Walks Around Cold Ashby

 

Cold Ashby is a small rural community in the Northamptonshire Uplands.

It is not within the boundaries of a National Park, nor is it an accepted tourist area like its neighbours in the Cotswolds.

It is situated in an area of beautiful undulating farmland which, for me, encapsulates the appeal of the English countryside.

There are some delightful walks in close proximity which, as former Parish Path Warden, I would like to share with you as a visitor to this site.
{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, at least, Landranger 141) 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.}

**You can now view and print OS maps of this area here.

For a Google map of Cold Ashby and a link to NCC's interactive map of this area (useful if you wish to report a problem with a Right of Way) please click here.

 

N.B. For more local walks try my More Walks Around Cold Ashby Page.

**For  walks within easy driving or cycling distance of Cold Ashby have a look at Cold Ashby's Rambling Explorer, Rambling Explorer Continued and More Rambling Explorer.

**For details of Long Distance Paths in this area click here.

** For an exploration of local Permissive Access Areas click here.

 

Quick Links to Walks on This Page:

[1]  The Cold Ashby 'Family Walk'
 

[2] Cold Ashby Rambler’s (Formerly!) Favourite Local Walk
 

[3] Bridle Lane
 

[4] Yelvertoft to Crick via Cracks Hill, returning to Yelvertoft on the Grand Union Towpath.
 

[5] Cold Ashby to Winwick, passing Thornby Grange and returning to Cold Ashby via Honey Hill.
 

 

[1]  The Cold Ashby 'Family Walk'

Starts at: St Denys Church, Cold Ashby

Distance: about 3 miles

Difficulty: easy stroll, some inclines, tarmac surface ( except for optional extensions) - watch out for spasmodic traffic !

 

This walk, as its local name suggests,  is suitable for most people in most weathers.

The main route is on the largely single-width lanes which connect Cold Ashby, Thornby and Guilsborough and is therefore very easy to follow.

The Church of St.Denys is a good place to start. Built in a simple Early English style, it is well worth your attention - as is the contrasting late Victorian Lych Gate.

**Update: From Monday 2nd March 2015 the Church should be open to visitors from 9.00am to 5.00pm each day.

Go to http://www.parish-council.com/coldashby/ for an excellent brief history of the church.

From the church, take the Thornby Road, noticing in the old brick wall on your left the stone inscribed 1642 WL which marks the bricked up doorway of the long demolished cottage, The Cedars, in which Oliver Cromwell is alleged to have stayed before the Battle of Naseby.

Continue towards Thornby until you reach the junction of the Guilsborough road and follow this (right) towards Guilsborough. Do try to ignore the intrusive wind turbines and enjoy the views to your right and the setting of Thornby Grange.

You soon come to a crossroads where you take the Thornby direction (left) to continue the walk proper but may wish to walk along the byway to West Haddon (right) as far as The Grange and return to the crossroads - the views are well worth this small detour.

From the crossroads the winding, undulating lane gives you pleasant views of pasture, the outlying former stables at Thornby and the church tower.

The moderate 'climb' to the crossroads at Thornby gives you a view of Hollowell reservoir on your right.

Turn left at the crossroads towards Cold Ashby, noting the red brick stables and estate cottages on your left and St. Helens Church on your right.

You might like to make another small detour here by negotiating the kissing-gate, crossing the field to the church ( the path is obvious) and continuing through the churchyard to emerge with the small village hall on your left and The Red Lion on the other side of the A 5199.

Suitably refreshed you can then follow the Cold Ashby road as it first descends and then rises back to your starting point at the Church.

 

[2] Cold Ashby Rambler’s (Formerly) Favourite Local Walk

 

Starts at: St Denys Church, Cold Ashby

Distance: About 5 miles

Difficulty: A proper ramble with some slightly steep sections but otherwise easy.

This walk takes about an hour and a half if you want to appreciate the views - unfortunately these are now marred by far too many wind turbines, with even more now added adjacent to Winwick. The Rambler has nevertheless decided, largely for sentimental  reasons, not to remove 'favourite' from its designation on this site!

Leave Cold Ashby Church and head West up Church Lane, pausing at the restored well opposite Park Spinney Close to look for fish and sometimes a frog - there should be something in there somewhere!

At the top of Church Lane, watching for speeding traffic, cross West Haddon Road and continue South on verge towards West Haddon.

This section of the walk is the least attractive so walk briskly and use the verge where you can. Even at quiet times of the day, vehicles travel far too quickly along here. Although the road is now officially ‘declassified’, it is treated like an A road by drivers so please be watchful!

After about a mile and a half of this, you will be relieved to see a byway signposted to your right - continue through the gate and due West on this clear Green Lane.

The byway turns South West after the next gate and is pretty easy to follow, which enables the views westward to be fully appreciated, (but take care to watch your feet as well - the track is badly rutted by farm traffic after rain).

Continue till you reach the junction with the Jurassic Way, where there is a sign directing you to the right (North) towards Honey Hill with Cold Ashby’s rolling Golf Course on your right.

Unfortunately, I recently discovered that this sign (pictured right) is almost hidden by vegetation in high summer so it is easily missed, though a waymark arrow is always visible. If you do miss it you will find yourself in Winwick (which is a lovely village to visit anyway - see Rambling Explorer Walk 2!) and will have to retrace your steps towards Honey Hill to resume this route.

The Jurassic Way, with its excellent waymarking, should be easy to follow, though some waymarks can be obscured slightly by summer vegetation. Just keep in mind that you are heading for Honey Hill and watch for a sharp right turn, taking you over a small footbridge to cross the Golf Course (watch out for missiles here!).

After crossing the course, climb up past Honey Hill Farm on your right  to reach the Stanford Road at the top of Honey Hill.

You may wish to turn left towards Stanford for a short distance, where you will see the continuation of the Jurassic way (signposted left) and take this short detour to view several counties from the summit of Honey Hill (exactly how many is still in dispute!). Sadly, this once impressive panoramic view is now disturbed by the aforementioned wind turbines.

Retracing your steps to the signpost, turn right (South East) down Stanford Road, past the communications mast,  Bunkers Hill Farm, its pleasant caravan site and the entrance to Cold Ashby Golf Club.

Keep on down Main Street to regain the church and your starting point.

**A variation of this walk, which includes Elkington, is available as Walk 11 on the More Walks page.

 

 

 

Starts at: 'The Green'

Distance: Bridle Lane is only just over 1 mile long but as the above map shows provides useful links with many other walks  - notably the Jurassic Way. It also provides access to Grange Field via the first footpath on your right.

This ancient green lane begins at the red telephone box at 'The Green' on Main Street. As its name suggests , it is now a bridleway, although the first section is now, technically, a road.

It is used as a linear walk by villagers, many with their dogs and also by local horse-riders.

As I indicate on the History page, it still provides a link with Welford though this is no longer as direct as it was before the construction of the A14.

To reach Welford by this route it is necessary to take either the first footpath on your left to Elkington Lodge (via the sturdy, recently reconstructed footbridge pictured) or, if you reach the A14 and the end of the lane, to turn left on the bridleway at this point, also eventually reaching Elkington Lodge.

The former route is recommended as the views are better and the noise and pollution from the A14 less intrusive.

From Elkington lodge follow the signs to the Welford Road.

For Welford, turn right on the road and continue, crossing the A14 by the road bridge, until you reach the new continuation of the bridleway on your right.

For Honey Hill and The Jurassic Way (or connection with the Rambler’s Favourite Walk etc.) turn left on the road for Yelvertoft, Stanford and Cold Ashby as far as the T junction, where you follow the Cold Ashby direction to the left continue on the road uphill and eventually reach the Jurassic Way sign for Elkington(via Honey Hill).

 

 

 

 

 [4] Yelvertoft to Crick via Cracks Hill, returning to Yelvertoft on the Grand Union Towpath.

(Click on the highlighted links for an excellent detailed, illustrated map and further information about this area).

Starts at: Yelvertoft Post Office*

Distance: About 5 miles

Difficulty : Easy stroll - small optional climb up Cracks Hill

This route is very easy to follow once you have established your starting point at the Eastern end of Yelvertoft near the Post Office.

A lane leads off directly towards Crick to the South West and you follow this past the Cricket Pitch on your left and allotments on your right to a canal bridge. Normally, this is a pleasant, peaceful introduction to your ramble but, when we did this one recently, it was not - Yelvertoft Marina was under rowdy construction! Also, the parapets of the bridge which you cross on your way to Cracks Hill, are in a rather dangerous condition -so take care!

You can’t miss Cracks Hill, which, anyway, now announces itself by a large wooden sign, ‘Welcome to Cracks Hill’. Climb the hill, admiring the view and picking out landmarks with the help of the specially provided ‘trig point-type’ structure on the summit.

From the summit you can descend in the direction of Crick Wharf to rejoin your original straight track. Continue towards Crick and emerge at the roundabout where the bypass begins.

From here you can have a look around the village and/or visit one of three pubs for refreshment before searching for the start of the return route by entering the newly built estate, via the churchyard path. We found the path by continuing to the furthest cul-de-sac and turning left at a waymark sign on a post in the street.

This path takes you over the bypass by footbridge, whence you continue in the obvious North Easterly direction of Cracks Hill, which is even more strikingly weird from this side.

You will reach the canal at the renovated bridge 14 ( a worthwhile and encouraging local achievement, as is explained at the site). Do not cross the bridge but, instead, take the towpath to the left and continue on this until you regain the crumbling bridge which you crossed on your way out - returning to your starting point by the lane. 

*Yelvertoft can be reached from Cold Ashby via Honey Hill, Elkington and the Grand Union Canal towpath or by a more direct field path - see  More Rambling Explorer for a sketch map.

 
 

Starts at: St Denys Church, Cold Ashby (which should be open to visitors from 9.00am to 5.00pm each day).

Distance: About 8 miles

Difficulty: Some ups and downs (Honey Hill is 690ft).

 Well marked route over byways and footpaths.

(For further details, excellent photos and kind comments on this walk click HERE.)

guilsborough road

 

The first section of this walk follows the same route as the ‘Family Walk’ (see above) but, on reaching the crossroads on the Guilsborough Road you turn right towards Thornby Grange on ‘The West Haddon Gated Field Road ’ [NB : the arm of the sign post (pictured right) which displayed this legend has mysteriously disappeared recently!]and continue along the track, passing the drive for Thornby Grange and then Grange Farm on your right and Rabbit and Mill Spinneys on your left.

(When I last did this one, a fox crossed the track boldly from right to left, disappearing rapidly into Mill Spinney when it realised I was approaching!)

Pass the ‘unsafe’ buildings on your left (these are the remains of Thornby Mill and, possibly, also the site of the 'lost' hamlet of Chilcote) continuing on the byway towards the West Haddon Road.

You will know when this is imminent by the barking of the dogs in the kennels on your right.

On reaching West Haddon Road, cross with great care ( traffic is too fast on this stretch) and climb the double stile arrangement immediately opposite.

This is the only section where the path is not clearly defined so head diagonally across the pasture to the left corner where you pass through a small red gate, then over a stile to join the byway to Winwick. Here you turn right, past White House Farm on your right and head West along this clear track to the outskirts of Winwick.

path near winwick

The views on this stretch, which were once excellent, are now irritatingly interrupted by the Winwick Wind Farm of six huge (and not particularly useful) turbines.

Just before the gates to Winwick Hall you turn right joining the Jurassic Way Northwards to Honey Hill.

A sign soon declares that there is ‘No Through Road ’ and seems to suggest that the track is for access to the farms on your left only. In fact, this only applies to motor vehicles as you are, self-evidently, on a designated long distance path!

From this point onwards the Jurassic way clearly takes you up Honey Hill.

A description of this part of the route and your return to Cold Ashby is included in the ‘Rambler’s Favourite Walk’ (see above).

 

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Thankyou for your interest - for more walks click here.

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