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Showing posts from October, 2023

National Forest Way: Normanton le Heath to Ellistown

This 9-mile walk took me through the Queen Elizabeth Jubilee Woods and Sence Valley Forest Park, and into the heavily-quarried countryside south of Coalville (no prizes for guessing what was mined there!) I originally planned to walk from Normanton le Heath to Donington le Heath, which had a pleasing symmetry. But I decided to go a bit further, to the hamlet of Ellistown.   It was a cold morning. I'd been in shorts the previous weekend, but today there was a frost. I added a flask of coffee, a scarf and gloves to my kit, and set off. For a small village, Normanton le Heath has a surprisingly wide road. I parked there rather than using the car park for the Jubilee Woods. That meant I was at my starting point straight away. I followed a road past some rather nice houses, crossed a field, and entered the Queen Elizabeth Jubilee Woods. The NFW leaflet told me that I was on the route of the Via Devana, a Roman road from Colchester to Chester. There isn't much left of it. a mosaic,

National Forest Way: Ashby to Normanton le Heath

It's a beautiful drive along country roads to Ashby de la Zouch. Especially on a sunny Monday morning, with a good walk beckoning ahead. This next section of hiking took me south of Ashby, through a couple of pretty villages, and past some very unexpected animals.    I dropped Theo off at school, enjoyed my drive to Ashby, and parked in a side street near Station Road, boots on and ready to go by 9:30am. A short section of a road took me to a footpath across some fields. I scrumped an apple from a tree next to the stile, and munched it as I walked. Me by the apple tree  There was a footbridge to cross the busy A42, then an easy bridle track to Packington. The church was open, so I stuck my head in, but didn't like to trample over too much of the clean red carpet with my walking boots on. crossing the A42 Packington church From Packington the Way mostly crossed unremarkable fields to reach Normanton le Heath. There was a small section of woodland known as Plummer's Wood.  vi

By Eurostar to Paris

The Eiffel Tower is huge. I know that's a ridiculous thing to say. The size is the whole point. But when we stood at the bottom, looking up at all those bolts and rivets and beams climbing high into the air - yes, it really is enormous. We'd bought stairs tickets to the second level. The climb wasn't actually too arduous, and the weather was cloudy and cool. The heat would arrive later in the holiday. We eavesdropped on a tour guide who was explaining what some of the buildings were, and put a few euros in a telescope to get an even better view. Crossing the river, we walked up to the Place du Trocadéro to view the Eiffel Tower at a more manageable size. Around us, vendors were offering models of it in six different colours, complete with flashing lights. The boys were flagging as we continued up Avenue Kléber, although Graham and Toby perked up dramatically when we suddenly stumbled across a hotel with some very  expensive cars outside. At the end of Avenue Kléber is the A