Cold Ashby Blog/Open Forum

Some rambling thoughts and observations on local and national issues.

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Ten Years of The Cold Ashby Rambler

by Ashby Rambler - 09:50 on 26 March 2019

When I started working on the formation of this website in the Spring of 2009 I had only a vague idea of where it was going but I’ve rambled on and here it is a decade later ... still rambling in every sense!

The site, which went live on 14th April 2009, now usually gets around 500 to 600 page views a month – hardly ‘viral’ but more than I imagined at the outset, given that anything to do with a small village like Ashby might seem a somewhat specialised subject of limited interest.

I’ve been wandering around Cold Ashby and local villages for over 30 years, mainly for pleasure but also as Path Warden for a while, so I’ve witnessed many changes. The waymarking on paths and bridleways is much improved whilst canal towpaths are now far better maintained and readily accessible. Walking has become increasingly encouraged and popular as a form of moderate, beneficial outdoor activity and the above improvements make it easier than ever to appreciate a ramble in the appealingly rolling local countryside.

However, the increased size of agricultural vehicles and equipment has resulted in the removal and/or damaging of many traditional gates and hedges which were once familiar features on my rambles. Individual farms have been subsumed into larger conglomerates who subcontract tasks to agencies beyond the neighbourhood, some of whom do not appear to respect our local environment as much as local farmers might.

The once largely ‘unspoilt’ expansive rural view from Honey Hill has been littered with huge invasive wind turbines – so much so that walkers and riders on the Jurassic Way find themselves counting their numbers for entertainment - my last count came to 39!

The increase in the volume and speed of traffic since the construction of the A14 and the so-called improvements to Catthorpe Interchange has made walking on minor roads quite hazardous and ill-advised.

Of course, our landscape, particularly in the Northamptonshire Uplands, has been continually modified by man/woman since the Neolithic period or possibly earlier. Clearly, human activity has shaped it for longer than most of us can imagine and the results are fascinating to ‘read’ from the remains of settlements, quarries, monastic abbeys and their granges, deserted villages, canals, disused railways and ridge and furrow – fine examples of all these and more can be visited using our network of paths, bridleways, lanes and areas of permitted access which this site explores.

My sincere wish is that future development be kept to a reasonably ‘human scale’ in the next decade or the essentially attractive, quiet and intimate character of our Ironstone Uplands will be lost and its value as an amenity irrevocably damaged.




Comment from A Melton Rough Rider at 17:43 on 23 May 2020.
Thank you Cold Ashby Rambler for a wonderful website, which I have only recently discovered. I echo your comment about the invasive wind turbines and refer readers to three discrete signs close to the path heading south down Honey Hill. They express something of the sadness we feel at the way these machines have scarred the landscape for all, while profiting a few. Your estimate of 39 turbines visible from Honey Hill sounds about right. When I looked into it a few years ago, there was a grand total of five turbines operating in the whole of Oxfordshire. There's a surprise.
Comment from Ashby Rambler at 11:37 on 24 May 2020.
Many thanks,Melton Rough Rider, for your valued appreciation and your
Those signs say it all!

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