August 29, 2014
I now had a map with a line showing the preferred route and a series of dots offering points of interest on the line or close by. It had already become apparent that only in a very few places could I strictly follow the chosen course.
Dots show the selected points of interest on my route. Do you recognise the shape?
Features such as rivers, with their limited crossing points would influence the route. Also I didn’t want to be walking through miles of built up areas and major roads had to be avoided so detours would be required. The Rights of Way “network” does not stand alone but forms part of a highway network including roads so I needed to find paths that linked with other paths rather than using any that end on a busy road.
There are also some footpath deserts that blight my route where I would have no choice but to circumnavigate the area. Locally the old parkland at Stapleford to the east of Melton Mowbray has long been jealously guarded by the Lords of Harborough. One successfully kept the Midland Railway at bay so it’s hardly surprising that no footpaths cross this estate.
The Germans also have much to answer for. We built numerous airfields in the Second World War. Footpaths were cut and when peace returned no one thought to reconnect them so ancient paths that once offered direct links to other settlements north of Higham on the Hill now end at the perimeter fence of the Motor Industry Research Association’s ‘Proving Ground’. Initially such obstacles looked insurmountable, or at the very least would severely distort the route.
Even though we walk for pleasure I find no enjoyment following a twisting route that, like a James Brindley canal, is within sight of the same church tower all day.
Did you work out the route from my series of dots? Here are the dots with line.
The route will take the walk around the Leicestershire border
The walk would follow around the boundary of Leicestershire. The next step is a detailed look at the map.
August 26, 2014
The walk on Thursday 28th August will start at the church in Hambledon. Pam Grayson (01536 772565) is leading.
August 22, 2014
During 2010 and 2011 I completed a six hundred mile walk along a published but little known trail. That walk was created by Margaret and Brian Nightingale and walked by them in 1996/7 to write the two books that describe the route. This walk starts from Chepstow, the Welsh border town on the Severn estuary, and ends at Berwick upon Tweed a town on the east coast of England north of the Tweed, a river, which for many miles forms the boundary with Scotland. They called it ‘The Great English Walk’.
It was the most memorable walk I have ever done taking in some remarkable locations many off the beaten track for both tourists and other walkers. The introduction to the guides explained that the only decent map available at that time was the Ordnance Survey ‘Pathfinder’ which predated the much improved ‘Explorer’ series of the same 1:25,000 scale and detail but smaller sheets. To purchase all those required for the whole route would have been very expensive so I admired and wondered how Margaret and Brian had created such a wonderful walk.
I have spent many hours pouring over maps searching for points of interest to devise day walks but only used routes planned by others when tackling longer walks. I wanted to create my own long distance walk and with computerised mapping I could now do this from the comfort of home and convenience of not taking over the dining table.
Creating a long walk immediately results in questions and compromise. How long should it be? Where does the walk start and where does it end? What is the purpose of the walk? To answer the last question first I replace purpose with theme because purpose is perhaps personal and varied for the designer as well as those who follow. A walk needs a theme in order to promote it and perhaps encourage others to use it.
The first step is to draw a line on the map between the start and finish which may be miles apart or at the same location, if the walk is circular. Next I needed to locate other points of interest along the way which I should try to include and then areas that I might want to avoid.
To enhance the theme and add interest I decided to include villages closest to the line and I have managed to include seventy four settlements. These were marked up on the map. All this information can be saved in layers and displayed over base maps of different scales, allowing either an overall view or close scrutiny at the click of the mouse.
Next the real works begins when I look for paths to create the walk.
August 20, 2014
Ascending TheLangton Caudle
26 walkers set out on Tuesday morning from the Langton Arms at Church Langton for one of our favourite walks. The weather forecast meant we all had rain gear but we were blessed again with a rain free day and a lot of sun. We headed out towards Stonton Wyville where we turned sharp right and up the Langton Caudle.
A Golden scene towards Crossburrow Hill
The 360 degree view from the top was just the place for the coffee stop. The descent to Thorpe Langton was dry but the ground was churned up on the lower half as usual and the culprits(bullocks) accompanied us all the way to the ford. The path then took us behind the church and parallel to the road into East Langton. From there into Church Langton we took a recently diverted footpath around a new house? into the Langton Arms. Here we rejoined our 5 happy short walkers.
Thanks to John & Pat T who had booked with the previous tenants ( it happens a lot) and had closely monitored the situation, we were treated to excellent meals at a special price by the new tenant.
August 17, 2014
Sixteen walkers supported a combined walk with Loughborough Ramblers from Barrowden, Rutland. The walkers assembled outside the Marquees of Exeter public house. The walk followed the Jurassic Way through the village. Crossing over the river Welland into Northamptonshire the walkers soon reached Wakerley village. Thereafter the walk continued past the church and onwards towards Wakerley woods.
Then followed a wonderful walk through the wooded glades before eventually arriving at Laxton Hall. This magnificent building is now a residential care home but is too remote from civilisation.
Once more entering Wakerley wood we eventually arrived at Laxon village. A feature of the village are the many pretty cottages. The highlight of the walk was Harringworth viaduct which was observed from the ridge above Shotley village. 82 arches afford passage to trains over the Welland valley just to the West of Harringworth village. This is one of the longest masonary viaducts in the UK being 1,275 yards long. A very expensive barn conversion caught the eye on entry into the hamlet of Shotley. Our walk then joined the banks of the river Welland and took us eastwards towards out starting point of Barrowden village. Barrowden church tower can be viewed as we crossed a yet un-harvested crop of wheat. The total distance of the walk was 9.75 miles. The Community shop in Barrowden village (if you can find it) is well worth a visit where tea and cakes can be enjoyed.
August 17, 2014
On a pleasant July day, Tuesday walkers explored an interesting corner of East Leicestershire from Launde Abbey. Commencing on the Leicestershire Round and then leaving this through Launde Park Wood which is managed by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, we gained height and had some lovely views over the surrounding countryside. In the distance could be seen Eye Brook Reservoir. Turning northwards our journey joined the Leicestershire Round once more (This is the section in Rutland) before turning back towards Launde. Leaving the Leicestershire Round once more our route took us past Cottage Farm and Avenue Farm and proceeded nearly to Withcote.
Joining the Leicestershire Round for a third time, our walk continued uphill to a magnificent viewing point where a number of the small hills of East Leicestershire could be seen. On descending down the hill, we passed over the River Chater and continued onto Launde Abbey.
Walkers enjoyed a lovely lunch which was served to us in a marquee on the lawn at the rear of the abbey overlooking the sunken gardens. Plants could be purchased at reasonable prices and money dropped into an honesty box.
August 13, 2014
Copyright Stephen Richards and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)
Come follow the linear route King Richard III took when leaving the city from Bow Bridge; the lost Roman Road across Western Park to Ratby Lane. See a yellow posted / green finger-pointed footpath of 600 metres missed off the O/S map! 80% surfaced; 20% grasslands. Bring bus pass for possible use of First 12 service!
Date: Friday 22nd August 2014 6pm.
Meet: Bow Bridge, St Augustine / King Richards Road. (A-Z map, 27, H926; OS grid SK 58018 04363)
Distance: 4.5 miles
Leader: Martin Wadd
Bow Bridge, St Augustine Road, Leicester Ornate cast-iron parapet between stone piers. By the Leicester Corporation, 1862. Grade II listed.
On each of these piers is a plaque, one records the bridge’s construction on the site of an ancient predecessor “over which King Richard III passed at the head of his army to the Battle of Bosworth Field” in 1485; the other remembers a legend that Richard’s head was “dashed and broken” on the return trip by a stone dislodged by his spur hitting a large stone on the outward journey. (http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/3120193 – © Copyright Stephen Richards and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)
August 2, 2014
The walk on Thursday September 4th will start from The Crown at Tur Langton – NOT The Malt Shovel at Hartshill.
July 29, 2014
Most people would be wary of crossing a large snorting bull in a field but, every year, scores of people are injured or even killed by other animals in the English countryside. Read more about this on the BBC site (click here)
July 27, 2014
Saturday walkers combined with Loughborough Ramblers on an eleven mile walk from Calke Abbey. Our route was via Melbourne, King’s Newton, Cloud Trail, Trent and Mersey canal and arriving a Swarkestone for lunch. We passed by the impressive Swarkestone Pavilion which was built in 1632 at a cost of £111.12s.4d. The building is Jacabean style with a two-storey centre, castellated parapet flanked by a pair of three-storey towers and leaded cupolas topped by balled finials.
In a field adjacent to the Pavilion our attention was drawn to a collapsed wall. Perhaps the mischievous cows in the photograph displayed, may have been responsible for causing this damage!
Our walk continued forward to Swarkestone church where we stopped for lunch.
At the Harpur Crewe Arms at Swarkestone is a cain commemorating the site furthest south which the Jacobite army reached on the invasion attempt by Charles Edward Stewart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) in 1745.
Our return journey was via Stanton by Bridge, Robin Wood and Ticknell.