Ordnance Survey Explorer map 207, Newport Pagnell & Northampton.
Starting from St Peter's Bridge, by The Britannia public house, off The Bedford Road, Northampton.
This walk is 4¼ miles long, and is likely to take about two hours. There are six stiles. One of the gates can be extremely muddy.
Cross the river by St Peter's Bridge (the old Bedford Road). Continue, turning right into Brackmills Industrial Estate. When the path (and cycle track) comes to an end at a road, cross over and continue straight ahead along the pavement to the freight railway crossing. Cross the railway and the road, and follow Cycle Route 6 (ie: turn left after the railway). When this path reaches a road, turn left along the pavement towards Great Houghton (still Cycle Route 6).
Just as the road starts to turn right, opposite the Kestrel Centre, turn left round a gate and under the dismantled railway (Northampton to Olney and Bedford).
This is Point A (0.8 miles), which goes by the grand title of Little Norway.
Pass through a gate into more open country, with a view of Great Houghton to the right. Before the barns take the stile on your right, and aim for the top left corner of the field, passing round the pond to its right side. Climb the stile and aim for the house near the top left corner of this field. Climb the stile just before the house.
This is point B (1.4 miles). Follow the track to the road. We are now in Great Houghton.
Cross the road, and turn left and right to walk along "The Cross". Keep left to take Cherry Tree Lane. Pass the Old Cherry Tree pub, and leave Great Houghton by the gate at the end of the road. Aim just to the right of Little Houghton church, almost straight ahead, to bring you down to the muddy gate. After negotiating this, turn slightly left (not along the hedge), bearing to the right of a driveway sloping up to the road.
Cross the footbridge, and carry straight on in the same direction up to a gate that brings us out onto the Bedford Road. Cross the road, and the gate on the other side. Cross the field diagonally to the gate at the top corner. Cross the road and climb over the stile just a little up the road. Cross this field ENE, diagonally right, aiming for the signpost just to the right of the poplar trees.
Climb the stile, and cross over the small field, with a view of Little Houghton Church to your right. Pass through the first gate, then turn left at the second gate.
This is point C (2.2 miles). Now could be a good time for a drink stop, overlooking the Nene Valley.
Walk straight down, keeping to the right, along the trees. Pass through the gate at the bottom onto another dismantled railway line (Northampton to Wellingborough), with a lake straight ahead of you; the result of gravel extraction. Turn left. Carry straight on across a bridge and through a gate, and up onto Hardingstone Dyke.
Follow the dyke round to the right, past the County Council offices (John Dryden House) to just before the barrage gate.
This is point D (3.7 miles).
Descend the path to the left, pass through the gate. Walk alongside the river, past Abington Lock, under the Bedford Road, under a pipe bridge, past the Britannia, and under St Peter's Bridge. Climb the stile. Continue a short distance until you find an opportunity to sneek across to your left so as to double back to the old road that you have just walked under. Turn left to your starting point.
The Britannia serves good meals.
|Start: SP 77815950||Point A: SP 78225874||Point B: SP 79115886|
|Point C: SP 80115972||Point D: SP 78075992|