Walk 147: Little Irchester & Wellingborough Circular

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 4.5 miles (7.24 km)

Time to walk: Viv took 2.5 hours, but she was taking her time & lots of photos

Difficulty: Flat, easy & all on hard surfaces

Parking: On street in Little Irchester

Public toilets: Cafes etc when open

Map of the route:

This is another walk that’s been done for me by Viv Wilkinson that takes in Little Irchester & that side of Wellingborough. It’s an all-weather surface walk too which is a bonus

Thanks Viv &…

Let’s Walk!

1. This walk starts in Little Irchester which with it’s larger neighbour, Irchester forms one of the largest boroughs in the Wellingborough are. The two are separated by Irchester Country Park…

2. Little Irchester was once was a thriving village with 3 pubs, 2 churches & its own station. The picture below shows how it looked in its heyday

These days only one church is left in Milton Road, which used to have its own village hall, but is now private owned

3. Walk up London Road towards Wellingborough, passing the village sign & the war memorial… 

At the start of World War I the village at that time contained slightly less than 100 dwellings, yet 53 men went & saw service with the Forces. Of these 17 made the great sacrifice & are commemorated here

4. Pass Whitworths Mill. One of Northamptonshire’s best know companys, Whitworths is a dried fruit, home baking & snack products company, established in 1886. The company was begun by the three Whitworth brothers John, Herbert & Newton trading under the name of Whitworth Bros

In 1971 they were awarded the Royal Warrant by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother & in 1974 by Queen Elizabeth II. In 2016 they purchased Carr’s Flour Mills Ltd for £36m from Carr’s Group PLC, making them the market leader in the UK flour market. In 2018 they purchased anothe two flour mills from Hovis

The factory holds a commanding view overlooking the river Nene from the bridge over the A509

5. Continue straight ahead. Looking back at Whitworths you get a perspective of the size of the factory

On the right’s the car park at the Embankment. This area floods quite regularly, especially during wet weather in winter. When I did this walk in January 2020 it was beginning to get flooded again & was closed

6. Continue straight ahead past Tesco on your left & straight over the roundabout…

along a path known as “The Walks”

7. On the right’s The ‘Dog & Duck’ pub. Wellingborough Town FC ground is behind the pub. Wellingborough Town’s traditional nickname is “The Doughboys”, which is thought to derive from the local speciality “’ock ‘n’ dough”

A hock of bacon is an economy cut taken from the front of the leg of the beast. It’s cooked slowly in the oven, typically with onions & carrots in a pastry case

8. Continue past the old Gloveralls factory site. Their website tells us that “Five years after the end of World War II Gloves & Overall wholesalers H&F Morris, Harold & Freda, were offered a large quantity of surplus military Duffle Coats which quickly sold out in camping & leisurewear shops

This success prompts Harold, son of a master tailor, and Freda to produce their own Duffle coats for their new company Gloverall”

The company moved to Wellingborough in 1960 & quickly expanded its sales into over 40 countries. the factory in Wellingborough closed in 202o, but it still operates out of its Earls Barton site, thus remaining a Northamptonshire link 

My sister had an old sewing machine & made their duffle coats in the 70’s

9. Passing Wellingborough School. The original school was a Tudor Grammar School in the centre of the town. Its original building still survives & is the church hall for All Hallows. Which makes it that rarity, a Grade 1 listed church hall. In January 1881 the school moved under the 28th Headmaster to its present 45 acre site

The pavilion has the front door step of the former home of W.G.Grace acquired in 1939 when his old home in Bristol was demolished. One local lad who sat the scholarship entrance exam unsuccessfully was H.E.Bates

As you can see it was founded more than 400 years ago & is one of the oldest schools in the country. Until the late 1970s the school was still predominantly for boarders. Girls were admitted for the first time in 1970 & it became fully co-educational in 1979, following the sudden closure of  Overstone School. After over 400 years of boarding tradition, it stopped offering boarding from the 2000-01 school year onwards

10. Opposite Wellingborough School is Wren school, they use this bus as a science lab. The school’s origins lie in Wellingborough County High School for girls & Wellingborough Grammar School for boys. The Wellingborough County High School was founded in 1907, & moved into the Broadway site in 1911, & the grammar school site was finished in 1930, on Doddington Road. The two schools merged in 1975, under the then headmaster, Mr Wrenn, to form Wrenn School

11. Continue past “the dead centre of town”, London Road Cemetery…

…& turn right at Castle Road

12. You can see the Castle Theatre on the left. The Castle was opened in 1995 as a community resource organisation on the site of Wellingborough’s Old Cattle Market.

Programming is a balanced mix of professional work, hires, community theatre, film, live satellite streaming from the National Theatre, Royal Opera House & Royal Shakespeare Company, as well as a professional Christmas show

In June 2016 Castle Theatre Wellingborough was closed, but was re-opened in August 2016

13. Cross over Castle Street into the entrance…

…of Castlefields Park

We’ve seen many bands of all types playing here

14. Keep to the footpath on the left through the park…

…& leave Castlefields in the far left corner, going over Swanspool Brook into Chester Road

15. There’s been lots of new building of houses on the left in this area over the last 3 years…

16. On reaching Midland road cross over to the right & walk down to Elsden Road on the left

Midland Road has many guest houses & hotels

17. Turn left into Elsden Road…

…& then take the next right turn into Dryden Road & follow it round to the left, turning into Talbot Road

18. Some newer properties along here back onto the railway line, so a handy place to live if you’re a train spotter!

I had to walk into the road past the ladder & looked up to see a man on the roof having a cuppa!

19. Turn right into Mill Road

Now we wanted to go down here because there used to be a footpath, but its been closed since the new road was built along the railway line into the huge Stanton Cross development. The horizon is continuously changing here. We walk here regularly to get an update

Stanton Cross is a new community for Wellingborough &, as well as new housing & commercial properties, it will include a variety of new leisure & community facilities from shops, bars & cafes to a place of worship

Once complete, it will provide more than 3,650 new homes, 1.5m sq ft of industrial, leisure, retail & office space, delivering around 3,000 new jobs. It will also bring new public parks, schools, a doctor’s surgery & much more

20. On the left is a memorial to a young man who sadly lost his life here

We stood here and watched the huge concrete blocks go in for the new bridge over the railway line. Fascinating…

Here’s a picture of the new bridge below…

You are able to walk through here. It used to be an industrial site

21. The new roads recently constructed for the Stanton Cross development are really just the start of the infrastructure which will be ongoing until 2032

On the left is an old engine shed. We’re hoping that they develop this into something useful.

22. This is where the footpath used to be into Irthlingborough, sadly we still can’t use it…

Little remains of the old industrial units that were once here

23. You can make out the bridge across the river. It’s still here so maybe one day, it will reopen. There will be a country park here eventually as part of the Stanton development

Looking down Driver Way into Stanton Cross it’s hard to imagine that over 3200 homes are being built here

24. Now we’re turning round & heading down the new road over the railway line towards Wellingborough Station. The road’s still called Driver Way,  but it turns into Midland Road past the Station…

You get a glimpse to the left of the railway line

25. Another footpath that was once here into Talbot Road remains closed for the time being…

We now arrive at Wellingborough station which was built by the Midland Railway in 1857, on its extension from Leicester to Bedford & Hitchin. At the time, the station was known as Wellingborough Midland Road to distinguish from one built by the LNWR in 1866, at Wellingborough London Road for the Northampton & Peterborough Railway, which closed in 1966. A curve linked the two stations from west to north

Many of the old buildings including the goods sheds still remain…

26. A bonus though is that one of the buildings has been turned into a micro pub on the platform! 

This is The Little R’ale pub. We’ve had many a lovely beer here. We’re both real ale lovers!

 

27. Carry on walking down Midland Road, turning left into Senwick Road…

One day I will investigate this stream

28. You’re heading back to Little Irchester…

Pass The Crown public house. We’ve often been invited in as its dog friendly, but not actually visited. The grub’s very nice apparently…

29. Walk past Christchurch House, turn left up the steps & around the right of the building to see Nene Court Shopping Village

This is a hidden gem & well worth a visit. Bestbuys is great for walking boots, other gear & camping equipment.

30. Nene Court used to be the home of Wellingborough’s only brewery Hart, sadly closed now

Walk past Nene Court back to Senwick Road

31. There are plans for a new road from Stanton Cross into this bend on the lef,t just before the Embankment

The road will come across this landscape on the left

32. On reaching the Embankment you can now see Whitworths once more…

The swans were sailing past a great speed due to the current

33. Splash Water Park on the right’s great fun for kids in the summer & it’s free…

Walk past Whitworths to reach the A509 Bridge that we crossed at the beginning of this walk that will lead us into Little Irchester once more…

34. Turn left along the road & pass under the bridge once more to return to the start of the walk…

So that’s it…the end of Viv’s all weather walk from Little Irchester. You could easily combine it with my Wellingborough Town Walk 

It’s fab Viv so thank you & it really shows how much Wellingborough is changing

Go Walk!