Real Ale Rambles

REAL ALE RAMBLE 275

Saturday 8th September OLD ROUTES AROUND OFFCHURCH

4 miles and 1 pub

BUSES: The nearest public transport is the hourly 63/64 bus between Leamington and Southam. Alight at Radford Semele and walk to Offchurch.

This time we are going to use a number of old transport routes around Offchurch. Some have been converted to modern, metalled, roads whilst others are now just footpaths.

We meet at the STAG in Offchurch at 12 noon and at 12.30 move off south along Welsh Road. This was a medieval drove road or trackway used by drovers to move cattle from Wales to lowland markets, especially London. It passed through Warwickshire via Kenilworth, Offchurch and Southam. Where the Welsh Road passes the Greenway we take the gate on the left. This leads us down to the Greenway, which is the trackbed of the old Leamington to Rugby railway line.

After a few hundred yards the Greenway ends at Fosse Way, This is the old Roman road between Exeter and Lincoln and I had considered following it for a while, but it is such a busy road these days, what with chariots racing up and down all day, that I thought it best just to cross here. Please be careful crossing this busy road !

The old railway continues on the opposite side of Fosse Way. It is no longer a greenway here, and has been defended with a ditch and concrete blocks to prevent bikes and 4x4 vehicles using it. These defences are easily negotiated on foot. The path is easily followed, but in places it has been deeply rutted by motorised vehicles. These ruts can get full of water and/or mud, so boots or wellies are recommended.

We soon come to the Ridgeway Lane bridge over the old railway, an impressive metal lattice structure, as the track is in a cutting here. There is a steep scramble up to the lane. I think the best route is to take a path on the right just before the bridge, which passes under the bridge and reaches the lane on the other side. I will check this out in the week before we do the walk.

Then we follow Ridgeway Lane, which is just what it says on the label: it is an ancient ridgeway that crosses part of Warwickshire from north to south. From Wappenbury Fort to Itchington Holt it has been left much as ancient man would have known it, as what we would call a 'white road', looking like the more famous National Trail Ridgeway of the North Wessex Downs and Chiltern Hills. At Itchington Holt it meets other ancient tracks, whilst to the north it disappears under modern roads and development. After crossing one road we come to Stonebridge Lane, a single track lane no wider than the ridgeway, but which has been metalled. We turn right here and follow lanes back to the Fosse Way. We cross and go back to the Welsh Road and return to the STAG after about 2 hours walking.

FUTURE EXPEDITIONS

Fri 28th Sept Book Signing of COVENTRY PUBS at BEER GONZO, Earlsdon Street, 5.00 pm

Sat 29th Sept COVENTRY PUBS Book Crawl. BYATTS - OLD WINDMILL - BROOMFIELD - BEER GONZO

Oct LONDON See Paul Hamblett

Nov KENILWORTH BY TRAIN

Meet Coventry Station at 11.20 for 11.36 train. Arrives Kenilworth 11.44

Return trains at 8 minutes past the hour until 9.08

Dec CANLEY FORD

Jan GBG PUBS

Feb RIVER STOUR

March RIVER AVON

April RIVER DENE

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

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

All start at 12 noon on a Sunday

SUNDAY LUNCH WALK 74

Sunday 2nd September LAVENDER HALL FISHERIES 2 miles

Today we meet at the RAILWAY INN in Balsall Common at 12 noon and start out at 12.30 for a short circular walk to the café at Lavender Hall Fisheries.

We cross the road and enter fields to the left of the garage. After three fields we go through a gate and cross the Greenway. From the Greenway we take a farm track to a bridge over the railway. Then we go through a field that contained two llamas and a cow when I surveyed this walk. Across the road at Truggist Hill we take a farm track before crossing a field on our left. The path takes us down to a field bridge over a stream and then past a fallen tree to Baulk Lane. After Baulk Lane there are a couple of fields, where I saw a pair of herons. No doubt they had been hunting in the area around the Fishery. We enter the grounds of the Fishery where there is a CAFÉ, where I am particularly fond of the cheese omelettes.

From the cafe it is a short walk over the railway back to the RAILWAY INN. On this path I watched dunnocks feeding on seed heads in July.

SUNDAY LUNCH WALK 75

Sunday 7th October RYTON POOLS 3 miles

We have already passed through Ryton Pool Country Park twice on our way to Ryton Woods to look for wild flowers. At the time it was suggested that we should return to walk round the Pool itself some time, so here we are.

We meet at the MALT SHOVEL at Bubbenhall again, at 12 noon. At 12.30 we set off along the lane to the village playing fields. Here a path takes us through a field to the A445. We cross the road and enter the country park, passing some small pools before coming to the cafe for the first time. We pass the cafe and follow a path past the miniature railway and some industrial buildings before approaching Ryton Pool. We then walk right round the pool. I had intended to take a different route back, but we have already walked that route twice when looking for wild flowers in Ryton Woods, and the pool is so attractive that it would be a pity to miss any of it. So we walk round the pool and return to the Courtyard Cafe by the same route. We can have some refreshments here before retracing our steps back to the MALT SHOVEL where we can have some more refreshments.

FUTURE EXPEDITIONS

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

Nov 4 BERRYFIELDS FARM SHOP, MERIDEN

Meet at Queens Head, Meriden

Dec 2 MALT KILN FARM SHOP, STRETTON-UNDER-FOSSE

Meet at the Raven, Brinklow

Jan RUSSELLS GARDEN CENTRE, BAGINTON

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.