon reached the top of the rise, which affords some super views of the reservoir and over to Thurlaston and the old windmill standing proud. Toft farm rears Alpacas (always very cute looking) and these can be seen in several fields hereabouts and especially by the side of the drive way that leads past the farm buildings to meet the A426 Southam Road.

Turning left here, along the side of the Main Road, we had to endure a section on hard footpaths, I say endure, but it’s not too bad really as it facilitates crossing over the M45 and then into Dunchurch village, with modern houses giving way to quainter cottages and then a fair few shops clustered around the main cross-roads. There are a couple of pubs in the village; The Green Man which I’ve never been in, and The Dun Cow which was our next port of call, but not before passing the statue of Lord John Douglas Montague Scot. The statue is dressed up as a film or cartoon character every Christmas and it’s always fun trying to guess what or who it’ll be each year – Normally a figure from a big film hit of the year just gone. It’s reputedly pupils from Ruby School that do the dressing in secret overnight just before Christmas. This year it was Homer Simpson standing sentinel over the cross roads. 

There’s a lot of history in Dunchurch, not least members of The Gunpowder Plot holed themselves up in the village awaiting news that Guy Fawkes had successfully blown up Parliament … A half timbered house in the village is reputedly the very building (then an inn) and carries the name “Guy Fawkes’ House”. Also in a more modern vein, Wing Commander Guy Gibson (leader of the famous WWII, 617 Squadron’s Dambusters mission) had family links with the area and there is a framed photo & letter mentioning the Dun Cow hanging on the wall quite close to the inn’s main entrance …. We sat directly under the picture enjoying a drink and warming ourselves …. I think the kids really appreciated the rest. 

When we emerged from the pub we turned left to follow the A426 away from the cross roads (towards Rugby). We had another short length of road walking to do now, which included leaving the main road to head down Cawston Lane, almost immediately passing The Methodist Church. As we continued down Cawston Lane the houses on the left gave way to farmland with just a line of properties remaining on our right. These petered out at the junction with Northampton Lane. To the right Northampton Lane is a proper tarmac road with houses; to the left however (and our route) the Lane is the wide muddy farm track we’d walked on earlier in the day and we headed off towards Windmill Farm again. 

After a short while we had another stop, this time for the kids to say hello to a couple of handsome looking horses, although they didn’t seem too bothered about coming over to say hello to us and we set off again, not least as it was now getting really quite cold and the weather was all of a sudden closing in with dark angry looking clouds replacing the blue skies that’d been with us most of the day. In an odd sort of way I liked the juxtaposition of conditions, the light taking on a pinky-orangey-steely sort glow. A couple of hundred yards or so before reaching Windmill Farm we turned right off the farm-track onto a bridlepath down a grassy field. 

We were now on familiar ground (walked on earlier in the day) heading back to Boathouse Spinney, but before we reached the trees the threatening weather broke as a flurry of snow swept in across us. Iit was odd though, as we were still in sunshine and the large flakes were lit up as they swirled around – quite magical in a chilly kind of way. When we reached the trees, we turned left to make our way back through the thin strip of woods and then, as we entered the main body of the woods, we hung to the left to meet a farm track that splits the woods in two. We turned right along this very pleasant track to emerge onto the B4642 (was the A4071 until recently) between Cawston Farm and Nature Trails Nursery. I particularly liked the glow of the late afternoon sun on the Nursery buildings brickwork, with strongly contrasting shadows of nearby trees in stark contrast.

The walk was coming to an end now, dusk was drawing in and all that was required was to cross the road, turn right along the footpath set back from the road, pass the end of Cawston Lane before entering the Cawston Estate and making our way home ….. And that’s exactly what my family did to end their walk – but not me – No, I decided to head off on my own to extend the walk but that’s for my next diary post. 

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings.     T.T.F.N. Gary. 

Next post = 20100101_Cawston-Potfords Dam Pool Sunset Walk

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