On the second Tuesday of every month a group of Baginton residents and friends assemble at one of the many village public houses in local Warwickshire at 9.45am for a start at 10 am. Our routes vary between 4 and 5 miles (2 hours easy walking – we don’t rush) and we then normally have a pub lunch together. This is not compulsory! – But it is always a happy social occasion. Members take turns to research the next walk.
There is no problem bringing your dog. We are regularly accompanied by our four-legged friends with whom we sometimes have fun when we come to stiles. Luckily most of these have now been replaced with kissing gates, making for easier walking for us all.
If you have no transport to the starting point, one of us will be happy to provide this.
We would of course welcome new walkers. Please contact Brenda Brown, who acts as co-ordinator, if you need a lift or would like to know more – phone 02476 305509.
Why not come with us to enjoy some fresh air and healthy exercise, exploring the local countryside?
Our next walk will be on Tuesday 9th January when we plan to meet at 9.45am at Draycote Reservoir.
December 2023 Walk
We have not planned a walk for December as many of us will be busy in the run up to Christmas.
November 2023 Walk
In November eleven of us set off from The Bell pub in Shottery, passing Anne Hathaway’s picturesque cottage then down a narrow lane beside a group of pretty thatched cottages. This led to Shottery Brook which meandered through a residential area and wooded parkland. Once past a children’s play area, a footbridge over the brook took us through a commercial and housing area to arrive at Timothy Bridge.
Here we descended to the canal towpath turning left towards Stratford. For the next mile, we enjoyed an easy walk along the towpath decorated by bushes of orange and red pyracantha berries. No chugging narrow boats today as they were all safely moored to the bank. We had to negotiate a few steep slopes where the towpath descended below low bridges and crossed to the other side of the canal continuing past an attractive canal side housing development.
We eventually arrived at the busy Stratford canal basin and the recreation area near the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, where we crossed over the river to enjoy our coffee break on benches as we watched the swans paddling along the river.
Once refreshed, we set off along the river bank turning south to enjoy the view of the theatre, the picturesque Holy Trinity Church and the pounding weirs pouring into the river. When we had checked the walk a week ago this area was totally flooded, so we were relieved that the floods had receded. We crossed the river at a footbridge to walk alongside a pleasant housing development. The path followed the track of a former railway line and ran alongside Stratford Racecourse. The route turned right towards Shottery and we met up again with Shottery Brook as it wove its way towards the village. We passed the picturesque timber framed village school, noisy with children preparing for a coach trip, and arrived back at The Bell for a tasty lunch.
October 2023 Walk
With weather conditions more favourable this month, parking was alongside Warwick racecourse on what was at first a misty autumn morning. As expected, when the sun found a way through it was quite warm. We have walked in many different areas over the years and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find somewhere new to explore but this, we think, was a "first". Our opening leg was across the racecourse, past the golf driving range and through woods to the Birmingham Road and the Saltisford arm of the canal. A long stretch along the Grand Union Canal followed, stopping en route for a late elevenses. Eventually reaching the remarkable viaduct taking the canal over the River Avon, we descended the steep, substantial staircase to join the riverside path. This led to St. Nicholas Park, giving two happy and energetic accompanying dogs a good run around and leaving us a stroll through the town centre to our starting point. Total distance 5 miles. Repositioning our cars, we dined in style at the Old Fourpenny Shop, a venue new to most.
September 2023 Walk
Baginton Walkers what have we done?
This month the rain and last month the sun
Spoiled our plans for a morning of fun,
Enjoying the exercise, the views and the chat
Topped off with tasty lunch from the pub we were at.
Well that was almost true as in August we did enjoy a tasty lunch at the White Hart, Ufton having decided that in view of the exceptional heat, discretion was the better part of valour, and we would forgo the exercise but retain the sociable meal.
However the September experience was very different: pouring rain obscuring the lovely cross country view from the pub car park. So this walk was postponed for another month.
August 2023 Walk
The August walk took us into new territory even for our seasoned walkers, to the village of Barby on the Warwickshire / Northamptonshire border.
Leaving from the Arnold Arms we headed down a wooded lane, past a spot marked by a bench remembering the sad death of a man and his dog in a caravan fire. The lane continued over a field to another path with magnificent views over open countryside beyond the Oxford canal and into South Warwickshire. Passing over the canal towards the Dunchurch Pools Marina we headed along the tow path, past a flock of Canada Geese at their Summer vacation grounds and various narrow boats moored up for the day or even longer. With the 3 HMP premises at Onley in the distance we paused for our coffee break by one of the many farm access bridges along this stretch of canal.
At the next bridge, number 81, we left the tow path and headed towards the fishing lakes which were well populated with keen fishermen and their collection of amazing rods and other equipment. At this point the marked track was blocked by a barbed wire fence but a short detour via a farm gate got us back on track towards the next waypoint, high in a solitary oak tree in the middle of a field. Now directed towards the gate in the corner of the field we completed our walk up a short uphill section of road which took us back to our starting point, the Arnold Arms, where drinks and food were ready waiting for us. Just as we arrived so did the rain which had fortunately stopped by the time we were ready to return home.
July 2023 Walk
We have not planned a walk for July as many of us will be on holiday.
June 2023 Walk
Our June walk was scheduled to start from The White Hart at Ufton, however on the day it was exceptionally hot, so discretion being “the better part of valour” we decided to meet up there for a delicious lunch and forgo the exercise.
May 2023 Walk
By popular request, the leaders for this walk were asked to repeat the walk they lead last May, as not all members had been able to join us last year. On a bright morning, a group of seven walkers set off following a rather muddy wooded footpath through the Kenilworth Road Spinney, a narrow belt of trees lining the road on both sides for nearly two miles.The footpath led us into Wainbody Wood, a mixed woodland of 70 acres, where we took a circular path through the bluebells.
A steady climb through more woodland took us up to Gibbet Hill Road. Gibbet Hill, at the junction of Kenilworth and Stoneleigh Roads, gets its name from an incident in 1765. A farmer and his two friends, returning from Coventry market, were attacked by three armed men and robbed and left senseless.The main clue (a piece of pistol) led to the arrest of two soldiers and a weaver. They were tried, convicted and hanged and their corpses suspended in chains on the spot of the murder.The gibbets were not removed until 1810 and for years afterwards, the superstition remained that the chains could be heard rattling during stormy weather.
The walk continued into the University of Warwick campus. Again we were treated to a spectacular bluebell display in Tocil Wood. We took our break on benches overlooking the lake, where we were visited by four adult geese and a total of fifteen goslings.
The walk continued through the Millennium Wood, planted to celebrate links between the University and the local community. We continued into Tutbury Avenue open space, where Coventry City Park Rangers had recently planted 800 trees. After crossing the A45 we walked through Canley Ford nature reserve, which is situated between Hearsall Golf Course and Stivichall Common. It forms part of the Millennium Green Local Nature Reserve. We crossed Kenilworth Road to make our way back to our starting point, where we enjoyed a pleasant lunch at the Burnt Post.
April 2023 Walk
Weren’t we lucky? – a thoroughly wet day 24 hours before and rain forecast from lunchtime onwards on the day. Clear and mostly blue skies for us in the morning, so we were indeed fortunate for our 5 mile walk across fields and along little used country lanes. Setting out from The Falcon Inn at Hatton, our route steered us towards Little Shrewley, then via Hatton Green (Holy Trinity) in the direction of Beausale and finally back to Haseley (St. Mary the Virgin).
After an extensive muddy field of oil seed rape, it was time for elevenses resting on a conveniently placed large, felled tree which provided ideal seating. Guinea fowl, lots of primroses, a particularly soggy meadow, a broken bridge, strange brick structures (Severn Trent Water) – an interesting ramble in mostly unspoiled countryside, followed by a most enjoyable meal back at The Falcon.
March 2023 Walk
March’s walk started from the Olde Saracens Head on the fringes of Balsall Common and completes the figure of 8 from one of our previous walks from Barston to Hampton in Arden. The weather on the day was sunny and warm in contrast to the previous week’s snow and rain.
Leaving the Saracens Head, we headed off down Magpie Lane past the attractive Jessamine Cottage and Balsall Farmhouse, to pick up the Millienium Way as we headed towards Balsall Street and Barston. Diverting around flooded parts of the path we came across the well eaten remains of a small deer only recognised by the two legs complete with hooves!. Crossing the road we headed towards Barston Church the tower of which could be clearly seen in the distance. As we reached the middle of the path it became evident that the River Blythe had broken its banks and spread over the adjoining fields preventing us from crossing the bridge towards Barston. Fortunately we had seen this before and headed across the fields to intercept the walk but missing out our planned stop to admire St Swithin’s Church, the snowdrops and crocus in the churchyard and our coffee break at Barston.
Heading back to the Saracens Head and picking up the Millenium away once again, we came on a small flock of rare breed Zwartbles sheep and lambs, distinguishable by their dark brown coat white socks and white tipped tails. Passing through fields containing more common sheep and lambs we arrived at our destination for a well-earned drink and excellent lunch.
February 2023 Walk
Choosing a route to avoid a mud bath was the key factor for this month’s walk. So we met at The Greyhound Inn, Hawkesbury Junction, Sutton Stop, Longford and set off along the towpath of the Oxford Canal. This was unusually quiet; no craft chugging along and little wildlife to see. At Tusses Bridge, where Aldermans Green Road crossed the canal, we climbed up to the road to find the entrance of the Wyken Slough Nature reserve. The path shadowed a short length of the M6 before turning into the peaceful setting of Wyken Pool and today was blessed by a huge gathering of swans enjoying its delights.
From here we made our way to Longford Park, which is a green oasis in the middle of a substantial built up area. No mud or other challenges as we traversed the bridge over the River Sowe to reach our coffee stop. Once refreshed we faced the challenge of crossing the busy Longford Road to join the Sowe Valley Way, which meandered through a small wilderness area below the Coventry Canal. After a small diversion we made our way up to Bridge 9 to join the towpath. At bridge 10 we paused to admire the ironwork collage of a large swan in flight accompanied by a fish and 2 kingfishers: the only wildlife to be seen apart from the pairs of mallards paddling along, maybe to scout for a suitable nesting site. So we continued along the towpath to reach the junction of the Oxford and Coventry canals and our welcome lunch at the very popular Greyhound Inn.
January 2023 Walk
In January we were less blessed as there had been so much rain that on our reconnoitre our planned route was extremely muddy and on the basis that discretion is the better part of valour we decided to forgo the walk. However eleven of us still met up at The Orange Tree, Chadwick End where we enjoyed a delicious lunch and will reconvene at The Orange Tree later this year.
December 2022 Walk
In December ten brave souls met on a cold and frosty morning for a 4 mile ramble in the Corley area. Recollections: Lots of gates, a few slippery stiles (teamwork came to the fore), many horses with coats on in the fields, no boots to clean afterwards because all the mud was frozen - although this made it difficult underfoot in some places. We are sure the fresh air and exercise were good for us and it didn't seem so cold when we were moving. We reconvened in the warm for a shared Christmas buffet lunch.
November 2022 Walk
Our walk was supposed to start in Hampton in Arden, but as the White Lion Inn was closed during the week, we moved to the half way point at the Bull’s Head at Barston, which turned out to be a good move.
So, starting from here, we walked along a semi paved lane towards the West Midlands Golf Club and Barston Lakes which proved to be very windy and almost devoid of the usual fishermen on its banks.
Continuing up Marsh Lane alongside the railway we headed towards Hampton in Arden where we stopped for our coffee break at the church which was originally founded in 1086 but extensively restored in 1878.
Continuing our walk, this time across fields which turned out to be not too muddy given the weather over the previous few days, we reached the hamlet of Walsal End where the path continued down a drive and past the front gardens of a few “cottages”. Crossing some more fields, we eventually reached Barston and the Bull’s Head where we enjoyed our Lunch and drinks and discussed plans for Christmas in a cosy private room.
October 2022 Walk
On a sunny autumn morning, nine walkers and two small dogs met at the Two Boats Inn in Long Itchington. After a short section on the canal towpath, we continued on the Millennium Way, crossing several fields and then through a small wooded area and some housing to reach the main road. We crossed the A423 to proceed up Stockton Road on a wide tarmac path, passing a large new housing development.
The walk then followed a bridleway which led us back to rejoin the canal towpath, where we passed through a flight of locks and by Stockton Marina. We continued to follow the canal, until we reached bridge no. 20 where we left the canal and crossed the bridge to follow the road back towards Stockton. The footpath took us past some industrial units to join a path around the disused quarry area. An ichthyosaur skeleton was discovered at Stockton Quarry in 1898 and is now on display at the Natural History Museum in London. To commemorate this remarkable discovery, the village of Stockton has a road sign with its very own ichthyosaur.
Our route took us through Stockton, where we were interested to read about the Stockton Boulder, which it is believed was transported to the area during the Ice Age. We followed the road uphill out the village, through a spinney to cross the A426 to enter a woodland path which led us to the fishing pools near the Blue Lias Inn, which is named after the blue lias clay used in cement manufacture and famous for preserving fossils, especially ammonites. We crossed the canal bridge to rejoin the towpath, which we followed back to our starting point. Unfortunately, the Two Boats were unable to serve lunch, due to staffing issues; however, the landlord very kindly
arranged an alternative booking for us at the Duck on the Pond just down the road, where we enjoyed a lovely meal.
September 2022 Walk
Our September walk setting off from The Queen’s Head, Bretford took us up the gentle incline of the shady bridleway leading to the outskirts of Brinklow where we joined a wooded path leading to open farmland. We soon entered a vast field of very tall maize through which a wide pathway had conveniently been left for access. This led to a rather overgrown area running alongside the fenced and gaping hole of an enormous quarry busy with trucks ferrying the spoils of their labours. Crossing the deep tracks they left in the clay was somewhat challenging but we all made it safely to more comfortable terrain.
Here we followed an attractive shady path shielded from all the activity by a hedgerow of brambles and sloes covered in dark but rather small fruit. We caught glimpses of an abandoned rusty raised conveyer rail, evidence of past quarrying activity now being reclaimed by Nature. At the end of the track we arrived at Birchley Wood where we stopped for our coffee and comfort break.
Our route took us alongside the wood on the metalled lane leading to Birchley Farm and then by the field edge and a couple of small pools where we had previously spotted wild boar enjoying a drink. We continued by the edge of vast fields where the maize had been harvested, leaving little for foraging wildlife, and eventually we joined a long shady path. After a while this opened up to another “maize prairie”. Here we were overtaken by huge trucks which had been collecting the harvest. After a short stretch along a baked track and beside another maize field we joined the narrow path downhill to Bretford and a tasty lunch at The Queen’s Head.
August 2022 Walk
A very welcome larger group than usual set off at 10.00am on a rather hot morning for a thankfully level 5 mile walk, mostly across the Hatton and Grove Park estates - no mud and no awkward stiles! Our first stop was to admire a beautiful field of sunflowers. Over an already harvested field and across cattle grids on a farm road, we reached a vast field of ripe corn yet to be gathered in, a quite spectacular sight with the tower of St. Mary's, Warwick in the far distance. A shady spot was located for a rest and our elevenses. Over somewhat scruffy farmland and along a short road section, the route across a tidier field gave access to a tunnel under the railway, the Grand Union Canal locks and the towpath back to the Hatton Arms. In the midday heat, we were glad of refreshment and enjoyed our pre-ordered meals.
July 2022 Walk
Our July walk started in the village of Wasperton from the Church with a wooden spire. The party of 6 brave souls headed out on one of the warmest days of the year but fortunately the sun was behind the clouds and at one stage it even rained! Following bridleways towards Ashorne we passed an imposing listed Georgian farmhouse situated at the end of a long drive with probably the best views of South Warwickshire and, in the distance, the Cotswolds. Returning over fields and passing a company growing trees we returned to Wasperton followed by a well deserved drink and meal at the Granville Arms in Barford.
June 2022 Walk
In June we decided to cancel the walk for various reasons, including the recognition that very long grass over a stretch of the planned walk would present a major challenge to the 2 small dogs who are members of our group.
May 2022 Walk
For various reasons our numbers were somewhat depleted for this month’s walk; however a select group set off on a bright spring morning. The walk, led by Steve Jephcott, began in the suburban streets of south west Coventry. We followed a wooded footpath through the Kenilworth Road Spinney and got occasional glimpses of the large properties secluded behind the trees. The footpath led us into Wainbody Wood where we took a circular path through the bluebells and we also heard woodpeckers tapping in the trees. A steady climb through more woodland took us up to Gibbet Hill Road and on into the University of Warwick campus. We took a slight detour through Tocil Wood and were treated to a spectacular bluebell display.
Our midway break was taken on a bench overlooking the lake, where we were visited by four adult geese and a total of thirteen goslings. The walk continued through the Millennium Wood, planted in December 1999 to celebrate links between the University and the local community. After another peaceful green open space we reached the A45, where we crossed into the Canley Ford local nature reserve to continue through this green oasis in the city, passing Hearsall Golf course and across Kenilworth Road to make our way back to our starting point. We were joined for a pleasant lunch at the Burnt Post by two members of the group who had been unable to walk with us. This was a very local delightful walk so make a note to try it next year when the bluebells are blooming.
April 2022 Walk
Ten walkers set off in April starting from Wroxall Abbey on quite a damp day, but luckily for us the drizzle soon dried up. We walked over fields, up one “gently sloping” hill and through several kissing gates. There was only one stile right at the end of the walk but this was a bit challenging as part of it had rotted away!
The coffee break was taken in St. Nicholas church yard at Baddesley Clinton where a couple of benches proved very welcome. A peep through the unlocked door revealed a fascinating interior which we could not explore (muddy boots!). We continued through a rather muddy Hay Wood but were rewarded by a haze of green from the budding trees. A very enjoyable lunch was had at the Black Boy pub a few miles along the road.
March 2022 Walk
On a bright and breezy March morning, eight walkers and two small dogs met in Leek Wootton. The walk, led by Steve Jephcott, began on well-maintained footpaths leading to All Saints Church. After walking through the churchyard, which had many spring flowers, we crossed into an open area surrounding the Warwickshire Golf and Country club. The walk continued around the edge of the golf course and through an arboretum. We left the golf course area to join footpaths crossing farmland and after negotiating a rather muddy section we were back on the edge of the golf course, where we heard a cry of fore and a wayward golf shot landed just feet away from our group! We waited to indicate to the most apologetic golfer where his ball had come to rest and then carried on our way. The footpath took us past the WW2 anti-aircraft battery at Goodrest Farm and a brief roadside walk on Rouncil Lane. Then we came through some woodland and circuited the edge of the golf course passing the former Woodcote Manor House, now the Warwickshire Police HQ. We continued back into Leek Wootton, where after changing our rather muddy boots, we enjoyed a very good lunch at The Anchor pub.
February 2022 Walk
Our February walk, led by David Grimsey and enjoyed by 10 walkers plus 2 dogs, followed paths through Binley Woods to arrive at the entrance to the Coombe Abbey estate. We then explored one of the many woodland paths around the estate to admire the abundance of snowdrops, pools and bird life.
We resisted the temptation to attempt the lofty challenge of the “Go Ape” experience scrambling among the treetops (which to our admiration one of our number had completed last year!). Our coffee stop conveniently coincided with our arriving at benches alongside pools abundant with water fowl. Once refreshed we embarked on our return journey through another path within Binley Woods and having changed out of our muddy boots we met up at The Roseycombe pub for a tasty lunch.
January 2022 Walk
The New Year commenced with the January walk, led by Chris Goodwin from Newbold Comyn Leisure Centre in Leamington Spa and encompassed stretches of the Centenary Way, the Leam Valley nature reserve, the Grand Union Canal and Jephson Gardens. Our ramblings were rewarded by a delicious lunch at the Newbold Comyn Arms.
December 2021 Walk
Concluding our 2021 programme, our December ramble took us on pleasant paths and country lanes, linking the interesting villages of Hunningham, Eathorpe (decorated for Christmas) and Wappenbury, never far from the surprisingly full River Leam. Our “year” in fact only commenced in May, when groups like our own were permitted to get together again. Our other walks have started from the varying locations of Binley Woods, Braunston, Leamington, Wellesbourne, Bubbenhall (the most local) and Ufton. The September walk was unfortunately cancelled due to heavy rain – a rare occurrence, we are fairly hardy.
November 2021 Walk
In November, we were treated to an exploration of some of the scenic area around Ufton encompassing woodland, open countryside (in part sadly scarred by HS2 intrusion) and a canal-side walk and coffee stop. We returned to the White Hart to enjoy the expansive view from its grounds and a delicious lunch.
October 2021 Walk
This walk introduced many of us to some hidden delights of the area around Bubbenhall including a field of beautifully clipped lavender, a nature reserve and the country retreat of a wealthy footballer! Following our enjoyable exercise we retreated to The Baginton Oak for a well- deserved lunch.
August 2021 Walk
On Tuesday 10th August we met at The Kings Head, Warwick Rd Wellesbourne, CV35 9LX
July 2021 Walk
On Tuesday 13th July we met at the Newbold Comyn Arms , Newbold Terrace, Leamington Spa CV32 4EU
June 2021 Walk
June’s walk started from The Admiral Nelson, a canal side pub in Braunston, on a lovely sunny day. Having crossed the canal bridge we walked up a steepish path taking us over the canal and the disused track of the old LNWR Weedon to Leamington Spa railway line. This was closed to passenger traffic in 1958, removed in 1963 and is now home to a herd of black cattle. Continuing up the lane we passed Home Farm; luckily the cows in the field were completely unconcerned by our walking by!
Crossing the A45 at the top of the hill we walked down along the edge of a wood which gave some much welcomed shade, although the nettles were not kind to those of our group who were wearing shorts! Uphill again, we passed Berryfields Farms and then took a right turn to take us downhill to Miry Bridge over the River Leam. Although at this point it is little more than a drainage ditch rather than the river we are more used to seeing. Another right turn took us uphill following the Leam past fields of blue linseed flowers. At the top we passed quite swiftly under a rather dilapidated bridge of the old Weedon to Leamington railway line once again.
It was then on to the deserted medieval village of Wolfhamcote, which now consists of only St. Peter’s Church, the Old Rectory and Wolfhamcote Hall. Further along we passed through the medieval village of Braunstonbury, which could only been seen by the undulations in the fields on either side. We soon reached the canal tow path and had a pleasant walk past Braunston Marina and so returned to The Admiral Nelson for a very tasty lunch on the canalside in the sunshine.
May 2021 Walk
After a very long break without our walks due to Covid restrictions, 11 folk met up again in May to resume our monthly village walks. Apart from the pleasure of catching up with old friends, we were all very grateful to this month’s leader, Chris Goodwin, who treated us to the amazing display of bluebells carpeting Willenhall and Binley Woods, a great amenity on our doorstep. A most enjoyable morning reunion celebrated with lunch at The Baginton Oak.
March 2020 Walk
This month’s village walk led by Chris Goodwin started at The Bear in Berkswell where we had booked lunch. The lady who took the booking was fabulous and I explained that there would be dogs with us and was told that this wouldn’t be a problem.
However on the day Mr Grumpy was in charge and when Gayle handed in our menu choices he started questioning who had taken the booking, why they had taken it, where he was going to put us etc, etc. We got the feeling that lunch wasn’t going to be an option – or a good experience. Luckily, when we returned to partake, we ended up being served by the fabulous lady and not Mr Grumpy, who was literally left holding the baby!
Not surprisingly, given the recent weather conditions, the walk was very, very muddy in parts and was spoilt by HS2 works. In 2017, Berkswell had a new high-pressure gas main installed causing chaos and HS2 is now going to cross this new main at a wrong angle so a whole new gas main has to be replaced – fences- digging – drilling and ruining the landscape even further.
Luckily there were sections of hard path and once away from the building works we hit a ridge where the view across Birmingham showed a peak of Lickey Hills and some great childhood memories for Chris. We even passed one lady walking her dog in a rather different manner – driving down a country lane whilst her dog ran behind the car!
Berkswell is a wealthy village and when passing a quite ordinary house towards the end of the walk, we passed a McLaren sports car in a lean-to that had on the number plate “Lamborghini’s and Ferrari’s were just quarter-pounders whereas the McLaren is a Big Mac!”
THE GOOD - The view of the Lickey Hills and company of our walkers
THE BAD - Mr Grumpy at The Bear
THE UGLY - HS2 and the devastation of the countryside
February 2020 Walk
Deciding on a route for our February walk was greatly influenced by recent very muddy experiences and we hoped that a canal and urban option would fit the bill. So 11 of us met at The Greyhound Inn, Hawkesbury Junction, and set off over the bridge near the lock at the junction of the Oxford Canal and the Coventry Canal to follow its towpath.Here we admired the railing at Bridge 10 which displayed an excellent ironwork collage of a large swan in flight accompanied by a fish and 2 kingfishers (the only sign of wildlife). In spite of earlier wind and rain and some littering of small branches the towpath was reasonable as we continued, leaving at the ramp by Bridge 9 to join the Sowe Valley Way. This led to a more challenging patch of rather waterlogged ground and we had to pick our way through the boggy patches to cross a small bridge over a stream and make our way to arrive at the busy Longford Road.
Here we crossed into the oasis of Longford Park, no bog, puddles or other challenges and a tarmacked surface which bridged the rather muddy and fast flowing River Sowe.We resisted the temptations of the benches and the children’s playground as we walked through the park and into a new housing estate to encounter signage named after birds like the avocet, grebe and sandpiper, none of which we witnessed on our way!
We soon joined a path leading to the huge pool at Wyken Slough Nature reserve where we paused on the bridge to watch the swans and other waterfowl, disappointed by our lack of treats. Once across a rather boggy area we rested at a convenient bench to finish our refreshments and then continued on to join a lane which ran alongside pastures and then below the busy M6. Having walked this area some time ago before the motorway sound barriers were installed it was noticeably quieter this time.
We left the peace and quiet of the reserve as we walked under the motorway,along Alderman’s Green Road, over Tusses Bridge and down a narrow cut to reach the Oxford Canal. We followed this back through quiet countryside and past numerous colourful moored narrowboats to Hawkesbury Junction and a tasty lunch at The Greyhound Inn.
January 2020 Walk
The leader had himself been led on a horrendously muddy ramble as part of another group the previous week. He was therefore determined on this day to follow a route as mud free as possible in this very wet winter. Avoiding mud completely proved impossible. Parking in Crackley Lane, our walk took us through the woods and via Hollis Lane and Malthouse Lane to the Kenilworth Castle and Abbey Fields area, where we stopped briefly for elevenses. Even the grass there was extremely soggy. Rain threatened, so we resumed our walk promptly. We first ducked under the road bridge and then followed the path beside the swollen Finham Brook, before joining the track of the old Kenilworth to Berkswell railway back to Crackley Woods.
An incident of note was finding a newly fallen ivy covered tree completely blocking our way at one point. Some of our number eventually found a way round, but the hardiest of us crawled through and under the branches and greenery on all fours. We noted a lot of new houses being built in the Common Lane area but most of this five mile route holds plenty of interest – and is largely on hard surfaces! Wholesome meals were enjoyed at The Oak, with plenty of friendly banter. This included reminiscences of past misdemeanours in our younger days and memories of The Oak in previous guises.
Earlier Walks can be found using the following links: -