This stage is 13 miles long with just 135 metres of climbing and 12 stiles, and is likely to take 5½ hours, plus breaks. A pub lunch stop is available.
Note that we do not start on the bridleway directly opposite the finish of stage 11; we take the footpath just to the right. The kissing gate to the access track is hidden away on the right in the corner of the third field.
Point A, ½ mile, 10 minutes, is a right turn through a gap in the hedge with no waymark.
After the road the path heads straight for the oak tree.
Point B, 1 mile, 25 minutes, is a driveway at a finger post shortly before the bus stop.
Do not continue through the gates onto a concrete driveway; take the path between the driveway and the house on the right.
We join a road and walk under a railway bridge. Where this road turns sharp left, take the local road on the right. Keep straight up this road, then take the path to the right of the gates at the end.Point C, 1½ miles, 35 minutes, is the fingerpost indicating the path leaving the road alongside house number 31.
After the second stile (at the far end of the first field) take the little wooden gate on your left immediately.
Point D, 2¾ miles, 1 hour, is where we join the canal at Stoke Bruerne's Bottom Lock.
Point E, 4¼ miles, 1½ hours, is where we leave the canal by the steps.
It is suggested that you walk through Grafton Regis churchyard rather than along the narrow road with its blind bend.
Point F, 5¼ miles, 2 hours, is the stile just after a bungalow.
From here follow the waymark to Point G, 5½ miles, in the bottom right corner of the field.
After a difficult large rusty metal gate, turn left along a bridleway to another gate, then turn right and walk up the field with the hedge on your right.
Point H, 6¾ miles, 2½ hours.
At the road take a left and right down Hortonsfield Road, then right at the end along Chestnut Road. You come out onto the High Street. The Coffee Pot Tavern, 7¼ miles, 2¾ hours, is 125 yards to your left. At the time of writing it is about to change hands, but I presume that it will continue serving lunches as well as beers every day.
The footpath from the A508 eventually joins the track, then at a waymark where the track veers left towards the canal, which is Point I, 8 miles, 3 hours.
Turn right to take the cross-field path. When approaching Point J, 9 miles, take the path on the left just before the end of the field.
Point K, 9¼ miles, 3½ hours, is the well-hidden finger post on the left-hand side of the road.
After crossing the canal in Cosgrove, go down to the canal immediately.
Point L, 10 miles, 4 hours.
Use the lock gates of lock 21 to cross the Grand Union Canal to walk along the old Buckingham Arm. The canal comes to an end; just continue along the remnants of The Old Stratford Cut. You will need some care to find the path that leaves this ex-canal. Continue past a muddy track that crosses your path.
Point M, 10¾ miles, 4¼ hours, is then the gap in the hedge just as the canal takes a quite sharp right bend. There is no waymark here, but you can see a waymark on a footbridge across the field. You have to slither down the embankment.
Point N, 11½ miles, 4¾ hours.
Join a housing-estate road, then take the footpath between houses 25 & 26. After the kissing gate (too generous in proportions to warrant a warning on the map) continue straight ahead.
At Point O, 12¼ miles, 5 hours, take the right hand path to the start of the enormous footbridge. Cross the Passenham road again, then turn left to walk over the bridge.
|Start: SP 78374983||Point A: SP 77884956||Point B: SP 76924995||Point C: SP 76364990|
|Point D: SP 75104882||Point E: SP 76134728||Point F: SP 75324585||Point G: SP 75424552|
|Point H: SP 76274422||Point I: SP 77494483||Point J: SP 78394365||Point K: SP 78674333|
|Point L: SP 79304257||Point M: SP 78914171||Point N: SP 78084100||Point O: SP 77693980|
|Finish: SP 76983972|