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Saturday 14th January
RAR 255
COVENTRY'S GBG

Meet at Greyhound, Sutton Stop, 12 noon
Sunday 5th February
HW 55
SNOWDROPS AT ALLESLEY

Meet at The Brooklands, Kingsbury Road, 12 noon.
Saturday 18th February
RAR 256
STATFORD TO WELFORD ON AVON

National Express 460 bus departs Pool Meadow Stand B 11:00am arrives Stratford 11:25am (X18 takes 1 hour 35 mins!!)

The No.27 bus leaves Welford at 3:16pm and arrives Stratford 3:29pm (opposite Maypole)
5:50pm arrives 6:12pm
6:09pm arrives 6:46pm

The X18 bus leaves B439 (Binton turn) at 3:19pm arrives Stratford at 3:56pm. This stop is supposedly 20 mins walk from Welford.
3:49pm arrives 4:26pm
4:24pm arrives 5:01pm
4:54pm arrives 5:31pm

The 6:30pm No. 460 National Express arrives Coventry 7:00pm
Saturday 18th March
RAR 257
WELFORD ON AVON TO BIDFORD ON AVON

National Express 460 bus departs Pool Meadow Stand B 11:00am arrives Stratford 11:25am

The 11:54am X18 bus from Stratford arrives B439 (Binton turn) at 12:07pm
Saturday 15th April
RAR 258
BIDFORD ON AVON TO HARVINGTON

National Express 460 bus departs Pool Meadow Stand B 11:00am arrives Stratford 11:25am

The 11:54am X18 bus from Stratford arrives Bidford 12:11pm
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HW 37 Brinklow Canal and Castle

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Back to the first Sunday for a change! This walk takes in one of my favourite Warwickshire villages - Brinklow.

We meet at the BULLS HEAD at 12 noon and set off at 12:30pm. At the first road junction we go left and then right into a short path behind a farm. Here we pass an old stretch of canal, now reed - clogged and abandoned. The Oxford canal through Warwickshire was built as an extreme contour canal, to avoid any expensive engineering such as viaducts, cuttings, locks or tunnels, so that it meandered all over the place! For example, it was said that a boatman could travel all day and not loose sight of Wormleighton! The coming of the railways made such an indirect route quite unviable, so between 1829 and 1834 the Oxford canal was straightened and hence shortened from 91 to 77.5 miles. As a result a lot of old canal, no longer used, was left wandering around the coutryside and going nowhere. Brinklow was surrounded by canal originally and despite the passage of nearly 200 years the route of the old canal can still be traced, either as a muddy ditch or from hedgerows that once bordered the canal.

From this old canal we rejoin the road and walk along a lane as far as the present day Oxford canal. Here we join the towpath, which can be muddy around here, and walk north. At about 1.30pm we cross the old line of the canal to Brinklow, which still has water in the first couple of feet; perhaps it is useful as a winding hole these days. Further on it becomes a muddy, smelly, ditch, but there is still an access bridge down there, still in use after 200 years. Continuing north along the main line we soon come to a flight of steps leading down to Brinklow Arches, a viaduct allowing the Smite Brook to flow under the canal. Why is this a double arch ? Was it widened at some time ? We follow Smite Brook downstream to the Lutterworth Road, where we turn left back into Brinklow. As we enter the village, opposite Nutwood Cottage, you can see the parapet of the bridge that once carried the road over the old course of the canal.

Now we are walking along the main street of Brinklow, where there is a long narrow strip of grass between roads. There is this strip of grass, and Brinklow itself is a medaeval ribbon development along the road. This is because in medaevel times it was a market town with the market held on the grassy strip.

Next we turn into Ell Lane and walk uphill towards the castle for around 2:00pm. On the right we see an information board alonside a gate. Through the gate we climb the grassy castle mound. The castle was built by Roger de Mowbray in the early years of the 12th century, during the troubled reign of King Stephen and the civil war with Matilda, daughter of Henery I. Although a powerful defensive site with a fine motte and double bailey, it was only used for a relarively short time. It was made of earhworks with a timber pallisade, which were possible prefabricated in Normandy. Today the motte, still 40 feet above its surroundings, offers commanding views over the area. From here it is a short walk past the church to the RAVEN, where we stay for half an hour. Then a similar distance back to the BULLS HEAD for 3:00pm for lunch. We pass the Post office on the way if anyone wants an ice cream.

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