Real Ale Rambles

REAL ALE RAMBLE 280 Saturday 16th February RIVER STOUR 4 miles & 1 pub

BUSES:

10.41 - X18 from Transport Museum Stop HS1, arrives Stratford 11.55

12.05 - No 3 (Johnsons I believe) bus from Stratford (Nat West/BHS), arrives Clifford Chambers 12.17

X18 from Stratford 4.18, 4.48, 5.15 and the last direct X18 at 6.27

This month we continue our survey of Warwickshire rivers with the river Stour just south of Stratford. This river gives its name to villages such as Atherstone-on-Stour and Newbold-on-Stour as well as the market town of Shipston-on-Stour. It rises in Brailes in the Warwickshire Cotswolds and flows for its entire length north through the county to join the Avon just upstream of Stratford racecourse

We meet at the New Inn in Clifford Chambers at 12 noon. I note that the New Inn offers accommodation, presumably cashing in on its proximity to Stratford. Given the chocolate-box attractiveness of the village of Clifford Chambers this would make a good place to stay to avoid some of the crowds in Stratford.

Leaving the New Inn at 12.30 we walk through the village, past St Helen's church, until the road turns left towards the river. Just before the bend a track on the right leads behind the housing. It bears left and goes through fields with Atherstone Hill on the right, taking us to Atherstone-on-Stour. The pretty little chapel here appears to be a private house now.

We follow the road through the village to the bridges over the Stour. Here we get a view of Alscott Park, a stately home surrounded by a deer park: when I passed there were no deer to be seen I am afraid. The river flows between us and the big house. We cross the various courses of the river and then walk through the hamlet of Ailstone.

When we come to a main road we turn left and take the road towards Monks Barn Farm. This road was once followed by the Stratford to Moreton tramway, a sort-of precursor to the railways. As we enter the track to the farm a straight hedge runs through the field to the north. This was the route of the old tramway.

Monks Barn farm has a caravan site alongside. We walk through the caravans and around the farm to join a track. This leads us through fields to a footbridge over the river. Then we walk away from the river to go through Clifford Mill Farm. Passing Gisbourne's workshops and some houses we come to Clifford Mill where the main road bridges the river. After the bridge we enter fields again and follow the river bank back to Clifford Chambers and the New Inn,which we should return to after about 1 1/2 hours walk.

FUTURE EXPEDITIONS

March 16 RIVER AVON

Meet at the Boars Head, Hampton Lucy.

Take X17 from Coventry, alight at Charlecote and walk from there. The X18 still seems to run every half hour, but check before travelling as timetables appear to be changing with the new year!

April 13 RIVER DENE

Meet at Stags Head, Wellesbourne.

X17 bus again

May 2019 PUTLEY CIDER FESTIVAL

Make sure to book taxi well in advance due to clash with Ledbury Chili Festival !

G&T Private Hire 07922 126136

June 3 BREWERIES

July SARAH HUGHES & MUD CITY

Aug MOUNT ST BERNARD

Sept CHURCH END 3

Oct LONDON

Nov COLESHILL PARKWAY

Dec METRO

Jan GBG PUBS

Copies of the walks are available at Beer Gonzo, Earlsdon.

SUNDAY LUNCH WALKS - in conjunction with the Health Development Service of Coventry City Council.

These walks all start at 12 noon. Copies of these walks can be obtained from Beer Gonzo in Earlsdon, or for more details contact moc.liamg@ttekculfg>

SUNDAY LUNCH WALK 79

Sunday 3rd February ANSTY 3 miles

This time we have a pleasant short walk from Ansty. We meet at the ROSE AND CASTLE on the main road through the village at 12 noon, setting off at 12.30. On leaving the pub we turn right and walk for a short distance alongside the road through the village, to a track that leads down to bridge 16 over the canal. Joining the towpath we follow the canal as it curves eastwards. The canal is joined by the railway line as we approach Hopsford Aqueduct. We pass a flight of steps that appear to lead down to nowhere, then cross the aqueduct and come to a second long flight of steps, which take us down the embankment to the track that passes under the aqueduct. This was the old road from Ansty and Coventry to the medieval village of Hopsford, long ago deserted (now there's a theme for future walks - lost villages!).

We follow a path through fields from here, to the B4029 Brinklow Road. When we reach the road we turn right along a mown grass verge to the GOLF CLUB HOUSE, where there is a public bar. After half an hour we rejoin our route on the opposite side of the road. We walk through a field to join a track which crosses the canal by bridge 16 again, and then return to the ROSE AND CROWN.

SUNDAY LUNCH WALK 80

Sunday 3rd March STIVICHALE 4 miles

This time we have a walk through the suburb of Stivichale. At first this may not seem very promising, as Stivichale has the appearance of being one large housing estate full of rows of little boxes, all made out of ticky-tacky all looking just the same. But no! We found plenty of variety and lots to interest along the way.

We meet at the OPEN ARMS on Daventry Road at 12 noon, quite my favourite Ember Inn in Coventry, and leave at 12.30. We walk up to the lights on the Leamington Road and turn left to reach St James, the parish church of Stivichale. It is around here that the historic village of Stivichale stood. We walk through the churchyard to reach Knoll Drive.

St James was built as recently as 1955, replacing an older church built in 1817. Architecturally it is amazingly reactionary; it is as if nothing had changed since the 15th century. It must be the last church in England built in mortar and stone in the ancient manner. What gives its lack of age away is its plainness; the lack of external ornament; and the sharp corners, the lack of weathering of the stonework. Views of the interior can be gained through the large windows.

We turn right into Knoll Drive and this is the only real length of road walking. We pass St Thomas More school and turn right into parkland. After a 90degree left, we cross a road and enter the park at Fenside. A gap in the fence in the woodland opposite takes us to some pools at the springs. These are all that is left, after land drainage, of the mashland that gave its name to Fenside.

Now we cross Fenside Avenue and follow the grass verge to the A45 to reach the FESTIVAL after about 30 minutes walking.

At about 1.30 we set off again by negotiating the giant roundabout at the junction of the A45 and A444. Then we follow Howes Lane for a short distance to come to the old route of Baginton Road. We follow this back towards the A45 before turning left into the woodland alongside the main road. This brings us to the garage, where we cross the Leamington Road, and then the A45, which we follow uphill until we come to a field on our right. This has not been built upon because it is the site of a moat.

We walk a short distance through this field and enter a hedged path which skirts the field and leads to Stivichale Grange. The Grange has a modern extension on one side, but if you walk round you see the original stone building. It was built in about 1650 and is now divided into flats. What a lovely spot to live in! From here we walk through the modern housing to Easedale Close and then cross Stivichale Croft, which in the past was also called Stivichale Green. We pass Bridge Cottage and go under Coat of Arms Bridge.

Then we walk through the Memorial Park to return to the OPEN ARMS for about 2.30

FUTURE EXPEDITIONS

April 7 COVENTRY CITY WALLS

Meet at the Town Wall Tavern

May 5 OAKES FARM SHOP, BALSALL COMMON

Meet at the Railway, Balsall Common

Copies of these walks can be obtained from Fred & Sharon. They are usually in Beer Gonzo in Earlsdon on Thursdays, from around 7 pm to 9 pm.