Monthly Archives: December 2013

Bradgate Country Park

Sunday 29 December. It has become something of a tradition to walk somewhere different and perhaps a little more challenging on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year. The Peak District was a possibility but it’s a long drive. A return to the Ashridge Estate was ruled out as we went there last year. So, by way of a change, Linda and I drove to Bradgate Country Park, just north-west of Leicester, for a 9.35 mile walk with 1,400ft of ascent. As can be seen from the pictures, it was a beautiful day although the drive there was a little tricky as it was just 2c and the A47 didn’t appear to have been gritted.

There are many car parks around Bradgate Country Park but we picked Hunts Hill as it was on our route and had public toilets. It cost £5 for the day. Starting out on a northerly direction we soon picked up the route of the Leicestershire Round which took us across Lingdale golf course and some really beautiful countryside. We encountered numerous cross-country runners along the way. The first of 3 hills to be climbed was Broombriggs at just over 700ft. We had a coffee break just below the summit to drink in the magnificent views. From here we entered Beacon Plantation and the second climb of the day to Beacon Hill at 780ft. Many more ups and downs took us to our final climb of the day to the top of Old John Hill at 650ft. This may have been the smallest of our 3 hills but it didn’t feel like it as it came almost at the end of an arduous but very enjoyable walk. If there is sufficient interest, I could be persuaded to lead this walk again on Easter Sunday.

 

Hunstanton

Sunday 22 December. 8 walkers turned out today for Hilary’s Hunstanton walk. At 8.4 miles it was a little longer than expected but, as it stayed dry, it didn’t really matter. The tide was in so we couldn’t walk under the cliffs. Instead, we walked along the top from the TIC to the disused lighthouse where we eventually made it down to the beach which was strewn with debris from the recent tidal surge. We then made our way up through Old Hunstanton and on to the track heading for Downs Road where we stopped briefly for coffee. From here we had an “out and back” walk to the far end of Ringstead Downs Nature Reserve where we stopped for lunch at the picnic tables. Turning around we made our way back through the Reserve and along Downs Road, passing through the town to get back to our cars.

Peddars Way – Leg 6

Friday 20 Dec. Today was the final 7.6 miles of our Peddars Way epic. Another clear but chilly day as we picked up the trail from Fring; stopping near Sedgeford for coffee and in the churchyard at Ringstead for lunch. In all, we walked just over 53 miles from Knettishall Heath to the beach at Holme-next-the Sea where the obligatory “end of trail” photos were taken alongside the signpost which shows the way from the Peddars Way onto the Norfolk Coastal Path. Hilary kindly provided the post-walk tea and cake at her place in Hunstanton. I think that we all enjoyed the experience of the trail and we can now say that we’ve completed all 92 miles of the Peddars Way and Norfolk Coastal Path. What will we do next year??

Peddars Way – Leg 5

Tuesday 17 December. Back to the Peddars Way today for the 9.5 mile leg from Great Massingham to Fring. What a beautifully sunny day; a little cool in the shade but we soon warmed to the task. Our coffee break was taken near the Dogotel and lunch at the junction of paths leading to Bircham Newton in the East and Shernborne in the West. We saw a few Bullfinches along the way and watched hundreds of geese flying in to nearby fields whilst we ate lunch.

Gooderstone

Sunday 15 December. 12 walkers turned out for Karen’s 6.7 mile walk from Gooderstone. We made our way along muddy tracks towards Caldecote Farm where we stopped for coffee. It’s the time of year where it is often better to walk around ploughed fields and this proved the case today. Rather than take the direct cross-field path towards Woodcock Bottom we walked around the field edge and on through Caldecote Fen where we emerged onto the road that took us to Oxborough. Our lunch break was taken in what remained of the ruined church. From here it was just a couple of miles back to the cars. The walk was timed perfectly as it started to rain just as we were taking our boots and walking gear off in preparation for the drive home.

Castle Acre

Sunday 1 December. Well, today was the first day of winter and if they are all like this then we won’t have any complaints. It was a little chilly to start with but with clear blue skies and bright sunshine. We soon warmed up as just 6 of us set out for Josephine’s 6.85 mile walk from Castle Acre. I’d done the route before but it made a nice change to walk it in the reverse direction. We passed the Castle on our way out and made our only refreshment stop after 3¼ miles. Our route back included a small section of the Nar Valley Way and a walk around the outskirts of Castle Acre Priory.