20180322_Coombe Abbey Country Park Walk, near Coventry

20180322_Coombe Abbey Country Park Walk, near Coventry

When : 22nd March 2018
Where : Coombe Abbey Country Park (just outside Coventry, in Warwickshire)
20180322_A Coombe Abbey Country Park Walk (near Coventry)Distance : Approx 2.3 miles (3.7 km)
Significant heights, climbed or descended : None

Maps :
1:25,000 OS Explorer Map 222 Rugby & Daventry
1:25,000 OS Explorer Map 221 Coventry & Warwick
Start and End Point : SP404,795 Main Country Park Car Park (on map 222), although to be fair, you don’t really need a map at-all, and there are leaflets available from the visitor centre and at least one large notice board with a map.

If you click on a pic’, it should launch as a larger image on my photostream on Flickr … a right click should give you the option of launching in a separate window/page.

Some Background Info :-
In a way this little walk, a very gentle wander around our local country park and not even 2½ miles, is, in its own way, quite significant to me.

Why?

The Oxford Partial KneeWell, as noted in my previous post, seven weeks ago today (writing on 26th March) I had knee surgery on both my knees (half, partial or Oxford knee replacements whichever term you prefer). I’ve now had several bits of bone cut out and non-existent cartilage replaced with some very clever metal and plastic parts.

It’s no lie that getting back to some sort of normal mobility and reducing pain to a manageable level, whilst at the same time reducing the use of strong opiates, has been a bit of a challenge. The weather hasn’t helped either, with snow & ice and what seems like continuous rain and cold miserable conditions preventing me from getting out and about (even with crutches) as it often just wasn’t safe. But, I’ve done my indoors home exercises, as well as the scheduled physio sessions at the hospital, strengthening and stretching muscles and tendons and working scar tissue. I’ve even borrowed an exercise bike, now taking pride of place in my dining room for ease of use.

Slowly, as I improved, I introduced a wander down the street and back, short trips around the supermarket and a longer walk to the local shops (about a mile round trip). I started off with two crutches, then one (which didn’t work very well as I felt totally unbalanced), and I’ve pretty much discarded both crutches all the time now. That felt brilliant, especially as I could stand tall again and move a little more naturally.

So, back to Coombe Abbey …. This was to be the furthest I’d have walked since the op’s … and … with walking boots on !… and … on slightly rougher ground !… and … I must admit with a slight feeling of trepidation over how my new knees might cope.

The Walk :-
It was a dry day, quite chilly, overcast and grey, some might even say decidedly gloomy, but just about nice enough to venture out a bit further afield as there was no rain forecast. It was the sort 20180322-00_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Car Park Charges (Mar-2018)of day that you wouldn’t want to stop and linger for very long in any one place. So, accompanied by my wife and daughter, we headed the few miles to the east side of Coventry to Coombe Abbey Country Park. We parked up in the car-park (the first car-park off the main drive, not the second car-park which is to service the hotel) making a note of the charges vs times. We decided up to two hours stay would probably be about right which would cost us £2.00, over two hours would cost £3.80 quite a jump to the next time slot of two-four hours.

We started off walking over to the large visitor centre, going down the right-hand side of the large, and to my mind, ugly building (we stayed away from the other side and the rather noisier 20180322-01_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Visitor Centrekiddie’s play area). Just for your info’, if you’re in need, the toilets are down this right-hand side, near the far end of the building. From here we took the wide modern surfaced path down the slope (looking back I think the building still looks rather out of place). The park has recently developed a wildflower meadow off to the left here, but it was the wrong time of year to see anything of note, and off to the right are views across a picnic field to the old abbey buildings, albeit much of the top half has been rebuilt in modern times when it was converted into a hotel (quite a posh one at that!).

20180322-02_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Picnic Fields + Abbey Hotel

20160116-13_Coombe Abbey_Gull_In FlightDropping further down the wide path, brings you to an almost equally wide causeway. To the left is the main lake (Coombe Pool) which has been allowed to naturalize over recent years to become a major attraction for water birds, as opposed to a pleasure boating pool as it was going back to my childhood in the 60s/70s. You’ll find the obligatory mallard ducks, geese and serene snow-white swans, but there were various other sorts of ducks and gulls on show and we caught 20180322-03_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Pigeonsa glimpse of a grebe, albeit briefly, before it vanished under the water.

We didn’t stop long here, just enough time for me to snap a photo of a line of pigeons sat atop a fence and the ornamental stone balustrade (to the right of the causeway) that separates the naturalistic lake from an ornamental pool, with views up to the abbey hotel, where the rectangular pool morphs into a moat around one side of the building.

Once over the causeway, there are several options to take, too numerous to mention here right 20180322-05_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Daffodilsnow, other than to say we turned right, following the path running along-side the ornamental pool heading towards the hotel. There are several benches here, sat in front of a stone wall with various dormant climbing roses just waiting for some spring warmth to burst into life.. The wall itself retains a higher terraced area which we could have chosen to be our route. Towards the far end of the wall I particularly liked a bed of daffodils, their cheery vibrant yellow blooms brightening up the area, even in the grey overcast conditions.20180322-06_Coombe Abbey Country Park - - Daffodils

20180322-07 (20171109)_Coombe Abbey_Xperia XA1

20180322-08b_b+w_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Knot Garden & Abbey HotelWe’d now reached the top end of the ornamental pool and quite close to the abbey’s west frontage and a traditional hedge knot garden. You can enter the garden, for the classic view back down the ornamental pool to the balustrade/causeway and Coombe Pool beyond. Please note that the sun terrace directly in front of the hotel is for paying guests only.

We didn’t bother with the knot garden area 20180322-09_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Griffins or Eagles Stone Statuestoday, instead passing two stone sentinels (stylised eagles/griffins?) stood either side of a set of stone steps. My two fave ladies had made their way up a sloping path here and turned left along another path heading away from the hotel. However, as I’d dropped behind (taking a couple of photos of the daffodils and the griffins) I climbed the steps and headed off across a lawned area, cutting the corner off, as a mini-short cut, re-joining the girls near the “doggy grave stones”.

20180322-11_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Doggy Grave StonesGrowing up we’d been under the assumption that the gravestones marked where the pets were buried, which seems a reasonable assumption, but we learnt a while ago that the actual graves are elsewhere on the estate but the gravestones had been relocated to their current site many years ago. Some more clumps of cheery daff’s enhanced the area here, adding a welcome splash of colour.

 

20180322-10_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Daffodils

20160116-27_Coombe Country Park_Pine Needles RossetteThe path continues on, with private grounds off to the right and to the left, planted on a large raised bank is an arboretum, the area dominated by tall redwoods as well as other conifers and some broad-leaved trees. I just love the soft fibrous texture of the redwoods’ bark, extremely attractive and equally tactile. There are always squirrels to be seen here, obviously attracted by the cones on these conifers. I know grey squirrels are effectively an invasive species having supplanted our native red squirrels, but they are rather cute hopping about on the ground and scurrying up the trees at the slightest hint of danger.

20160116-24_Coombe Country Park_Redwood

20180322-13_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Tall RedwoodsAt the far end of the redwood area, another path joins from the left. Now, the lovely ladies in my life asked how my knees were holding up, especially as I had opted to leave my crutches at home; effectively they were giving me the option to turn left which would very quickly take me back to the causeway and the main pool. I was however feeling OK, so opted to continue on, on the perimeter path to reach “Top Pool”. This is very much smaller than Coombe Pool, and was once the kiddie’s boating pool a long time ago. Again, nature is taking over with reed beds and over-hanging trees. There always seems to be swans here too; the old landing stage now used by the swans rather than pedaloes and rowing boats. Near here is a toilet block (not open all the time) which we passed by on what was now more of a roadway than a path, soon reaching an area where The Smite Brook passes under the path/roadway.

20180322-14_Coombe Abbey Country Park - The Smite Brook Weir

Again, I could have turned left here (over Wrautums Field) to head back towards the causeway, but I was happy to carry on, the path heading out into an area of more naturalistic woodland, somewhat wilder than the walk done so far, and a complete contrast to the hotel/ornamental pool area.

20180322-16_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Buds Waiting for SpringI like it out here, the perimeter path becomes a little more rough and ready, you see fewer people, and somehow, I felt closer to nature; perhaps it was the birdsong all around and occasional glimpse of a blue tit or robin flitting between the branches, or the buds on the otherwise naked trees just starting to open-up. At one point, the path takes a right bend down a little slope and then a left to rise back up again. The path at this point skirts the outer limits of the park grounds, only separated by a line of trees most notably some tall gnarly pines (Scots Pine I think). The view out over the nearby farmland is to a large (quite ugly) building complex. It looks rather like a factory or a warehouse, but is Coventry and Warwickshire’s largest hospital at Walsgrave on the very edge of Coventry.

20140202_18_Coombe Country Park -Blue-Tit at the feeding postThe path reaches the far end of the park, well at least the part of the park with public access. The area of woods straight ahead is set aside as a nature reserve, forcing the path to take a sharp left-hand turn, dropping gently down through the woodland (the inaccessible nature reserve on the right), until it reaches the bird hide. The hide looks out over Coombe Pool, with an area of marshy ground, reeds, etc, and a small clearing with bird-feeders. The main attraction however for many people is, off to the right, an island in the lake which is the home to a sizeable heronry.

Today, it looked like there were a number of people in the hide already, so we turned left on the perimeter path, now following Coombe Pool on our right, at times quite close to the serpentine lake 20180322-18_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Glimpse of the Main Lakewhere it also feels airier where the trees make way for more open ground.

Not far after however, the path re-enters the woods, winding its way onwards a little further away from the lakeside, but where glimpses of the lake can still be had; later the path again gets very close to the lake with views emerging of the causeway and then soon after reaching an arched wooden footbridge over the Smite Brook.

20180322-19_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Bridge over The Smite Brook

20180322-20_Coombe Abbey Country Park - PigeonCrossing the bridge brought us back to near the end of the causeway, and then it was just a case of re-crossing the pool (balustrade rail on our left this time) where I stopped for more pigeon photos. Although not exactly posing, they did seem reasonably happy to oblige me; I think they are completely happy with the proximity of people who cross here, often milling around in their crowds feeding the water birds.

 

20180322-21_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Pigeon

20180322-22_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Pigeon

20180322-23_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Pigeon

20180322-24_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Daffodils + Avenue of TreesI must admit, my knees were now starting to twinge a bit, but a slow wander back up to the visitor centre was negotiated easily enough, and I felt OK enough to have a final little wander taking a few photos of large clumps of daffodils looking fantastic around the base of the trees that form an impressive avenue down the sides of the main drive.

 

 

20180322-25_Coombe Abbey Country Park - Daffodils + Avenue of Trees

And then, that was that, back to the car, and the drive home – but – calling in at The Old Smithy, a pub in Church Lawford, where we indulged with a spot of lunch in their conservatory, a super way to finish a good morning, and a good test of my new artificial knees.

The afternoon largely consisted of elevating feet and legs, applying ice packs and not much more in a well-tested method to reduce any swelling from the mornings exertions. Sounds easy, but probably one of the hardest parts of my rehabilitation. I hate being laid up inactive, makes me feel just a tad useless. I can’t wait to get back to a degree of normality and ultimately to get back to work and equally important to my wellbeing back onto the hills, valleys, moors, fells and mountains of our great country. In the meantime, though, I’ll suffice with the gentle parks and countryside of Warwickshire.

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings …. If you’d like to comment on my diary or any of my pic’s please feel welcome. I’d love to hear from you.

T.T.F.N. Gary.

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20180326_Cawston Sunset

20180325-01_Cawston Sky – Rugby – Warwickshire

Photo, just because …. well, just because sunsets are beautiful, especially when the clocks have just gone forward and finally spring time is allowed to begin leaving winter behind (well let’s hope so anyway).

I just love big skies and sunsets – Cliched maybe, but hey what’s wrong with a cliche every now and again?

20180325-01_Cawston Sky - Rugby - Warwickshire

T.T.F.N. Gary

20150704_Warwickshire_Cawston to Thurlaston Countryside Walk

20150704_Warwickshire_Cawston to Thurlaston Countryside Walk

20150704-01(b+w)_Sinuous Curves__Wheat Field near Cawston Rugby

Sinuous Curves__Wheat Field near Cawston Rugby

When : 4th July 2015

Summary : I’m not going to say much here today, instead just a few brief words to say the walk on a warm summer day, was from Cawston [near Bilton/Rugby] to Thurlaston [near Dunchurch] and couldn’t be more than a couple of miles.

The Route :-

• Cawston, (to the south west of Rugby),
• A4642, Coventry Road to Brickyard Spinney
• Across a wheat field (right of way footpath path hadn’t been put in by farmer yet again!!!)
• Past a small pool at Potford’s Dam/Cawston Spinney.
• Wide field verges by the side of a couple of fields, heading south.
• Look up into the sky as two jets approached us, banked around in a wide arc and disappeared into the sun.
• Up to Northampton Lane (hedge/tree lined path).
• Turn left along Northampton Lane, just briefly.
• Right down side of another wheat field (with lots of lovely poppies).
• Reach the B4429 road, another Coventry Road.
• Left alongside the road, passing Medda Place nursery, reach a very striking building with bright yellow corrugated roof
• Cross the B4429 opposite the yellow house to follow side road (Main Street).
• Main street rises a little to cross over the M45 and then into the pretty village of Thurlaston, including a set of stocks on a little green in amongst attractive cottages,
• Met my lovely wife (who was already in the village for other reasons) and got a lift  home.

20150704-01_Sinuous Curves_Wheat Field near Cawston Rugby

Sinuous Curves__Wheat Field near Cawston Rugby

And now, to follow, a set of photo’s from the walk, which are maybe a bit more interesting than my words.

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

20150704-04_Big Blue Sky-Fluffy White Swirly Clouds near Rugby

Big Blue Sky-Fluffy White Swirly Clouds

20150704-03_Big Blue Sky-Fluffy White Swirly Clouds near Rugby

Some More Big Blue Sky-Fluffy White Swirly Clouds

20150704-05_Fly Past (out of the blue)

Fly Past (out of the blue) – Can anyone tell me what they are ?

20150704-07_Fly Past_Into the Blue

Fly Past_Into the Blue – Can anyone tell me what they are ?

20150704-08_Fly Past_Into The Sun

Fly Past_Into The Sun

20150704-09_Wheat Field with Poppies

Wheat Field with Poppies

20150704-10_Wheat Field with Poppies

Wheat Field with Poppies

20150704-12_Wheat Field with Poppies

Wheat Field with Poppies

20150704-15_Yellow roofed cottage_Thurlaston

Yellow roofed cottage_Thurlaston

20150704-16_ Thurlaston Stocks

Thurlaston Stocks

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings …. If you’d like to comment on my diary or any of my pic’s please feel welcome. I’d love to hear from you.

Oh and finally, there are other paths that you can take from Thurlaston, to Dunchurch and Toft and most notably dropping down to the perimeter track around Draycote Reservoir. So it is perfectly possible to make a circular walk around this quiet part of Warwickshire. If you’d like to, please ask about the options available and I’ll try to get back to you ASAP, or you could search through my past “Cawston” or “Dunchurch” walks diaries.

T.T.F.N. Gary.

20150523_Echium Pininana (Tree Echium)

20150523_Echium Pininana (Tree Echium)
When : Spring 2015
Where : My Front Garden, Rugby, Warwickshire.

When you click on a photo’ it should open larger on my photostream on flickr.

20150523-05_Echium Pininana Plants - Flower SpikesI have two main interests, which, if you’ve peeked at any of my previous posts you’ll know more or less what I’m about to write …. But if you’re new to my blog, I’ll reiterate again just especially for you.

My first interest is : Country Walking, Hill Walking, Hiking, Rambling, Fell Walking or what-ever other term you’d like to call it.

My second interest is : Photography …. Unlike above, it’s kind of hard to find another descriptive term, except to say, I like taking pictures with a camera.

 

Now, over the last few years I’ve published a series of blog posts describing my country walks 20150523-11_Echium Pininana Plants - Bumble Bee Magnetand enhanced/illustrated them with my photo’s. Most of the time I would describe myself as a walker who takes photo’s. However, I think that’s starting to change, as my knees are becoming worse for wear as I get older, so much so that at times that I feel more like a photographer who can walk a bit. Whichever way I look at it, both interests interlock and complement each other just fine for my blog.

20150523-11_Echium Pininana - Bumble Bee - Heavy CropHowever, as a third interest, I also enjoy a touch of gardening. But I don’t blog much about this, as it hasn’t got that much in common with my walking stuff.

HOWEVER, this post is an attempt to bridge that gap, albeit with a very tenuous link, but hey, I want to show off a bit.

 

20150523-03_Me with Echium Pininana Plants in FlowerLet’s start by going back to a family holiday [2008/2009 ish it must have been], to the Torbay area of south Devon with a combination of walking/sightseeing/normal touristy stuff. On one walk (tenuous link) around some hilly gardens on the outskirts of Torquay, we came across a tall exotic looking flower spike many feet taller than me (I’m just over 6-feet 4” tall) and my lovely wife said “Can you grow me one of those please ? I’d like one very much”, or words to that effect.

I’d never seen one of these plants before, but, luckily there was a big clue as to what the plant was, as there was a label stuck in the ground near where it’s single thick stem anchored it onto the hillside. So I learnt that it was an ECHIUM PININANA and I took a photo just to remind me later (did you notice the tenuous link to my photography 20150523-07_Echium Pininana Plants - Flower Spikesinterest there). Little did I know that this chance finding would lead to this blog post some seven or eight years later.

We found a couple of garden centres in the area but no one seemed to know anything about these Echiums, they certainly didn’t stock any plants and didn’t have any seeds either. So, upon reaching home, some research on the internet and a trawl through different potential suppliers, led us to a nursery/garden centre in Cumbria who sold seeds and we ended up with a packet being sent through the post. Of the seedlings I managed to germinate, I got one to flower (a neighbour helped over-winter it in a pot in his greenhouse for me), the others succumbed to the winter cold and died. However, the one flower spike seeded which has eventually resulted in what I can now call a successful growing, with 20150523-04_Echium Pininana Plants - Flower Spikesnine plants now in flower, the smallest just under 6-feet tall, the tallest well over 13-feet tall I reckon. They are certainly the hardest plant I’ve ever tried to grow.

Why are they hard to grow ? Because Echium Pininana plants are Non-Hardy plants native to The Canary Islands … They can grow on the south coast of England without protection (like we saw whilst on holiday).

But I’ve grown these in Rugby in the English Midlands nowhere near a maritime climate and where we can get some quite hard and persistent frosts.

I’ve managed to cajole my current crop to flower by :-

• The luck of two relatively mild winters,
• Planting near a south facing wall,
• Protected by other shrubs against the wind, and
• The use of copious swathes of horticultural fleece.

Apparently, sometimes these plants are biennials but I’ve had to nurture them through two winters as triennials ….. they are now in their third year and flowering !

• Self seeded 2012 (from the previous flower spike).
• Seedlings came up 2013.
• Over-wintered 2013/2014.
• Carried on growing 2014 (reached about 5-feet tall).
• Over-wintered 2014/2015.
• Started really growing on Spring 2015.
• AND they have really taken off, late spring 2015 and in flower.

 20150523-10_Echium Pininana Plants - Flower Clusters

20150523-09_Echium Pininana Plants - Flower Clusters

20150523-06_Echium Pininana Plants - Flower SpikesOne spike in particular is heading skywards, I think it’s easily 13 feet tall and maybe even more …. They are now coming into flower and the spikes are becoming a head turner in the street ….

Interestingly, the flowers spikes have come out in different shades of colour. One is almost white, there are pinks on view, and one is has a purpley-blue tint.

From a distance the spikes themselves are quite impressive, but up close, the flower clusters are pretty as well and worth a closer look.

 

And a final word … Once they’ve seeded they will, sadly, die.

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings …. If you’d like to comment on my diary or any of my pic’s please feel welcome. I’d love to hear from you.

T.T.F.N. Gary.

20150412_Daffodil Festival Monks Kirby

20150412_Daffodil Festival Monks Kirby

When : 12th April 2015
Where : Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.
Distance : A little wander – Not even worth measuring the distance.
Significant Heights : None to speak of.
Maps : 1:25,000 OS Explorer Map No.222 Rugby and Daventry (but not needed).
Start + End Point : approx. SP 477,835

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

This is not really a walking post this one, but still kind of out-doorsy all the same, and it is associated with raising money for charity so I’ve deemed it more than worthwhile writing about it on my blog.

20150412-A_Monks Kirby Daffodil Festival 2015_Daffs

Daffs _ At 2015 Daffodil Festival, Newnham Paddox, Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.

20150412_Monks Kirby Daffodil Festival

A rough indication of the “walk” around the festival’s grounds

Every year, the village of Monk’s Kirby (a member of the Revel Villages), holds its annual daffodil festival, a sort of village fete, at Newnham Paddox, at the kind permission of The Earl and Countess of Denbigh who live there. It’s all organized by and in aid of The Friends of the C-of-E Revel Churches.

There was a small entrance fee of £3.00 for adults and £1.00 for children.

…..

……..

…………

20150412-C_Monks Kirby Daffodil Festival 2015_Wooded Glade

Wooded Glade _ At 2015 Daffodil Festival, Newnham Paddox, Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.

The six churches of The Revel Group are, in no particular order :-

• St Leonard’s, Willey,
• St. John The Baptist, Brinklow,
• St. Denys’s, Pailton,
• All Saints, Harborough Magna
• Holy Trinity, Churchover
• And of course in Monks Kirby, St Edith’s.

Once in the grounds of Newnham Paddox, there were various stalls to peruse, live music, performances and displays to enjoy and, of course, food and drink to be had.

Performances this year (I’m writing in 2015) included :
Ocho Rios Steel Band, Jill Bartlett School of Dancing and Dunchurch Silver Band.

Foody stuff had all the usual suspects ;
Ice Cream, Cakes, Hot Dogs, Hot Drinks, etc.

Other exhibitors etc. included ;
Coombe Abbey Woodturners, Beekeepers, CPL, Jewellery, Kids Games, Alpacas, RSPB, Preserves, Donkey Rides, and various others, notably a super Model Woodyard.

20150412-K_Monks Kirby Daffodil Festival 2015_Cherry Blossom

Blassom _ At 2015 Daffodil Festival, Newnham Paddox, Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.

Despite all these attractions, the star of the event, was the grounds themselves. The initial “fete” area, leads into a shallow valley, surrounded by farmland (mostly crops), and within the valley are a couple of ornamental lakes. Well, lakes may conjure up an image of huge, wide expanses of water, but these aren’t in that league. No, they’re more like sizeable ponds, but large enough to be in scale with the surrounding landscape, mature trees and shrubs making a slightly wild appearance whilst also being obviously planned out. In fact, the drive up to the entrance, out of Monks Kirby village, is along a sweeping drive through landscaped grassy parkland, [by Capability Brown between 1745 and 1753] with individual specimen trees apparently randomly scattered across the pastures.

20150412-E_Monks Kirby Daffodil Festival 2015_Spring Bud

Spring Buds _ At 2015 Daffodil Festival, Newnham Paddox, Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.

20150412-D_Monks Kirby Daffodil Festival 2015_Primroses

Primroses _ At 2015 Daffodil Festival, Newnham Paddox, Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.

Getting back to the grounds; there are large drifts of daff’s, blossom trees, mature deciduous trees coming into bud after their winter slumber and interspersed with evergreen conifers. Other spring flowers graced the area, including some beautiful clumps of primroses. I don’t think the grounds are overly gardened though, they certainly aren’t very manicured. However, there is a certain unkemptness which maybe adds to the charm rather than detracts. The lakes themselves are lined with sizeable areas of reeds and rushes and the whole area doesn’t take long to walk around, unless of course, like me you stop to look closer at the details and attempt to take photo’s, trying to do the place justice.

20150412-B_Monks Kirby Daffodil Festival 2015_Poolside Daffs

Lakeside Daffs _ At 2015 Daffodil Festival, Newnham Paddox, Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.

20150412-G_Monks Kirby Daffodil Festival 2015_Decaying Wood

Decaying Wood _ At 2015 Daffodil Festival, Newnham Paddox, Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.

20150412-F_Monks Kirby Daffodil Festival 2015_Decaying Wood

Decaying Wood _ At 2015 Daffodil Festival, Newnham Paddox, Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.

I say attempt, because I wasn’t really happy with my photographic attempts today; I just couldn’t find a decent exposure setting, but hey, maybe there are days when things just don’t work out OK.

20150412-I_Monks Kirby Daffodil Festival 2015_Cheetah Sculpture (b+w)

Cheetah Sculpture _ At 2015 Daffodil Festival, Newnham Paddox, Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.

In the past, the lakes area was laid out as an outdoor sculpture park, with some very large pieces of art (including a couple of huge plate-iron elephants), but I was disappointed to find that over the last few years (when I haven’t visited) many of these art-works have gone and not been replaced, leaving only a few pieces of note. Of these, I think my fave would be the Cheetah and cub.

20150412-H_Monks Kirby Daffodil Festival 2015_Cheetah Sculpture

Cheetah Sculpture _ At 2015 Daffodil Festival, Newnham Paddox, Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.

I’ve had a look on the inter-web and cannot find any recent web-pages/sites that suggest the Art-Park is currently open, but I stand to be corrected. Good luck if you fancy finding out more yourself.

20150412-J_Monks Kirby Daffodil Festival 2015_Sun Bleached

Sun Bleached Branch/Stick _ At 2015 Daffodil Festival, Newnham Paddox, Monks Kirby, Warwickshire.

Anyway, I don’t think there’s much more to add, apart from I’m sorry that I’m posting well after this year’s event; but it is an annual happening, so make a note and next spring, sometime around Easter, go find out about 2016’s event and hope for some sunshine to make the day really extra special.

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings and my photo’s such as they are …. If you’d like to comment on my diary or any of my pic’s please feel welcome. I’d love to hear from you.

T.T.F.N. Gary.

20150426_Cawston Woods Walk – Bluebell Meander

20150426_Cawston Woods Walk – Bluebell Meander

20150426_Cawston Woods - Bluebell Meander

The route, mapped on WalkJogRun

When : 26th April 2015
Who : Me and my kids
Where : Cawston, Rugby, Warwickshire.
Start + End Point : Cawston Grange Housing Estate
General Grid Ref. : SP47,72
Distance : Approx 2.25 miles (3.6 km)
Significant heights : None to speak of

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

Summary : An hour or so just wandering or meandering to enjoy the bluebells.

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

Also, please use this link to my pic’s of Cawston Woods and surrounding area, from my this and previous visits.

20150426-10_Cawston Bluebell Woods - Tree Trunks + Bluebells

Bluebells and Tree Trunks – Cawston Woods

20150426-05_Cawston Bluebell Woods - New Leaves (colour)

I really liked the way the light shone through the leaves

I’m not going to say much at all in this post, it’s really just a reprise of other diary posts I’ve written about Cawston Woods, BUT, it’s almost an annual pilgrimage during each springtime, and with good reason, every year at the end of April and beginning of May a good proportion of the woods are blanketed with bluebells. They only flower for a couple of weeks and I nearly always seem to arrive just as they are going over, but this year I went a tad earlier only to find them not quite in full bloom but lovely all the same.

20150426-21_Cawston Bluebell Woods - Bluebells

Bluebell Flowers – Lovely

My kids came with me (they love our local woods too) and they went off happily chatting together whilst I wandered taking photographs. In the greater countryside the woods are really quite small, but large enough for them both to disappear from view. However, I knew exactly where to find them; at the top of their favourite yew tree. If you didn’t know they were perched in amongst the top branches you wouldn’t notice them at-all, they almost disappear completely.

20150426-20_Cawston Bluebell Woods - Tree Trunk + Bluebells

Bluebells

Equally as interesting as the bluebells, are the trees themselves, don’t forget to look up into the canopy, I love the silhouetted shapes of the branches against the bright blue skies and fluffy white clouds. The newly emerging leaves are fresh and bright as well and I like the way they contrast against the dark shady areas in the trees. Also, if you just sit and be quiet the bird song is just beautiful and you may catch a fleeting glimpse of a grey squirrel or two (assuming there aren’t too many dogs being walked in the area). If you are extremely lucky you might even see a Muntjac Deer.

20150426-07_Cawston Bluebell Woods - Rape Seed Field

Rape Seed Field next to Cawston Woods (the round object rotates as a bird scarer)

Anyway, the route …. I’ll not bore you too much with a detailed description this time, instead I’ll do it as bullet points :-

• Start :- Cawston Grange Estate. Let’s say I started on Trussell Way, just past the side roads of Cave Close and Durrell Drive. Trussell Way is currently a dead end with plenty of easy parking (until they push the road further into the local farmland as the next phase of housing is built).

20130519-21_Cawston Grange - Perimeter Path - Bridleway

Perimeter path around the Cawston Grange Housing Estate

• Head out onto a strip of grass at the end of Trussell Way to join the Perimeter path around the edge of the current housing. (Turn left on the path).

 

• Exit the housing estate and turn right to follow the Coventry Road B4642 (was A4071) away from Bilton/Rugby.

20140309-09_Cawston Farm + Public Footpath

Cawston Farm on the right … Nature Trails Nursery to the left.

• Cross the road to pass between Nature Trails Nursery School and Cawston Farm buildings.

 

 

 

 

20130512-02_Public Footpath passing Cawston Farm - Rugby Warwickshire

Farm Track heading towards Cawston Woods

• Follow farm track down a gentle slope, passing some low barns and heading towards some woods.

• Enter the woods to the left of the farm-track and wander on the small paths under the trees (just coming into leaf). By the way, the woods to the right of the track are now designated “out-of-bounds” as a nature reserve and now no longer accessible to the general public.

,

20150426-26_Home Building_Lime Tree Village Expansion Cawston Rugby

Retirement Home Complex_Lime Tree Village Expansion, Cawston, Rugby, Warwickshire

• Exited the woods onto Cawston Lane, opposite where the Lime Tree Retirement housing “village” is currently being extended.

• Turn left up Cawston Lane, which is quite narrow, so walk in single file taking care of the traffic using the road to/from Dunchurch.

 

20140309-05_Road-side trees + Fence_Cawston B4642 Coventry Road (old A4071)

Coventry Road (B4642 was A4071) at Cawston, Rugby

• Meet The Coventry Road at a tee junction, and turn right/cross again.

• Re-join the perimeter path around Cawston Grange houses.

• Finish, where you started.

 

20150426-30_Daisy Flowers_Cawston Rugby WarwickshireAnd to finish, I spent another half an hour taking photo’s of the little display of tulips and wallflowers I have in flower in my front garden – They were just about at their best in the afternoon sunshine – Happy flowers in a range of colours including yellows, oranges, pinks, russets, rusts and maroons.

20150426-45_Tulip Pink

20150426-34_Wallflower Rust Red Orange

20150426-50_Tulip Pink

And to really finish, if you want to just visit the woods without the walk around Cawston Grange/Coventry Road, there is limited parking space on a rough layby on Cawston Lane, opposite the Lime Tree Village complex.

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings …. If you’d like to comment on my diary or any of my pic’s please feel welcome. I’d love to hear from you.

T.T.F.N. Gary.