My habitual walking friends have both chosen this key stage of the the training programme to disappear on holiday so today I took the opportunity to steal a march on them by getting in an early session and revisiting a favourite walking area.
My route took me through the Cold Comfort portal and out into Warwickshire farmland towards Coldcomfort Wood. Emerging, I cross a newly harvested field, the golden straw awaiting the baling machine. Autumn seems to have arrived a little early this year. There is a chill in the air. Flowers I have been enjoying over the last few months have been replaced by berries; Golden Wheat and dusky blue Linseed replaced the final throes of harvest and ploughing. Was it really only last week I was swimming with the grandkids at Studland Bay? And without a wet suit as well?
My thoughts take me to a point where I leave The Monarchs Way and follow the perimeter of a baled and stubbled field down a gentle bank. A pair of Buzzards are mewing to watch other from an island spinner in the middle of the field. The path leaves the field over a narrow footbridge over Spittle Brook – and here I made a discovery. Some kind person has installed a seat under the shade of an Oak Tree. No dedication or memorial, just a well placed seat on which I sat listening to a Robin while munching an apple.
From this point I am following The Millennium Way towards Coughton. Leaving the field I stroll down Coughton Lane, hedge to one side, Maize to the other. The walk was about a mile down to the village, emerging opposite Coughton Court.
So, now I am crossing a broad field, diagonally, towards a yellow footpath marker in the far corner. A small group of Ayrshire heifers eye me with some interest as I go. Since departing The Millennium Way at Coughton Court I have walked through dark forest of maize; lunched most amicably at The Kings Court Hotel and crossed a mini airfield complete with Microlite. Now I return to the main road, briefly, before joining the footpath beside the river. Over the old railway line and into the nature reserve. The river here is quiet today and is known for its Kingfishers so I keep a look out for the telltale iridescent flash of azure or orange. But no luck today.
Finally I leave the nature park and walk up the hill to the church to complete my walk. Just short of 7.5 miles in good time, so I’m pleased with that. I’m planning my next training session for Saturday so if you see me, give me a wave. But more importantly please go to our Just Giving page and make a contribution. However small it all helps The Shakespeare Hospice.