Walk #58: Stamford to Oakham
Map of the walk
Maps courtesy of Google Maps. Route for indicative purposes only, and may have been plotted after the walk. Please let me have comments on what you think of this new format. For a detailed table of timings for this walk, please see the table file.
This was not a bad days walk. The weather forecast for yesterday (a Saturday) when I wanted to do this walk had been bad, and so I decided not to do it. However, the forecast for today was much better, and so I set off. One of the advantages of doing day-hikes as opposed to multi-day hikes is that if the weather is bad you can cancel, especially if the walk is local. The downside is, of course, that transport becomes a bind.
As I set off the weather was far from perfect, and indeed about ten yards from the car it started spitting. However, it did not really deteriorate at all for a while. The going heading westwards out of Stamford along the valley of the Welland was very muddy, and soon I had half-inch mud clods sticking to my boots.
By the time I reached the beautiful village of Easton on the Hill it had stopped spitting, and I had a word with a man in the street. I asked him what county I was in, and it turns out that Stamford was in Lincolnshire, I had passed through Cambridgeshire along the Welland and I was now in Northamptonshire! Apparently from the hill I could climb up you could view three counties across the valley to Stamford, only a couple of miles away. Given the fact that I soon passed into Rutland, this meant that I was covering many counties in a short space of time.
The rest of the walk was uneventful. There was one period of reasonably forceful rain around Empingham that lasted for fifteen minutes as I made my way down to the village. The path soon joined Rutland Water, which is a picturesque reservoir. The walk along the northern edge to be a highly pleasant walk, and the miles sped under my feet as I walked. Eventually the path left the side of the reservoir and headed up a hill, before dropping down into the centre of Oakham. It was easy to find the railway station, and I sat waiting for my train I looked back on a highly enjoyable day's stroll.
Please note that the photographs on this page were taken on a later walk, walk 692 in 2005.
This walk starts off at the railway station in Stamford, and follows the Hereward Way for its entirety. From the station, heading north through some modern suburban housing to a little footbridge over the River Welland. Once across the bridge, do not continue straight on towards the town centre, but turn left and take a footpath that skirts the north bank of the river for a few hundred yards before heading southwestwards across the floodplain towards the green Broadeng footbridge over the river. From here, continue southwestwards along the obvious path, and when the river curves away to the right continue straight on to a pedestrian tunnel that leads under the A1(T).
Once under the A1(T) head southwestwards across a field for a short distance to some steps that lead up to a crossing over a railway line. On the other side, head down and cross a wooden causey over some marshy ground before the path starts to climb southwards uphill. As the hill becomes steeper it take more of a southwesterly course before ending at a track near the church in Easton on the Hill. At he track turn left and start following it as it passes to the left of the church and continues downhill until a crossroads is reached by the village cross.
Turn right and start following a road westwards out of Easton on the Hill; when the road ends a track, called Ketton Drift, continues onwards, with some good view available to the north. At the end of the track a footpath leads off half-left down the hill across a field, eventually ending at Ketton Road immediately to the east of Collyweston Bridge. Turn right and follow the road across the bridge, which crosses the River Welland once more, and continue along the road as it curves to the eight to enter the outskirts of the village of Geeston. When the road turns sharply to the left in the outskirts of the village continue straight on along the road for a few hundred yards until a footpath leads off to the left.
This footpath immediately crosses a railway line on a footbridge before continuing on and emerging out on a road beside a pretty bridge over a stream. Cross the footbridge by the bridge and continue along the road for a few yards past the church, and then turn right to follow a narrow footpath enclosed by high walls on either side. When the path emerges turn left to walk down towards the A1621 road, and then turn right up a residential road just before the larger Empingham Road. The road soon ends, and a footpath continues on northwestwards across a field before a track is reached.
Turn left and start following this track as it heads northwestwards uphill; as it passes the edge of Grange Top Quarry the route may change inn the future as the quarrying work is expanded, but on the other side it will regain the original route that slowly descends downhill past New Wood to meet a bend in a road. Leave the footpath and go onto the road, but immediately turn right and start heading north along another footpath with a hedge to the right. The footpath crosses the A606 Stamford Road before continuing on downhill. At the bottom of the hill the path crosses a stream, before passing a cottage and joining a road. Join this road and start following it uphill for a hundred yards or so, before turning left along another footpath.
This footpath emerges out onto a residential road, Willoughby Drive, in Empingham, which can be followed westwards through the village. Avoid the first turning to the right and take the second, and then immediately turn left to walk westwards down a short footpath, which joins Crocket Lane that ends at a T-junction with Church Street just above the church. Turn left and head downhill southwards past the church for a short distance until the road ends at the A606. Turn right and pass the village church, and when the road curves to the right turn left along another residential road, Nook Lane. After a few yards the road curves to the right, and a footpath continues on downhill across a field. At the bottom the path starts to climb uphill through an area of woodland, and once it emerges it continues on to cross a stile into a field below the dam of Rutland Water reservoir.
Once across the tile turn half-right to head uphill until it reaches the northwestern end of the dam. Here join the cycle path, and start following it as it heads westwards along the northern end of the reservoir. It soon passes a small car park, and a mile later it skirts around Whitwell Creek and passes a boatyard. After crossing another road it reaches another car park, where there is a climbing wall and a nice café. Pass the car park and continue on along the cycle path as it heads westwards, passing through Barnsdale Wood before joining a road and climbing up a hill to another car park. Continue along this road as it heads downhill , entering the woodland again for a short distance until it ends at a mini-roundabout with another road. Turn left and head down this road, and once it ends at the water edge turn right and follow another cycle path past Lodge Inlet until it reaches the A606 road.
From here the cycle path follows the A606 westwards for a couple of miles until a road junction is reached on the left. Here turn right and follow a track that passes a sewage works before becoming a footpath that heads uphill to Dog Kennel Cottage. Here turn left and follow a track as it heads westwards, soon entering a new housing development on the eastern edge of Oakham before passing older housing, where the road becomes Woodland View. When this road ends at Burley Road turn left and follow Burley Road southwestwards for a shirt distance until a junction is reached; here continue straight on along a surfaced footpath that crosses a little park. This soon turns slightly to the left to head south past the church, before turning right to end at Church Street. Cross this road, and then continue straight on along Northgate Street, which heads for a few hundred yards through the centre of Oakham before ending at the B668 road next to the railway line. At this road turn right to head northwards for a short distance until Oakham railway station is reached, where this walk ends.
This makes a total distance of 16.8 miles, with 1214 feet of ascent and 951 feet of descent.
There are regular train services running between Oakham and Stamford ralway stations, although they are more sporadic on Sundays. A single ticket cost me £5.30 for the journey.
Please note that I take no responsibility for anything that may happen when following these directions. If you intend to follow this route, then please use the relevant maps and check the route out before you go out. As always when walking, use common sense and you should be fine.
If you find any information on any of these routes that is inaccurate, or you wish to add anything, then please email me.
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And finally, enjoy your walking!
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