Cold Ashby’s Rambling Explorer (Continued).

The Rambler's local 'sorties' - all within easy driving or cycling distance of Cold Ashby - continue on this page .... Happy Rambling!

{The Rambler strives to give accurate descriptions of the walks on this site but is aware that any text is always open to a variety of readings and possible (mis)interpretations.
He therefore strongly recommends that walkers are equipped with a relevant O.S. map (Explorer 223 or 222) and decent compass which should enable them to regain the intended route should they be unintentionally misled  - please do not rely only on his meagre attempts at sketch maps!
Constructive comments and/or criticisms are always welcome here.}

For Rambling Explorer Walks 1 to 5 click HERE

Quick Links to  walks 6-10 on this page:

Rambling Explorer Walk 6
Draughton Crossing – Isham crossing – Blueberry Lodge – Maidwell – Draughton Crossing

 

Rambling Explorer Walk 7
Clipston Chapel - R.O.C. Viewpoint - Dick’s Hill - Sibbertoft - Moot Hill Viewpoint - Clipston

 

Rambling Explorer Walk 8
Spratton Station (site of) - Merry Tom Crossing - Brixworth Country Park - Brixworth - Spratton Station

 

Rambling Explorer Walk 9
Former Kelmarsh Station - Kelmarsh Tunnel - Arthingworth - Former Clipston & Oxendon Station and Return.

 

Rambling Explorer Walk 10
Creaton to Cottesbrooke and Return

Rambling Explorer Walk 6

Draughton Crossing – Isham crossing – Blueberry Lodge – Maidwell – Draughton Crossing

Walk starts and ends at : Draughton Crossing Car park on the Brampton Valley Way. (see Rambling Explorer Walk 1)

Distance : About 5 Miles

Difficulty : Level, firm surface on Brampton Valley Way to Isham Crossing; bridleway to Blueberry Lodge clear and mostly broad; old Cottesbrooke to Maidwell road surface a bit dodgy in places ( watch the potholes!) but pleasantly undulating.

The first mile and a quarter simply requires you to walk towards Lamport Crossing (South), passing under this remarkable old footbridge and continuing on the level track bed with some good views to the right (West).

Watch out for 'BB View' (pictured below)

 

 ('BB' was the nom de plume of Denys Watkins-Pitchford ).
 

There is a good variety of trees on this stretch (which curves just enough to make it feel more 'intimate' than the dead straight sections)  and consequently it's interesting for wildlife enthusiasts.
You reach Lamport Crossing, with the old station house on your left.

TAKE GREAT CARE crossing the busy A508.

Then pause to form an opinion on  the artistic merits of the signpost (pictured - though you could hardly ignore it!) before walking for a further ¼ mile or so to the clearly posted Isham Crossing.

Here you turn right (West) in the direction of Maidwell on the broad green bridleway which follows the field edge on the right and continues through a gate into the next field and thence, following the field edge to a small brook which you cross into another field. At the end of this field you turn sharp right (waymarked) then bear left to emerge through a narrow gap at Blueberry Lodge on the old gated road between Cottesbrooke and Maidwell.
Here you turn right and set off (North Easterly) towards Maidwell.
You may notice a sign on a gate which announces that 'The Hawk and Owl Trust' is active in this area – I believe it provides nesting boxes for birds of prey.
You are now on the Macmillan Way and remain so until you reach Maidwell via Dale Farm.
Cross the A 508 WITH CARE and walk through Maidwell on the Draughton Road which returns you to your starting point.

 

Historical Notes on This Walk

The Northampton to Market Harborough line, designed by George R. Stephenson and George Parker Bidder, was opened in 1859 to exploit deposits of ironstone discovered in this part of Northamptonshire.
It was closed to passenger traffic on 4th January 1960 ( thanks to Beeching!) but was reopened on the 6th January 1969.
It was closed again on 1st May 1969 and re-opened on 10th July 1972. The passenger service continued until 26 August 1973, after which it carried only freight.
All traffic ceased on 16th August 1981.
The Brampton Valley Way was opened in  1993.
The Northampton and Lamport Railway Society now maintain a short section of track from the former Pitsford and Brampton Station.

Denys James Watkins-Pitchford MBE ( 'BB' - see 'BB View' above) was born and lived at Lamport. He was a naturalist, writer and artist who took as his ‘motto’ the following inscription that his father allegedly copied from a gravestone:

'The wonder of the world
The beauty and the power,
The shapes of things,
Their colours, lights and shades,
These I saw.
Look ye also while life lasts.'

Rambling Explorer Walk 7

Clipston Chapel - R.O.C. Viewpoint - Dick’s Hill - Sibbertoft - Moot Hill Viewpoint - Clipston

Walk begins at: Clipston Chapel

Distance: About 5 Miles

Difficulty: Generally fairly easy, some gentle climbing and crossing of prominent ridge and furrow.

On this walk you will get information about The Battle of Naseby, experience some very fine views, pass through elevated woodland and near the site of a Motte and Bailey Castle.

The walk begins at Clipston’s impressive Chapel ( please park carefully nearby).

From here you walk down the lane in a Northerly direction, ignoring the footpath waymark at the Old Manse as THERE MAY BE A BULL IN THE FIELD.

Turn left (West) on the single track Sibbertoft Road for a short distance until you spot this sign:

Cross the stile into the field and heading North Westerly find its top corner where the waymark indicates that you should continue in the same direction through the next field towards a similar footpath sign visible as you climb to join the Marston Trussell Lane opposite the entrance to the R.O.C. Viewpoint.

The flag at this viewpoint is intermittently visible as you cross the pasture - a good indicator of your direction, as the path is not clearly defined over the deep ridge and furrow.

As you join the lane do look back to see the Chapel and Clipston Village below you and the landscape beyond, before proceeding to the Viewpoint which is reached via a gate opposite the footpath sign.

 The  panoramic view from the brick structure will allow you to appreciate the beauty of the rolling wooded landscape through which this walk passes. It conceals the earthworks of a Motte and Bailey. Also, as the information boards explain, you are actually surveying most of the Naseby Battle area.

Return to the lane and walking North , pass the entrance to Twantry Farm on your right and note (but ignore for today!) the footpath to Marston Trussell.

This lane takes you on past Alford Thorns on your right, near the end of which, on your left, you will see the drive leading to Starr’s Lodge and an area of permissive access with the intended permissive path outlined on a map - the Rambler discovered that this path is not clearly waymarked and so cannot really recommend this route. If, however, you download a copy of the large-scale downloadable map this access area is well worth exploring for the views and its historical significance (see notes below). 

A better option is to continue on the lane until you reach the junction with the Jurassic Way (which is adequately signed and waymarked !) and go left on this towards the wood you see ahead (West).

Reach the wood through pasture and a clear path through crops .

Enter the wood, crossing a track that runs North-South and continue straight on, on a broad track through the wood, ignoring tracks to the left and watching for a (damaged) sign which directs you to the left as you leave the wood and continue on a clear path across the field towards Sibbertoft. If you faithfully maintain the direction of the familiar 'fossil markers' and note the position of the path in relation to field boundaries on your Explorer map, you should traverse the remaining pasture to emerge (triumphantly?) on the road to the North of the village with the village sign to your left.

St. Helen's Church, Sibbertoft

Your return journey to Clipston is by the single track road which is signposted left after you have passed the church , war memorial and manor and/or explored the village .

After about half a mile from this junction, look out for an old covered reservoir on your left and a rough parking area which is at the other end of the elusive permissive path the Rambler advised you against attempting at Starr’s Lodge on the outward journey. Here you should be able to see a flag flying to mark Moot Hill and read the excellent information board which explains its significance.

Continue along the road until you reach Clipston and regain your starting point, the Chapel.

 

Historical Notes on This Walk

Clipston Chapel

The Baptist Chapel (1803) has an impressive façade (1864 ) by Edmund Francis Law who carried out many restorations and similar projects in Northamptonshire and neighbouring counties.

Clipston Church

All Saints Church dates from the 13th Century.

Clipston School

The main school building dates from 1667-73. It was originally a grammar school.

There is a fascinating mural on the wall of the school staircase donated by American airmen in the Second World War who flew the ‘Carpetbaggers’ from Harrington Airfield.

R.O.C . Viewpoint

From this brick-built Royal Observer Corps look-out post you can, with help from the information and map boards, discern almost the full extent of the main Naseby conflict area and, in particular the believed route of the Royalist retreat .

The Royal Observer Corps post is of considerable historical interest itself.

Constructed originally to observe aircraft movements during the Second World War, it later became part of the Cold War early warning system ( in the 1960s) when the Rambler surmises an underground bunker was built - certainly there is still visible evidence of a ventilation system on the surface.

By the 1960s, of course, Harrington Airfield (see above) had become a Thor Missile launch site.

Moot Hill

Moot Hill was a rallying point for some of the retreating Royalist troops who apparently held off the New Model Army for some time before retreating again to join their comrades on Wadborough hill - full story here.

Sibbertoft

St. Helen’s Church dates from the 13th Century.

Miles Joseph Berkely was vicar of Sibbertoft from 1868 until his death in 1989. He became a leading British authority on fungi and plant pathology.

For details of the Motte and Bailey at Castle Yard click here.

** See the excellent village website for more history.

 

 

Rambling Explorer Walk 8

Spratton Station (site of) - Merry Tom Crossing - Brixworth Country Park - Brixworth -  Spratton Station

 

Begins and Ends at: Brampton Valley Way (Free) Car park/ Picnic Site off Spratton to Brixworth Road.

Distance: 5-6 miles (minimum)

Difficulty: Mainly level, slight hills on Merry Tom Lane, hard surface except for permissive path on returning from Brixworth to Car Park.

Merry Tom Lane is a useful link between the Brampton Valley Way and Brixworth Country Park, affording fine views of the Northamptonshire countryside.

From car park head South on Brampton Valley Way to Merry Tom Crossing ( almost 2 miles).

Warning : Watch where you tread for the first 200 yards as there are some irresponsible dog owners using this path!

As usual on the BVW, there is a good variety of flora and fauna to appreciate and views from the bridges over the river.

More unusual on a country walk are fine mosaics like this:

At Merry Tom Crossing you turn left (North East) on the tarmac bridleway (signposted Brixworth) passing Merry Tom Farm on your left and then continuing on chippings. A faded waymark tells you that you are now on a section of TFC’s Northamptonshire Round . There are fine views all round, as you progress down one hill then up another to reach Northampton Road.

Here you turn right, obeying the blue and white signage directing cyclists and walkers to the Country Park along the cycle path parallel to Northampton Road.

Note Brixworth’s excellent cricket ground and then the vineyard on your right. Reaching the roundabout follow the signs as before, taking care when crossing the roads, and make for the Visitors’ Centre.

There are splendid opportunities here for extending this walk on clearly waymarked trails and a possibility of an alternative, longer return route, also via Brixworth, which involves taking a path from the northern shore of the reservoir about half a mile before reaching the causeway. The Rambler has not yet tested this one (**Update below) so cannot recommend it yet - but it looks promising and definitely more ‘rural’ than the path he actually took on this occasion when time was limited.

**Update - The Rambler has now tried the path from the Northern shore (though in reverse!) and, though it gives good views over Pitsford Water it also involves some dodgy stretches - particularly around the recycling site where it is almost impassable in places, noisy and smelly!

The most direct (though, admittedly, hardly picturesque) route for your return to the BVW car park is take the red way marks ( Skylark Route) in a clockwise direction (North) through the picnic area, past the bird hide on your left and finding the footpath which requires a careful crossing of the bypass (A 508).

Immediately after the crossing you have a choice of return routes through Brixworth:

a) Take the left path eventually crossing through the residential area and emerging on Broad Street. Walk down Broad Street to Northampton Road, turn right and then left up Froxhill Crescent, take the next road right after the school (Brampton Way) then turn left on the Spratton Road as far as the junction with Woodsfield, looking for a wooden finger post signing a permitted path which enables you to reach your starting point and enjoy the view without the worry of traffic on Spratton Road.

b) If. however, you are interested in visiting Brixworth Church take the right path which takes you through the residential area via The Ashway, passing a recreation ground on your left and continuing straight over The Slip to reach the Holcot Road. Here you turn left, past the Fire Station and continue over Northampton Road and into Newlands, then Church Street . Having visited the church you can return to the car park via a pleasant path which is waymarked from the end of Saneco Lane.

 

Historical Notes and Further Information

  • For the history of the Northampton - Harborough railway click here

  • Merry Tom lane is said to be named after a horse, owned by the Fifth Earl Spenser, which suffered a broken neck ( the horse - not the earl!) as a consequence of a fall while hunting in this area.

  • A monument was apparently erected at the Brampton end of the lane.

  • For details of the mosaic project click here

  • Click here for information and maps re. Brixworth Country Park & Brampton Valley Way.

  • Brixworth Heritage Group have recently created the Brixworth Heritage Trail which starts at the information board at The Pound (opposite 'The Coach and Horses'). A guide leaflet is available from Brixworth Library.

 

Rambling Explorer Walk 9

Former Kelmarsh Station - Kelmarsh Tunnel - Arthingworth - Former Clipston & Oxendon Station and Return.

 

Begins and ends at : Brampton Valley Way Car Park off Kelmarsh to Arthingworth Road.

Difficulty: Mostly level on firm surfaces except for the diversion over the tunnel

Distance: 5-6 miles

This walk uses three official long distance paths ( Brampton Valley Way, Macmillan Way & Midshires Way - sometimes simultaneously!) to create a circular stroll through typical Northamptonshire countryside.

From the Car Park at the former Kelmarsh Station , climb the steps and walk South on the old railway bed to reach Kelmarsh Tunnel.

Here you will note the wooden sign which directs walkers onto a path which climbs up the left side of the tunnel entrance and is well waymarked.

Follow waymarks to the Kelmarsh to Harrington Road where you will see instructions for rejoining the Brampton Valley Way (via a bridleway) about half a mile along this road towards Harrington. Turn left, following these instructions, noting the tunnel air shaft in a field on your left.

Continue to the junction with a lane signposted to Arthingworth. Turn left on this narrow lane (marked as a section of the Midshires Way on your map) and continue for

just over a mile, crossing the bridge over the River Ise (pictured right) and reaching Arthingworth.

(At the time of writing there was an open access & permissive path notice at the end of Rabbithill Spinney on your left, about half a mile before reaching Arthingworth. It looked promising but lack of time, mud and dodgy weather prevented further rambling exploration on this occasion!)

Pass the Bull’s Head on your left (or call in - it’s conveniently placed about half-way round this ramble) to reach the Oxendon Road where you turn left, though you may wish to take a look at St. Andrews Church on your right before resuming.

Follow the Oxendon Road through the village.

As the housing ends the road becomes a surfaced lane which once connected Arthingworth to the Clipston & Oxendon Station.

Walk straight ahead on this lane for just over a mile when you will rejoin the Brampton Valley Way at the site of the former station.

Here, turn left onto the Way and continue South to your starting point, noting the ancient triangular meadow on your right and one of many fine mosaiics now gracing the Way, approximately half way between the two former stations.

Historical Notes

It seems the village of Arthingworth was once served by both the Clipston & Oxendon and Kelmarsh Stations which were each a little more than a mile from the village.

Clipston & Oxendon was opened in 1863 at the site of an existing level crossing. Kelmarsh Station had been opened four years earlier.

The two tunnels at Kelmarsh and two at Oxendon appear to have been completed in 1878 - the line had, by then, been converted from the original single track throughout to double track between Lamport and Harborough which obviously meant that second tunnels were constructed after the initial opening of the line in 1859.

The second tunnels took almost two years to complete.

Engine drivers apparently referred to them as ‘The Rat Holes’!

  • For much of the information above the Rambler is indebted to Clipston: A Heritage by Allison Collier and Jeremy Thompson (Troubador Publishing Ltd, 6 Aug 2009).

  • For the history of the Northampton - Harborough railway and information about its restoration click here.

  • For details of the mosaic project and further information on Brampton Valley Way see the notes on Walk 8 above.

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Rambling Explorer Walk 10

Creaton to Cottesbrooke and Return

 

Begins and ends at: Permissive Paths access point at the Eastern end of the playing field in Creaton - park in the village (with due consideration for residents, please)

Distance: About 3 Miles

Difficulty: Mostly level – The Permissive Paths  are on broad field margins so can be a little rough in places.

 

This moderate walk makes use of part of the excellent and extensive network of Permissive Paths accessible from several points in Creaton Parish - see Permissive Paths Page.

 

From the Permissive Paths access point at the Eastern end of the playing field in Creaton, off the Brixworth Road ( look for the copy of the map, displayed as a notice), turn right (East) and walk right round the edge of this field until you reach the next access point on the Cottesbrooke Road.

Walk up this road towards Cottesbrooke for about 250 yards, looking for the sign on your left (pictured left), directing you down an attractive green lane. At the end of this short lane turn sharp right to follow the broad permissive path at the field edge. You should be travelling virtually due North with the hedges on your left.

After about a third of a mile you reach the top left corner of the field and see, ahead, 'The Green Lane' (its designation locally and on the O.S. Map)  – do not, however, use this lane but turn right (East) and continue to follow the broad path at the field edge with 'The Green Lane' on your left (beyond a wood) running parallel to your route until you reach the junction of the lane with your path and the Cottesbrooke Road.

Here you take the signposted footpath (on the right in the picture above) through a small wood, emerge to cross three fields, heading North, to see the stile pictured below.

Cross the small pasture and through two gates to join the main street through Cottesbrooke. Turn right, walk past the private (but splendid!) entrance to Cottesbrooke Park on your left, passing the church on your right (noting the fine Grange opposite the church) and continue to the junction with the gated road to Brixworth.

From here you head uphill on the Creaton Road until you regain the junction with 'The Green Lane'.

At this point, you take the Permissive Path on the opposite edge of the field from the outward journey, parallel to the Creaton road and heading South and eventually retrace your steps up the small lane you came down on the outward journey.

Turn right and continue towards Creaton on the Cottesbrooke Road.

You may then take the signed footpath across the playing field to return to the village.

Historical Notes

Creaton appears in the Domesday Book both as 'Creaton Magna' and 'Creaton Parva'. The main part of the village is now known simply as Creaton but 'Creaton Parva' appears to have survived, though now anglicised as 'Little Creaton' at the eastern end of the modern settlement.

Creaton has a large and well-tended village green around which there are many interesting buildings. Typical Northamptonshire building and roofing materials such as slate, thatch, local sandstone and brick are evident.

The village church, dedicated to St. Michael and All Angels, dates from the 12th century.

 

Cottesbrooke is an 'estate village' in a fine rural setting. To get a feel for this special part of Northamptonshire and its history, the Rambler recommends this piece written by Candida Lycett Green (April 16th, 2014).

                 N.B. This walk could be linked with More Walks Around Cold Ashby Walk 10.

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For 'Rambling Explorer' walks 1-5 click here.

For 'Rambling Explorer' Walks 11-15 click here

The Cold Ashby Rambler thanks you for your interest - Happy Rambling and come back soon for more walks in this area!

 

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