December 2011 Walk
We were joined by three new walkers plus 2 granddaughters for our December walk on a sunny morning from the White Hart at Upton. Our route took us over meadowland and alongside Ufton and Long Itchington woods, still green with foliage. Here we admired a yard stocked high with logs and furnished with an enormous log splitter, both greatly envied by those of our number with wood burning stoves. We then followed the country lane through Bascote Heath, passing a ruined church and the Fox and Hen pub; the verges along our route were still decorated by the red and black fruits of wild roses and sloe bushes, as yet spurned by wild life. We soon turned along Welsh Road for a short distance to join the track to Tollhouse Bridge, where we carefully negotiated the steep path down to the Grand Union Canal.
Alongside the canal a convenient bench enabled some of us to rest and enjoy some refreshment, while others took a few photographs and watched the navigation through the Bascote flight of locks. Our route took us under Splash Bridge and Welsh Road Bridge, an ancient drovers’ route over which Welsh black cattle were driven from Wales to London. We left the canal at Longhole Bridge to join a well-defined track, a saltway, used in medieval times to transport salt around the country. This led us uphill to Ufton church, the pub and our well-earned lunch.
November 2011 Walk
There was a good turnout of thirteen lucky walkers on our November walk with some very welcome new faces. We set off from Bubbenhall Nursery on a bright and beautiful autumn morning, making sure that we had a "back marker", as we have been known to lose the odd walker. More accurately the odd walker or two have been known to be so engrossed in conversation that they have lost sight of the group and chosen an alternative route back to base!
The walk took us through Ryton Park, past the pools, and exited at the footpath to Wappenbury Woods where we stopped for a welcome coffee break. The route then meandered through woods which were still adorned by their autumn colours and we paused briefly to admire the grand view of Warwickshire. A cross country section took us over stiles and bridges and around fields of sprouting winter corn, until we reached the edge of the sprawling earthworks which covered vast pits excavated for sand and gravel, but now filled with household waste. Continuing along the footpath, we skirted around Bubbenhall Wood passing recent excavations and watched the massive machine expose the building sand. A short distance took us back to our rendezvous place, with everyone agreeing that we had experienced a great time with good weather, pleasant company and, of course, a good walk. We were rewarded by another treat as we were joined by non-walking wives and local friends for a hearty meal and good conversation at The Baginton Oak.
October 2011 Walk
We set off from Cubbington Church past the well-kept school playing fields in crisp, sunny weather. Leaving the happy noise of high-spirited children behind, we were greeted in the fields by a polite class of boys and girls coming the other way. They were accompanied by their teachers and had obviously enjoyed their learning time in the open air. A short stretch through South Cubbington Wood brought us into more open country, with Weston-under-Wetherley church away to the left and Princethorpe College on the skyline. We crossed a good size ploughed field, thankfully not muddy, encountering sheep, cattle with young and a large black pig. We emerged onto the road adjacent to the Red Lion at Hunningham and having crossed the old road bridge, it was now time for an elevenses stop back in the fields on the banks of the River Leam - very picturesque around here in the sunshine.
Refreshed, we passed the attractive small Hunningham church with our route largely following the Leam through pasture land and a series of gates. We arrived at a substantial footbridge where we were able to cross to the opposite bank. We continued on our way through a shady copse. A steady climb out of the river valley enjoying extensive views of south Warwickshire, and on to the green lane leading back to the bottom end of Cubbington village. Here, as we inspected the well-kept churchyard, a number of friendly locals were interested to know the route of our walk, which had taken us four and a half miles and two hours. We enjoyed ample, good value meals at the King's Head, with the gentlemen strategically seated to watch the cricket from India on TV. What better way than this to spend a morning in good company?
September 2011 Walk
The September walk started from The King's Head in Aston Cantlow. The Village Hall, once a Guildhall, standing opposite to the pub, dates from 16th century. The walk offered a variety of landscapes, beginning along a neat road between gardened houses, crossed the route of a now defunct railway, called locally the 'Coffee Pot line' in recognition of the engine funnels, but soon led through a gate into a part-marshy field.
There was one short significant hill which allowed views in nearly all directions before we descended to pass under a railway line and along a short road. The one shady path of the walk followed the curve of the river before we stepped out into the gloriously warm sunshine. Walking past the Severn Trent compound, we proceeded towards Wootton Wawen. Wawen means ' a farm near a wood belonging to Wagen'. Its history reaches back at least to the Doomsday Book.
We passed a busy little shop, St Peter's Church, the oldest in the country and Wootton Hall. After stopping for refreshments, we walked beside the most interesting tumbledown farmyard with its collection of tractors, steam engines, ancient cars and old farm equipment, all now rusting away, before returning to Aston Cantlow.
August 2011 Walk
The intention to walk up from the bottom of the Hatton flight of locks to the station and across country was thwarted by the discovery of an impassable stretch where an inconsiderate person had dumped rubbish blocking access to the footpath. Fortunately our intrepid leader had the foresight to check the route beforehand, so it had to be Plan B!
Thus, we joined the Grand Union Canal at Ugly Bridge, nobody knew how it got its name, and walked along the towpath to reach the British Waterways workshop; en route we passed many cheerful holiday-makers manoeuvring their barges through the 22 locks on the Hatton flight. Once we were over the canal, we proceeded cross country to an impressive railway bridge leading to a field of maize and on to a climb uphill through pasture, where we kept a safe distance from grazing animals.
When we reached Budbrooke Farm it was raining, so we paused to don our waterproofs and continued to Budbrooke Church where we stopped for a well-earned coffee break, accompanied by some friendly chickens. We paused to pay our respects to soldiers of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment buried there, including one who had been awarded the Military Medal for a brave deed in some far off land. The footpath then crossed open fields passing by a mound which was the site of a mediaeval village, where most of the villagers had apparently died during the Black Death. According to legend they were buried in a nearby field. This footpath ended at Warwick Parkway Station and led to the towpath at Hatton Bottom Lock where we followed the flight of locks uphill, again meeting the bargees queuing to navigate through each lock. We eventually arrived back at Ugly Bridge and our rendezvous point before meeting up at The Baginton Oak for a tasty lunch: an excellent walk in spite of the sharp shower.
July 2011 Walk
A small but select group of walkers met in the lay-by in Gossett Lane, Brandon, with the weather looking decidedly overcast and a distinct threat of rain. Our path led us along the side of Brandon speedway track where we took a right turn and walked past a few, very remote houses. Onto the bridle path (luckily no horses were encountered for the sake of Beau and Jasper) that was well covered with trees and hedgerow, with the quarry on our left-hand side. The path eventually gave way to a quiet road past a farm to the back of Brinklow. We walked round the perimeter of the field, which was to lead us to the quarry entrance.
We walked alongside this, through narrow paths and crossed over the quarry conveyor where a coffee break was enjoyed.
The walk continued along a quiet road and we passed woodland where the planes had collided over Coombe Abbey a few years earlier. A left turn at the end of this path saw us cross a field and retrace our earlier steps, returning to our cars. A slightly longer walk than normal, but nonetheless enjoyable for those experiencing a different local walk. We then enjoyed a pleasant lunch at The Royal Oak in Brandon.
June 2011 Walk
On the 16th June 2011, we started from The Bridge Inn at Napton under an overcast sky that promised a shower; fortunately only a few spots materialised. From the Inn we travelled along the canal bank where tall reeds and grasses lined the towpath edge. As we walked we disturbed a mother duck and her seven ducklings, which must have been a second hatching as they couldn't have been more than a couple of weeks old. The walk continued along a lane where we had to keep well in to avoid being skewered by the tines on the trailer towed by a fast moving tractor.
From the lane we crossed into a field, past a flock of panicking sheep, then onwards and upwards - a steady climb to St Lawrence Church. Here we took a coffee break to view the building and enjoy the commanding views from the churchyard. Our walk continued along the crest of the hill to the windmill and a panoramic view towards Stockton and Long Itchington. A steep descent led us past old sandpits from the early twentieth century and back to the canal where we returned to the Bridge Inn for a well-earned lunch.
May 2011 Walk
On the beautiful morning of 19th May 2011, we started at The Red Lion pub near Corley Moor. Following the "Coventry Way" across the road, our path led us through Moor Farm's fields of uncut grass, where we met another group of walkers coming from the opposite direction, obviously early risers. We entered a woody dell and soon emerged to the roar of the M6 motorway as we crossed the bridge in the direction of Fillongley. We made our way down some steep steps into a field, following the hedgerow as our route led us across fields and over footbridges. We passed by the ruins of a medieval castle on the outskirts of Fillongley. After a short trek uphill via a secluded path to the centre of the village, we crossed into Church Lane where there is an interesting house converted from a chapel. After walking through the park, we crossed several more fields before stopping for coffee. Once refreshed, we continued down the lane enjoying the buttercups, red campion and frothy white hogweed, which were taking over from the fading bluebells. On the outskirts of Corley Ash our route led us through a field, across the M6 and through some paddocks to bring us back to our starting point in Corley Moor.
April 2011 Walk
On the 21st April 2011, we met at The Bear at Berkswell where a blue sky and warm sun greeted us. We set off uphill reaching Burton Green Lane by a roundabout route of field paths, admiring English bluebells and many other wild flowers in the hedgerows. Crossing the Coventry Road, we followed the drive leading to Hill House Farm where, once clear of the buildings, we stopped for elevenses. Refreshed and renewed, we carried on to and along Back Lane to the point where we could turn left on to The Heart of England Way, which we followed for one mile over arable fields, past Blind Hall Farm and almost back to Berkswell. Seeing hares in one field, ears sticking up above the crop, was a notable sight. Sturdy stiles and kissing gates marked our way throughout, though no affections were exchanged - or, if they were, it was done surreptitiously. No mud was encountered at any stage, in fact it was rather obvious that we needed some rain - but not this morning. A short fenced path, where we were greeted by two pigs, pointed us to the church, from where it was a short step back to The Bear. We bagged a table in the sun on the patio and enjoyed drinks and an alfresco meal.
March 2011 Walk
On the 17th March 2011, we started at the Crackley Wood Nature Reserve following the woodland path leading to the disused Kenilworth Berkswell Railway line, now a peaceful track for walking. After a while, we turned off at Hollis Lane onto a cross-country section past South Hurst Farm to turn once again along Crackley Lane. After a short distance, we headed across fields with the University of Warwick in sight in the distance. Following the bridle path, we eventually climbed up a muddy lane past Roughknowles Wood to cross over Cryfield Lane. Here we rejoind the footpath alongside a meandering brook past Crackley Farm to return to our rendezvous place. It was a pleasant local walk in good company with bluebells and other spring flowers just showing their leaves through the woodland and hedgerows. Once unbooted, we met up at The Oak, where those unable to accompany us on the walk joined us to enjoy a tasty lunch.
February 2011 Walk
On the 17th February 2011, seven hardy walkers set of from the Red Lion pub in Hunnigham on a cold, dry and overcast day. We hadn't done this walk for a long time and noticed several changes: hedges had disappeared to produce vast fields, and our usual coffee stopping place had been cleared of our tree trunk seats (how dare they?). But encouraging signs of spring, a couple of newborn lambs in fields, buds ready to burst and a few snowdrops were all lovely sights. En route we walked around St Margaret's ancient churchyard, whose beautiful church was sadly in need of external restoration. Then we made our way back to the river road bridge, returning to the Red Lion for lunch: a short walk in good company.
January 2011 Walk
Our walk started on a beautiful sunny day, crunching across frosted fields from Allesley Park, through the village and churchyard and across a stile concealed in a holly hedge. We crossed the River Sherbourne and proceeded up Staircase Lane where we met an obdurate pony, which was occupying the entrance to the kissing gate and had to be "persuaded" to allow us to gain access. Our ramble continued through the Coundon Wedge conutryside back towards Allesley via an ancient stone bridge and a peaceful woodland churchyard, to return to the lane alongside Allesley church. The morning ended with a pleasant meal at the White Lion, where we were joined by Len and Doreen Constable who pioneered village walks in 2001, so this year we will celebrate our 10th anniversary.
December 2010 Walk
The walk due to be started at The Bear at Berkswell was abondoned due to poor weather, however the pre-Christmas lunch at The Bear took place and was enjoyed by all.
November 2010 Walk
It was drizzling when we arrived at the New Inn, Norton Lindsey and parked where the village stocks once stood. Here offenders were seated with their backs to the vices of the pub and looking towards the virtues of Holy Trinity church. After an inital half-mile along a well-maintained track, we turned off through the yard of Lower House Farm and then climbed a gentle hill to Blacon Farm. Here we stopped for coffee in a derelict barn. The only really waterlogged stretch of the walk was part of a footpath through woodland, littered with abandoned, fallen branches that brought tears to the eyes of the domestic wood-burners amongst us. After crossing a field, we came to a further wood, which enclosed ponds populated by a remarkably large flock of Mallard ducks. Emerging from the woods, we crossed a cricket field then a short walk along Norton Lindsey's Main Street took us past the ancient Dorrel Oak and various buildings spanning the 14th to 18th centuries. We enjoyed an excellent meal in the New Inn and shared stories of industrial accidents we had known and the treachery of competing wood-gatherers.