Walking in Northamptonshire
been dubbed the county of 'Spires and Squires' and although you might
not bump into many squires on your walks nowadays you won't go far without
seeing evidence of the many graceful spires. Driving through the county
on the M1 you might be forgiven for not wanting to stop, as industrial
areas and the adjacent scenery do not make you want to reach for your
walking boots. But head for the Nene Valley in the north of the county
and you are soon in rich pastureland sprinkled with woodland remnants
of the once vast Rockingham Forest. Here you will find some enjoyable
walking such as at Woodnewton, Duddington and Gretton.
Much of Northamptonshire lies on the great Jurassic ridge, the limestone
belt than runs from Dorset to the Humber. The attractive historic villages
tucked away in many parts of the county are built with this silver grey
stone, often tinged with iron ore to give a warm brown appearance. These
peaceful places provide the best locations for countryside walks in
the central and southern parts of the county, and particularly attractive
villages include Welford, Cottesbrooke, Eydon, Grafton Regis, Marston
St. Lawrence and King's Sutton. Walks based on these villages and a
number of others surrounded by quiet, peaceful countryside are included
in the guide books shown.
Northampton - The
county town of Northampton lies on the River Nene and is traditionally
associated with the shoe industry, although today it's economy is more
broadly based. The city still has an industrial feel, but there are
a number of surrounding villages with a pleasant aspect of undulating
farmland to explore. There are interesting waterside walks along the
Nene, where several examples of the watermills which provided power
for early industrialisation can be seen, and also along the canal system.
Harlestone Heath, part of the Althorp estate, is a very popular location
for walking and a circular route from here to include Church Brampton
and Harlestone provides a pleasant 7 mile walk; of course you could
just meander around the Heath. Other villages and their environs well
worth exploring are Blisworth, Roade, Piddington, Cogenhoe, Great Houghton
and Earls Barton where the parish church has a famous Saxon tower.
historic village of Rothersthorpe lies 2 miles south-west of Northampton
close to the Grand Union canal. In the 9th century the village was the
focus of a major battle between the Saxons, led by Edward the Elder,
and the Danes, in which Edward triumphed claiming much of the land of
present day Northamptonshire. The village has much else of historic
interest related to the canal building age and provides the basis for
an interesting walk to include the canal and Danefield, site of the
quiet backwater village of Piddington lies 4 miles south-east of Northampton.
The village and surrounding countryside make for pleasant walking and
3 miles south is Salcey Forest, a large woodland area managed by the
Forestry Commission which has nature trails. A route known as 'The Old
Deer Park Trail' also passes the excavations of a Roman Villa and visits
Sulgrave - Sulgrave is an interesting
village with some lovely old houses built of locally quarried stone.
Its main claim to fame today is that Sulgrave Manor was the home of
Lawrence Washington, a distant relative of the first president of the
United States. It is a charming house to visit with Tudor and Georgian
furniture as well as memorabilia. All manner of event days take place
here, often with guides dressed in costumes of the period. Descriptive
text and walk
OS Maps: Explorer 206
A Walk from Sulgrave [SP 557454]
This lovely walk through undulating wooded countryside with beautiful
views opening up takes you to the interesting village of Culworth before
returning to Sulgrave across fields and through a Site of Special Scientific
Interest. Leave the village along Stockwell Lane for Culworth. On the
way you will pass an old watermill with an amazing garden and an old
windmill, now a private house. Walk through sleepy Culworth, past Culworth
Hall and the church and turn left down Banbury Lane opposite the churchyard
and the left on a concrete path. The route now passes through Culworth
Grounds, Lower Thorpe and Magpie Farm before returning to Sulgrave along
a lane. About 4 miles.
Best Pub for this walk
Star, Sulgrave Tel: 01295 760389 (Good Pub Guide)
Originally a farmhouse, the 17th century creeper covered Star Inn has
a small bar area with an inglenook fireplace as well as a restaurant.
In the summer you can eat outside under a vine-covered trellis. There
are benches at the front and in the back garden. Baguettes and sandwiches
are on offer along with some very mouth-watering main courses, such
as lemongrass and sundried tomato risotto or steak and sage sausages.
This walk is fully described in the guidebook 'Pocket Pub Walks in
Northampton' by Judith and Ron Smith
Harpole - Harpole is a small village just
to the west of Northampton and just to the north of the A45. There are
two local pubs, the Bull in the village and the Turnpike on the junction
with the A45.
OS Maps: Explorer 207
A Walk from Harpole [SP 557454]
This walk explores a section of the River Nene near Kislingbury and
visits three old watermills. The Nene was an important source of power
before the steam age provided by these watermills. 1 Walk out of Harpole
towards the A45 (Northampton Road), take the footpath signed left between
houses; go over the stile and down the right hand side of the left hand
field. Cross the stiles and the footbridge and follow the right hand
field edge to the road. Turn left along the road to the footpath sign
on the right. 2 Turn right through the gate and cross the field, which
may be under cultivation although the path should be well marked at
a slight diagonal to the right. At the corner bear left along the right
hand field edge, keep direction with the hedges to the right and the
hospital on the left, to a wide metal gate and a marker disc. 3 Turn
right through a wooden gate and down the left hand field edge to the
A45. Turn left, cross the road at the gap and continue ahead along Upton
Lane. Go down to the bottom, bear right through the right hand gate
and carry on past the front of the Upton Mill (First Watermill). Bear
left through a gate and cross the iron railed bridge. 4 Bear right almost
immediately and walk between the fence and the river (the lake is on
the left). Continue through a gate and along Camp Lane into Kislingbury;
go straight on over two junctions and turn right into Church Lane. Bear
left at the 'Sun' into Mill Lane; walk past the mill (Second Watermill)
and carry straight on into Willow View. Keep direction out of the village,
through the kissing gate, along the field edge (wire fence to the left)
and through another kissing gate to the Ml. 5 Turn right, go through
a gateway and bear right over the iron railed bridge and stile; Maintain
direction over two stiles at the site of Harpole Mill (Third Watermill);
continue over the stile/footbridge in the corner ahead and another footbridge.
Keep direction, over a field which may be under cultivation, to the
A45. 6 Cross this busy road carefully, take a right hand diagonal on
a path which should be well marked through the first field. Keep direction
across the next field and the ridges and furrows of the final field;
go through the kissing gate and down the village street into Harpole
and your vehicle. Distance 6.75 miles.
This walk is taken from the guidebook 'Walking Close to Northampton'
by Clive Brown
Oundle - Oundle is an old country town
set in lovely countryside and surrounded by the River Nene, making it
a popular sailing centre. It is famous for its two public boy's schools,
Oundle and Laxton, both founded by the grocer William Laxton in the
16th century. The town has many old buildings lining narrow streets
and also some ancient inns including the 17th century gabled Talbot
Inn. The riverside areas are very attractive with delightful views.
Just five mile north of Oundle is the pretty stone village of Apethorpe
with a Perpendicular church. The village can be visited by making a
diversion from the Southwick walk described below. Also nearby is Cotterstock
Hall, a 17th century grey stone manor house set in a large garden by
the River Nene. The hall is open to the public and you can walk to it
from Oundle following riverside footpaths.
OS Maps: Explorer 224
A Walk from Oundle [TL 024913]
Park on the hard standing by the side of the road between Southwick
and Glapthorn, at the top of the hill close to the water tower. This
is about 2 miles north of Oundle.
1 Walk towards Southwick between the water tower and the wood. Go down
the slope into the village; turn right at the T-junction then almost
immediate left along the double signposted lane. Go over the footbridge
across the stream.
2 Continue ahead to the wood, bear right on the path through two gates
and turn left along the hardcore road; carry on along the green path
by the marker post when the road swings left. Walk 200yds to the next
marker post and turn right. Keep direction downslope over the footbridge
and up the slope next to a narrow wood. Continue left past the pond
and regain direction to the top at the corner of Tomlin Wood.
3 Turn sharp left along the farm road past Morehay Lawn (trees not grass!),
turn left at the derelict building and follow the bridleway right. Go
through two gates and over the sleeper bridge at the bottom of the hill;
carry on through the next gate to the crossroads of paths.
4 Turn left down the slope and then right at a marker disc; go uphill
through a gateway and along the left hand field edge. Keep going between
Boar's Head Farm and the wood up to Crossway Hand Farm and cross the
cattle grid. Bear right down the concrete farm track to the road.
5 Turn left and almost immediate right on the bridleway. Swing to the
right with the bridleway, turn left over the footbridge and follow the
right hand field edge uphill. Turn left at the end of the derelict barn
and continue along the right hand edge of the left hand field. Go through
the metal gate and bear right on a sharp diagonal down the slope, through
the gateway and up the left hand field edge.
6 Go through the gate, between the barns, bear left then right and continue
along the fenced hardcore farm road. Turn left at the corner through
the marked gate and walk across the field to the far gate. Go through
and follow the right hand field edge and the edge of the wood back to
the road by the water tower and your vehicle.
This walk is taken from the guidebook 'Walking Close to Oundle' by
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