Monthly Archives: January 2016

Swanton Novers

Sunday 24 January 2016. Norfolk in mid-winter is synonymous with mud and today was no exception. 12 of us, including Janet who was walking with the group for the first time, set out for an 8.4 mile walk around deepest Norfolk. The weather was unseasonabley warm at 12c although the sun didn’t really break through until the latter part of the walk.

Soon after leaving Swanton Novers we encountered the worst of the mud as we skirted around the northern edge of the woodland at Neat’s Close. Our coffee break came at the 2½ mile point in the church at Barney. From here we headed south-west across country for 4 miles in the direction of Clipstone House farm before turning north-east through Croxton; stopping for lunch at Fulmodeston.

The last 2 miles of the walk were my favourite section as we walked over partly waterlogged pasture alongside Brown’s Covert and then through the National Nature Reserve in Little Wood.

Swanton Novers walk route



Castle Bytham

Sunday 17 January 2016. This is a dual purpose post. The first is to test some new technology and the second is to publish a report of the recce that Linda and I did today.

I normally produce these posts on my laptop but looking ahead to the summer and my holiday in the Dolomites, I felt that I needed  something more portable on which to write my reports. Both my Smartphone and Tablet could fit the bill but their keyboards are far too small. What I really needed was a small portable keyboard that could be connected by bluetooth to either device. The answer was a Tecknet X366 mini keyboard which I bought from Amazon for just £11.99. I’m using it now to write this report and I have to say that it is a delight to use. Next, I needed some means of getting pictures from my camera & my Smartphone onto my tablet. This required the purchase of a micro USB to regular USB cable, just £1.99 from Ebay. I already had a USB/SD card reader and a 1gb USB memory stick so I now have all of the hardware that I need. Finally, I downloaded a photo-reziser app which enables me to reduce the file size of my pictures to something more manageable for uploading and viewing on the internet.

Turning now to the walk. There hadn’t been any overnight snow in Benwick but I encountered an increasing amount of lying snow, the further west and north that I drove. I met Linda at Wansford to carshare for the 20 mile drive to Castle Bytham where there was a good covering of snow. The first leg of the walk was 3.5 miles to Pickworth where we stopped for coffee inside the church. The second leg was 3 miles to Clipsham. This included a diversion through a quarry but didn’t really add too much distance. We had lunch inside the village church. The final leg was another 3.5 miles back to Castle Bytham.

Linda will be leading this walk on 10 April. It is listed as being 9 miles but, as we have now walked the route, it is actually 10 miles with little opportunity to make it any shorter. So, if you are planning on coming on this walk, be aware that it is one mile longer than advertised.

DSC_0141-900x1600DSC_0134-900x16002015-12-07 12.56.53-1600x900DSC_0137-1600x900P1020107 (912 x 684)DSC_0138-2133x1200DSC_0139-1200x2133


Sunday 10 January 2016. After the near washout of last Sunday, there was a good turnout of 14 walkers for today’s walk on bright but chilly day. Karen was leading and her son, Richard, and girlfriend joined us for the first time. Car parking was a little problematic and our 8 cars filled the very small space by the side of Hoe Rough, meaning that the local dog walkers had to park elsewhere.

Leaving the car park, we headed south along Mill Lane before making a loop of the land around Dillington Hall. We stopped for coffee on the roadside heading towards Quebec Wood where we turned to head north and complete the loop. We now joined the Wensum Way for a short while, heading through the village of Hoe. We stopped again for lunch on the edge of Hoe Rough, an area of open access land maintained by The Wildlife Trust.

It was just a short walk through the Rough and back to the cars although our route had to be amended slightly to avoid the ground that had become waterlogged alongside the stream. The walk was 6 miles and being fairly flat only had a total ascent of 300ft.

Gressenhall – walk route

IMG_2699IMG_2700IMG_2701IMG_2703IMG_2704IMG_2705IMG_27062016-01-10 12.40.06IMG_2707


Sunday 3 January 2016. The weather forecast for Linda’s walk from Ryhall wasn’t very promising with heavy rain predicted for most of the day. I did a recce of the walk with her a couple of weeks ago in dry weather so, although I felt rather guilty, I decided to give it a miss today. Most of our members must have been of the same mind as only Helen & Linda W joined her for what was a wet 9 miles.

Helen has sent me this report and a selection of photos for publication on the Group’s blog site.

Today’s walk was made by a select group of three hardy souls.
The start of the walk near Ryhall Church was made in the wet. As the rain wasn’t heavy we set off with a shorter route planned if the rain became too bad.

At our first stop for coffee, although the rain was persistent, it had not got any heavier so with the decision was made to complete the whole distance and we set off again with our destination being Pickworth Church for the lunch stop.

The route took us over stiles and muddy and watery tracks with some firmer walking along roads and across muddy fields. At the church our luck was in, it was open and we took shelter there. We ate lunch while sitting in the pews.

When we left the church the rain, at times, seemed heavier but not a downpour; just no let up. We did see an interesting stile with a gate to open on top and a statue by the church to commemorate a battle. As we returned to the car the rain eased a bit which enabled us to take off wet clothing and boots without getting drenched. A great new walk but could we do it again in the spring or summer months?

1 interesting stile2 Linda carefully negotiates the stile3 and the other Linda followed4 view across the fields5 the retreat6 a wet view7 approaching Pickworth8 walking in the rain9 off towards the church10 well kept garden11 monument at the church12   to the fallen  in WW1

Rutland’s highest point

Friday 1 January 2016. For my first walk of the New Year I thought that I’d visit the highest point in Rutland and kill two birds with one stone by recceing a walk for the summer programme. Linda joined me on what was a cold but dry morning as we made an early start at just after 9am. The minor road that we walked along out of Braunston-in-Rutland was icy and we had to tread carefully to avoid slipping on our backsides. The footpaths were little better but this time it was mud that was the problem following heavy overnight rain. Almost all of the fields were waterlogged and those that had been ploughed were a quagmire. It was so bad in places that we diverted onto nearby roads, where we could. This added a little to the distance of the walk which turned out to 8.8 miles with a total ascent of 770ft.

Our first stop was in Knossington for coffee and later again for lunch at the foot of the radio mast near Cold Overton park. The highest point in Rutland is a trig point at 197 metres or 646 feet. This is located about 150 yards off the footpath and necessitated the climbing of a fence to get at it. Later we found a gate that we could open to get back onto the official footpath. Whilst we visited Rutland’s highest point, the walk took in some slightly higher ground at over 205m as we passed over the county border into Leicestershire for a short while.

The last section of the walk was down a bridleway which seemed attractive to start with but quickly deteriorated to a boggy mess and we had to climb yet another fence to get into an adjoining field. The walk provided great views and, given summer conditions (dry fields), would be an enjoyable outing and perhaps a little shorter as we would be able to stick to the intended route.

Braunston-in-Rutland walk route

2016-01-01 11.57.192016-01-01 12.09.102016-01-01 12.31.11