Saturday, 19 October 2013

Walk west of Braunston

A misty start to the day followed by ominous low cloud.  But surprisingly it wasn’t that cold, provided you kept walking.   I’d mapped out the route using the Ordnance Survey website and for all but the last leg it worked out well.  The planned length was slightly more than 18km but I ended up walking further when the last footpath was “missing” and a detour further south-west was required. 

The route took me under the route of abandoned sections of the Grand Central Railway.  The line was closed between Aylesbury and Rugby in 1966 but much of the per way remains, along with many of the bridges.

The first of three rail bridges seen today

At one point I found the footpath took me through a field of horses.  They ignored me until I was almost at the ‘kissing gate’ on the far side of the field and then decided to canter over to investigate.  Or perhaps they could smell the apple in my daypack.

Some of them must be suffering from a vitamin deficiency because they were rather stunted.  I felt particularly sorry for the small one on the left in the following photo.  I don’t think I’d like me appendages dragging through snow.

At the entrance to one field was a sign warning to “Beware of the Bull”.  I was halfway across the field when he put his head down and started snorting whilst pawing the ground with his left front hoof.  I turned to face him whilst slowly taking my trusty ‘Leatherman’ multi-tool from the daypack.  Then I realised my actions were ridiculous….. He was far too big to fit into our small freezer! Smile

Every now and then you come upon some lovely rural spots.  A path through the trees covered in autumn leaves. 

Or looking back after squeezing through the hedgerow to reach the road.  In the far distance was a mare that simply ignored me as I walked past her.

The route took me through the small village of Grandborough where I came upon another of those red public telephone boxes.  You would think with the number of mobile phones in circulation that they would have all gone by now.

I did check……. There was a working coin phone in it.  Opposite was an interesting house with a roof connecting the barn to the house.

What actually caught my eye was the “wonky” wall.  It was bulging both in and out and has probably been in that state for many years.

Now for my problem with the missing section of footpath.  I had reached a location south of Sawbridge where the Ordnance Survey map showed a public footpath running east-west.  The plan was to walk from point A to B and then to the towpath at C. (see screen dump below) 

The path had been uploaded to my Garmin GPS.

  You can see it in the following screen dump from the Open Street Map.

However when I reached point A the footpath disappeared and I was faced with an impenetrably thorn hedge and two barbed wire fences.  I stood on top of a fencepost to look over the hedge and couldn’t see any sign of a footpath on the far side.  The following screen dump from Google Earth shows the point where I was forced to stop (red arrow)

The next Google Earth photo shows the alleged route.

Now I remove the blue line and you can see there is no sign of a footpath.

I believe it is the responsibility of the local authority to maintain the public footpaths and I might write to Warwickshire Council to ask whether the Ordnance Survey map is inaccurate or if the path needs to be reinstated.

My detour took me south-west away from Braunston but I was eventually able to reach the Oxford Canal towpath and head east to Braunston.  There are a number of boats moored on a nice concrete edge by Bridge 98 Wolfhamcote.  They appear well settled and I guessed (correctly) there was vehicle access to bridge 98.  Rather than walk back via the towpath I decided to walk the rural road (track) from Bridge 98 to Braunston.  About halfway back I noticed what appeared to be a redundant church.  I could see from a distance that the windows in the tower had been bricked up.

The entire northern side of the church was visible from the northern (road) side.

The blue sign reads

Wikipedia reports a connection to the canals and railway <link here>.  The church stands amongst the mounds of what was once a medieval village and was recorded in the Doomsday Book.  A declining population led to it first being closed in 1910 and then permanently closed after WW2.  Extensive vandalism resulted in it being secured against unauthorised entry. 

It’s Friday…… We’re going to try the fish and chips from the Braunston Fryer for dinner.


Paul (from Waterway Routes) said...

The local authorities hold the "Definitive Map" of public rights of way.

Some keep this up to date with considerable enthusiasm, others are a little slow at updating - but it's what's on their definitive map that's legal - even if it's wrong !

Tom and Jan said...

Thanks for the link Paul,

Apparently the information isn't available online. I'll have to identify the relevant parish and contact the clerk to view the map.

Tom and Jan said...

Interesting Paul. I've loaded the web page three times and only on the last did the email option appear. I clicked on it and (eventually) it opened a form. But the form doesn't have an option to include an attachment. Nevertheless, I've written to them asking for an email address that will accept an attachment.