As bank holidays go I’ve zero complaints so far.
If the point of such a holiday is spending time wandering aimlessly from place to place with people you like and talking all day long about life and ‘stuff’ then I think so far all the boxes I have are well and truly ticked. Today I’ve been on just such an excursion with just such a person doing just such things.
Although it’s fair to say I’m no longer a walking virgin in my local area there are times that I still mentally kick myself about all the years I spent indoors – never venturing out to explore what is honestly a lovely little corner of the world. I’m very lucky to live where I do and it really niggles me that I ignored it for so long.
Not any more though thankfully.
Today my friend had suggested we do a five mile long circular stroll via Offchurch and the river Leam from her Pathfinder book of local walks (link). I’ve driven past pretty much all of this many times – but never once realised as I whizzed by how close I was to the Grand Union Canal, fields and wildlife.
And in the case of the latter – it just so happens to be my favourite type!
Not long after we joined the canal, nestling right next to the path were two swans – one floating serenely down the waterway, and the second on a large nest – clearly sitting on some eggs and preening itself as I quietly edged closer and closer to take a picture.
I could stare at these guys all day long and never get bored. They always make me happy.
As we left the swans and passed by the Radford bottom lock then under the nearby skewed railway viaduct (the brickwork on this is really impressive!) the path headed up to the greenway with some lovely views of the surrounding bright yellow fields of rape.
As with the Stratford Greenway that I’ve walked a few times previously (link) this path follows a disused railway line between Rugby and Leamington (laid in 1851 according to the walking guide). It’s got a slight incline – but for the most part is pretty flat and easy to walk on.
It goes on a lot further than our route allowed however, and sadly almost as soon as we’d joined it we had to peel off into a field and then to a country lane heading towards Offchurch.
This is a lovely little village with one of the best uses for an old telephone box that I’ve ever come across. Rather than pulling it down the local community have turned it into a voluntary book lending service! You drop one off, pick another one up, and return it when you’re done. How cool is that?
I absolutely love the knitted sign too!
As we moved further towards the half way point we couldn’t help but pop into the nearby 8th century St Gregory’s church – which had some absolutely lovely stained glass (which as regular readers will know is something of a weakness of mine, despite my agnostic leanings).
After a look around here we headed to the nearby pub (The Stag – link) for a quick drink. It was pretty busy inside – partially because most people were tucking into what looked like an absolutely scrumptious (and seriously sinful) Sunday lunch – but also because it was getting a bit colder and beginning to rain.
The weather reports for today had been awful – and heavy showers had been forecast for most of the afternoon. Mercifully the outside seating had some pretty big umbrellas on the tables and we sat under these whilst sipping our drinks and nattering as the (thankfully brief) rain slowly departed.
After half an hour of relaxing we headed off through the nearby fields, over a few bridges and through a few more rape fields on the way back towards Newbold Comyn and a well earned coffee.
As I sit at the moment under a duvet, listening to the rain hammering down outside I can scarcely imagine a better way to spend a weekend.
One thing I do know internet is that I’m getting my own copy of this absolutely smashing little book!
Yay for countryside twalking!