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May 2020


Remember when we used to change
In the back of a Triumph Herald
A lovely little motor car
Owned by our goalie Gerald.
In the boot he kept the corner flags
The team kit and his boots
Our Sunday morning ritual
Football, and It’s grass roots.
We could never use the dressing rooms
They were always out of order
Windows smashed, Showers wrecked
Thanks to vandals and disorder.


All those bleak mid winter mornings
With the weather pretty grim
A large pond surrounds the centre spot
Where the local seagulls swim.
Then the ref would abandon the game
But still claimed his full match fee
Said he could not continue
As his whistle had lost It’s pea.
So Gerald would take the nets back down
And I would collect the weekly subs
Twenty teams were in our league
And all of them were pubs.
Fond memories of our playing days
A good team were me and Gerald
Now both of us are past our best
Just like his Triumph Herald.  

 © John Oliver March 07



The Coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep across the world, but the hardest hit places seem to be The USA and Europe and in Europe, the pandemic is making the biggest inroads in The United Kingdom where the government response to the challenge has been, to say the least, woeful. They did not close the borders, they are STILL not doing enough testing and the lack of protection for front line health staff is nothing short of criminal – not so much in the hospitals, although there are still logistical problems there, but in the care homes and old peoples homes, which just seem to have been abandoned to their fate! There is a strong lobby to get the country going again and to protect the economy. The Hedge funds are keen to get the worker ants back to the grindstone so that their profit margins can be maintained. So what if a few more die, we all know the victims won’t be the rich! If I sound a little cynical it is because I believe that this once great country could have achieved so much more success in combating this crisis if we hadn’t been led by buffoons, whose knowledge and understanding is risible and whose competence is, at the very least, questionable! Then there is the incident of Dominic Cummings, chief (unelected) adviser to Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, who decides to flout the rules drawn up by the government and take his family 260 miles from London to Durham where his parents live – and then to test his eyesight with a sixty mile round trip to Barnards Castle!


As for the football… I suppose by now that the season should be over and cricket should be in the driving seat. However, the news is that The FA Premier League is set to continue from 17th June, playing off the remaining 92 matches of the season.

I include at this point, a cricket match where I umpired in May, three years ago:

Sunday 14th May 2017

Rutland & District Cricket League 
John Wilcox Cup 1st Round

Nassington 105 all out in 29.2 overs
Grantham 106 for 3 in 31.5 overs
This was a fifty overs a side match but barely sixty overs in total were bowled. Nassington were extravagant and squandered their wickets. They should and could have scored many more!!! Grantham were substantially more circumspect, realising that the wicket had hidden demons to tempt the unwary. They compiled their victory total assiduously and ran out comparatively easy winners.

Nassington CC is a small cricket club just off the A47 main road to Peterborough. It is a village with a school and a pub, but no shops. The cricket club has, over the years, punched above its weight, mainly through the stewardship of Bill Taylor, once a formidable batsman, but now groundsman and general factotum

The outfield wobbles like waves upon the sea. It is a small pitch and balls are often lost in the neighbouring fields!

However, neither great sport is operating – nor likely to – in the near future. The Bundesliga re-started midway through this month, but behind closed doors, just so that they can get the season finished. I can’t summon up the interest to watch it – even though Monday night’s on Channel 4 used to be a “must watch” Bundesliga highlights programme! If The FA Premier League restarts on 17th June, there will be no supporters allowed into the stadiums. However, there is a great worry that fans might try to congregate outside stadiums even when all the matches should be behind closed doors. The Premier League may try to stage fixtures at neutral grounds to avoid this. Is it worth it? Maybe we should just declare the season “abandoned”, with all fixtures and matches played, standing for recording purposes. However, anything could happen and at this stage, that is ALL that can be said!

In the meantime ……. I’ll keep walking!



Saturday 2nd May 2020

After all the precipitation of the last week, it was good to get out under blue skies bedecked with cotton wool clouds. The walk traversed The Plantation and keeping carefully behind the industrial estate, brought me out onto an escarpment above The Welland Valley with views across to Caldecott and thence, onto The A6003 a third of the way down Rockingham Hill. The village cafe was open (Tues to Sunday, they said) and it would have been churlish not to have availed myself of a large sausage bap with HP sauce and half a pint of tea! Onwards to Great Easton, where the village shop was open to one person at a time (queue outside, please) and St Andrew’s Church, further on round The Eyesbrook Reservoir to Stoke Dry and ….. another St Andrew’s church, and a former squire, Sir Everard Digby, knighted by King James I, but also executed by him after the Gunpowder Plot. Onwards to Lyddington and another St Andrew’s Church and then back to Gretton via Gretton Weir and Station Road. Seven stiles and 16.51 miles.

Stagnant pools of water in The Brookfield Plantation

The view from the escarpment above The Welland Valley with Caldecott Parish Church prominent in the midst of the picture!

The parish church of St Andrew, Great Easton

The parish church of St Andrew, Stoke Dry

A gorgeous salmon blossomed tree (not sure what species) just below the church in Stoke Dry

The pathway through the oil seed rape field at the top of the hill above Lyddington

The parish church of St Andrew in Lyddington

Tame black lambs – obviously used to being fed – in the fields behind the village of Lyddington

Gretton Weir

Wednesday 6th May 2020

Not a cloud in the sky, but fortunately , a cooling breeze for this short walk down church gap and across the railway line to Thorpe by Water. By the River Welland, a swan bestrode its nest whilst partner glided by on the water, Across the river a herd of young Jersey bullocks grazed. From Thorpe by Water to Lyddington with its distinctive parish church and along the way, there were a couple of butterflies, the first a fairly common red admiral (or was it possibly a small tortoiseshell?), but the second, the orange tip is the male version of the much rarer anthocharis cardemines. From Lyddington, it was a straight walk along to Gretton Weir, but then the climb up to Station Road and the railway bridge. With Charlotte, 5 stiles and 6.88 miles

Down church gap, there is a pool of water – pretty stagnant looking – in the shade of the parish church of St James

The footpath railway crossing across the field beyond chrurch gap

The view across the fields from the other side of the pedestrian railway crossing.

Small tortoiseshell butterfly

One swan bestride the nest, whilst the other guards the territory!

Are these Jersey cattle? Some would say they were two light in colour.

The footbridge across The River Welland, just before the village of Thorpe by Water

Anthocaris Cardomines

The Bede Gate at Lyddington

The parish church of St Andrew, Lyddington with its stumpy short spire set atop the main tower.

The railway bridge at the bottom of Station Road in Gretton. Almost immediately to the right is where Gretton Railway Station once stood, now a small housing estate.

Friday 8th May 2020

It was very warm today – and humid! There was some blue in the sky but lots of cloud cover as I walked down to Kirby Hall and then across to Deene Park (Deene Hall was just visible through the trees). The path through the park was beautifully manicured and signposted, until a sign pointed straight ahead …. and into … The Grimpen Mire! The old boots shipped some water, but I managed to get through! Across to Deenethorpe and the airfield, home to The USAF 401st Bombardment Group from its opening in 1943 until August 1945. Then it was a long walk onwards to Brigstock, passing a thoughtful bench – and the mighty impressive entrance to Bocase Farm. Across the fields from Brigstock to Stanion and a strange looking crop, that might have been scabious, but I’m not really sure, before returning home via Stanion and Weldon and that strange, esoteric, fortified unit on Gretton Road! Nine stiles and 18.88 miles.

The driveway leading up to the entrance to Kirby Hall

Kirby Hall

The lake at Deene with pen on nest and cob gliding round protectively!

Deene Hall

The track leading away from Deenethorpe Airfield up to the A427 (the Oundle road) and across to the track for Harry’s Wood and brig stock.

The splendid entrance to Bocase Farm. Note the sculptured lions at each side of the gates and the golden eagles atop the gateposts.

Main Street, Brigstock

There was a field between Brigstock and Stanion full of these flowers. I never did get to find out what they are (see below for a larger view). Any offers?


The Willowbrook at Weldon

Tuesday 12th May 2020

I love walking through The Brookfield Plantation. The high canopy of trees cuts out the light, the wonderful variety of shades of green, the muntjacs gliding like shadows amongst the trees, the vast stagnant pools of dappled water and the hidden pepperpot which supplies air to the railway tunnel far below. When you come out – there is the view right across the valley to Great Easton and beyond that, even to Nevill Holt. A slice of fruit cake and a ginger ale at the coffee shop in Rockingham, down the hill from the church and The Sondes Arms, before crossing over to Great Easton and then the long uphill trek to Nevill Holt – once a prep school and a theatre, but now a private residence with its own church! The sculpture of the horse’s head is a very impressive addition to the front lawn. Down the hill to Drayton and the smallest consecrated church in Leicestershire, before another climb up to Bringhurst and down through Great Easton again, and onwards to Caldecott and Gretton Weir with the welcome sight of St James Church tower peeping above the trees and the bridge at the bottom of Station Road, back in Gretton. 27 stiles and 17.1 miles

The Brookfield Plantation

Large stagnant pools are a feature of The Brookfield Plantation!

A pepperpot, built to provide fresh air into the railway tunnel far below!

The view from the escarpment as you emerge from the plantation. In the middle distance is the church of St Andrew at Great Easton and up on the hill, a glimpse of Nevill Holt, home of the horse sculpture.

Rockingham Parish Church in the grounds of Rockingham Castle

The Sondes Arms, Rockingham, quite a favourite watering hole!

Next door to the Sondes Arms are the tea rooms, which are open, even during the pandemic – but only one customer at a time and only for take aways!

The War Memorial at Great Easton and behind it and to the right, is The Sun, a hostelry of some repute!

Nevill Holt

The church of St Mary at Nevill Holt dates from the thirteenth century.

The horse sculpture by Nic Fiddian Green dominates the lawned area to the fromnt of Nevill Holt

Nevill Holt was owned by The Cunard family from 1876 to 1912 and writer, publicist and society hostess, Nancy Cunard was born there (1896-1965). In 1919, the house was bought by the Phillips family who ran it as a prep school for boys aged 7 to 13 (who then could progress to Uppingham School) up until 1998 when declining numbers and a recent sexual scandal (one former teacher was gaoled for ten years and the deputy headteacher committed suicide). In 2000, the estate was bought by Carphone Warehouse co-founder, David Ross and he has spent considerably in developing the estate including a 400 seat theatre for his summer operas. Across the road is a cricket ground, also part of the estate. I’ve never played (or officiated) there and I’m not sure if it is still used for cricket.

The church of St James in Drayton, the smallest consecrated church in Leicestershire

The church of St James in Gretton peeps out above the trees@

Gretton Weir (from the back, looking towards the road.)

Saturday 16th May 2020

Gun metal grey clouds drifted across the sky as I set out for Harringworth Lodge – which appeared to have acquired a coating of algae – overseen by the red cat weather vane. On the way down to the tiny hamlet of Shotley, there was a good view of some of The Welland Viaduct – and an expansive garden to the rear of one of the houses. Passed St John The Baptist Church on the way to a closer look at The Welland Viaduct, before the climb up to Seaton where access to the Bisbrooke path was almost vertical! Jemima Tomblin died over 200 years ago but her details were daisy fresh in Bisbrooke church yard. Had a peak at the Uppingham School Cricket 1st XI pavilion and “Todd’s Piece”, the home of Uppingham Town FC before walking out to Stoke Dry Woods and a fine view of The Eyesbrook Reservoir – Rutland’s second “Water”. Through Lyddington and Thorpe by Water and under the double-track railway bed of the former Market Harborough to Peterborough line. The swans and the eggs were gone – hatched? A yellow train headed for the viaduct and … at last, St James’ church tower peeped over the trees as I made my way towards church gap. Eighteen stiles and 17.78 miles

Harringworth Lodge

Hard beside the lodge is this distinctive and somewhat eccentric weather vane

The Welland Viaduct – but less than a quarter of the arches are on view here!

The back garden of one of the houses in Shotley!

The Church of St John the Baptist in Harringworth

The Welland Viaduct has eighty-two arches and is 1,275 yards long – the longest masonry viaduct across land in this country – It was built between 1876 and 1878 using around 30 million bricks and the labour (at its height) of 3,500 men (several of whom were killed in the construction). In 2004 substantial strengthening and maintenance work was undertaken and in 2016/17 further work was done to allow the speed limit across the bridge to be increased from 20mph to 60mph. Regular passenger services were discontinued in 1960, but the line is still used as an alternative passenger route from Kettering and Corby to Oakham, Melton Mowbray and Leicester.

The steep access from the road at Seaton up to the path across the fields to Bisbrooke.

Jemima Tomblin 1763-1819

“From this hard journey here on earth

Her soul has taken flight

And gone a journey much more worth,

To meet The Lord of Light”

The Uppingham School Cricket 1st XI pavilion – locked down!

Todd’s Piece, home of Uppingham Town FC

An unusual view of The Eyesbrook reservoir. It was used for training the pilots in the dambuster raids on Germany

Just outside Thorpe by water is the railway bridge of the old Rugby to Peterborough line (via Market Harborough). The metal strengthening struts indicate that this line was double tracked across the bridge!

Nest abandoned, just a few small feathers, cygnets hatched? No sign of cob and pen.

A strange sight of a train hurtling along towards The Welland Viaduct from Gretton. It was a train all in yellow, except for what I thought were two class 31 diesels – one pulling and one pushing, but I was too far away to make a confident sighting!

Once again, St James’ church peeps above the treeline, a sure certainty that the end of the walk s nigh!

Wednesday 20th May 2020

It was hot, even at 8.00am, but in The Brookfield Plantation it was quiet and still and cool. There were cranesbill and purple vetch and horse chestnut trees in bloom and wild rose amongst the stagnant pools with dappled sunlight piercing the forest canopy. At the far end, the view from the escarpment, back across to Gretton and even as far as Lyddington, was as clear as a bell! With Charlotte, nine stiles and 5.4 miles.


Horse Chestnut

Wild Rose

Stagnant pool in The Brookfield Plantation

Looking back towards Gretton from the escarpment, you can just see the tower of St James’ church in the gap in the trees!

Lyddington, from the escarpment

Friday 22nd May 2020

Just a gentle stroll through the village where the flag was flying for our NHS and other heroes, down church gap and across field and railway line with a stiff breeze which we turned into ignoring the Thorpe by Water signpost and heading instead across to Gretton Weir. Then we headed out towards Rockingham, turning off up the track and under the railway line this time, going up Arnhill back into the village! With Charlotte, 3.75 miles and only one stile.

Gretton War Memorial and Green with Rainbow Flag

St James’ Church, Gretton

The bridge under the main line from Kettering/Corby to Manton and Oakham and Leicester

Saturday 23rd May 2020

Blue skies, well hidden by cotton wool clouds and a hefty breeze! Walked down to Kirby Hall and on to Deene with the chocolate box houses and the the teapot monument. Across the swamp to Bulwick, where a sharp shower interrupted proceedings, and then across to Blatherwycke and the church of The Holy Trinity – further on a weathered Greek god statue presided over the landscape and Blatherwycke lake was choppy, just adjacent to where a Second World War Italian POW camp used to be. In Kingscliffe, there was a quiet place – open to all the community, except dogs! The church was dedicated to All the Saints and St James, the fire station, erected by public subscription in 1831, still stands, although not as a fire station, the house that forty or so years ago was up for sale for £1 (but you’d need £250,000 to do it up) looks resplendent and the village lamp, erected to commemorate the coronation of Edward VII. Further on, a memorable picture of Kingscliffe Railway Station, as it may have looked in Edwardian times. Onwards to Laxton Hall and Laxton village, where the sheep ruled the street, the former monastery at Fineshade with the adjacent deer sculpture and home via Harringworth Lodge! Thirty-nine stiles and 20.28 miles

This was the walk where, early on and unbeknown, I lost my keys – keys to house, car and even keys to a couple of my children’s houses! I miscalculated a stile and ended up on my back in a ditch. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get up, because my back pack was stuck under the ledge of a culvert. Eventually, I divested myself of the back pack and was able to get out – and retrieve the back pack – but I failed to notice that my keys had fallen out of my pocket and only discovered the disappearance when I got home and couldn’t get in the door. I did drive (or should I say, Charlotte drove me!) to several possible sites that evening, but all to no avail and it wasn’t until the following morning that I remembered the fall. We walked out across the fields to the stile where I had fallen and, sure enough, there were my keys and my anxiety levels dropped like a stone!

On the extreme edge on the right the walk goes to Kings Cliffe, a most interesting village

Kirby Hall, an Elizabethan mansion, was built around 1570 by Sir Humphrey Stafford for Sir Christopher Hatton who was Lord Chancellor to Queen Elizabeth 1. Much of the house is now without a roof, but the great hall and state rooms still retain their former splendour. “Antiques Roadshow” held one of their TV programmes here in 2014.

In the last week or so, signs like this have appeared in virtually every field in the area which has a walk through it! It is not always easy to tell from a herd of cattle if a bull is present!

Chocolate Box houses in Deene

The Deene Memorial with the teapot on top!

This stile, just over the A43 from the swamp, was under water on both sides!

Scarlet Pimpernel

The Church of The Holy Trinity at Blatherwycke

This statue, standing in the middle of nowhere beyond Holy Trinity church in Blatherwycke, is a copy of the famous “Apollo Belvedere”, first sculpted around 120-140AD and re-discovered around 1490 and housed in The Vatican. It is well weathered with some of the metal support work showing through the sculpture

Blatherwycke Lake, a large expanse of water between Blatherwycke and Kings Cliffe and further on towards Kings Cliffe is the site of the WWII Italian POW Camp.

I thought at first that this was a common Cabbage White butterfly, now, however, I’m not even sure it is a butterfly. It might even be a moth!

The Pytchell, a garden adjacent to the church in Kings Cliffe, open to “all the community (except dogs)”!

The church of All the Saints AND St James. I would have thought that St James would be part of all the saints, but he seems to have been singled out for special mention!

This monument adorns the entrance to the church (presently closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic) and suggests that Mrs Ann Atkins’ husband, Willis, was an apothecary who practised in St Neots which is a good forty to fifty miles away. In the 1750s, that would have been a couple of days ride away!

The tiny building which was erected by public subscription in 1831 to house the village fire engine. The upkeep was paid for by the annual insurance fee, paid by the householders. Their houses were issued with special plaques, displayed on the outside wall. It is not known if houses without plaques would be attended to, if a fire broke out there, or whether they would just be charged the full cost of the salvage operation! The building is now a detached garage belonging to one of the houses!

When I first came to Northamptonshire, thirty-seven years ago, this house was actually on the market for the price of £1.00. We even went to look at it, but it was a tumble down wreck and much too small for our needs – and much too expensive, because we were told that it would take upwards of £250,000 to restore the listed building. It is looking pretty good, now, though!

Kings Cliffe Railway Station, originally opened by The LNWR (London & North Western Railway) on 1st November 1879 and closed by British Rail on 6th June 1966. The locomotive in the picture looks like a LNWR “Precedent” class 2-4-0, around ninety of which were built between 1874 and 1882 and were for many years the work horse of The LNWR main line services.

This lamp in the middle of the village was erected to commemorate the coronation of King Edward VII on 9th August 1902 – at around about the same time as the train above was in use at Kings Cliffe Station!

Fineshade Priory was an Augustinian monastery dating from 1208, but was swept away in the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII in 1536. Thereafter several buildings were built on the site, but, now, only the stable block remains and this has been converted into private residences.

Adjacent to the buildings at Fineshade is this fine sculpture of a deer.

Laxton Hall, constructed in the 1780s and added to during the following hundred years or so, is now a residential care home, set in 85 acres of trees and gardens.

Laxton Village (pop: 90) has a lovely cricket club where I have played and officiated on many occasions. It is quite small, so no sixes are allowed – and there is a tree within the boundary as I recall!

Harringworth Lodge – probably a couple of miles from Harringworth itself – and, indeed only a couple of miles from Gretton, too. There is a farm track leading to it from the road, but otherwise it is isolated. There is plenty of birdlife, geese, swans, ducks and cormorants!

Wednesday 27th May 2020

Hot, humid and sticky under a cloudy sky with the early sun struggling to break through as I started out, down Westhills with its view across to Rockingham Castle and then back down the road to Gretton Weir, where two swans were resting on the concrete platform. Onwards, across the fields to Caldecott and the church of St John The Evangelist (where the clock always says twelve). Up the A6003, through the site of the deserted medieval village of Snelston and across the fields to Stoke Dry, with The Eyesbrook Reservoir clearly visible. Back up and across the A6003 and down through the fields into Lyddington, along the road to Thorpe by Water and finally, across the fields to Gretton and the engineers working on the main railway line to Kettering. Nineteen stiles and 11.18 miles.

The path across the fields behind Gretton and heading down to cross the railway line on the way to Rockingham

Rockingham Castle, far away in the distance across the valley. The first fortified settlement there, was a Motte and Bailey castle constructed in the reign of William The Conqueror and reinforced in stone under his son, William II. By the end of the fifteenth century it had largely fallen into ruin and was sold off by Henry VIII. At that time (and before), the entire countryside around the castle was covered in forest and there was good hunting of wild boar and deer. For quite a while in medieval times, it was a royal hunting lodge.

The castle as it is today, owned by The Saunders-Watson family. In the early 1980s, it was used for a TV series about The English Civil War:- “By The Sword Divided”. Today, James Saunders-Watson (who was appointed High Sheriff of Northamptonshire on 26th March 2018), has turned the entire castle and estate into a business venture with a £4 million turnover. His ancestors, Charles and Lavinia Watson frequently entertained the novelist, Charles Dickens in the middle of the nineteenth century.

Three months ago, at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic lock down, I came down this path which then had the consistency of porridge, so thick was the mud covered pathway and extremely treacherous to negotiate!

Wild roses on the same path.

There has been a great deal of work don on The River Welland in recent years, both to improve the flow and to create a better environment for the creatures that live by or in it! There has also been some attempt to improve flood defences, because flooding is always an issue, and especially at and around Gretton! The Weir itself has been extensively developed, but there has been no noticeable diminution in flooding!

Cob an pen at rest at Gretton Weir

Fairchild’s Wood is about halfway between Gretton Weir and Caldecott and is not really a wood at all! There are a couple of bird hides and plenty of wildlife.

Caldecott Parish Church of St John The Evangelist, where the clock always shows 12.00.

The information garnered here was captured from a plaque outside the steps leading up to St Andrew’s Church

The church of St Andrew at Stoke Dry

The White Hart at Lyddington – a hostelry of some repute, but maybe a tad expensive!

The main line looking towards Corby and Kettering and engineering work being undertaken!

Friday 29th May 2020

The sun seared down mercilessly from an azure dome, so, even early in the morning, escape into The Brookfield Plantation was a blessed relief. I exited too early and had to follow the road up to Rockingham Triangle, passing The Shire Lodge Cemetery and the forlorn, deserted Steel Park, Corby Town’s Football Stadium. From there onto Lodge Park and across to Woodnewton School, where I spent twenty-two years of my teaching career. Behind the school lies Thoroughsale Woods … a gentle amble down towards The Boating Lake where the geese and their offspring eagerly took to the cooling water! Onwards to Beanfield and the house where I used to live and then across to, and through The Kings Wood Local Nature Reserve, before crossing the A6003 and taking the route through the fields to East Carlton Country Park and the parish church of St Peter which dates from around 1780. Skirted round Cottingham, past the former football ground of the defunct Cottingham FC and up past The Spread Eagle public house, shuttered and barred, and out along the road to Rockingham. Wow! I almost missed it! Without warning a muntjac sprang across the road! I managed to catch a couple of hasty snaps, but then it was gone! Ice cold Ginger beer and a slab of fruitcake in the Rockingham cafe – which was doing brisk business – and then the final three miles across the fields … back to … Gretton. Five stiles and 19.38 miles.

The cool of The Brookfield Plantation on a very hot morning. Sadly, I mistook the route and came out too early and found myself on Gretton Brook Road and had to walk all the way by road to Rockingham Triangle!

There is presently a consultation process (the public consultation ended on 30th April 2020) taking place at Corby Council about a proposed extension to the cemetery

Corby Town Football Club’s third home since they were founded in 1948. Occupation Road, their first home was demolished in 1985 to make way for a housing estate (although the original club house still exists and is licensed!). The second ground was Rockingham Triangle, a purpose built athletics arena, totally unsuited to football. The existing stadium is less than ten years old and adjacent to Rockingham Triangle, was built for the club by the council with government and Lottery funding

This is the original site of Woodnewton Way Junior School, originally built in 1956. During my time at the school, it became Grant Maintained and changed its name to Woodnewton GM Junior School. Presently, the school has been merged with the adjacent infant school and is now known by the somewhat flowery title of “Woodnewton, A Learning Community”.

Thoroughsale Wood is part of the ancient woodland known as Rockingham Forest, where royalty used to hunt!

Corby Boating Lake was constructed in the early 1970s and boasts an extensive wildlife – swans, geese, ducks, waterfowl, herons and kingfishers. A day’s fishing permit will set you back £4.50!

42, Farmstead Road, my former residence (1989-2011), looking a tad careworn!

The Kingswood Local Nature Reserve, also part of the ancient woodland known as Rockingham Forest.

East Carlton Country Park. In the grounds (although not open to the public) is the Great House, originally constructed around 1776-78 and added to considerably during the following century to give it a distinct French chateau appearance. Around 1934/5, Stewarts and Lloyds used the mansion to house single workers from their new steel plant at Corby whilst 59 new residences were built nearby to house the company executives!

The church of St Peter, East Carlton. The village of East Carlton is a “Thankful Village”, that is to say that no men from the village, who fought in WWII, were killed!

The former home of Cottingham FC. As recently as the year 2000, they were champions of Division 1 of The United Counties League, but unable to take promotion to the Premier Division because they had no floodlights. They survived four more seasons in Cottingham and then one season playing at Rockingham Triangle before folding completely and the small covered area down the left of the pitch was demolished, leaving only the playing field, now used by Cottingham Primary School

The Spread Eagle public house dates from the middle of the nineteenth century.

In the 1950s, the landlord and his family lused to live in the house to the left of the pub on the picture. 

A former villager, Ann Giles, who was born in the cottage next to the pub, recalls: “It was a lovely, cosy little pub with small rooms. I remember the village football team used to change in a room at the back and had to run down the street to play matches. In those days you went upstairs to the skittle room and if they threw the cheeses too hard they used to fly out of the window and we children would get them and throw them back up.” (Information from a press clipping in Corby Library Archives).

The current Spread Eagle was built in the 1960s behind the original pub, which was subsequently demolished. 

Muntjac are not indigenous to our country. They are a south east asian species and the present stock of muntjac in this country is said to be due to escaping animals from Woburn Park in 1925. They can now be found almost anywhere on mainland Britain.

Sunday 31st May 2020

My middle son, Michael and daughter in law Rebecca came over with Freddie (9) and Tess (6) for a socially distanced walk on The Brookfield Plantation. It was another very warm day with the sun beating down from a pale cerulean canopy, but inside the plantation, all was calm and cool. We went as far as the pepper pot and then returned by virtually the same route with The Rockingham Motor Speedway stadium visible across the field! Four stiles and 5.1 miles.

Rebecca and Tess

Mike and Freddie

The Pepperpot, an air vent for the railway tunnel far below!

Rockingham motor speedway

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