20110824_Sunset wander and photo experimentation.

20110824_Sunset wander and photo experimentation.

When : 24th August 2011.

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

Where : Cawston (near Rugby).

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

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

20110824_cawston (Rugby) Sunset wander and photo experimentation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

.

T.T.F.N. Gary.

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

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

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

via Cawston Greenway’s Blog

20090823_Long Lawford – Newbold on Avon Circular Walk

20090823_Long Lawford – Newbold on Avon Circular Walk

When : 23rd August 2009

Who : Me and my son Craig

Where : Long Lawford, Newbold On Avon, Near Rugby, Warwickshire.

Map Used : 1:25,000 OS Explorer map 222, Rugby and Daventry.

Start Point : 476,766

1st End Point in Long Lawford : (2x pubs on main street) 472,759

2nd Start Point : (2x pubs) 472,759

2nd End Point : 47,73 (Cawston Grange)

Approx Distances : 3.75 + 1.88 miles (6 + 3 km)

Heights : nothing significant (bit of a rise on the 2nd stage of the walk of about 100 feet (30 metres)

Parking : On street parking in Long Lawford – Please park considerately as this is a residential area.

Public Transport : Long Lawford is serviced by a local bus route.

Summary : A pleasant mornings walk just to the west of Rugby, with plenty of variation, including : Long Lawford ; River Avon ; Newbold On Avon ; Oxford Canal ; Newbold Tunnel ; Cathiron ; Little Lawford ; River Avon (again) and back to Long Lawford … and then an extension of the walk, up a rise on the northern outskirts of Lawford Heath back home to Cawston Grange ; and all with relatively little road walking

Although the route fairly jumps out of the map as a very obvious circular, I also referenced a couple of books I have of local walks, both of which describe virtually the identical route as each other :

  • Evening Telegraph Country Walks by Brian Keates, bought way back in 1993 for £2.45 some 17 years ago now, so whether it’s still in print I’ve no idea, I doubt it somehow. … says 4 miles for the circuit.
  • Country walks in the Rugby Area, Jim Watson, This Way Books, first published 2003 but I purchased it in the last couple of years from Rugby Info’ centre so it may well still be in print today (Apr 2010 at the time of writing this post) … says 3.75 miles for the circuit.
  • Although 10 years apart and with different authors, both of these books follow almost identical layouts, style of prose, sketch maps, distances and illustrations (Brian’s book uses his photo’s ; Jim’s his drawings). It’s interesting to see real inflation in action here, the price of these almost identical publications has roughly doubled in about 15-years and there are 30 walks in Brian’s book (8p per walk) as opposed to 20 in Jim’s (24p per walk).

It promised to be a nice day and as the girls of the family were doing their own thing during the morning I thought it would be a good idea for me and my son Craig (he was not quite 8 y.o. at the time) to have a bit of Father and Son time together on a short walk close to where we live. Craig was “up for it” so I put up a small packed lunch and some drinks and we donned walking boots to be dropped off at the northern most corner of the Long Lawford housing estate on Ashman road/Prentice Close.

The girls drove off, leaving us to find our bearings … I soon worked out this meant heading down a narrow passageway between a couple of houses to immediately reach a pasture field with some horses grazing happily in the shadow of Rugby Cement works. The ugly grey works and chimney were to be visible for much of the walk, but not to it’s detriment really, just a point of interest worth noting. The walk across the field was interrupted briefly for Craig to say hello to a friendly pony who had wandered up to us and was quite happy to be stroked and tickled behind it’s ears. At the far side of the field we picked up a metal footbridge to cross the gentle river Avon. The bridge appears to be much longer than necessary, but this must be to allow for times of flood which is not uncommon further to the west towards Bretford so I guess could be the same here-abouts also.

Picking up an access track (access to Peninsular Farm) we crossed under a railway bridge (Rugby-Nuneaton line) where we briefly passed the time of day with a gentleman spraying weed-killer on the road margins. Looking back we were lucky enough to see a train zooming by, before we branched right on a narrow path. Tall grasses and thistles bounded us on both sides fairly dwarfing Craig who struggled to see over the tops, but he did like the thistle seed heads being blown about in the stiffish breeze. Soon after, the path opened up to follow a small avenue of trees leading the way through a field of cows to the church at Newbold On Avon (St Botolph’s according to both books mentioned above).

The route passes into the Church yard itself and the path passing the church leads out onto The Rugby Road (B4112). A brief turn right down the hill and a careful cross of the road (Main Street) took us into a side road to pass two pubs side by side; firstly The Boat, and immediately afterwards The Barley Mow. A few paces further on and we were on the tow path of The Oxford Canal.

A turn left took us very quickly to Newbold tunnel … A couple of notice boards gave some details about the tunnel and the canal hereabouts, from which I tried to impart some info’ to Craig, but all he really wanted was to get inside. I’d been clever enough to take a head torch and passed it to Craig who thought he looked really cool as he clicked through its various brightness options, settling on the red light as his preferred setting. Part of the info’ read about outside was about some special lighting installation dating back to 2005. Well some 4 years later and I think they’ve either turned the display off or all the bulbs have blown ‘cause I wasn’t aware of any special rings of different coloured lights down the tunnel. The best effect was from when Craig shone the head torch at the arched walls/roof.

There was a steady amount of traffic using the canal in both directions ; maybe the bright weather had enticed people out onto the water. We got a cheery hello from most people as they passed on their journey through the long tunnel.

I’d like to say with a degree of certainty how long the tunnel is … one sign informed that it is 189 metres long but another says 230 metres. (a quick conversion shows 189m = 620 ft and 230m = 755 ft) which is correct I can’t guess at, perhaps they’re both wrong, they definitely can’t both be right ! … can they ? There are even more distances published on various sites on the internet including 250m and ¼ mile, so who knows what is correct. One point of interest we noticed was the coating of lime obliterating some of the brickwork, and in places hanging in mini curtain and pendulous stalactites.

After the gloomy interior, it seemed particularly bright as we exited the north-west end of the tunnel where we continued on, on the tow path, to soon pass under the Rugby Road, before having to cross an attractively arched iron bridge over a side arm of the canal (this arm doesn’t go anywhere now, but used to be the main canal route before it was re-routed when the Newbold Tunnel was constructed to cut journey times). Continuing on the towpath a small boat works was passed (on the opposite bank) before reaching the next brick bridge over the cut. At this point we left the canal, climbing up to reach the farm track the bridge carries. This seemed a good place to stop for a bite to eat and we found a spot to sit for our refreshments, chatting about this and that as we refreshed ourselves. I had to bodily pick up Craig to allow him a view down to the waterway below.

Once watered and fed (tea cakes with apricot jam if I remember correctly) we followed the farm track (Cathiron Lane) westwards to reach a minor road very close to Tuckey’s bridge near Cathiron. However we didn’t head towards Cathiron, instead turning left on the minor road we headed south towards Little Lawford maybe some ¾ of a mile away. After a few hundred yards down this road we crossed another transport corridor for the second time; the 4-tracks of the Rugby to Nuneaton Railway line. The towers of Rugby Cement stood sentinel over the tracks a couple of miles away on the horizon, silhouetted against the bright sky. Immediately over the bridge the scenery returned to completely rural with sheep fields on one side and recently harvested wheat fields on the other. I always think the large round bales of straw left strewn about always look rather attractive in a random kind of way somehow.

  

The downhill stroll along the road was easy and we soon reached Little Lawford, one of the stone buildings here carries a date of 1604 …. over 400 years old – wow! Passing the ancient building, I took Craig down to see the ford where the track crosses The River Avon …. Much too deep to walk through, and I suspect too deep for most vehicles, maybe it’s OK for tractors and horses only? A battered depth gauge indicates how deep the river can get when in flood. After a chat with a lady walking her dog, our route was back a short way to head through the mill buildings complex to find a small footbridge over the mill race and then on to cross the Avon itself on a wider track/bridge. All in all Little Lawford is a charming hamlet in a pretty position, somehow with a timeless feel about it.

We stopped to take in more refreshments on the bridge above the meandering river (mini Swiss roll chocolate cakes – Yummy). I think this is a good tip for anyone walking with small children – frequent stops, places of interest, some word games (yes, including I-spy)  and tasty bribes, errrmm, I mean tasty snacks to keep them going works wonders. Anyway, heading away from the river on the gently rising track took us through more gentle Warwickshire countryside and we were soon back near our starting point back in Long Lawford.

Once in the village we headed for my Brother-in-law’s home on the off-chance that he and his family might be in. Rather than a cup of tea it didn’t take much persuading for us to head off to one of the pubs just a short walk away for a pint. I’m sure it was The Caldecott Arms we visited rather than The Lawford Arms right next door. My young nephew and niece came too and it was amazing to see how the energy levels in Craig raised themselves from flagging to a run as he played with his cousins in the pub back garden (well more of a yard really) … My sister in law joined us a little later and it would have been rude not to have another pint with her too …. well it would wouldn’t it ?!!!

After a while I decided it was time to move on … there were two options on offer :- Ring home to get the girls to come and get us or walk the extra distance back home and not trouble the girls at-all …. I gave the choices to Craig expecting him to favour the car ride, but I was wrong, he almost immediately said he wanted to carry on walking – brill’, I liked that. It seems a bottle of cola and a run around with his cousins had given him a new lease of life. So after our goodbyes, we headed off southwards to pick up Railway Street and then left into the wider road of Chapel Street/The Green, to cross over a different main line railway this time running between Rugby and Coventry. It’s odd how the view eastwards down the tracks looks for all the world that the lines go straight through the buildings of Rugby Cement.

The road led us down to the A428 Coventry Road at a cross roads. Our route took us straight over into Lawford Heath Lane. We had about 500 yards or so of road walking to navigate before turning left into a broad green lane bounded by hedges on both sides. Not long after we came across a load of corrugated panelling, I assume fly tipped by some uncaring so-and-so. It’s not the first time I’ve seen this here and I don’t like it! Once past the ugly obstruction, the track rose quite steadily through gentle countryside and in the warmth of the early afternoon Craig started to flag again, but I managed to cajole and inspire him onwards as the track narrowed to a path and the hedges closed in to be quite claustrophobic. All of a sudden the path opened up again to join a relatively manicured driveway and the slope eased as we continued on to soon arrive at a bend in Bilton Lane. 

Going straight ahead we had to cross a major road junction under construction, where the new Rugby Western Relief Road (not yet opened) crosses Bilton Lane. They seem to have been doing this for far too long now and the opening date seems to be slipping back constantly.

Immediately after crossing a bridge (over a disused railway line) and just opposite The Bear Pub our route turned right into Lawford lane passing a few houses before heading straight on onto a tree/hedge lined walkway leaving the road behind. This brought us into the new Cawston Grange housing estate where we headed off for home but not before picking some blackberries growing in the hedgerows etc.

All in all I reckon we’d covered the best part of about 6 miles, not bad for a 7-year old … I remember thinking how much I’d tired him out as we finished off down our street, but within minutes of being home he was out in the back garden bouncing up and down on our trampoline – amazing.

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….

Next few walks and the like = 20090827-31_A short holiday on the north Yorkshire coast at Boggle Hole near Robin Hoods Bay.

Some external sites I have found, obviously not by me, so I’ve no control over the info in them but they might be of interest.

http://www.stbotolphstjohn.org.uk/stbotolphshistory.htm

http://www.long-lawford.co.uk/

http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=57124

http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/web/corporate/pages.nsf/Links/BD9B147EC456E9268025719C004DF54A

http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/Web/corporate/pages.nsf/Links/B06EAE07BCD7F782802571EE0055919B

http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/RWRR

20090708_Cawston-Lawford Heath Circular Walk

20090708_Cawston-Lawford Heath Circular Walk

When : 8th July 2009

Who : Just Me

Where : Cawston, Rugby, Warwickshire

Map : 1:25000 Outdoor Leisure Map 222, Rugby and Dunchurch.

Start + End Point : 469,736

Approx Distance : 4¾ miles, 6 km

Significant Heights : Not much, about 230ft (about70m) over 2 rises (100ft 1st rise, 130ft 2nd rise … both quite gentle really).

Parking : On street parking in Cawston Grange Estate (see below)

Public Transport : No.4 bus from Rugby Town Centre drops on the estate on Calveston Road.

Summary : An evening walk including : Cawston Grange Estate, Coventry Road (A4071/B4500), Across Rugby Western Relief Road, Lawford Heath Road, Re-Cross Rugby Western Relief Road, Back into Cawston Grange Estate.

I’m writing this as if the walk started at the end of Trussell Way, in turn just off Cawston Grange Drive, on the new Cawston Grange housing Estate. Actually I started elsewhere on the estate (where I live) and you don’t really want to hear about the streets I walked to start with; but the end of Trussell Way is a good place to start.

There is a small car park at the end of Trussell Way, but I’ve noticed recently that a barrier has been dropped down across the entrance and padlocked in place, but there is room for on-street parking, just please be considerate how and where you park as this is a residential area. From here, cross the strip of grass at the end of the road towards farmland, to join a gravel path just in front of a hedge; then turn left slightly uphill, to skirt the outer edge of the estate. After a short while the path emerges onto a little loop of path/cycleway separated from the A4071 main road by a stand of tall trees.

Incidentally, just as an aside (writing in Oct-2009) … Just to confuse everyone in the near future, when the nearby Rugby Western Relief Road (RWRR) opens, the new bypass 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 this southern section of the RWRR should open by the end of this year.

http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/RWRR

Turning right the path joins the main road, where upon I continued heading away from Rugby for a short distance until opposite the side road of Cawston Lane. Then, turning right (with Cawston Lane now directly behind me) I headed up a bridle track between two homes to reach a gate and stile. The farmer had put up a warning sign saying “Livestock Grazing in this field walkers enter at their own risk”. The cattle in the field were particularly inquisitive … No, I’d say almost downright aggressive!, with them running back and forth in front of me and directly at me a couple of times as I crossed directly over the field on the right of way. It certainly raised the pulse a little as the fight or flight reaction kicked in, but I held my nerve and marched on waving my arms and generally trying to make myself look big and kind of “in charge”.

I’d be interested in knowing of the legality of the above … as the sign implies that the farmer knew the cattle could pose a risk to walkers, and as such could this be deemed an effective blocking of the right of way (at least to the more nervous members of the public) and maybe even be a breach of public liability ? … ermm, interesting one. I’m very pleased I didn’t have a dog with me as I fear it could have degenerated into a quite dangerous situation. Anyway, the path heads straight across, to just to the left of a large mature tree and passes into the next quite uninteresting field where the hedge straight on is followed (with it on your right hand side). At the end of the field, in the corner, is an old gate which gives access to an over-grown farm bridge, passing over the bed of an old railway cutting.

Incidentally, there is access down to a path that follows the course of the old railway, a green corridor through the countryside as it sweeps generally north/south separating Cawston and Lawford Heath.

Once over this old brick bridge I emerged to the sight of a new substantial bridge directly in front of me crossing the new Rugby Western Relief Road (currently under construction, in Oct-09).

    

The bypass (RWRR) generally runs parallel to the old railway here and although the bridge maybe doesn’t look out of proportion to the road, it does seem completely overkill to me for what traffic (on foot, horse or pushbike) in will see.

However, I had to admire the sweep of the superstructure and I spent quite some time trying to get some “arty” photo’s (one or two I think worked out OK).

  

    

Once over the bridge I dropped down a broad track, pausing to admire a group of thistles just coming into flower, before following a thin but definitely visible path down to a wooden footbridge over a small stream. The path then rises up the side of the next large field with a mature hedge on the right. The field was full of potatoes which were being given a helping hand by some industrial scale water sprinklers being fed by a quite sizeable pipeline snaking its way across the fields.

At a small pond, pretty much hidden away behind trees the path continues straight on, but the hedge switches to your left. There were a few patches of daisy “weeds” in flower here, a minor foothold in amongst the sterility of the crops. From here (aided by the slope becoming almost level) it didn’t take long to reach Lawford Heath Lane.

I turned right to follow the road northwards, towards Long Lawford for about 1km (pounding the tarmac out of necessity to keep the circular walk fairly short) my view constantly being pulled to my left, where the sun was beginning to drop behind clouds towards the horizon. A lovely sight – I, like most people, do like a good sunset, but it wasn’t developing into the spectacle I’d hoped for.

After a little joggle in the road and soon after passing Lawford Mill and Lawford Grange Farms there is a footpath that branches off to the right and this is what I intended to take, the starting point confirmed by a prominent marker post by the side of the road. However, this is where the ease of route ended, as the way through to the next field was on a rather overgrown plank footbridge over a drainage ditch. This was immediately followed by a difficult clamber over a fallen tree covered in Ivy and brambles. If I, at over 6’4” tall and reasonably agile found this somewhat awkward how anyone of shorter stature would fare I’m not sure!

The problems didn’t dissipate once over the two obstructions, as the path was not “on-the-ground” through the maize field ahead. I’m sure the farmer has a legal requirement to clear the way through, the easiest way being to just drive a tractor down the line of the path. Anyway, with a bit of careful map reading and another helpful way-marker, I worked out a point to walk to in the distance heading diagonally down and directly through the crop.

I was pleased it was early in the growing season as I guess it would be very much more difficult doing this later in the year with the crop over 6’ tall and much denser to push through.

Anyway, once through the crop, I reached and passed through a hedge to turn right alongside a cereal crop and then left in the field corner to rise gently up, to join another path; a very obvious path this time.

Turning right (rising gently) the path becomes narrowly hemmed in between two hedges, the upper branches joining to form a gloomy tunnel as day light faded into the evening. I had to stoop down to negotiate my way for a short distance before the path opens up joining a rough driveway to emerge on Bilton Lane at a quite sharp bend in the road.

Heading straight on (towards Bilton), I reached the major construction of the RWRR to re-cross the new road for the second time. There will be a major traffic light junction here when they finally get around to finishing off the bypass. It was a mess here in July and to be honest, it’s still a bit of mess here some 3 months later. I’d be hard pressed to say what really significant changes have happened in that time. I hope I’m not talking out of turn, but it is a tad annoying as it looks like this southern section could be finished off very quickly – if they’d just get on and do it!

It was getting quite dusky now and I with a lot of will-power decided to ignore The Bear Pub, instead I headed right (directly away from the pub) into Lawford lane, and then (at a bend in the residential road), straight on, heading along a wide pathway to reach into the northern reaches of the new Cawston Grange Estate, and a final short walk home.

There are various ways to make the route back to Trussell Way. Probably the most rural feeling route (although not the shortest) is to turn right at the first road reached (Whitefriars Drive). Head along here until the first island is reached, cross over the wide Cawston Grange Drive and then pick up a path heading down and to the left. This runs parallel to the road at first, but then rises in a sweep to the right leaving the road behind. The path now turns left to skirt the outer edge of the estate, quite close to the old railway for a time, then swinging left towards a small kiddies playground, there’s a low marshy area off to the right here. At a T-junction of tarmac paths, just before the playground, turn right past a small pond and then straight on, rising as you go on a gravel path and this soon brings you back to the end of Trussell Way. During my walk back through the estate the previously hoped for spectacular sunset finally lit up the sky in the distance, a blazing combination of yellows and oranges. It’s just a pity most of it was obscured from view and I had to content myself with glimpses as I made my way home.

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….

Next walk = 20090805_Lacock Circular Walk

20080511_Cawston Grange + Lawford Heath Walk

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 :

https://tothehills.wordpress.com/2008/09/13/200806218_mellbreak-from-buttermere-village/

https://tothehills.wordpress.com/2008/09/15/20080619_fleetwith-pike-haystacks/

https://tothehills.wordpress.com/2008/10/03/fleetwith-pike-video/https://tothehills.wordpress.com/2008/09/16/20080620_great-gable/

https://tothehills.wordpress.com/2008/09/17/20080620_castle-crag-borrowdale/

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….