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Baginton Walkers

 

Baginton Walkers LogoOn 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 to take a walk of about 5 miles. We will assemble at 9.45am for a start at 10 am. The walk will terminate at the pub for a well earned midday meal for those that wish to stay. Members take turns to research the next walk.

Obviously, if the weather is seriously inclement, the walk may be cancelled or deferred to the following week. Lifts can always be arranged for anyone without transport. For further details contact Brenda (02476 305509). New walkers are always most welcome.

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April 2018 Walk
Waking to a rather grey and drizzly day confirmed the wisdom of choosing to enjoy the benefits of the firm under- footing around Draycote Water for our April walk. It also enabled our two youngest participants to cycle ahead of our group of eleven more mature members, stopping occasionally to allow us to catch them up.

Once booted and suited we left the car park and chose to take the anticlockwise direction, past the visitor centre and following the curve of Hanborough Hill. After some time we realised that one of our party was missing so an emissary was sent to check on said person who had taken advantage of the centre facilities en route. The tarmacked path topped a raised bank which ran parallel to the hamlet of Draycote and provided a good view across the reservoir. The weather had not deterred the fishermen who were dotted around the banks with their kit beside them, while a few hardy souls were fishing from boats. The amount of kit surrounding some of them was impressive but overtaken by the lengthy rods strapped to the roof rack a car which passed us en route. To the ill-informed it was puzzling to understand why such equipment is needed to trap the humble trout.

At approximately half way we stopped for refreshments at a clearing near the tiny village of Thurlaston, home of llamas, historic buildings and a windmill without sails, and were met by a cloud of midges which followed us for the remainder of the walk.  Once back at base and with bicycles secured on their high spec rack we returned to Baginton and a tasty lunch at The Oak. Thanks to Gayle and Chris Goodwin for accommodating us in spite of the wallpaper hanging etc in the dining area.

March 2018 Walk

A select band of eight walkers and one dog gathered in the sunshine outside The Royal Oak at Brandon. Once booted and suited, and having placed our orders for lunch, we set off towards Wolston. Our route led us under the stately railway arches, currently closed to road traffic, and past Castle Hill Riding School. A large mound amongst the pastures there was allegedly once the site of Brandon castle. As we approached the bridge over The River Avon, the reason for road closure became apparent as workers were drilling in the road before the bridge. The Avon here was in flood and had washed over a large area of the adjacent fields towards the church, but fortunately we had the benefit of a raised walkway alongside the bridge and safely crossed into the village. Near the war memorial one of our leaders confidently crossed the road, neglecting to mention that the group should follow, but they soon realised that this was the plan!

After a short walk through the housing estate on the outskirts of the village we continued along a lane which passed the site of Wolston Priory, the attractive stone building set well back from the road was once the rectory but is now used as a business centre. As the houses petered out we passed some agricultural sheds, no sound but maybe they held battery hens, then under the elegant arched railway bridge. The route went past Marston Mill farmhouse, an attractive regency style building, some barns and across a cattle grid into a huge field. Here we were greeted by a large flock of sheep with many lambs who rushed back to their mothers as we passed. We walked parallel to the Avon where two swans paddled along the river which had flooded a wide expanse of pasture, but fortunately our path ran above the riverbank and the going underfoot was good. The last of the snowdrops decorated our route as we made our way to walk along a short stretch of road and over the Avon bridge at Bretford.

Once across the road we followed the bridleway past the village hall and along a sunken track. This ran uphill past an enclosure with two noisy geese that were very effectively on guard duty. Here we heard the first complaints about mud as we climbed the hill and through a gate to arrive at our coffee stop. The track went alongside a hedgerow and through vast ploughed and planted fields where presumably hedgerows had been removed to facilitate modern farming equipment. Once through a small copse we turned onto another bridleway which we followed through fields to the road about a mile away. We decided to avoid another field crossing and continued along the road leading us back to Brandon and a delicious lunch.

February 2018 Walk

Due to a heavy fall of snow followed by freezing conditions, the December walk was postponed until February.  In contrast to the sunny Monday, with wind, rain and possibly sleet forecast for Tuesday it was thought that numbers might be low, but a hardy thirteen met on the 13th in the car park of The Friendly Inn, Frankton.

It was raining steadily as the well wrapped group gathered and waited until the allotted ten o’clock start. Roger confidently led the way along Main Street towards the Church of St Nicholas, which has a 13th Century tower. The frontage of the Old Rectory had a bright display of yellow wood anemones, and it was alongside this property that we climbed a high stile into a very wet field, known to be boggy at the best of times. The field exit was completely waterlogged, and agility was tested again as one by one we crouched under barbed wire to reach a drier route to another stile and kissing gate. After crossing two shorter fields the view ahead was far reaching with Draycote Water and Rugby to the left and Southam and beyond to the right. However, with splattered spectacles and the wind driving sharp raindrops into our now ruddy cheeks we did not linger but headed down hill to a meadow sheltered by the embankment of the disused Rugby to Leamington railway line. By the time we had picked our way down a slippery slope the rain had stopped and there was a glimpse of the sun.

Immediately under the high arched bridge beside the river Leam, we followed a tarmac driveway for a short distance before once again climbing into fields that kept us walking parallel to the railway embankment. A fluorescent jacketed scarecrow waved at us as we made our way round the edge of a very long field into the peaceful village of Draycote, where we stopped for a short refreshment break.

There were murmurings of concern at the sight of one or two limping sheep amongst a herd as we continued our muddy route.  After crossing under the embankment there was an upward walk to the appropriately named Hill Farm. The footpath to Bourton passed through the again aptly named Bog Spinney where a spring bubbled and snowdrops flourished. In Bourton, the ‘Round House’, probably once a toll house and for a time the laundry for Bourton Hall, is now part of the village hall. From hereon it was a pavement walk back to Frankton, where the full contingent of walkers enjoyed a well-deserved meal at the Friendly Inn, which also lived up to its name! Incidentally, it was ten out of ten for Roger leading the way!

January 2018 Walk

Eleven intrepid ramblers gathered at Stoneleigh Church on a murky, damp morning, happy in the circumstances to have “kept local” with an easy walk for our first expedition of 2018. We will save journeys further afield for the better weather we hope is to come. There had been no frost overnight and, crossing the river, we found the path up the hill away from the village and under the trees muddier than we expected.  Over the main road, our waymarked track crossed a field and directed us up the slope to Stareton, where we turned right, walking down the road to the showground entrance then taking the path that led us across the old bridge over the Avon parallel to the present road. Re-joining the large field once used for Royal Show parking, we paused for elevenses overlooking Stoneleigh from the high ground with a distant misty view of Coventry.

Our route became a figure of eight as we re-crossed the river and made a full circuit of the fields on the opposite side, noting where the Sowe joined the Avon. The going underfoot here was good and we were glad any rain had kept off and we had stayed dry. Towards the end, we came across our only stile and, having thought that our boots were not going to be too mucky after all, we unfortunately met unavoidable mud on the narrow enclosed path back to the village. Changing into more respectable footwear, we drove the short distance to Bubbenhall, where we enjoyed excellent meals at the Malt Shovel, being joined by a party of bell ringers who had sought their exercise in a different way.

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