Walk 130: Yardley Hastings & Castle Ashby Circular

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 5.6 miles (9 km)

Time to walk: Roughly 2.5 hours, but this included stopping a lot for photos. It didn’t include the obligatory refreshment stop at the Castle Ashby Deli

Difficulty: Mainly quiet roads, fields tracks & across fields. There are several stiles on this walk & the only livestock I came across were sheep, but obviously this changes depending on the season

Parking: Yardley Hastings is just off the A428 Northampton to Bedford Road. I parked in the Square in Yardley Hastings, just down the road from the Rose & Crown

Public toilets: Pubs & cafes when open in Yardley Hastings & Castle Ashby

Map of the route:

This is another walk that I’m grateful to Penny Gasson for doing for the website & for you to enjoy!

Yardley Hastings has the affix ‘Hastings’ which is the surname of the Earls of Pembroke distinguishing it from the nearby village Yardley Gobion

A Thomas Dudley was born in Yardley Hastings in 1576. He sailed to New England on the Arbella in 1630 & became Governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony. He signed the charter of Harvard College in 1650

In 1840 the Marquis of Northampton’s Gamekeeper was murdered in the nearby Yardley Chase & the two men accused had been drinking in the Rose & Crown before committing the offence. They were found guilty of murder & sentenced to be deported for life. They were deported on the Ship the Tortoise to Van Diemans Land in Tasmania in 1841

The village was struck by an F0/T1 tornado on 23 November 1981, as part of the record-breaking nationwide tornado outbreak on that day. Yardley Hastings is the village in which Marianne Faithfull‘s character ‘Maggie’ lives in the 2007 film ‘Irina Palm’

Like all of Northamptonshire, it’s a beautiful area so…

Let’s Walk!

1. Park carefully in the Square or one of the nearby roads & head down Little Street to the right in the picture below…

There are lots of beautiful houses in this village & one of the locals told me they have an annual Open Gardens weekend, which is a great chance to look round the beautiful gardens in the village

2. At the end of Little Street turn left in to the High Street, passing this lovely brook on the left…

3. Walking up the High Street towards the church it’s lovely to see sheep grazing in the centre of the village. It really is idyllic here…

4. Turn right into Church Lane & go through the Churchyard…

The parish church is dedicated to St Andrew. It has a 13th-century west tower & the remains of a Norman wall. It also has exceptional examples of Romanesque detailing

Also look at the lovely old stone cottages on your left…

5. The Manor House, just north of the parish church, has the remains of the hall of Hastings Mansion 1320–1340. Unfortunately it’s not very easy to see this house because of the trees in front of it

After leaving the churchyard you arrive back on to the High Street. Cross over & follow the lane down until you see the sign for Little Lane on the right…

6. Continue down this lane with the brook on your right until you reach Rectory Lane in front of you…

7. Turn left down Rectory lane, stopping to look at the beautiful old rectory on the right…

At the junction below take the lane to your left, past some lovely cottage gardens & allotments

8. A little further up look out for a footpath sign & gate on your right in the hedge…

Go through the gate & follow the clear path down the field

9. On reaching the gate below go thought it turning right…

Continue until you reach the hedge below & then turn left up the field to the trees, keeping the hedge on your right

10. Look out for a gap in the hedge with a stile. The footpath sign is not easy to see. The route takes you into the Castle Ashby estate

11. There are stunning views the long sweeping drive down to Castle Ashby House

Cross over the main estate drive & follow the footpath across the field onto the road. Turn right &, at the junction then turn right down to the cattle grid

On the left immediately after the cattle grid is our footpath into the village

Here you have the opportunity to take a detour into the grounds & gardens of Castle Ashby House by going over the cattle grid & taking the signed road on the left. They even have Meerkats in the gardens!!

12. If you visit the grounds, come back to the cattle grid & take the footpath on the right as in the picture below (Obviously if you’re not visiting, the footpath will be on your LEFT)…

Continue along the field edge until you see a stile ahead…

13. Go over the stile go into the next field

Cross the field below until you reach a stile. This field is full of beautiful trees & you can see more of the estate grounds to your right…

14. Once over the stile turn right towards the Rural Shopping yard, the ideal place to stop for a cuppa at the deli if it’s open – they do fab sausage rolls!

15. Once refreshed continue right through the village until you reach the newly opened Falcon Hotel. It was built in 1594 & had been closed for a number of years before reopening in September 2020. It looks stunning but not cheap at £200 + per night!

16. With the hotel on your left continue walking down the road with pasture on both sides. Over to your left you can see the fishing lakes of the estate in the distance…

17. Continue walking along this road for approx. 1.6km. You will pass the Parkhill Farm buildings on your left before reaching a T Junction, where you need to turn right, signposted Yardley Hastings

Carefully walking along the road for about 50 metres until you see a field entrance on your right. Opposite the entrance is the gap in the hedge on your left which we turn into…

18. Cross the field until you reach a concrete bridge. Turn right before the bridge & walk down the grassy track to the road. (The footpath is actually across the bridge & turn right, but I took the track before the bridge as it looked easier to walk)…

19. Cross the road & take the footpath opposite through the gate below…

The footpath now is pretty straightforward all the way back to Yardley Hastings

First walk through a field of sheep & up over a grassy mound…

20. Continue straight following the well-trodden path…

When you reach a stile go over it, continue & then, shortly after, go over a bridge & round the field edge keeping the stream & hedge on your right

21. In the top corner of this is a gap leading to a path through a wood, with the stream on continuing on the right of you…

Follow the path through the wood until you reach the sewage works. Turn right here & the road takes you back into Yardley Hastings

22. Turn left along the road & then right to take you back to your car

The Rose & Crown is a good place for refreshments, although I did not stop here. I have visited in the past & it has a good reputation

So that’s it! Another easy & stunning walk between two of Northamptonshire’s most beautiful villages. It never fails so…

Go Walk!