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The Short Walking Group

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Friday 17th July 2020. Around Ashby, starting ar the Hood Park Gates

Photos by Margaret Howlett & John Dogherty
A similar walk to the last one only that was 5 months ago. We are limited to 6 people because of the virus. We walked through Hood Park and took the footpath out to Smisby Road just beyond the biscuit factory estate. We crossed Smisby Road and walked up Rotherwood Drive into the Bovis estate where we turned left along Sherbourne Drive into Canterbury Drive and then Rouen Way. Part-way up the hill we took the path which goes down past the old flour mill except we turned right and followed the track out onto Burton Road opposite Hill Street. We turned right and followed the road till we reached Churchill Close and turned left. At the end of the cul-de-sac we took the path out to the playing field and turned left into Highfields Close. From there we crossed the Moira road and took the footpath to the allotments. Here we stopped for a chat with Estelle before going to Joan's garden for morning coffee/tea. The weather held up well.


Friday 21st February 2020. Around Ashby, starting ar the Hood Park Gates

Photos by John Howlett
12 Walkers set off from the Hood park gates towards the Plough and turned down Millbank and down the footpath to Smisby Road. We crossed Smisby road and along the Jitty oposite which goes past the Burton Road School.In what used to be called the Bovis estate we turned right up Canterbury Drive and into Sherbourne Drive and thence down the alley to Rotherwood drive. We crossed the Smisby Road again and walked down the alley by the corner shop and then right towards Hood park and the Leisure centre. At this point we had passed three housing estates which were once fatories namely the Soap Factory, the Flour Mill and the Biscuit Factory. We took the path on our left just before the Leisure centre which goes around the back of the Leisure centre and out on to North Street through the original park gates. We turned right to the Mews and took them to Market Street. We crossed Market Street at the lights at the upper end of Market Street and took the alley leading to the printers and out onto South Street. Here we turned left to St Helen's Church and up to Mount View. We took this to Prior Park Road which we took to Bath Grounds. We followed the new path round the park to South Street from where we went to Coxon's Mews and Suzy Q's where we had our coffee break.


Friday 17th January 2020. Sarah's Wood

Photos by Johns H and D
11 walkers met at Sarah's Wood car park on a cool and overcast day. We walked down the right hand path that takes you to the canal Basin at Conkers Waterside Court. We went towards the rail bridge but turned left onto the track over the kiddies rail track and around to the old disused rail track and turned left towards Measham. We followed the track as far as the first level track on our left back to the canal. At the canal we turned left toeards Moira Furnace where we stopped at the hub for a refreshment and comfort break, After the break we continued along the canal back to the canal basin but crossed the bridge to Sarah's Wood. Having crossed the newly refurbihed bridge we turned right following the other side of the canal and around to the other entry to the car park. Total distance just under 3 miles.


Friday 13th December 2019. Staunton Harold

Photos by John D and John H
9 walkers met at the lower car park at Staunton Harold. The weather was fine but we anticipated the ground would be very wet. Sandra was prepared to lead the walk but not sure that a metalled only walk was possible so John led the way around the road back towards Ticknall but turned right past the main garden centre car park and down to the bridge over the lake. We took a slight detour to look at the church which was not open but was apparently the only High Anglican church built during the Commonwealth in defiance of the Puritan's beliefs in plainer buildings. We returned to the road over the bridge and the turn right leaving the lake and house on our right until we reach the road to Melbourne. From here we returned to the car park and the took the footpath back to the stable yard and a hot drink and cake. Total distance just over 1 1/2 miles.


Friday 15th November 2019. The new parts of Ashby

Photos by John D & Margaret
14 Intrepid walkers met at 16 Winchester Way despite the forecast. We set off up Clifton Drive and along Oakham Grove and took the footpath towards the new estate. The stile was broken but the path was good and we entered the new estate and walked to the cntre(?) of phase 2 where we found a attractive open area. Here we found a footpathe with a fance across it see the photograph. We wndered back to the edge of phase 1 and looked at the display board. It now stared to rain so we hurried to the Olive Branch for cofee and cake. As it rain had stopped we did a short walk around the council estate and back down Marlborough Way. Total distance 2 miles.


Friday 18th October 2019. Calke Abbey Explore

Photos by John Dogherty and a passing jogger
8 members met at Ticknall car park on a bright sunny, if not very warm, day. A good start considering the recent weather. Just for a change we set off through the other end of the CP straight into the school playground and then into the churchyard. Many of the group did not know this path existed. From the church we walked down to the main road and up Ashby Rd to a footpath on the left into the fields behind 'The Staff of Life' pub. Across three slightly muddy fields, but not too wet, (it had rained heavily the night before) and 3 small stiles led us to the usual track coming up from Ticknall. It was all gravel tracks from here on. Turning right, we headed for the gate which avoided the NT toll-booth and headed down to the new Calke Explore site. The area is nearly ready to open, but unfortunately the cafe was not due to open until the next day. However it looks like it will be an outdoor cafe as the building appears to have no indoor seating. But good news, the loos were open. After a stroll around the site, we headed along a duck-boarded path across a reeded pond and out onto the main driveway. Keeping to the verges to aviod the cars we made it up the hill to the toll-booth and back onto the gravel track down to Ticknall and the Scoff and Shop cafe. Although various Fitbits disagreed on the mileage, the satnav and Ordnance Survey said it was 2.6 miles


Friday 20th September 2019. From St. Bernards Abbey.

Photos by John Dogherty and John Howlett
6 walkers met at Mount St Bernard's Abbey. A friendly lady offered to take a photograph of us all before the Abbey. The weather was fine but not hot and we set off taking a footpath on our left as we left the car park. Down the hill to Oaks Road which passes the Abbey, we turned away from the Abbey and picked up the public footpath on our left across 3 ploughed fields. As the footpath was well defined and not too rough we continued to a farm track. Here we turned left and climbed to a higher track alongside Whitlock Quarry which is now full of water.

The path continued by the quarry and down to a farm track which led back to the Abbey. From here we went to St Joseph's tea room for a drink, cakes and a chat leaving at 12.15.

Of interest we photgraphed some hare bell flowers in bloom in mid September.

Information about the Abbey:- it was founded in 1835 as a Trappist monastery.


Friday 16th August 2019. Meet at car park near St Peter's Church, Stapenhill for a walk around the washlands.

Photos by John Dogherty
5 people met at the Stapenhill car park, the weather was poor with a slight drizzle. Because of the weather we decided to walk to the Costa coffee shop in Tesco's. We crossed the footbridge over the new bridge road and stopped for a toilet break in Stapenhill gardens. We then crossed on the Ferry bridge and headed to the Pumping station (no longer in use). There were a lot of puddles around but we managed to find a way through without getting too wet. We spent some time looking at the pump house and the various printed boards. The road to the car park passes close to the Tesco store where we stopped for a break and a chat. On leaving the shop we followed the footpath on the left as soon as we entered the washlands which was puddle free and passed under both the road bridge and the raised foot path. We then walked up to the raised foot path back the Ferry footbridge. We retuned to the car park along the riverside path which meant we had a good view of Stapenhill gardens. The walk was just over two miles and I have include both walk tracks as they both have us wading through the river.


Friday 19th July 2019. Meet at Conkers main car park for a walk to Albert Village lake,

Photos by Margaret Howlett
7 stalwart short walkers met in the car park and 6 were photographed by the leader. We met despite the warnings of heavy rain. We set off towards Albert village as we got to the path down to the lake it started to rain. The forecast was correct. The rain was heavy and as we left the lake and headed to the footpath to Spring Cottage it was unrelenting. At Spring Cottage we took the old railway track now a metalled path. We came to the crossroad where we went our different ways, three went back to their cars, one walked home and four stopped at the YHA cafe before returning to their cars. Hence two maps 3 miles for the early returners and 3.5 miles for the refreshment route.


Friday 21st June 2019. Walk around Sence Valley

Photos by Margaret Howlett
10 met at Sence Valley top car park. It was the Summer Solstice so we took the group photo in front of the Tree stump that should shine a shaft of sunlight through a slit at the true local noon time on the day of the Solstice. As this was taken at about 10am BST, probably 3 hours before noon, we missed the light show. As one of our number is recovering from ankle surgery, only nine set off towards the West side of the site and took the path down to Goss Water. Here we spotted a cormorant drying its wings, there was also swan and two ducks swimming together. We continued to the west of the lake and found the footpath just outside the northern boundary. We turned East along this as far as the first sizeable entry back into the site and followed the path to a very quiet Usborne pool where we stopped and admired the view. We continued along the path back to the northern side of the Horseshoe lake and turned East and around the lake to the stream where a swan was standing on one leg. A little later a photograph of the common spotted orchid was taken. We all climbed the road to the car park and arranged to meet at Cattows farm cafe. Here the tenth member of the party re-joined us. Total distance 1.8 miles.


Friday 17th May 2019. Walk to Donisthorpe

Photos by Margaret Howlett
Seven met at the conkers Waterside Court. The weather was wet so we stayed in our cars mostly. At 10 o'clock we decided to move to Moira fuurnace and have some drinks while we discussed what to do. At about 10.40 the rain stopped so we decided to walk to Donisthorpe and back. The weather stayed fine if overcast. We walked by the canal to the Woodland Centre at Donisthorpe, it was interesting and we may start a walk from there later in the year. We returned to the car park via the old railway and left before we were fenced in by the preperations for the Canal Festival starting the next day.


Friday 19th April 2019. Visit the new adventure playground and if its Cafe is open

Photos by John Howlett
A glorious Easter has been promised and Good Friday certainly lived up to that description. Ten of us met at Ticknall village hall, which was busy organising the Ashby Art Club Easter Exhibition. We took the normal path towards Calke but stayed outside the main park until we reached the new entrance. The path and carpark was complete but not yet in use. We met a group probably of volunteers building what they called a human scale Badger set to allow children to see what a badger set looks like from the inside. We took the path towards the main house and cafes passing a large group of mainly families doing the \easter egg hunt. We thought with the number of people present the cafe would be crowded but it was not so we had our drinks and planned the next three walks and then returned to the cars and home. The walk was about 3 1/2 miles longer than usual but we all agreed that on such a lovely day we could walk a bit further.


Friday 15th March 2019. A walk in Willesley woods

Photos by Margaret Howlett and John Dogherty
It was a day predicted to be wet and windy, despite this 7 people met at the Oakthorpe colliery picnic site. The weather turned out to be fine if a little windy. The grassy areas were wet from heavy rain on the days before we met. We walked in Willesley woods, including the Royal British Legion memorial stone, the site of the Oakthorpe shafts. We lingered at the display board telling us about the Ashby Canal. When we returned to the cars we travelled in convoy to Moira Furnace cafe for a drink and eats.


Friday 15th February 2019. Meet at Staunton Harold Garden Centre lower car park for either visit the snow drops or just go for a walk.

Photos by Margaret Howlett and John Dogherty
10 walkers met at Staunton Harold for the February short walk. The weather was glorious and so we set off along the road to Lount taking the track when the road turned left. The track was muddy frozen to start with but soon turned to real mud and puddles. T the Lount gates there was a lot of snowdrops not on the scale of Dimminsdale but more than enough to satisfy the walkers. We returned to the house via the road again going straight on at the gate where the road turned left. We crossed the field to main gate where we stopped for a quick photo in the sunshine before going to the cafe in stable yard.


Friday 18th January 2019. Walk around Ashby and back to Winchester Way for teas and cakes

Photos by Margaret Howlett
6 met at Winchester Way and set off down the Jitty across the Smisby Road and into the new estate where the Soap Factory once was. Over the stream into Hood Park. We took the photo on the skateboard rink and walked away from town out along the footpath around the old dairy site and into the new estate. This is very attractive with its playground, ponds and footpaths. Back on the Smisby road we walked as far as the corner shop and back into the housing estate and back to Winchester way for a drink and cake. Just under 2.5 miles.


Friday 14th December 2018. Walk around the lake at Hicks Lodge

Photos by Margaret Howlett
6 intrepid walkers met at Hicks lodge for a walk around the lake. It was a gloriously sunny if cold. The walk is just under 1 and 1/3 miles which we completed in less than an hour. We admired the new information board, more a work of art, several of which are appearing all over the National Forest. After the walk we had tea and cake at the Hicks Lodge Cafe.


Friday 16th November 2018. Conkers to near Donisthorpe

Photos by Margaret Howlett
8 walkers met at Conkers, Waterside Centre, on an overcast but mild day. We set off towards Conkers main entrance but turned left across the Conkers railway and up to the Ashby Wolds Way where we found a new display board describing the old railway. We set off towards Measham after entering Donisthorpe Woods we crossed the stream and shortly after turned left to the canal. Again we turned left and followed the canal to Moira Furnace where we stopped for cake and drinks. After the break we continued by the canal to the Waterside Centre. The walk was just over 3 miles.


Friday 19th October 2018. Burton Washlands

5 ladies arrived for our October walk around the Washlands at Burton on Trent. It was a lovely autumn day with the sun shining and the trees of all different colours of autumn were a lovely sight. We paused at times to study the wild life, then stopped at the library for our usual coffee and tea break. We then carried on to complete the other half of our walk going over the beautiful painted bridge back to our starting point.


Friday 21st September 2018. Willesley Woods from Oakthorpe picnic area

Photos by Margaret Howlett
Seven of us met at the Oakthorpe picnic area car park. We studied the tribute to Thurtit colliery (Actually Oakthorpe Colliery but always known locally as 'Who'd have thought it') We then set of towards Willesley Woods and met up with two of our regular walkers. We stuck to the good path as it had been raining recently and went as far as the Willesley Woodside entrance. We discussed places of interest and decided to visit the Royal Legion Memorial glade. We then continued on the well-made path and left the Woods near the Colliery shafts and walked around to the shaft marker stones and read the panel about the Ashby Canal which the colliery had used for supply and removal of coal. From there it was but a short walk back to the car park. The weather had stayed sunny with cloudy patches until the end when it started to rain so we repaired to The Hub Cafe at Moira Furnace for refreshments.


Friday 17th August 2018. Conkers to Spring Cottage, then YHA and Moira Furnace

Photos by Margaret Howlett
Six ladies and one lady dog met at Conkers for our walk to spring cottage. the weather sunny with slight breeze ideal for walking. We walked through the tunnel and had to wait for a train to pass then we crossed over and made our way to railway bank where we turned right and made our way to Spring Cottage. After a while we arrived at the short road walk down to the entrance to youth hostel made our way up the winding lane and on arrival we enjoyed coffee and cake. Thoroughly refreshed we made our way back to railway bank and made our way back stopping at Moira furnace for a breather, then set off for Conkers seeing lots of wild life busy with their young eventually arriving at our cars nicely exhausted but having enjoyed plenty chatter and laughs and very pleasant company.


Friday 20th July 2018. Bradgate park walk to the central cafe and back

Photos by Margaret and John Howlett
8 members met at the Newtown Linford car park. We set off along the road to Hall gates car park at the end of the road. On the way we saw deer either in the shade or in the grass by the stream as most of the park was parched because of the drought. There was also the occasional Buzzard and dragonfly. When we got to the Deer Barn cafe we decided to have a drink and cake and return. Clearly the heat was affecting us. The return journey was uneventful and by 12.00 we were back in the car park. The walk was 2.4 miles.


Friday 15th June 2018. From Staunton Harold around Lount Wood

With Cynthia, our walk leader, having an unexpected early appointment was not able make the start in order to lead the walk, and with her deputy and the group leader both being away, Mike was rapidly promoted to 3rd substitute walk leader. Nine gathered at Staunton Harold with the promise that our original leader would arrive later and walk the wrong way round the route to meet up part way round, so there was pressure on our substitute leader to take the correct route or we may not have met up at all!

With a mix of sun and cloud and a light breeze, it was a perfect day for a walk so we set off back down the approach road to the first corner, going straight on into a green lane. Some 600 yds further on we turned sharp right and a little later, right again through a gateway into Jaguar Car's walnut plantation, part of Lount Wood. We noted how rapidly the trees have grown since first planted such a seemingly short time ago. The path then meandered through various plantations of oak and ash until we met our leader with about half an hour to go. Mike happily relinquished the lead as we all headed back to the car park and on to the important part - the coffee shop. A lovely morning's walk but unfortunately, in the rush to organise a leader, no-one remembered to bring a camera, so there are no photos to record it.


Friday 18th May 2018. Walk from Ticknall to Calke cafe and back

Photos by John Howlett
12 members assembled in the Ticknall village hall car park for a walk into Calke. The proposed walk was 3.7 miles, a bit outside the maximum distance but as everyone was up for it we set off. We took the new path that follows the edge of the wood just outside the main park area. We stopped at the sign describing the new hub they are bulding. We continued past the building site and took the main path into Calke. This brought us into the park where the road takes a sharp left. We followed the road, mainly walking on the grass, to the cafe. Here we stopped for a drink and comfort break. After the short pause we crossed the car park, took the path towards Ticknall and when we reached the entry road we followed this to the main entrance, crossed the road and took the back way to the car park. The weather was fantastic throughout and the distance 3 3/4 miles was completed in 2 1/2 hours.


Friday 20th April 2018. Walk around Burton-upon-Trent Washlands.

Photos by John Dogherty
9 members met at the Stapenhill car park between the two road bridges over the Trent, near St Peters Church. It was a glorious day and we set off by the banks of the Trent towards the ferry bridge built in the 1890s to replace the original ferry. having crossed the river we followed the bank across the river from Stapenhill, in the direction of the meadowbank centre. The bridge we were intending to cross the small stream was closed so we went to the bridge near the library and straight to the bookichino cafe in the library. We consumed our drinks and cakes while we chatted in the sun. We then returned on the path away from the main river and joined the foot bridge nearer Burton and took the causeway and bridge back to Stapenhill. We crossed over the road to the new bridge by the pedestrian high bridge admiring the flowers, trees and the bird life.


Friday 16th March 2018. Sence Valley Ibstock

Photos by John Howlett
5 ladies and 2 Gentlemen plus Dandar the dog arrived at Sence Valley suitably garbed for deep puddles and muddy tracks, The weather was fine after early morning rain and as predicted part of the walk was very muddy with frequent puddles. We walked for about an hour and did 1 3/4 miles. We saw a heron, some swans building a nest and some cormorants sunning themselves. Much to our surprise the sun even shone. After the walk 4, without the dog, adjourned to the cafe at Cattows farm for a hot drink and cake.


Friday 16th February 2018. Moira Furnace, Conkers & Donisthorpe

6 ladies and 1 gentleman arrived at Moira Furnace at 9.45 to start walking at 10. By 10.15 our leader hadn't turned up, so the 7 decided to start off anyway with Cynthia leading and Sandra bringing up the rear. The sun was shining so we set off towards Donisthorpe down the canal-side, arriving at the start of the canal where we took the RH path towards Ashby Woulds. After a little while we found the path back towards the canal and eventually arrived back at Moira Furnace where a welcome tea, coffee and cake was enjoyed by all.


Friday 19th January 2018. Around Ashby

Photos by John Dogherty & John Howlett
8 walkers met on the Green on a perfect day for walking except the ground was icy and we had one faller but that came later. Two of the party were new to the group as we set off through the park as far as the new bridge where we crossed into the estate where the soap factory had been. We then crossed the Smisby road into the French homes estate and climbed up to the path to the flour mill but instead turned right to come to the Burton road opposite Hill street. We turned right along Burton road and thence into Churchill Close. We took the path from Churchill Close to Highfields and then up the Moira road to the footpath leading through the allotments and onto Wilfred Gardens where the fall occured. We then took the new path around Bath grounds anto Prior park road, South Street to the cafe replacing the forties themed cafe.


Friday 15th December 2017. Hick's Lodge

This walk was cancelled due to the (un)seasonal weather. The footpaths around the lake would have been too icy, as were the roads to Hick's Lodge.


Friday 17th November 2017. Walk from Conkers to Spring Cottage and Moira Furnace

Photos by John Dogherty
10 of us met under overcast skies at Conkers car park. We set off through the tunnel and across the tracks down into the meadow before and along the track to the path between Donisthorpe and Spring Cottage. We took the Spring Cottage route to the road, turned left along the pavement to the path to Youth Hostel. At this point the Sun came out as we followed the track now going to Donisthorpe but only as far as the path to Moira Furnace where we had coffee. After a long stop we returned following the canal to Conkers and back to our cars. The walk was 3 1/3 miles.


Friday 15th September 2017. Short walk around Bradgate Park. 3 miles

Photos by Margaret Howlett and John Dogherty
10 of us met on a damp day for Cynthia and Sandra's walk around Bradgate Park. As we were a relatively fit bunch we decided to take the trail up to Old John. When we got there they were preparing some sort of reception but unfortunately not for us. We then walked down to the cafe in the park where we had tea and cake. Cleverly Cynthia had arranged for the drizzle to stop before we set off and the heavy downpoor came while we had tea. We then walked along the road back to the car park. It turned out to be a bit further than 3 miles but everyone coped well.


Friday 18th August 2017. Walk around Willesley Woods. 1.5 miles.

Photos by Margaret Howlett and John Dogherty
Six of us met at the Oakthorpe picnic site. This was Oakthorpe colliery until 1991, now a car park for Willesley woods. We set off on the track nearest the Willesley lane and followed the gravel track and onto the grassy track right up to the North Western edge of the woods where we found workmen laying a new path. We followed the new path down to the lake where we struggled over a net the workmen had placed to block the path. We then went around the lake and down to the site of the old Oakthorpe pit. Just as we got back to the car park it started to rain so we adjourned to Moira furnace for coffee only to find it was Moira Furnace Folk Festival setting up. We still managed to park the cars and have our coffee.


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