Phoenix Park, Hooton Pagnell, and Frickley Park
A perfect day today; lovely weather, the most people so far on a group walk, and a visit to Hooton Pagnell - at times described as the prettiest village in Doncaster, the prettiest village in South Yorkshire, or the 'Queen of Villages.' I certainly took plenty of photographs.
We met up at the car park at Phoenix Park, Thurnscoe - somewhere those of us travelling on the bus could easily get to. It's a short walk up to the giant aluminium charm bracelet which has become established as the new symbol of the village, depicting various aspects of coal mining. We posed for the first group photo of the day here.
It's a climb of about 200ft to the summit of Phoenix Park, which is the landscaped spoil heap of the village's former pit.
The next section was along the track to Stotfold, then alongside a field and through the woods to reach Hooton Pagnell.
The first thing that you see when you enter Hooton Pagnell from this direction is the impressive gatehouse to the hall - another opportunity for getting a good shot of the whole group...except me of course.
Next to the gatehouse is the church and churchyard, accessed by some steep steps. There are a couple of seats in the churchyard, with a lovely view over to the gatehouse and its fairytale turrets, massive wooden doors and pretty delicate pantile roof....but there are three much larger seats further into the village, next to the war memorial.
In the far corner of the churchyard we were able to see a glimpse of the original mediaeval gatehouse and some of the hall's crenelation; unfortunately my photographs were out of focus.
We left the churchyard through the lychgate.
We soon arrived at the war memorial and stopped to eat our sandwiches. There are no public toilets in the village and so it was agreed to visit the pub to use the facilities...and some of us bought soft drinks as well, which we drank out in the sun in the rear courtyard.
Earlier, as we were walking up to the church I noticed that the clock was showing the wrong time, something that's never happened before when I've been visiting Hooton Pagnell. The plan was to stay in the village until just after three o'clock so that we could listen to the carillon chiming; obviously, it wouldn't be chiming today, so we didn't have to linger at the pub.
We explored the rest of the village, and I took some more photographs.
We left Hooton Pagnell by a footpath which requires you to climb down some more steep steps. The path towards Frickley Park is mainly across fields. The section of the walk through the parkland was about a couple of miles until we turned off at a difficult to find footpath with led across more fields back to Stotfold.
As we were approaching Stotfold there were some lovely views of the Yorkshire, or Southern, Magnesian Limestone Ridge, which Hooton Pagnell sits atop.
It was only a short walk then back to the car park.