Friday, August 31, 2012

Day 5 Normanton to Clipsham - 31 August 2012

With Marta.  Fine, sunny, but cold to start with.  Some mud underfoot. Luckily I remembered the way through Clipsham Quarry.  Only other small problem was on the way to Tickencote where we missed a turn to the right, but were able to correct easily. Lunch at The Plough in Great Casterton. 14 miles including walk to Yew Tree Avenue.
An early morning shot before leaving one car here

The first two miles from Normanton Car Park on Rutland Water were very simple - follow the yellow brick road, well, the tarmac path, past the cafĂ©,  past Normanton church and the back entrance to the Normanton Park Hotel,  and carry on across the dam. Blue sky, blue water, and a chilly north wind.  A few cyclists, loads of sheep and the guys inflating those see-through balloons you can be strapped in to roll down the grassy slope behind the dam. 

Instead of going through the gate at the end of the dam path, we followed the field edge round, almost turning back on ourselves.  We walked along the edge of the wooded area, and shortly after a couple of trig points, or similar objects, there was a stile on our left which led into a field.  We spotted the Rutland Way signs for the first time today - and on the stile.  
Ten out of ten for clarity!
The signs were easy to follow from this point, leading over fields and through some woodland, until the path emerged into Nook Lane in Empingham.  Nook Lane leads to the main A 606.  We crossed over to walk past the White Horse pub and along the road through the village.  The church was down a small road to the right as we walked straight on.

Just after the end of the village, very soon after Mill Lane, the footpath goes away from the road, up through a short stretch of woodland - Chapel Spinney.  A little further along the road after the turn there's a convenient bench for our first stop of the day - a little chilly in the shade, so we didn't linger longer than the few minutes needed to top up the caffeine level.

The path came out of the trees into sunshine and continued along the top edge of several fields.  Empingham was now a cluster of houses and the church behind us.   We passed a spinney on the right, and continued to follow the path. There may be a waymarker that we missed, but we fought our way thorugh an overgrown section and came out on the concrete path leading towards Tickencote Lodge Farm.  We had just walked round the two sides of a triangle instead of the hypotenuse - give or take the accuracy of the right angles.

Tickencote Lodge Farm
We turned right and walked down the track until we met the Rutland Round waymarker pointing back to where we should have walked.  Close by was a stile into the next field of recently cut hay, which we crossed diagonally (just south of east) to the next yellow post just before another farm house.  

We followed the signs round the house and on to a small road north east for a short distance, before entering a couple of fields and walking in the same direction, the turning slightly to the right.
Tractor tedding hay near Tickencote
We crossed another small road towards Tickencote Hall, and had to brave this signposted danger:

He seemed to be dozing in the shade and showed no interest in us.

Looking towards Tickencote Hall
The path goes past the church of St Peter, which is small but impressive. It was restored at the end of the eighteenth century, but is considered a fine example of a Norman church.
The vaulting
The chancel arch
The East End of the church
We walked through the village to a sign and short section of path which crosses a field, then emerges on to a road near the OK Diner, then goes under the A1 and into Great Casterton.  The Plough Inn is right on the route and provided an adequate, though not perfect lunch, with exceptionally friendly service from its new landlord. 

Chatter, imperfect map-reading and inattention to the book's instructions almost set us off on the wrong road after lunch - and all on fruit juice at that.

You need to walk along to the junction with the Pickworth road, and turn left past the primary school - or take the narrow lane between houses just before the school sign on the main road.  In any case take the road out of Great Casterton past the school and walk along this for a good mile until you reach Mounts Lodge Farm.  Opposite here a bridleway leads to the left - almost due west.  The path was pretty muddy - puddle-dodging skills honed while you walk.

After a few hundred yards, at the end of the first very big field, we turned right along a grassy track.  We continued along this, ignoring any tracks to the right or left, and made our way more or less north towards Pickworth. The signing around here is pretty poor.  Just opposite the point where the path meets the road is this medieval arch.
Photograph 24.11.2011

The arch, on private land is all that remains of a church from the 12th, 13th or 14th century.
The remains of a lime-kiln, where John Clare worked for a while as a lime-burner - photo 18.11.2011
The lime-kiln is also on private land, and almost invisible in the summer. 
We turned left along the road, and walked past the first footpath sign near Manor Farm, and past the limekiln, to find the path we needed, which goes off to the right at a bend in the road.  Time for another coffee-break, before tackling the remaining three or four miles.

The path is wide and clear, and we had no trouble finding the point where we turned left across a field towards a strip of woodland marked as Little Sutie on the map. Through this was where I had wandered last time i walked here. The map shows the path diverging slightly from the wood on the right hand side.  This time we followed the edge more closely and we found the path through the quarry with no difficulty. Once at the quarry the bridle way is clearly posted.

Clipsham Quarry 24 Nov 2011
The path from the quarry towards Clipsham provided a few earlyish blackberries today. No problems following the route from here as for most of the way it runs between hedges,  and the village is clearly visible. 

We walked along the Castle Bytham road for about a mile to get back to the Yew Tree Avenue. Fourteen miles on the clock today. 

Map and details

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day 4 - Barrowden to Normanton - 22 August 2012

With Marta. Fine day, with a slightly chill wind. Sun mostly, a few spots of rain. Underfoot good. Lunch at Ketton, Northcliffe Arms. Just over 11 miles in all.

Leaving Barrowden 

We set off from Barrowden, with an unaccustomedly chill wind today. Walked through the village to the road towards Wakerley until we found the footpath going off to the left.  We walked with the hedge on our left through three fields, then when the path meets a bend in the river we went through a stile and along above the river for another three fields before entering Welland Spinney.
The path is clearly marked. When you come out of the spinney it is usually easier to follow the edge of the field, rather than cut the corner as the official path does. Turn left and right following the field boundary, then carry on, ignoring paths to the right, including the one to Tixover Church, which stands in splendid isolation away from the village.  The key to the church is available at Manor Farm - there is a large sign nearby.  
Is this really a cairn? 

The path goes past Manor Farm, Pear Tree Cottage and other houses before turning to the right and downhill. After Tixover Hall and Lodge the road peters out and becomes a footpath, separated from the A47 by some shrubs.   Before long you arrive at the point where the road to Duddington leaves the A47, and you can see the bridge over the Welland.

Bridge and old mill at Duddington, seen from the path

Just before the bridge the path turns to the left - it is both Rutland Round and Jurassic Way for some distance here.  We walked this on 25 July 2012.  

The blue paint - anti-vandal paint perhaps - is still on the gate, as before, and still sticky, but this time the gate was open, so we had no contact!   We followed the path over a large field with sheep, and up to a stile into a strip of woodland.  While we were walking we heard a green woodpecker, then saw it fly and land on a nearby telegraph pole.  There were a couple of herons across the river, and a red kite.  We chose to have a break at about the same spot as last time, but today, instead of seeking shade, we looked for somewhere out of the wind.  

Next we crossed the playing field - or so marked on the map. The path goes straight across the middle of the field, and emerges on to the road near Tixover Grange.  Just after the drive the path leaves the road on the left hand side, and cuts diagonally over a field, cutting the corner off the road. The route continues directly opposite and there is about a mile of perfectly straight walking along the edge of arable fields. Near Kilthorpe Grange it has been slightly re-routed, but is clear and easy to follow.   It continues along a narrow path with fencing from large gardens on the left, and trees on the right, until it meets the Collyweston to Ketton Road.  At this point the Rutland Round diverges from the Jurassic Way again, so instead of turning downhill we carried on into Geeston and Ketton. Signs for the Hereward Way are also good for the R.R.
The old surgery - there's a convenient bench just across the road
We walked along the road past the house in the picture until we reached a house called 'Newnham'.  Here we turned left and followed the track and path to the railway line. We crossed the footbridge.

You can just see the signal
We followed the path to reach the bridge over the River Chater, and the old priory and church

Then we wandered along the main street in search of food. We had lunch at the Northcliffe Arms, which has a pleasant outside non-smoking area.
The Railway Inn was closed

The word Ketton was removed pre-world war II, in case of invasion

After we had eaten we found the path close to the Post Office. It leads past Home Farm, and climbs gently up towards the huge quarry. The path is clearly marked and easy to follow across a very strongly built bridge.

We had a little trouble working out the way just after this section, but with a bit of map work and aligning the cement works with our position we sorted ourselves out before we'd gone off track.  
We turned off the Hereward Way to go to the left past New Wood Lodge and made our way to the road. It was straight over the crossroads, and in about 200 yards we turned right.  This road took us directly past Normanton village - we didn't take the turning to the right, but carried straight on.  We went past Oak Tree Farm, and  Rutland Water was  visible ahead of us.  When we reached the main road we crossed over and turned left into the car park. 

Map and details

Friday, August 17, 2012

Day 3 - Seaton to Barrowden 17 Aug 2012

4 miles almost. With Marta - a late start because of uncertain weather. Lunch in Barrowden - Exeter Arms.

One of those showery days with possible thunder forecast. Seemed like a good idea for a much shorter leg than usual.

Seaton church

We left Seaton along the high road to Barrowden, where you get great views of the viaduct.

The footpath leaves the road on the left, via a stile and you quickly turn right, ignoring the stile straight ahead.  Once over the stile you follow the edge of the field and the waymarks down to the disused railway at the bottom of the field.
Bridge under the disused railway
From here the path was clearly marked across fields and up the hill to the A47.  It emerges opposite a minor road into Morcott.   We had to cross the A47.  The path goes to the right from the road opposite, soon after the junction.  We veered to far to the left as we approached the village, misled by a fance that looked like a gate.  If we'd consulted John Williams's  Rutland Round book (pub CPRE),  we would have done this:

Take the path aiming for the electricity pole to the left of the house in front. Continue across this field and, at the stile,  go down Mount Pleasant Road turning right along High Street to reach the White Horse Inn.
Once we were back on track,  we went past the White Horse Inn, and crossed the road to steps to a footpath into the field opposite. The path took us diagonally tot he left, then through a small wood back to the A47.  We had to cross this again, and take the road into Barrowden. The windmill is on the right hand side of the road.

We reached Barrowden and had lunch at the Exeter Arms - our plan to sit outside was scuppered by the rain.

Map and details

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Day 2 - Uppingham - Seaton

With Marta. Walked on Wednesday 8 August 2012.  10 miles in warm dry weather, though the path near Eyebrook Reservoir was muddy. Lunch at Lyddington.

We set off from Uppingham, walking along the Stockerston Road out of the town and taking this footpath to the right.  It starts from a sort of lay-by on a bend in the road.
The sign's a bit hidden, but the map and instructions are clear here.
For the first time in quite a while we saw lots of tortoiseshell butterflies on the thistle flowers.

The path is clearly marked as it goes through the fields and along the ridge, past a building marked on the map as a meteorological station, and along to Kings Hill Lodge farm, where it turns left to join the Stockerston Road again.
Views towards Wardley Wood

At the road we turned left and after a hundred yards or so, opposite some houses, we turned right along a bridleway towards Stoke Dry Wood.  This goes up to the entrance to the wood, and continues just outside, so that we kept the wood edge on our right.

View of Eyebrook from corner of Stoke Wood

The path continues round the wood, with the occasional waymarker.  A footpath crossed our route  and led into the wood - ignore this one.   The track turns left, then in while right keeping to the high ground, eventually coming out by Manor Farm at the top of the hill in Stoke Dry.  Here we turned right and walked downhill to the church.

St Andrews church, Stoke Dry  with the window to the priest's room over the porch
Steps up to the parvise or priest's room -rumours about conspirators of the gunpowder plot using the room seem to be without foundation, and the story that a local witch was imprisoned and starved in here are also unconfirmed. 

Martyrdom of St Edmund. The painting shows men wearing feather headdresses shooting bows and arrows, and has been taken to support the theory that the Vikings discovered North America two centuries before Columbus.
For more discussion of this see this article.  
After the church we walked down the hill and took the footpath to the left just before the entrance to the woodland around Eyebrook reservoir.  The path hugs the fence, and was pretty muddy on this occasion.  
Snack break by the water
After the entrance gate to the Eyebrook area the path heads diagonally up hill through a field. There are great views of the water to the west from the gate in the opposite corner, and Stoke Dry can be seen in the distance to the north west.
Looking back towards Eye Brook Reservoir

Stoke Dry church behind us

The reservoir again
The route now takes us down to the A6003. We managed to miss a slight turn to the left at the top of this section, but our mistake soon became obvious.  At the road we turned right - the verge is fairly wide, and the road walk is only for a couple of hundred yards.  

The path turns left at the tarmac road to a gas pressure control station on the other side of the road.  A stile took us on to the path - mud again just here, and cows who did little more than lazily raise their heads and watch us. 

We followed the yellow-painted post waymarkers over stiles and fields.  There's a footbride into another field, which we crossed diagonally.  After whiles and stiles we headed fro the farm buildings, and followed the waymarks to reach the road and turned left into Lyddington.  Lovely lunch in the Old White Hart's garden before setting off on the final couple of miles.
Art in Lyddington
We crossed the village green and followed the track to a stile. The path goes along the left-hand hedge and leads to a gateway on the left. In this field are the traces of the fishponds which were once used by the bishop's palace (the Bede House).
The medieval fishponds of Lyddington

One of mine
The path goes through the gateway and into a narrow field. We walked along this and over another stile. Then we turned right and followed the path straight up the hill.  We continued to the end of field, then turned right and almost immediately left, walking with a ditch on the left and continuing until we reached the farm track by Grange farm. This leads up the hill and into Seaton, with glimpses of the Welland Valley viaduct to the right.

Map and details