It seems an age since we last walked along the Jurassic Way, but with May fast approaching (one of the best times of year for walking) we consulted the maps, packed our rucksacks and jumped on a train.
The problem with linear walks is getting to the start and returning home. My preferred option is use public transport, but this can be very difficult, especially in rural areas where buses and trains are infrequent or non-existent. Taking a taxi to the start or finish is an (expensive) alternative, but you can wait an age for a taxi to reach you and every local taxi seems to be booked out at school run times. Leaving a car at both ends is possible if the walk is local, though I hate seeing the end before I start. When it’s too awkward, as it has been since we walked to Sibertoft, we do circular walks. It can also be difficult to find accommodation on the route and believe me, the closer the better.
Consequently, we often veer away from the official route to fit in with transport and accommodation or just because there’s something interesting that we want to see. On this last part of the Jurassic Way, the nearest rail station is a few miles north at Market Harborough, so we began on an alternative path. On the second day, to fit in with accommodation we had the choice of nine miles (too short) or twenty-four miles (too long), so we diverted briefly to the Rutland Round to cut a few miles off the longer day. It’s not a problem for us to approximately walk a path, but I know some people get a bit het up about walking every step of a named route.
The Jurassic Way follows the band of Jurassic limestone from Banbury to Stamford, so the rolling countryside has been a beautiful backdrop to the honey coloured stone buildings in the villages that we’ve walked through or spied across the valleys.
If you’re thinking of walking this route (I’d highly recommend it) a word of warning that in the final section heading towards Easton on the Hill, the path runs uphill cutting across several large arable fields. It was easy in May, with the crops only knee high and the well walked path dry underfoot, but I suspect it’s a bit of a slog in a wet autumn.
So, another long distance walk completed. It’s always a bit of an anti-climax when we reach the end, especially on the Jurassic Way as there didn’t appear to be an official finish point. At least Stamford, frequently described as “the finest stone town in England” was an excellent place to end the walk.
Where to next, I wonder.