Transcript of Coventry Evening Telegraph Urban Walk 14-Apr-2001, with updates where needed
Pretty stroll on the outskirts of the city
START from the car park at Allesley Hall and make for the path between labourers' cottages now converted to sheltered housing known as The Dovecotes, and newly-built houses which incorporate remnants of an old farmhouse.
Notice the disused dovecote and view across the courtyard to the horse-shoe arch and Allesley Village beyond. The present Allesley Hall, now a nursing home, was built in 1909 for William Isaac Iliffe, founder of the Coventry Evening Telegraph. It replaced a Queen Anne style house which used to stand here.
We soon reach the walled garden, once the vegetable garden to the hall, now being restored and replanted by a group of local enthusiasts. [The garden is open daily from about 9:30am to 5pm (Golf Hut staff should open it each day). For more details about the garden, see Allesley Park Walled Garden ]
Follow the tarmac path through bland grassy areas, once covered by woodland and a mediaeval deer park, later in history mixed farmland
The path runs parallel to Pickford Way, then reaches the ancient lane
where we turn left for the high-level bridge crossing the main road.
This was the main entrance to the estate before 1700.
As we enter the centre of Allesley Village notice the coach house on the left.
Beyond, is the 16th century Stonehouse, home to a community of old ladies after the last war, and sold to Coventry Corporation in 1950.
It became a social services outpost for many years before reverting to a private residence.
Across the road is a gazebo built into the wall of the Rectory garden.
Ladies did their needlework and watched the passing stage coaches here 200 years ago.
Cross carefully to the sloping path opposite and look back to the famed 16th century Rainbow Inn.
The path leads to All Saints Parish Church, a building with Norman origins, but extensively remodeled in Victorian times. Stroll through its graveyard and pass though the kissing gate into a field now managed by local conservationists.
At the next kissing gate turn right into Church Walk, an ancient trackway which leads us towards Coundon. Look out for the consecrated land to the left, now a woodland burial site.
Next door lies a traditional graveyard where several members of the Iliffe family are buried.
Reaching the Coundon Wedge Drive turn right towards the Tollgate Island and cross with care to Thomas Telford's Holyhead Road, completed in 1829.
We now make for a natural crossing point near to the Tollgate pub, named after the turnpike house which once stood at the junction of the Holyhead and Allesley Old Roads.
The gates extended across both roads, and the story goes that a tinker, on passing through the village and being asked for the toll on each of his donkey's four hooves as well as the cart, lifted the animal into the cart and pulled it through himself.
Pass several cottages, once dominated by a huge tithe barn, and stride out for the top of the rise where Allesley Hall Drive joins the main road.
We cross the dual carriageway to the house on the corner which was once the lodge to Allesley Hall. Proceed along the ridge with fine views to Coundon Wedge and the village.
Forty years ago the magnificent avenue of elm trees along the grassy drive were the most attractive feature of the park. The trees were about 300 years old when they were damaged by Dutch Elm disease, and replaced by a mixture of other species.
We reach the end of our walk at the imposing Allesley Hall.
End of transcript - other information below
Allesley Park is a good area for dogs, lots of open space and a good car park. Not as interesting as the 3 dog areas, and a bit near the A45 and Pickford way, but can be linked to Coundon Wedge by following the route described above to the church (or the return route), and then past the church and out across the wedge.
ALLESLEY PARK - Church and Village in the background - December 2001
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