Walk 118: Lamport Circular Walk: Spot the mushroom!

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 3.7 miles (5.94km)

Time to walk: Roughly 1 hour 20 minutes at a steady pace

Difficulty: A mixture of field edges, gravel & hard paths. This is an “Up & Down” walk & there’s roughly 1/2 mile climb up a steady incline. There are no stiles on this walk

Parking: We parked in the pub car park at the Swan in Lamport

Public toilets: The Swan at the start & finish of the walk, but nothing in-between

Map of the route:

This is a short walk, amongst some beautiful countryside, that’s ideal for combining with a drink or food at the Swan

Lamport is a small village situated about 8 miles south of Market Harborough & 8 miles north of Northampton. The village is best known for its Hall which we’ll pass on this walk. Between 1859 & 1960, the village was served by Lamport railway station & we’ll walk along  part of where this once was

Towards the end of the 1800s the area was known for its iron ore quarrying & the ore was taken by the tram & rail to blast furnaces at Finedon. We’ll look at other points of interest as we go so…

Let’s Walk!

1. The walk starts from the car park of The Swan public house. Most people in Northamptonshire know this large pub, which has undergone many changes over the years  from when it was originally a coaching inn in the 18th century on the route from London to York

You’d never know it was called the Swan…

2. Turn left out of the car park & carefully cross the busy road onto the narrow footpath. Now walk down the hill in the direction of Market Harborough

After roughly 300 yards cross over the road again to the gateway with the Bridleway sign, pointing into the fields

3. Pass through the gate & follow the grass track down the hill. We met an elderly gentleman walking up the hill with his bike in full cycling gear. He’d been cycling the track, which we’ll come to shortly, & remembered that, as a youngster, he used to pick large mushrooms in the field – sadly there were none there today

There’s great views across the Northamptonshire countryside as you descend the hill – whoever said this County was flat!!

4. At the bottom of the slope, pass through a gate to arrive at the Brampton Valley Way

We’ve walked along several parts of this great facility on different walks. The Brampton Valley Way is a 14 mile trail built on the route of the former Northampton to Market Harborough Railway. It forms what’s known as a linear park

The railway line was closed in 1981 & the 13 mile Northamptonshire section was purchased by Northamptonshire County Council with grant aid from the Countryside Commission in 1987, when work began on developing it as a linear park. The 1 mile section north of the county boundary is owned by Leicestershire County Council although Northamptonshire County Council undertake the management of the complete route

The Brampton Valley Way, from Boughton Crossing in Northampton to Little Bowden Crossing in Market Harborough was opened in the spring of 1993 & provides recreational access for cyclists & walkers.

There are two former railway tunnels on the route, Kelmarsh (322 yards) & Oxendon (462 yards). The tunnels are unlit & so can be quite an experience to travel through, although alternative routes over the tunnels are provided. Check out our walk from Arthingworth, when we experience walking through one of the tunnels

5. Our route today is left. One tip we’d give is to beware of cyclists coming from behind as some of them will come up on you quite quickly & the path isn’t particularly wide…

We did this walk on an early September’s day in 2019 & it was clear that autumn was coming up on us fast…

6. Look out for all the benches along the route, most of which are dedicated to various people. Many of them have great views & it’s worth sitting in this peaceful area for a while…

Some are also quite quirky! For example, the ‘Manor Seat’ looks as if there’s a meeting about to take place with the ‘Lord’ at the head…

7. After roughly half a mile the track comes to a gate which was Hanging Houghton Junction…

This is where our route leaves the Brampton Valley Way & turns left. Remember that we walked down the hill? Well now it’s time to walk back up it again. It can be a bit of a drag so take your time & remember to keep looking behind you as the views keep getting better

8. There’s also a bench to have a rest on halfway up the hill & it’s another one we can recommend taking a few moments on…

Look at the gate across the lane. There’s several plaques with peoples’ names on them, which must be some kind of memorials

9. Eventually the lane arrives at the rather lovely village of Hanging Houghton…

The name Houghton comes from the Saxon for “farm on a spur”. Wander through the village & admire the beautiful stone properties

10. Pass the Green with its traditional red telephone box. Like many of these today, it no longer houses a telephone – this one contains a defibrillator

Have a peep at the impressive old manor through the gateway on the left…

11. On reaching the main road, look across it to the right to see a footpath sign showing where the path continues…

It’s time to enter the fields for a while. so pass through the gate & follow the field edge round to the left

There’s more evidence of autumn starting to show its colours…

12. On reaching the hedge, turn left & follow the field edge, keeping the hedge on your right, towards the gap in the far hedge ahead, slightly to the left in the picture below

We’re now entering the Lamport Estate & there’s signs asking you to keep to the path through the parkland. It’s pretty easy as it’s dead straight past the large trees…

13. You can’t see Lamport Hall from the park as it’s tucked away behind the trees on the left. The path exits through the gate next to the Lodge onto the road…

14. Turn left & follow the stone wall of the estate. Again, be careful as there’s no path & the traffic does move quickly along here…

At the junction, turn left to arrive at the small village of Lamport

15. You get a glimpse of Lamport Hall on the left up a drive. The house was developed from a Tudor Manor but is now noted for its classical frontage. It was the home of the Isham family from 1560 to 1976

Sir Charles Isham, 10th Baronet is credited with beginning the tradition of garden gnomes in the United Kingdom when he introduced a number of terracotta figures from Germany in the 1840s. There’s only one surviving now, called ‘Lampy’

16. Pass the Church of All Saints which has a medieval tower, but the remainder was built in the 17th,18th & 19th centuries. The church contains monuments to members of the the Isham family

Continue along the road to the junction across which is the Swan once more where we began this walk

So that’s it…short, sharp, yet a beautiful little walk at all times of the year that shows Northamptonshire’s countryside at it’s best. Combined with a visit to the Swan it’s a great way to spend a couple of hours so…

Go Walk!