20080511 Cawston Grange + Lawford Heath Walk
When : 11 May 2008
Who : Me and Craig
Where : Rugby – Warwickshire – England
Approx distance : 10 km : 6¼ miles
Significant height : Nothing really significant – couple of gentle climbs.
Map used : 1:25000 OS Explorer Map 222 Rugby & Daventry
Start Grid Ref : 469,735
End Grid Ref : 469,735
Parking : Car Park at end of Trussell Way
Public Transport : Bus route – drops off on Calvestone Road, on the Cawston Grange estate near the large island on the A4071.
Route Summary : Cawston Grange – A4071 – Rugby Western Relief Road – Lawford Heath – A428 Coventry Road – River Avon – Long Lawford – Bilton Lane – Cawston Grange …
Included : pleasant rolling countryside, Hawthorn in flower, Bird-song, Wildflowers, Rape in full bloom, reasonably way-marked paths, no particular obstacles but for normal stiles, gates, crops, etc., route finding was easy.
As I live locally to this walk, I didn’t need to use the car, but I’ll write it up as if I’d started at the end of Trussell Way on the outer edge of the new Cawston Grange housing development to the south west of Rugby, and bordering some gentle Warwickshire countryside.
If you are arriving by car, it’ll probably be on the A4071 either from the direction of the A45, or from Bilton Village/Rugby … at the large island turn into Cawston Grange Drive, at the next island turn left into Trussell Way. Trussell Way is a short road and comes to an abrupt end next to the countryside where there is a small car park.
From the car park you’ll need to cross a strip of grass (heading directly away from the end of Trussell Way) to join a path skirting around the outer edge of the estate where it adjoins farmland. Turn left on the path heading up a rise to start the walk. It was this path that Craig and I joined from elsewhere on the estate, Craig running on ahead full of energy (as young boys tend to do).
The brisk pace suited me fine, as I could stretch my legs out accordingly trying to keep up, especially as there was a coolness in the early morning air. We had both woken early (or if my memory serves me right, it was really that Craig had come and woke me early!) and as the girls of the household were to be otherwise busy later in the day, I decided that a walk was just the thing for a Sunday morning, especially as the weather was to be fine and dry. We set off well before 8 O’clock to enjoy the early freshness and the spring bird-song.
After a short while, the path emerges from the estate to meet the A4071 road into/out of Rugby. We turned right alongside the main road for several hundred yards until again turning right onto a bridle track heading off between two properties (almost directly opposite Cawston Lane).
I really like this little section of bridle track, as it tapers slightly, narrowing to a gate and it seems to draw you into the countryside, inviting you to leave the busy road behind. This was enhanced by the splash of pale pink from a clematis in full bloom climbing up and over a shed in the adjacent garden.
The way ahead, in a generally north westerly direction, is over a couple of pasture fields. In the first, the route goes straight across the middle; in the second, it follows the hedge line. These fields often contain a selection of sheep and cattle and today was no exception, except this time a large ram stood slightly away from the other sheep and cows … it seemed to have a superior air of aloofness about itself and it didn’t bat an eye-lid as we passed close by. Craig had never seen a ram before and was amazed at its size compared to the nearby ewes. At the far corner of the second field the path leaves it to cross an old farm bridge over a disused railway cutting.
It is possible to descend onto the old railway and use it for other walks (for instance to Draycote Water), but in this case we crossed straight over, picking our way through the stinging nettles to emerge into open space but immediately confronted by a huge scar doing its best to bar our way. This was the Rugby Western Relief Road under construction and the farmland had been ripped up leaving a mud brown streak, running pretty much north/south and parallel to the old railway. At the time of writing (Oct 2008), this is now being tarmac’d over.
I won’t get too political here as there are valid arguments for and against new road developments such as this bypass. Although it isn’t pretty, on the whole I’m for this road, so long as it doesn’t put extra pressure on the green belt between Rugby and Coventry. I suppose only time will tell on that one. I don’t know what provision is to be made to cross here in the future when the road is open (sometime in 2009 I think), but please be careful once it has cars and lorries speeding up and down.
Anyway, back to the walk, we crossed the “new road” to drop into a shallow valley with views to the gentle rise on the other side of a small stream (a tiny feeder into the River Avon) which we crossed by means of a small footbridge. We would re-cross the stream later in the day just outside Long Lawford.
We then climbed alongside mature hedges to reach Lawford Heath Lane, where we continued straight ahead into Ling Lane, walking on the road for a couple of hundred yards or so before turning right across the field on an indistinct path (bridle track on the map). The route then crossed and bounded several fields eventually dropping down, in a northerly direction, to meet the A428 Coventry road opposite a little wood. Crops grown here include maize, potato, beet, wheat and oil seed rape (in full flower when we did the walk) and I’m sure several other crops as well.
Please appreciate the countryside here, because, although it is not overly exciting or unique, it had been proposed that the largest airport in Europe and potentially the world could have been built right here … and there wouldn’t have been any countryside at-all !
Route finding was not a problem as the path although not particularly distinct was evident on the ground, although Craig did enjoy pushing his way through a short section of wheat where it was trying valiantly to hide the way ahead.
Thankfully we didn’t need to cross a rape field and all that yellow pollen!, although we did walk down the side of a large planting of rape where Craig mused that he’d love to be one of the butterflies (or flutter-bys as we sometimes call them) flitting about, as there were so many flowers to feed from.
Upon reaching the A428 we carefully crossed over and turned right on the road side path for a short time, before turning left on a wide track to go under the mainline railway from Rugby to Coventry. If you’re lucky you might even get to see a train zooming by (we didn’t). Immediately after emerging from the bridge-cum-tunnel (owl hoot echo’s tried) we branched half right across a pristine grass meadow, Craig at a run as he vehemently shouted to me “there is no river!” as I jokingly warned him not to fall in.
He soon had to eat his words as we reached a lovely little viewpoint on an embankment above a loop in the River Avon, as it meanders westwards towards Kings Newnham & Church Lawford and Later Bretford, Wolston and Brandon before eventually turning south to the honey pots of Warwick, Stratford-upon-Avon, etc.
Nearly all books of local walks I’ve seen seem to have the classic round including this stretch of the River Avon and the villages of Long Lawford, Church Lawford, Kings Newnham and Little Lawford and it’s easy to see why, as this is a lovely spot.
However, we only managed to stay with the river for just a short time, before all too soon heading across pastureland away from the river. After about 3 or 4 fields we crossed a little stream where we lingered watching some little fish (juvenile brown trout perhaps?). This was the 2nd crossing of the steam mentioned earlier. I hope the outwash from the new road when operational does not pollute the ecology of this tiny stream. Heading on we entered the village of Long Lawford to meet a minor road. There are a couple of pubs in Long Lawford, just a couple of streets away, but we (I) resisted their call. Our route turned right along the road rising up to cross the main-line railway (this time above the tracks) on a road bridge, continuing on to meet the A428 Coventry road again.
Crossing straight over this busy road with care, we then had a little more road walking to do along Lawford Heath Road as it rises, in a southerly direction back up towards Lawford Heath, but not long afterwards we turned left up a farm track, still rising on the longest climb of the day. It was now getting quite warm, and I now had to use my powers of persuasion to keep Craig with me, his running ahead now long since replaced with dragging heels in the heat of the day.
After a while the track narrows to just footpath width and it was at this point that some anti-social oik had fly-tipped a load of old furniture and other junk. Disgusting is the only way to describe this pathetic behaviour! The rest of us use the facilities supplied by the local council, why not these obnoxious numbskulls?
We continued up the enclosed path, leaving the eye-sore behind, to meet Bilton Lane, just where it will make a large traffic light junction with the new bypass. Crossing the swathe of construction mud, we then continued along the road across a bridge, to cross the old disused railway again.
It was here that the call of The Bear Pub couldn’t be resisted and as the walk was nearly complete we succumbed and stopped off for a nice pint of best bitter for me and a soft drink for Craig. We sat out in the sun enjoying the midday break.
Soon after and reinvigorated we set off south picking up a bridle track that heads off through the middle of the Cawston Grange development. There are several ways back to Trussell Way, the easiest to describe being straight on, on the bridle track until you reach the large island on the A4071, and then cross over Cawston Grange Drive, past a stand of tall tress and soon after turning right picking up the estate path first started out on. However, you might like to find the path that skirts the development in a big sweep to the west of the houses, or perhaps pick your way through the streets just following your nose. We just made our way straight home.
A nice walk, in nice weather, at a nice time of year, and two boys (one old, one young) well satisfied with the day. It goes to prove you can enjoy a country walk without having to drive miles and miles to reach mountains and moors elsewhere in the country.
My next walk(s) … 4 days in the Lake District, on my own, in June, but that hadn’t been planned then. Links as below :
I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….