Monthly Archives: December 2014

Sandringham

Wednesday 31 December 2014. Hilary organised an extra end of year walk from Sandringham to Castle Rising and back. She was rewarded for her efforts as 10 of us turned out for this 7.75 mile walk on a clear but frosty morning. Making our way through the woodlands of the Sandringham estate we stopped after 3 miles at Babingley Bridge for coffee.

We then moved on to Castle Rising and then back across the A149 to follow more woodland paths back to the Sandringham visitor centre. We were nearly back before Hilary realised that we hadn’t had a lunch stop so we waited until the end of the walk to eat our food. Click on the link below for a map of our route.

Sandringham Walks map

I finished the year with a miles walked total of 1,043.

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Holme Fen Map

Tuesday 30 December 2104. I’ve added a link to a copy of the map/route below for anyone who wants to try the Holme Fen walk for themselves. Click on “Holme Fen Map”  below and this should open up in whichever pdf viewer you use. The route is shown by the thin wiggly red line.

Holme Fen Map

Holme Fen – 2nd Recce

Tuesday 30 December 2014. When I got back yesterday from my 1st recce of Holme Fen I began to think how I might make the walk a little longer. Some research on the internet confirmed my view that I could add a further 2.5 miles by taking in a circuit of Middle Covert and Jackson’s Covert. It was another fine sunny day, I had nothing better to do, so I went to have a look at this addition to yesterday’s route.

Starting again in Holme, I had 1.6 miles to walk before I could pick up where I left off in Holme Fen and, of course, another 1.6 miles to get back to my car. In all today’s walk was 5.75 miles (a total of 3.2 out & back and the extra 2.55 miles in the middle). My revised route will now be 7.5 miles, making it more worthwhile than the original 5 mile route of yesterday.

Today’s extra loop included a circuit of Boston’s Mere which is shown below. Holme Fen is only 15 miles from me and I can see it becoming one of the areas that I visit more often when in need of a countryside walk. It is a hidden treasure of largely Silver Birch woodland with two large expanses of open water in the middle. I’m sure that our group members will want to join in when I lead a walk next summer.

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Holme Fen Recce

Monday 29 December 2014. I’ve spent some time over Christmas trying to sort out a few new routes for the group’s summer walks programme. One that I found was a 5 mile circuit of Holme Fen and, as it was a crisp clear morning, I took myself off for a recce. Starting from the school/church in the village of Holme, I made my way north for a short distance on the Yaxley Road before turning off to cross the East Coast railway line and enter Holme Fen. My route took a series of twisting paths through fairly dense woodland before coming to the edge of Whittlesey Mere. There are very many paths through the nature reserve and it would be quite easy to get lost.

The main objective of the walk was to visit the Holme Fen posts. These were erected in 1852 to measure soil shrinkage on the fen and currently stand at about 9ft below sea level. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holme,_Cambridgeshire It is remarkable to see how high they stand in comparison to the surrounding ground.

Crossing the small road that runs through the middle of the fen, I made my way out towards Short Drove. The route that I was following suggested that I should head towards the B660 after which I would have had a mile of road walking to get to the rail crossing just to the east of Holme village. Instead, I followed Short Drove until coming to the side of the railway line where I had no choice other than to walk alongside the track to the B660 crossing and then back into Holme village.

Although this walk is shorter than those that we normally do, I’ll put it on the summer programme as it will provide an easy opportunity for anyone who might be interested in joining the Fenland Ramblers.

Snettisham

Sunday 28 December 2014. I was joined by Linda & Hilary for today’s walk from Snettisham. It was supposed to be about 10 miles but because of flooding close to the coast we had to make a small diversion and it turned out to be 10.8 miles. The roads were a little icy on the drive across and we had all dressed for a very cold day. I doubt if the temperature rose much above 4c but with the absence of any wind, it felt relatively warm and we were, if anything, overdressed.

Leaving Snettisham we crossed the A149 and made our way through Ken Hill Wood to Lodge Hill Farm. This section of the walk included our only climb of about 100ft. The fields became increasingly more flooded as we made our way towards the coast with the water eventually becoming far too deep to cross safely and without getting wet feet. We had no option but to turn back and find an alternative route. We could have gone all the way back to Lodge Hill Farm to find our way onto Beach Road and then to Shepard’s Port & Snettisham Scalp. Instead, we decided to take a chance by trespassing on the disused railway line to cut off half a mile or so. Nevertheless, this diversion added about three quarters of a mile to our walk.

Back on track, we stopped for coffee just before reaching the beach. The public toilets were locked but there was plenty of cover nearby. Our next leg of the walk took us along the much disputed Footpath 35 in front of the beach-front chalets where we were able to exercise the recently confirmed right of way. Stopping for lunch in the RSPB hide a little further along, we were joined by a family of “twitchers” who pointed out a solitary Glaucous Gull. It looked much like any other Gull to me and my picture doesn’t really help. You can see it for yourself in better quality at this link: http://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/discoverandlearn/birdguide/name/g/glaucousgull/

Leaving the hide we crossed the causeway between two inland lakes and made our way towards Dersingham to follow a section of the old railway line designated as a public footpath. Soon after, we came across a few boys playing with their toys; 4×4’s in the adjoining woods. One of them was well and truly bogged down and was using a winch, wrapped around a nearby tree, to try to extricate himself. We quickly passed through Ingoldisthorpe and then back into Snettisham where we saw a Daffodil already in flower. A testament to how warm it has been so far this winter. As we had walked nearly 11 miles, we rewarded ourselves with a richly deserved cup of tea in the Old Bank café in Snettisham before setting off on the drive home.

Miles walked so far this year now stands at 1,024.60.

1000 Miles

Wednesday 24 December 2014. My total miles walked this year stood at 999.44 so I didn’t have to walk too far today to see my odometer tick over to the magical 1,000. It was such a lovely day that I drove to Ketton to recce a walk that I might put on the group’s summer walks programme. It turned out to be 9¾ miles which could be a little too far for some. I had barely left Ketton before doing the 0.56 miles needed to register 1,000. The route took me on a circular walk around Ketton quarry. The cement making plant and its chimney can be seen for miles around and is something of an eyesore. It isn’t all negative though as the worked-out area of the quarry is home to 26 different species of butterfly and a large number of birds, including Nightingale. I noticed that some of the waste land is also being used as a solar farm. It is out of sight, other than by walkers, and seems to be a good use of spoiled land.

I stopped briefly for coffee after a couple of miles and then pressed on through Tinwell and on to Easton on the Hill before stopping again. If I do put it on the walks programme then I’ll do it in the opposite direction to get the road walking out of the way at the start and to then finish downhill.

I’m pleased to have achieved 1,000 miles in a year, particular as foot problems restricted me to just 841 miles last year. I did 963 miles in 2012 and 941 miles in 2011 when I first started keeping detailed records of my walks. When walking alone, I like to listen to the radio or to music as I go along. My MP3 player has 1,058 tracks on it and it was apt that the “shuffle” facility threw up the following track on today’s walk.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGnfAcLVp90

It has taken me 133 walks to amass a total in excess of 1,000 miles. These have varied from walks in the local country park to more challenging things such as the Dales High Way (90 miles over 8 days), the Kentmere Horseshoe and more recently Coniston Old Man.

Barnack

Sunday 21 December 2014. I posted a notice about this walk on Twitter and to my surprise it was re-tweeted by The March Society, Whittlesey Museum, Hunts Webs and Jane Fleming. Our thanks to them for their actions in extending the awareness of our walks. Despite this welcome publicity there were only 11 of us on today’s 8.9 mile walk. We started from the Hills & Holes car park on the edge of Barnack on what was a breezy but dry day. Coffee was taken shortly after entering Burghley Park and we then made our way through Stamford to use the toilets at Morrison’s supermarket.

Our lunch break came alongside the course of the now disused Welland Canal. An hour or so later we were back at the car park having completed the walk in around 4 hours.