Yesterday northern England enjoyed dawn till dusk sunshine. I made a map of a country area that was previously unknown to me and Shirley and I set off eastwards in the car. Past Worksop and Retford - out into the North Nottinghamshire countryside.
Through North Wheatley we came to its sister village - South Wheatley where I noticed a church tower poking up through the trees. It was the tower of a church that had been abandoned in 1883 when the two villages were amalgamated within the same parish. The Norman chancel arch framed a slightly discordant view of West Burton Power Station.
Onwards to Sturton-le-Steeple with its fine medieval church and a pub called rather strangely - "The Reindeer Inn". The church tower was also quite unusual with twelve stone pinnacles atop the tower. Back in the car, we headed for North Leverton where we parked and got our boots on ready for a six or seven mile walk. I felt good - healthy. No bronchitis. No gout. No bad knee. It's something I have really missed - setting out on a country walk in previously unknown territory and feeling healthy.
Soon we came to North Leverton windmill to the west of the village. It is still able to grind corn into flour and is one of the precious survivors of a time when most English villages of reasonable size had their own windmills for grinding the local crop.
Along muddy Retford Gate track to Caddow Wood. A couple of dogs jumped up at Shirley and muddied her jacket. No apology from the dog walkers. Some are so ignorant in their doggy worlds. I have come across that before. "Oh he'll not hurt you!" - as a barking hound's paws wallop your crotch. At least you can eat sheep and cattle.
Over the fields to Cowsland Farm. Good name for a farm that. Better than Dogsland. Then down towards Sheds Farm with Cottam Power Station beyond sending plumes of steam into the bright February air. And along to South Leverton where we saw a fat cat on a wall. I have always been a cat person. You don't get cat walkers on muddy tracks. The cats wouldn't stand for it and they wouldn't bark aggressively at innocent ramblers either. "Oh don't worry love! He just likes the sound of his own voice!" Charming.
We paused in All Saints churchyard in South Leverton before following the road back to North Leverton and there we treated ourselves to drinks and a bag of plain crisps in "The Royal Oak". It had been a lovely walk and a pleasure to discover a little corner of England that we will probably never see again. And more than this the vehicle I call my body purred like a well-oiled machine. I hope that there will be many more walks like this - but you never know. You should probably relish every one.
|"The Royal Oak" in North Leverton|