Walk 102: Yelvertoft & Crick Circular: Well…more a figure of 8

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 5.9 miles (9.4km)

Time to walk: 2 hours, although there’s an opportunity for a stop in Crick, plus you could also combine it with our excellent Crick Village Walk No. 78

Difficulty: Fairly flat & on good surfaces including well-draining canal paths so can be done at all times of the year. Also there’s no stiles on this one so suitable for all & dogs too

Parking: We parked on the main road outside the Knightley Arms in Yelvertoft

Public toilets: The Knightley Arms at the start or The Moorings in Crick

Map of the route: 

This is a lovely medium distance walk where you probably won’t see another person unless you stop off in either Yelvertoft or Crick. Both villages are set in the rolling hills in the west of our Shire, but the walk itself is pretty flat

It’s also suitable for most weathers, even though some of it’s on a well draining canal path. You know how much we love the County’s canals as there’s always something different to see & this walk proved no exception

Shall we go & have a look then?

Let’s Walk!

1. We’ve parked up outside the Knightley Arms in Yelvertoft High Street in the west of the County, a village we confess we don’t know that well. The 3/4 mile long High Street follows the course of an ancient Portway known as Salters Way

The village name is said to derive from differing sources… ‘Yelver’ from the Saxon personal name Ceolfrith, possibly evolving later to ‘Gelver’. The ‘toft’ suffix denoted a small settlement in Danish. Yelvertoft has a maintained a more independent, rural character compared to other villages in the region, such as Crick, because no major transport routes pass through it

2. Facing the pub turn right & walk along the High Street…

On the left is the rather lovely Reading Room. This was originally a charity school building constructed in 1792 (the school was established in 1711)

Next door is the equally delightful old village pump

The village website says that the Village Pump has stood outside the Reading Room since around 1900. It seems to have fallen into disrepair, but was restored in time for a
re-dedication on May Day 2006 with speeches & dancing by the Yelvertoft Morris Men

3. Opposite the Reading Room is a signpost showing our route…

From here the path to Crick is really easy to follow as it’s just a straight line so it’s impossible to get lost

4. Initially the path follows the quite wide bridleway…

There’s quite a few small farms along here & some have some very attractive wares for sale – not sure about the deal though!

We walked this path in July & there was plenty of “wildlife” & flora about…

5. Cross the canal which we’ll walk back along later. This is the Grand Union Canal which starts in London & ends in Birmingham, stretching for 137 miles with 166 locks. It has arms to places including Leicester, Slough, Aylesbury, Wendover & our very own Northampton

6. Just over the canal the bridleway gives way to more of a single track & field path. It also now starts to climb slightly, but it’s not strenuous…

At times like this our hedgerows are so beautiful

7. We eventually emerge into the open at the highest point of our walk & pass through the gate below into open meadows…

To the right’s the wonderfully names ‘Crack’s Hill’ with its beacon on the top

Crack’s Hill was created during the last ice age, when melted water deposited material underneath the ice. Once the ice sheet retreated it left this pile of silt & rock behind, the hill is properly called a moraine. Worked flints from the Neolithic period have been found on the hill & it’s also believed that the Romans used the hill as a sentry point

8. If you fancy a slight detour to the top then take the path on the right, otherwise the village of Crick lies straight ahead…

At the end of this meadow pass through another gate & then on the left is Crick Millennium Wood…

9. The path now crosses the Grand Union Canal once more. We’re walking in a straight line so it must be the canal that’s taking a meandering path

On the left are some rather lazy looking ladies which we may come across later!

10. After the canal continue down the hill through the most wonderful wild flower meadow…

…& walk through another gate into the next one…

..& if you fancy a quick swing well the opportunity is here on the left although not sure how safe it is

11. Our path now hugs the left boundary of the field until it reaches the Crick to West Haddon road

Cross the road & turn left, There’s adverts on the roundabout that are publicising two of Northamptonshire’s best known events

The Rally was started in 1986 by Allen Eaton MBE in response to a request for a donation from the Warden of Hollowell Church for repairs to the roof. On the grounds that there were only 100 households in the village & the sum required was £5000, Allen declined to donate the requested £5 but offered to organise a steam rally instead

Following a well attended meeting in the village hall in March of that year, the rally was planned for the first full weekend in July which it remains to this day. The rally had 233 exhibits, 11 of which were steam engines, a tribute to Allen’s powers of persuasion & negotiation that have developed still further over the years

The Crick Scarecrow Festival started in 2009 & continues to grow long with other scarecrow festivals in the County

12. Walk along to arrive at the canal bridge…

This is the halfway point in the walk so it’s time for a stop & some refreshments at The Moorings which is just over the bridge & offers a seat by the canal itself

13. If you want to visit Crick canal tunnel cross back over the bridge & turn left…

The tunnel is 1528 yards long & was opened in 1814. As with all tunnels built in this area, quicksands caused great problems, & the originally planned route had to be altered

It’s reputedly haunted by a shrieking female boggart named Kit Crewbucket, who it’s believed that if she takes a liking to you she will cook you breakfast, but if she doesn’t her shrieks can send you mad!!

Fancy a quick trip through the tunnel?

14. To continue the walk back to Yelvertoft walk under the bridge on the other side of the canal to The Moorings…

…passing the marina which is home to the annual Crick Boat Show

The Show was first held in 2000, when it was organised by British Waterways & has been held every year since then. Responsibility for its organisation was shared with Waterways World Magazine in 2011, who also organised the 2012 show. The Diamond Jubilee weekend enabled the show to be held over four days in 2012, rather than the traditional three. The show offers opportunities for boatbuilders & sellers to market new & second hand boats to those interested in buying a boat, as well as those looking for ideas for boat interiors or fittings

15. We couldn’t believe how large the marina area was, although it wasn’t that full when we walked. Remember the ladies we saw earlier? Well here they are again

Pass under the bridge we walked over earlier…

On the left through a gate is Crick Jubilee Wood. This is a new venture covering three fields that first opened in September 2015. It’s still very young, but you can see the potential…

16. Continue along the canal. Over to the right’s a better view of Crack’s Hill & its beacon…

There are signs along this stretch of the canal showing the presence of Water Voles which are now making a welcome return. The signs instruct boaters to tie up on the specially placed poles rather than hammer posts into the canal banks where the voles have their homes

17. Continue under the footbridge..

It’s very typical & lovely Northamptonshire canal walking along this stretch & the bridges make for some superb photograph opportunities. Also watch out for herons along this stretch as there were plenty to be seen

18. Continue past Yelvertoft marina

Yelvertoft Marina began to form in 2008 having previously just been fields. It took 18 months to complete & finally opened in 2010. Their website says that the first boat to enter the marina still occupies the same mooring today

19. Pass under one more road bridge to arrive at some houses & a larger road bridge which is our cue to leave the canal as this is the main road back into the village

You can tell this is the right bridge as there’s an advert for the pub where we left our car

20. Walk under the bridge & turn left up the slope to the road & turn right to head back towards Yelvertoft

Take the opportunity to visit the Church of All Saints on the right

There has probably been a church in Yelvertoft since before the Norman Conquest, but nothing remains of that earlier building. The nave & chancel are 12th century & the west tower was added in the 13th century

On the opposite wall of the sanctuary is a fascinating three seat sedilia, where church officers would sit during services. The columns separating the seats are strangely worn, or eroded, as if they had been badly damaged by weathering. A local story suggests that the damage was caused by Cromwell’s soldiers during the Civil war, who used the sedilia to sharpen their swords before the Battle of Naseby, which took place about 5 miles from Yelvertoft

21. To finish the walk carry on into the village to arrive back at where we left the car outside the pub

So that’s the end of a rather nice little figure of 8 walk around two very attractive small villages. It combines these with a nice stretch of canal walking & is ideal for walking in all weathers with the opportunity to see some previously rare wildlife

It’s rather nice so…

Go Walk!