WYVERN PROBUS WALKING GROUP 2023
Wyvern Probus Walk Report, 6th September 2023
After a misty start to the day the sun was beginning to make an appearance as eight Probus walkers plus Bonnie Stewart met at the Bell Inn in Gumley for the Organiser, Patrick Holligan’s walk. The forecast for the day was hot and sunny. With that in mind four of our comrades had appeared wearing shorts, hoping of course, for a nettle free walk!
We left the village on the Gumley road heading towards Laughton, passing the cricket field and the war memorial. It was interesting to see that the cricket field boundary marker crossed the road and included some very uneven outfield. The sun was now fully out with a very slight breeze - a perfect early Autumn, even late summer’s day. We reached Laughton and after some hesitation took the lefthand fork in the road, avoiding the centre of the village
After passing the phone box we joined a bridle way which crossed several fields which took us on to Mill Hill. In turn this became Station Road, a very steep road with lovely views to the left and looking down towards the Grand Union canal. We were in the shade so Patrick decided this would be a good spot for our coffee stop. He supplied us with a bottle of very welcome orange juice, a selection of Jaffa cakes and Kit Cats plus a cup of coffee. Bonnie, as is her wont, had appeared with a stick which we were entreated, by her, to throw for her to retrieve. We continued down the hill reaching the Grand Union canal where we joined the towpath which would take us to Foxton Locks.
This was a lengthy stretch of the walk and mostly shaded which was very welcome. We passed several barges moored along the canal, obviously lived on, but with few signs of life. At one point a couple of ducks drew Bonnie’s attention and despite Charles ordering her not to, into the canal she went chasing one of them. Charles’ concern was that she would not be able to climb out but out she came without assistance.
We reached Foxton Locks which were very busy with boats in the locks and visitors around the locks. We entered the footpath which took us across the fields, climbing up to the Foxton Road where we continued climbing up in to Gumley and the pub. There we pleased to see Jim Sherlock and Len and Steph Jones who were joining us for lunch. After refreshing pints, the choices being Wherry, Timothy Taylor and lager we enjoyed a tasty meal with some members, somewhat guiltily, adding a sweet! The mileage covered on this very warm day was somewhere north of 5 miles.
Walk Report, 2nd August 2023
The early morning weather on Wednesday was grey, wet and did not auger well for this month’s walk organised by Philip Parkinson. As this was not enough, Philip was suffering from arthritis and had that morning asked David Mitchell to lead the walk which he had recced and arranged. However, by the time eight Probus walkers met on the car park of the Queens Head in Billesdon the grey clouds had lifted, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining! Prior to setting off at just after 9.45 am we had preordered our lunches with Landlord Mark.
We left the village via Weare Close entering a well-marked footpath across the fields and headed south towards Ashlands. Several of the fields we walked round had wheat crops, ready for harvest, but the ears were soaking wet. Conditions underfoot, despite the rain, were not too bad. We skirted around Ashlands and entered a wood. This was the trickiest part of the walk as the path was narrow, quite wet and muddy and sloping downhill. Luckily none of us came to grief! By now the morning felt much more like a decent summer’s day. On leaving the wood we were now walking in a north westerly direction to join the Gaulby Road. As we entered the road two young ladies passed by, both well mounted, on good looking horses. We continued along the road and on into Gaulby, where we were to meet Philip for our usual coffee stop. As we walked to the rendezvous point we, once again, met the two lady horse riders, this time one of our colleagues was able to appreciate how attractively seated the ladies were! We met up with Philip who was waiting to provide us with very welcome, well chilled drinks and an array of chocolate bars.
On leaving the village we continued our walk along the Gaulby road towards Frisby. At this Juncture David M realised he had left his treasured hat behind! It had been rescued and he was soon reunited with it. By Frisby House farm we left the road and joined the footpath which would lead us back across fields and open countryside back to Billedson.
We were soon back into the pub and relaxing with our well-earned pints before heading upstairs to enjoy our lunches. At this point Philip joined us for lunch. After measurements were checked and a consensus reached it was agreed that we had walked just over six miles. The walk had been enjoyed by all of us, over some very attractive countryside with some attractive views and only one style!
Walk Report, Wednesday, 5th July 2023
It was a dry bright morning with a cool breeze blowing as seven Wyvern Probus walkers and Bonnie Stewart met on the Dog and Gun car park in Keyham. Chris Mitchell had organised a five-mile walk, the majority of it across rolling countryside. Having donned their boots and clad in warmer sweaters than would be the norm in early July they set off. Climbing a fairly steep style in to open countryside and walking downhill they reached and crossed a stream. On the edge of one field there was a swathe of oxeye daises. Charles Stewart was lamenting that he could not get them to grow in the Goadby by churchyard. We eventually reached Covert Lane and after a few yards along it we turned onto a patch though a small copse which led us into a very pleasant open field with a recently mown, wide pathway across it. Shortly after crossing the field, we descended a steep set of steps and onto the bed of the old L&NER railway track. Members were reminiscing about travelling to Skegness, many years ago, on this long defunct line. We ascended another steep set of steps into a hay field. Here we refreshed ourselves with provisions provided by Chris.
The grass in this hay field was rather long as we walked through it up towards New Ingarsby Farm which was proudly flying the Union Flag. From the farm the next part of the walk should have been across a field containing a large number of cows. After some debate it was decided to avoid the cows and detour up to the A47. We walked towards Houghton along this very busy road and were very pleased when we turned onto the bridleway leading to Redvers farm. At this juncture some of us were shedding their warmer garments as the temperature had risen considerably. As we approached the farm there was a lovely show of hollyhocks on either side of the path. Skirting the farm, we were soon walking alongside a rather large Solar farm. We continued crossing fields, one of which had a large number of young bullocks galloping around, at speed! Steering clear of them we continued our walk. We once again crossed the bed of the old railway line as we continued our walk back to Keyham and into Snows Lane.
Back at the Dog and Gun we were joined by Steph and Len Jones with whom Brian Marlow had been staying after travelling up from Wiltshire. With well deserved drinks in hand, we ordered our very enjoyable lunches. As we finished eating Charles Stewart saw Bonnie running around in the car park. She had managed to ‘worm’ her way out of the cage in the boot of the car! Before leaving after an excellent walk some of us stopped to admire Chris’s immaculate, classic Riley Elf.
Probus Walk Report 7th June 2023
It was not exactly a flaming June morning when seven Probus Walkers met on the Black Horse car park in Foxton. Although the morning was dry it was cloudy with a chilly north easterly wind that has now been blowing for several days. Our walk organiser, David Caines, handed in our pre-ordered lunch choices before outlining the route and the planning that had gone into the mornings walk He explained that he had recced two walks before choosing this one. He and Liz, his wife, had walked it and in places he had had to use secateurs to cut brambles back, losing a glove in the process which he asked us to look out for.
We set off along Swingbridge Street and were very soon on a narrow tarmac uphill footpath which terminated by the primary school playing fields. We crossed the Gallow Field Road and encountered the first of many styles we were to climb during our walk. We crossed and entered a field where we had views of Gartree Prison to our left with David reminding us of the planned extensions. We continued following field paths and tracks as David explained that he had discovered some of the yellow post way markers were hard to spot. We were walking across a field containing sheep when, Hooray, the missing glove was found by Patrick Holligan. As we climbed over several more styles it became evident that the muscle strength and agility of some of us was somewhat diminished. Fortunately, this was recognised by David Caines who was on hand to ensure none of us came to grief!
As we neared Lubenham we were on high ground with splendid views looking down on the village below us. We crossed yet another style entering a narrow tree lined path that led us to the edge of the Lubenham children’s playing field. There were several picnic benches dotted around and at one of them we saw three ladies who waved at us as we approached. Recognition dawned - this was our coffee stop and what a stop it was. Liz Caines, Pat Wooten and Glynis Frost presented us with a choice of coffee or tea accompanied by cake and a variety of biscuits, we were spoiled for choice! Well refreshed we left the ladies and the playing field and walked towards the Foxton Road. There we waited for two of our colleagues to re-join us who had initially left the field heading in the wrong direction.
After a couple of hundred yards, we left the road, crossed a style and entered a field. The sun by now had made an appearance and some of realised we were now overdressed! We walked through several more fields, passing a fishing lake, before reaching the Foxton locks top car park. Crossing the road, we joined the towpath heading to the locks which were busy with canal barges ascending and descending. Crossing the swing bridge, we walked alongside the canal and back to the Black Horse for lunch.
An excellent walk with a coffee stop that will take some beating!
Walk Report Wednesday 3rd May 2023
Five members of Leicester Wyvern Probus Club met on a bright but cool spring morning at The Fox Inn, Hallaton. The route out of the village went north through several well-tended horse paddocks. It was here, while traversing these fields, that we crossed the only stiles found on the whole walk.
The path proceeded along the edge of arable fields until we reached Keythorpe Lake Farm. This is a sizeable dairy concern with the associated effluent! Care was required to negotiate the yard before we reached the lane leading to Keythorpe Lodge where we rested for refreshments. There being no suitable table we borrowed a road sign warning of the uneven surface and laid it over a nearby grass verge. Damson Gin was consumed along with sachets of fruit juice which one member succeeded in spraying around the assembled group while attempting to insert the drinking straw.
The walk then proceeded to join the Goadby to Hallaton track returning to the pub. In all the walk covered 10 kilometres and took 2 1/2 hours justifying time spent resuscitating at the bar and an enjoyable meal.
Walk Report Wednesday 5th April 2023
This month’s walk, organised by Mike Stephens, once again took us out of Leicestershire and into Northamptonshire. Nine Probus Walkers met on the car park of the Stag Inn in the pretty village of Maidwell. The plan was to pre order our lunches prior to starting the walk, but- the best laid plans!. There was no sign of life at the pub and no answer to telephone calls. We learned later that the Landlord had been delayed by a dental appointment.
We set off promptly at 9.30 am initially, on the Northampton Road before turning onto a B road which was part of the Macmillan Way. This was a pretty tree lined route,, and we soon reached the entrance to Dale Farm with on our right a weir and a lovely bank of daffodils in front of us. We continued along this road until we reached a Farm which was undergoing renovations. Turning onto a bridle path and, by the signs well used by Horse Riders, we walked long a field path a south easterly direction. This would eventually lead us to the Brampton Valley Way, once a railway line linking Market Harborough to Northampton.
Unlike the well-marked routes we enjoy in Leicestershire there a few route markers in Northamptonshire. This section of the walk of the walk caused a few scratched heads as to whether we were on the correct path, but we were! We arrived at the Brampton Valley Way and heading north we crossed main Northampton Road and shortly afterwards reached our coffee stop. Earlier Mike had left a picnic basket by a convenient seat containing coffee, Jaffa cakes and biscuits. At this juncture Mike contacted the Pub, got the website address which some of us downloaded and we were able to peruse the menu and order our lunches. Gordon Squires had noticed two robins in a nearby hedge and was breaking up a biscuit on the seat for them.
We then continued our walk along the route of the defunct railway line until we reached a footpath which led us across fields and back into Maidwell.
We enjoyed a very pleasant lunch and were fortified by some excellent ales. As ever, a very enjoyable morning in excellent and erudite company.
Probus Walk Report 1st March 2023
The passage of time seems to be accelerating as this is already the third walk report of this year! Eight Wyvern Walkers met at the Stilton Cheese in Somerby on a cold and somewhat dank morning – the first day of meteorological Spring. We pr-ordered our lunches before setting off just after 9.30 am. The initial stage of the walk took us down Manor Lane to exit the village and join the Leicestershire Round. Having walked over a couple of grass fields we joined a very muddy track eventually leaving the track and crossing a stream to make a slippery and steep ascent to higher ground. We continued to follow the Leicestershire Round eventually reaching Newbold Road and walking along it into Owston. Around the banks on the road and in the churchyard there was a lovely show of snowdrops. Leaving Owston we headed west along the Washdyke road gradually climbing uphill to reach the very windy junction with Hyde Lodge Road. At this juncture we stopped to take refreshments which Richard had earlier hidden in the bottom of a hedge!
After our coffee break, we headed north along the bridleway to Newbold under grey and threatening clouds. Luckily, they only produced a light but nevertheless an irritating drizzle. We departed Newbold on the metalled but muddy road which led us back to Somerby reaching the pub just after noon. Having divested ourselves of our walking gear we repaired to the pub to enjoy a pint and a very tasty lunch. At lunch we were joined by Len and Steph Jones. The had been hosting Brian Marlow who had driven up from his home in Wiltshire to join this 5.5-mile walk.
A very enjoyable and companiable walk but the weather not up to our usual expectations.
Probus Walk Report, 1st February, 2023
The morning was sunny but with a cold breeze blowing when nine Probus walkers and Bonnie Stewart assembled in front of the Bell Inn in Burton Overy. This was the largest assemblage of walkers for some time as we set off under the guidance of walk organiser David Mitchell. David had explained that his planning of the route of the five-mile walk contained some ‘flexibility’ allowing for conditions underfoot and getting us back to the pub in good time!
We walked out of the village on the Carlton Road and on leaving the edge of Burton we turned left across the grassy fields heading towards the Gartree road. After crossing several more fields we reached the Gartree road close to the entrance to IIlston Grange. At this juncture there was some hesitation as which route to take, the decision being to carry on over the fields towards Illston on the Hill. As we walked across the field we could see in the distance a large group of walkers by a style. These turned out to be the Kibworth walking group who had started their walk in IIlston. Before moving on there was further discussion as to which way to go. Decision made, we crossed the style and carried on towards IIlston. Two of the walkers were now well ahead of the rest as we neared Illston. They assumed we were heading into the village. Not so! They waited for David and the rest of the group to catch up only to see them taking a different route. On re- joining their colleagues, they learned that after further discussion a different route was to be taken back towards Carlton Curlieu
We headed in a southerly direction and crossing the Gartree road close to Carlton Curlieu Manor joining a bridle path which led us in to the village. Here we enjoyed a welcome coffee break with provisions which David had left earlier that morning. This fortified us for the last leg of the walk. We exited the village and on leaving the road took a steep descent to the Burton Brook. Crossing the brook we then we started a long uphill climb towards Chestnut Farm where we joined the road leading back into Burton Overy and the Bell, arriving ten minutes after midday.
We entered the pub to be greeted by Len and Steph Jones who were joining us for lunch. Sitting down to enjoy our various liquid refreshments and await our lunches it was agreed, after electronic checks, that the walk had been five miles. David had negotiated a two-course lunch at a fixed price, two courses being a departure from the one course we normally stick to. The meal was excellent and enjoyed by all of us. It rounded off what had been a very entertaining and enjoyable walk and an excellent choice of pub.
Probus Walk, 4th January 2023
Our first walk of the New Year was also the first walk organised Gordon Squires. The assembly point was the car park at the Bradgate Inn where by 9.45 am Gordon, Mike Stephens, Patrick Holligan and Richard Ward were waiting for the fifth walker Charles Stewart to arrive. Eventually a phone call to Charles ascertained that he was waiting for us at the Bradgate Park car park. We set off to meet him whilst he walked from the car park to meet us. With the group now complete we started the walk into the Park up a steepish and in places muddy footpath. It was a lovely sunny morning with a stiff breeze which fortunately was blowing into our backs. We walked across the park towards Old John with lovely views looking over towards the city.
A stiff climb took us up to The Old John monument where we enjoyed a very welcome coffee break provided by Gordon. We sat for a while, enjoying the all-round views and reminiscing about a previous visit to the same spot a few years ago. This was on a walk organised by Aftab Khan when he gave us an informative talk on the geology of the rock formations. We then walked down to the bottom road which crosses the park. This was very busy with walkers passing in both directions. As we passed Lady Jane Grey’s house we had a view, in the distance, of the park deer. On reaching the car park we left Charles to pick up his car whilst the rest of us walked on the road back to the Pub. There we enjoyed some liquid refreshment and a very substantial lunch. It was an excellent start to our annual monthly walks and it certainly blew the cobwebs away!