Author Archive

Makeney Hall weekend – preview

October 3, 2017

The LFA away weekend at Makeney Hall Hotel is fast approaching so we offer a preview of one the walks that will be on offer.

The Ecclesboure Way has recently been created following, as the name suggests, the river Ecclesboure between Duffield and Wirksworth. At eleven miles it’s an ideal day walk with links by heritage railway or hourly bus providing a return for this linear walk. The only downside is the lack of refreshment opportunities along the way.

Duffield bridge over the River Ecclesbourne

Duffield bridge over the River Ecclesbourne

The route starts at Duffields railway stations. One on the Derby – Matlock line. The other serving the heritage line to Wirksworth this shares the valley so with luck we will see a tourist train sometime during the journey.

We initially share paths used by the Centenary Way keeping close and often crossing the river which on our visit was flowing fast after heavy rain over night. The ground was soft but rich pasture ensured our boots stayed clean.

Windleyhill Farm on the Ecclesbourne Way

Windleyhill Farm on the Ecclesbourne Way

After a couple of miles the route climbs to Windleyhill Farm where a confusing layout of paths meet among the disused farm buildings. From here the views across and down the valley provide a change of scene and show how delightful this neglected area can be.

Crossing the Ecclesbourne approaching Turnditch

Crossing the Ecclesbourne approaching Turnditch

After the tiny village of Windley we drop back to the river meeting the railway near Shottle Station. The hamlet of that name is two miles distant while Turnditch and it’s Inn is just 300 metres to the left along the Asbourne road.

A heritage railcar approaches Idridgehay station

A heritage railcar approaches Idridgehay station

We considered sitting by the river for our lunch. Wet grass and older legs encouraged us to press on to Idridgehay where a bench on the station platform offered a comfortable stop. Our pause was enhanced by the arrival of the 13.30 heritage railcar to Duffield which had to pause while the third man operated the crossing gates.

A Peak and Northern Footpath Society sign shows the low route avoiding Alport Height

A Peak and Northern Footpath Society sign shows the low route avoiding Alport Height

Over half way, but, it’s now a climb of nearly seven hundred feet to Alport Height but wow was it worth it. It is said that the Shropshire Wrekin can be seen from here so we scanned around as we headed for the eight masts which mark the hill top. Ratcliffe on Soar power station was clear in the sunshine and, not so clear, five cooling towers, all that remains of the former Willington site . It is said that a pair of nesting Peregrine Falcons saved the towers from demolition in 1999. New plans were passed for demolition of these landmarks early this year…….but they are still there late September 2017.

Alport Height

Alport Height

We anticipated downhill from here and so it was to the outskirts of Wirksworth at Gorsey Bank. A sigh from weary walkers as the route turned right, uphill so close to the end. This deviation rewards the traveller with a fine view over our destination so route planners were forgiven. The walk ends at Wirksworth station but with a bus in five minutes half of the party gave that a miss.

The view over Wirksworth near the end of the walk

The view over Wirksworth near the end of the walk

A surprisingly good walk and excellent weather when the days either side were both wet. It was good to see that a number of new gates had been installed along the route, some by volunteers from the local RA group. Well done to all for opening up a very pleasant valley that has been long neglected by walkers.

Walk end - Wirksworth station.

Walk end – Wirksworth station.

Thanks to  Walking John’s Blog for some of the pictures used here..

 

 

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Thursday 13th July – change of venue

June 29, 2017

Just shows how popular walking is and the impact walking groups have on the viability of pubs.

Gate Hangs Well Syston

Gate Hangs Well Syston

We will now be meeting at The Gate Hangs Well at Syston on Thursday 13/07/2017.

Our original venue of the Royal Oak Cossington already have a party of 20+ walkers booked in so we have moved 5 minutes down the road.

Out of area

June 23, 2017

An out of area story but one worth telling to encourage the reporting of problems even if you are not planning to return to the area. In 2010-11 I did a long walk from Chepstow to Berwick upon Tweed ‘The Great English Walk’. I encountered a few issues along the way so took time afterward each days walking to report these. I never expected to get back to see if improvements had been made but hoped my effort would benefit those who later used the same paths.

Biddulph FP 77 bridge installed 2011

Biddulph FP 77 bridge installed 2011

In Staffordshire I used an unsigned path at Biddulph which crossed a stream. I reported the missing signs and bridge. In a letter of February 2011 Staffordshire County Council said, ” Public Footpath No. 77 Biddulph Town…..The path has been inspected and a job sheet has been issued for two new fingerposts, path clearance work and the installation  of a new 12 ft sleeper bridge.”  In October 2011 I received a follow up letter. “I am pleased to inform you that the earlier problem you reported concerning the above public right of way has now been resolved; the path has been cleared, two new fingerposts and a new 12 ft bridge has been installed.”

On Saturday 17th June 2017 I had the first opportunity to use the path again. I was delighted to find the path, easy to find, well walked and the stream safe to cross on the substantial bridge.

A walk from Somerby

May 10, 2017
Somerby shop and main street

Somerby shop and main street

Back to my theme of linear walks. This one from Melton Mowbray via the bus service 113 taking me to Somerby where I pick up the Leicestershire Round. I can’t recall that I’ve walked this section in reverse. This offers totally different views and with the limited sun behind me picking out new features in the landscape I enjoyed the walk across to the Punch Bowl.

I was delighted to find that the path through oilseed had been mown, this suggested a recent job but better late than never. It was rather a thin crop and it was clear to see where walkers had trodden a narrow path before a real path had been made.

Footpath D69 on the Leicestershire Round looking north

Footpath D69 on the Leicestershire Round looking north

By the time I dropped down the steps into the Punchbowl it was time for lunch so I rested on Jim’s seat which still looks good after four years.

Jim's seat in May 2017 still looks good 4 years after installation.

Jim’s seat in May 2017 still looks good 4 years after installation.

I appear to have a reputation for reporting lots of path issues but all I found on this eight mile walk was one rotten waymark post resting against a tree on the Jubilee Way at the start of the Dalby Hills permissive path.

LFA has started a trend on the Ernest Cook Trust Estate. A new resting place has been supplied by Jack Atton and Terry Darby who, while working as woodmen for the Trust, planted the trees here between 1980 and 1996 .

Jack Atton and Terry Darby's seat with a fine view across to Little Dalby

Jack Atton and Terry Darby’s seat with a fine view across to Little Dalby

It can be very muddy along the permissive path but it was fairly dry on this visit with views north through the still leafless trees. Finding the Other Route with Public Access to head north from Burrough Hill was a challenge. I mistook a stile as the route also used by horses but it came to an abrupt halt by a fence and ditch. Try again………. not quite on track but I eventually met the road from where a hedged track is clear to see and use.

Burrough Hill flanked by gorse in flower - the smell was delightful.

Burrough Hill flanked by gorse in flower – the smell was delightful.

The ORPA heads north into Melton where it meets Sandy Lane. It’s part of the National Cycle Network and has been given a metalled surface. Cars are prevented by blocks of concrete firmly blocking some of the gates so it’s pedestrians only and easy walking. The view to the east is far ranging especially from Gartree Hill.

When the cycle track becomes a proper road I turn right along a bridleway, a little apprehensive with such a sea of yellow ahead will there be a path? Well there was and here it was vital. A vigorous crop as tall as me, again cut a bit late and when it starts to flop the path will disappear. I timed my walk spot on.

Looking south from the junction of paths D98A and D99 near Burton Lazars.

Looking south from the junction of paths D98A and D99 near Burton Lazars.

I cross the busy A606 and take a combination of well walked paths and tracks into Melton. The final mile is alongside the River Eye then between the buildings of what was pedigree Petfoods but now just says Mars. I did make a short detour under the railway on what Network Rail call the towpath while making plain this is not a public right of way. It does offer a handy short cut from the housing estate into the top end of town.

 

 

Good news for walkers at Great Glen

May 7, 2017

Footpath C28 which goes south from  the Pug and Greyhound pub at Great Glen was for many years an impenetrable jungle of  briars and brambles.  When I retired I felt it my duty to clear a way  through it to cross the bypass and to reach the canal.   In the summer of  2016 I took my shears each evening and cut a way through the brambles.   On  one occasion I met a young man in shorts battling his way from the bypass as  I was cutting my way up towards him.  He greeted me with joy to see some  clear route ahead and some respite for his cut legs!  I felt my labours were  rewarded.

Footpath C28 at Great Glen

Footpath C28 at Great Glen

Professional help

Professional help

My path was only a narrow muddy single track through dark overhanging  brambles.  I later got some help in widening it  and then talked to  Great  Glen Wildspace group about the importance of having paths which connected  park areas with the footpath network  and they found volunteers to widen and  clear the footpath (for the benefit of birds and wildlife).  It is now a delightful route to add to your repertoire.

Footpath cleared by Wildspace team. Looking towards the bypass.

Footpath cleared by Wildspace team. Looking towards the bypass.

Heather MacD

Winter walking in muddy fields a distant memory!

May 3, 2017
Winter walking in muddy fields a distant memory!

Winter walking in muddy fields a distant memory!

The Wednesday short walk on the 19th April  organised by Pete C started at Peatling Magna  and included Shearsby and Bruntingthorpe. The weather was perfect, the spring  flowers were out, lambs in the fields and the meadows were lush green. Winter walking in muddy fields a distant memory! The photo shows the group enjoying a refreshment break underneath an isolated and spectacular tree (GR SP62038 90702) in a field on the Leicestershire Round  just outside Shearsby.

Thanks to Nigel B for words and picture.

Summer evening walks

May 1, 2017
The old rail line at Leire

The old rail line at Leire

Monday evening walks start on Monday 8th May and continue until 7th August.  The start times are missing from the paper programme and this is 7.00pm.  Join us for an evening walk of 4 to 5 miles and an optional drink in a pub afterwards.

The first walk starts from Leire church members and visitors all welcome.

Newsletter Spring 2017

March 25, 2017

spring-2017-header

The spring 2017 newsletter should by now have dropped through members’ letterboxes. For other interested parties or  potential members we offer you the online edition, download here (pdf file 1.2Mb)

 

 

North West walks

March 8, 2017

An interesting day yesterday, walked 12 miles, used 5 buses and  sampled beer in the Old Sawley Brewery Tap. In detail…………..

East Midlands Airport perimeter trail

I dropped off the Notingham Skylink Express at Pegasus Park easily located  the Airport Trail and followed it clockwise. Although they claim to link up  the now mostly closed northern dead end paths the trail ignores the southern  links with a  fence preventing access to L45, L43 (plus Green Lane) and the  Diseworth road should anyone wish to use it. I’m not sure if the Trail is  intended for cycling but there was evidence of that use. There is a link to  L89 as this is a possible short cut.

Trail of Life by Zahir Shaikh - Concrete and Mosaic tiles

Trail of Life by Zahir Shaikh – Concrete and Mosaic tiles

The Aero Park looks more interesting from the Google satellite than on the  ground but then I have no interest in aircraft. The north end of  Diseworth  Road is where plane spotters settle and the path from here is well used and  rather muddy. There are some nice heath type bits from here on but I suspect  they may disappear. Good views north and the huge earth moving operation to  prepare for the Gateway.

East Midlands Gateway site preparations March 2017

East Midlands Gateway site preparations March 2017

There is no escape from the Trail across the A453 to the Kegworth road so I  had to complete the loop. They have dumped all the planings from the runway resurfacing around here, looks like another car park in the making. So instead of walking into Kegworth I got the Leicester Skylink, 2 miles but I had to wait 20 minutes I think it was just quicker by bus. A circular walk of just over 6 miles.

Start of the towpath walk Kegworth Bridge

Start of the towpath walk Kegworth Bridge

The river towpath north of Kegworth bridge was also new to me. I’ve used L63 a few times and boated along the river but never used the towpath which is free of obstructions with a bridge by the lock and stiles along the way. The towpath is often very close to the RoW but with a stream between them there is no linkage along the way.

The link between FP L63 and the riverside towpath

The link between FP L63 and the riverside towpath

L63 crosses a footbridge at SK491286 to meet the towpath and they become one. On the south side of the A453 there is a good link to a path alongside the A453 going west to Long Lane and east over the canal before passing under the road to link with L62 BW. However this is a dead end at a ford.

What we do not have and you might question whether we need it is a link on the north side between L63 the towpath and BW L101. On the ground it is apparent that folk do want this link because a narrow and difficult path has been created and is well used.

Missing link L101 to L63

Missing link L101 to L63

I’m not clear where L101 goes as the only official route is a path on the north side of the A453 heading towards Nottingham but I saw no path dropping down to link with BW L62. If we used the towpath or L63 from Kegworth and wanted a through route to the north then this small link would be useful avoiding a double back along L61 or L61A.

I didn’t travel further along L63, beyond the A453, here it is effectively the towpath through to the Trent. I’m not sure how useful it would be but we appear to have lost a link with Notts for L84, old maps show a bridge here and later maps show a possible bridge just downstream. Since the levels were altered to prevent flooding there is no bridge so no link with Notts.

More devastation hedge pyres prepare the way for gravel extraction

More devastation hedge pyres prepare the way for gravel extraction

I followed the minor road to Sawley Marina. It’s all a bit depressing with hedges and trees being ripped out for the Gateway and here for gravel extraction. So it was good that I arrived at the marina having just missed a Nottingham Skylink which prompted me to walk into Old Sawley just in time I spotted the Brewery Tap and caught a much later bus. Another 6 miles this time linear.

Annual report 2016

March 5, 2017

The annual report for 2016 was posted to members and agreed by them at the AGM in February 2017. A full copy is  available here to download (pdf fil 425Kb).

Presidents Remarks

A good barometer in measuring the strength of any Association, is the number of members on their register. When I became involved with our Association in 1976 there were 92 ordinary members. This year there were 340 ordinary members. This growth can in part be explained by walks being arranged on four days a week whereas in 1976 only Saturday walks were available and some evening walks in the summer. In addition the number of people walking are mainly retired. The Association always relies on members volunteering to take part in the affairs of the Association. If you consider you may be able to help in this way, please contact our secretary.

I have attended three committee meetings and listened to the amount of work undertaken on behalf of our membership. In the following reports from officers you will be able to judge for yourself the variety of matters taken in hand. In particular the County Council have agreed for us to produce and distribute the new publication of the Leicestershire Round guide booklet.

Brexit, the most repeated word in the media this year, may have significant impact on monies available in future years for the maintenance of cross field paths. The Common Agricultural Policy has a payment scheme to reward farmers when they keep their paths open and accessible to the public. We may well ask will the UK government fund a similar scheme for farmers, thereby ensuring our cross field paths are kept clear of crop encroachment, following any exit from Europe?

Many of you will, I am sure agree, the National Forest has had a major impact on the scenery of North West Leicestershire. The scars left by mining have been transformed into woodland areas to walk and explore. This year celebrates twenty-five years following the governments support for its creation. 8.5 million trees have been planted.

In September, Ted Guy passed away. Ted was a committee member for a few years, 1985-87 and walked regularly on Saturdays. Some of you may recall his New Year day walks when before the start of the walk, members were treated to home cooked mince pies and mulled wine.

Brian Jenkinson

LFA President