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Baginton Walkers - 2014 Walks


December 2014 Walk

The walk started from outside St Leonard Church, Ryton on Dunsmore. We headed down the footpath alongside the A45 after 150yds we turned left up the bank to start on the path cross country. We continued overland until we came across the new excavations for the Gravel and sand workings which we avoided.Skirting the Wolston playing fields and housing, we took a right turn onto Wolston lane then after about 200yds we made a left turn alongside the reclaimed land from the old Wolston sand pits. Taking a right turn over a stile we followed the excellent Warwickshire CC footpath markers and eventually we reached The Knightlow Cross, the stump of an ancient stone cross where 25 local parishes would pay an annual fee to the local land owner. After a short distance we had a hectic crossing over the busy A45 to then walk along freeboard lane to reach the Wolston Island and the underpass back to our starting point. We all then went to The Oak for a very nice meal after our enjoyable walk.

November 2014 Walk

The November walk started out from the Fleur de Lys Public House at Lowsonford and twelve were in the party. We headed towards Preston Fields Lane, an unmade lane which crosses the River Alne by ford. Fortunately, despite the heavy rains of the previous few days, the low bridge across the river remained above water level and we were able to cross. The party remained intact despite Roger falling off a plank bridge into a ditch – fortunately he was saved from a muddy fate by brambles and hawthorns from which he had to be extracted!

From the lane we crossed fields and arrived at the picturesque Preston Bagot church - an isolated church with splendid views to the south. Here we all crammed into the Church porch for our refreshments. From the Church we dropped down to the Stratford/Birmingham canal, recrossing the River Alne, and followed the towpath back to Lowsonford. At the Fleur de Lys there was a roaring fire and a magnificent collection of pies: an enjoyable finale to an interesting walk.

October 2014 Walk

In October our group of nine walkers met at The Stag in Offchurch. Once all were booted, we set off along Welsh Road for a short distance to climb a stile to the path uphill, past grazing cattle and then over another stile. Our route led us across a field to join Offchurch Bury drive, soon turning left alongside a hedgerow and ditch (allegedly a defensive ditch dug for King Offa – who else?) The adjacent field was set with jumps and structures designed to challenge the skill of competing riders, but there were no horses to be seen today. Our route led us over a couple of stiles to cross a weir and dam and then onto a footbridge over the River Leam. Once across we walked over two fields (and more stiles!) to join a well-marked, secluded track screened by hedgerows laden with autumn fruit.

The track climbed alongside Leamington golf course to reach the greens on the brow of the hill where we had planned to enjoy our coffee break on a bench admiring the surroundings. However we were beaten to it by a couple of dog walkers. So we stood around to enjoy our refreshments and the rather misty view over the greens and Campion Hills towards Leamington as skein of geese flew overhead.  Once refreshed we descended steeply towards a group of farm buildings, now the Newbold Comyn Arms, and continued on the track alongside the golf course. After a while we crossed a water meadow to reach a bridge over the River Leam, then on to the Radford road for a short distance to reach the towpath of the Grand Union Canal. Here we followed the canal towards Radford Semele, passing under a few bridges and past the huge Radford Bottom Lock. There was little activity apart from one narrow boat waiting while the lock was prepared for entry and a few mallards looking hopefully for a crumb.

Just beyond the lock we walked under a magnificent skewed railway bridge, diagonally crossing the canal. The brickwork was impressive and it was hard to imagine how it was constructed without the equipment available to modern builders.  Here we left the canal to walk up the bank to join the Offchurch Greenway, once a railway track but now a pleasant path. This eventually led us to a side path, through to a kissing gate, across a field and a stile to the Long Itchington Road. Here we carefully crossed to Village Street, past thatched cottages with peacock decoration atop and our return to The Stag for a well-deserved lunch.

September 2014 Walk

It’s a long way to Tipperary but nowhere near as far (via the A452 north from Kenilworth and the A4177 towards Honiley) to the Tipperary Inn where the song is reputed to have been written.  Here eight of us assembled on a bright morning, ideal for walking, our numbers depleted by holidays and other commitments.  Setting out at 10.00am, a couple of minutes along the busy road brought us to an enclosed path and then a route parallel to the road across the frontages of some exclusive properties, gates having replaced the succession of stiles that once entailed a lot of climbing and slowed progress.  We next picked a winding way between Black Hill and Hazel Hill woods, skirting the muddy sections: yes, even at this time of year.  This is a beautiful route, especially with the dappled sunlight penetrating the trees, and photographs were taken. However it gets very boggy and it is definitely not recommended for a winter walk.

Emerging into fields, we progressed alongside crops to the tarmac and wide views at Warriors Lodge Farm, a home to some giant agricultural machinery.  After a stroll under a lovely blue sky along a familiar stretch of Chase Lane (but normally approached from the opposite direction), a left turn took us back onto a field path once more.  This provided an ideal place to halt and enjoy our elevenses in the sunshine, appetites not diminished by blackberries already sneakily consumed on the way.  Regular waymarks then directed our refreshed steps round and across several mostly close cropped fields to a hidden away desirable residence for sale with a large, most attractive garden.  This was adjacent to the still lived in but largely unknown historical Rudfyn Manor with its Tudor framework and tall gables, once the property of the Abbey of Kenilworth until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1535.  Once through a rather overgrown copse and on a new heading, a succession of grazing meadows, linked by an equal number of fairly easy stiles, brought us over a rise heading for Meer End Farm.  Here the farm drive led directly back to the main road, giving us a 12.30pm arrival back at the Tipperary Inn opposite, where we were made very welcome and we rewarded ourselves for our efforts in our customary manner. Leader David Grimsey.

August 2014 Walk

In August a small but select group walked around Draycote reservoir. We were very lucky with the weather; sunny with a cool breeze, ideal for walking. We were passed by people on bikes including young children with Mums running behind. There was also a large play area for the children with their Grandparents.The lake was quite choppy, but the birds seem to enjoy; we saw grebes, coots, tufted ducks and too many Canadian geese. A few fishermen and wind surfers were out including one fisherman up to his waist in the water - rather him than me. It was a very relaxing walk, which we all enjoyed. We then went to the cafe which had a very nice view of the lake and had our lunch.

July 2014 Walk

It was with sorrow that this month’s walk was put back a week, but seven regular walkers met up at the Duck on The Pond ready for a walk around Long Itchington. Proceeding past The Holy Trinity Church we turned into Bascote Road to join The Millennium Way. Here we walked through a pretty flower meadow, dotted with butterflies, alongside the River Itchen to Stonebridge Lane and arrived at the far end of the village. In Short Lane we took a passageway that led us out past farm buildings back into the fields. We had to pick our way through some rather tall vegetation and a difficult to see path through a wood, but we emerged unscathed to cross a disused railway line. The next few fields were planted with ripening wheat and in the heat of the day someone remarked that it was reminiscent of a scene from North By Northwest. Although a light aircraft did pass overhead it was noticeably quiet with, for once, no traffic noise.

After a short stop for welcome refreshment, we continued along an unclassified road known as Ridgeway Lane. On the preliminary walk this had been very muddy and completely flooded in parts, but on this occasion it was dry, although there were puddled areas after the weekend showers. The final part of the walk was along the Grand Union Canal passing Bascote Locks. This was rather a long stretch of towpath, but the friendly banter kept us going until we came to the bridge where we should cross final fields back into the village. It was here that those in front came adrift from a couple of stragglers who had stopped for a pee.  After waiting some minutes, it was decided that as one of them was a co-leader and had trod the route before we would walk slowly on, frequently looking behind to see if we would be followed.  We were amazed to find the said lingerers back at the pub before us having taken a short cut! It was a longer walk than usual (for most) and there was debate about the qualities of leadership, but rest assured all are still on speaking terms.

June 2014 Walk

For our June walk, led by Mick Sanders, we returned to Corley but this time instead of heading north across the M6 we headed south towards Meriden. Parking at the Bull and Butcher, a group of 10 headed up the road towards the Red Lion and then turned down the aptly named Windmill Lane. The old Windmill is now converted and attached to an adjoining cottage. This is one of the highest points in the City and just after the Windmill there is a fine view back across the City.

Just before Birchley Hall Farm we turned right and followed the path to the edge of the Birchley Hayes Wood. At this point we were following the Coventry Way. Leaving the edge of the wood we crossed towards Harvest Hill Lane and the character of this remnant of the old Arden landscape becomes apparent – a mixture of woods and clearings. We followed the lane briefly eastwards and still following the Coventry Way (now sharing with the Heart of England Way) we continued southwards across the fields towards the woodland known as Meriden Shafts - part of the Packington Estate. The woods were delightful and we stopped for coffee at this point. Continuing the path emerges from the wood, on to the road, at Eaves Green where we picked up an old ‘green lane’ – a delightful reminder of what roads must have been like several hundreds of years ago. The lane was little spoilt by bikes or motor bikes as many are today and ran for almost a mile back northwards to Harvest Hill Lane passing on the way an old wartime bunker that is now so obscured by vegetation that even the Ordnance Survey had failed to see it!

Crossing Harvest Hill Lane by the dog kennels we emerged on to Watery lane at Hollyberry Hall Farm and Elkin Wood. The farm is set behind some of the largest gates you are ever likely to see and behind these could be seen two large military  helicopters. What else lurks in there we do not know. The final leg of the walk was back up Watery Lane to Corley Moor. This was a bit of a ‘pull’ – although the thought of the Bull and Butcher helped us along!

May 2014 Walk

Last month we met outside Crackley Woods for our May walk and three of us anxiously awaited the arrival of more walkers. So there was great relief when a carload turned up and, booted and suited, we set off through the woods. No bears, but a beautiful abundance of proper English bluebells at their best as our path meandered through trees bursting into leaf, alongside others which had fallen or been felled and left for the benefit of woodland creatures. We eventually turned off to leave the woods and join the Coventry Way, an excellent path salvaged from a disused railway track dating from the savage cuts imposed by Beecham. It is now a great resource for walkers and cyclists,  beautifully lined by frothy hawthorn blossom, and ironically is within a train whistle of the proposed HS2 route.

We left this to descend a steep track, briefly joining the road then crossing to a way marked path alongside fields, taking us past the barns of hay and straw in South Hurst Farm, eventually to re-join Crackley  Lane for a short distance. We turned off through another farm as we headed towards Warwick University, the path skirting a field edged by sloe bushes. At this point it started raining and the ground beneath our feet became more sodden, defying our attempts to avoid the mud.  We enjoyed our coffee break as the rain stopped, then set off again alongside Roughknowles Wood to turn right along a lane as far as Cryfield Grange Farm. Here we joined an excellent track running uphill towards the Coventry Way, passing some interesting metal sculptures of Victorian cyclists en route. We re-joined the Coventry Way for a while to reach Crackley Wood and follow the bluebell paths back to our cars and lunch at The Baginton Oak.

April 2014 Walk

It was a wet and windy start to our April walk starting from Baddersley Clinton; a popular National Trust Property. Getting off to a bad start we missed the first footpath (too busy talking), but it was soon put right. Most of the tracks and fields we took were muddy and water logged, but it did not deter our cheery, courageous group.

Following the footpath through Chessetts Wood, eventually reaching the chestnut tree lined avenue towards Packwood House, here we stopped for our well earned coffee break. On leaving Packwood House, we turned left until we reached the canal bridge, where we continued along the footpath passing barges and crews working the many locks, until we reached The Lapworth Pounds where many barges were moored.

Reaching the junction of the Birmingham Canal, turning along the Grand Union, exiting at The Navigation Inn in Lowsonford. After a short walk along the Warwick road, we turned left past a horse transport business then reaching the Baddesley Clinton
Estate. The going was tough with a few of us getting stuck in the mud, but we all had a laugh at the state we found ourselves in.

March 2014 Walk

It is said that the British, presumably not excluding Bagintonians, are obsessive talkers about the weather but it must be recorded that, after battling the elements and atrocious conditions underfoot last month, we welcomed the forecast of a fine morning with some relief and encouragement. It was overcast and still a bit chilly as we set off from Kenilworth Castle at a steady pace (no young athletes among us), stopping after a while to admire a curious collection of goats and llamas – or were they alpacas? Clear paths took us through kissing gates and past a large pond to Fernhill Farm, where we met a couple with an assortment of dogs and accessed Rouncil Lane via the farm drive. Yellow arrows next directed us through meadows alongside a very attractive stretch of the Inchford Brook. This becomes the Finham Brook as it flows through Abbey Fields and joins the River Sowe within our local sewage works. Those in our party with wood burners speculated in their dreams how they would divide up an outsize fallen dead tree. A muddier bridle path eventually led us across a large field planted with ???? – well, we couldn’t decide what it was – before stopping for elevenses, almost dead on time, in a sheltered spot, with the sun now making an appearance.

A short road walk towards Beausale brought us to Hill Farm to enjoy the sight of baby lambs and their mothers – why were there so many youngsters with black markings? Our way was now almost straight across many, mostly arable fields for about 2 miles, heading directly for the castle. A muddy section near the end put paid to our hopes of arriving back with very clean boots but, after a few fine days, conditions were definitely improving. It will take a really long spell of dry, settled weather to banish all the mud in the countryside after such a wet winter but, hopefully, spring is here at last. Now rather warm, we changed our shoes in the car park and made our way to “Time for Tea” where we were expected. There we rewarded ourselves with nourishment and refreshment.

February 2014 Walk
 
The Intrepid, the Courageous, the Indomitable ... Let’s hear it for BAGINTON WALKERS.

Didn’t we have a loverley time the day we went to - Kenilworth Castle?  Remember Tuesday February 11th?  Remember the gales, the rain, the drizzle, the snow, the hailstones?  We got the lot – the only thing we didn’t get was frostbite.  But we were ‘appy.  Such was the irony of the day that although some of us got soaked to the skin (only bits of it) throughout the morning, just as we crossed the road for lunch at Time for Tea the sun came out, and stayed out.

Our brave leader took us through the 15th Cent Pleasance, which was such in name only.  We were informed that Royal barges would sail across the lake from the castle bringing Henry V and friends to party in the gardens and Tudor summer palace.  We paused as long as we dared, but although there was plenty of water (see above) no barge hove into sight. Nevertheless 10 of us exercised muscles we had forgotten we had got, tested waterproof clothing and products almost to destruction, and chatted cheerily (sort of) as we walked, when we could hear each other above the howling gale.  And the soup, quiche, beef pie, chips, hot tea and cold beer were our reward.

January 2014 Walk

We were lucky for our walk in January to have a gorgeous winter day- bright and sunny– but treacherous underfoot in the shade!

Thirteen of us set off from Bubbenhall nursery lay-by and proceeded by road to the entrance gate to Ryton Pools.  Keeping to the perimeter footpath round the pools, we stopped half way to have an early coffee break. Here David noticed a lone fisherman, huddled under an umbrella on the other side of the pool, who didn’t move an inch while we were drinking our coffee.  We began to wonder if he had been there for weeks and were going to send one of our clergy members to see if ‘last rites’ were needed.  But no! He moved as we finished our break, so our clergy friend’s services weren’t needed after all. We completed the circuit and finished the walk by 11.45. So by the time  we had all changed from our walking gear  we were ready for lunch at The Oak where we had an enjoyable meal.

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