Walk 151: Clipston Circular Walk

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 6.65 miles (10.7km)

Time to walk: The walk took me 2.75 hours however, as seen on the route below, you’ll be quicker as I was stopping to take pictures & write notes

Difficulty: The walk pretty much covers every surface, quiet roads, village paths, field edges, across fields & woodland tracks. There are several stiles, some of which large dogs may not be able to get through. There were no cattle, only plenty of sheep

Parking: Park outside the Bulls Head or, as I did, ask the landlord if you can use the car park if you are intending to eat/drink at the end

Public toilets: The Bulls Head at the start & end of this walk

Map of the route: 

This is another walk where the leg work has been done for me by Penny Gasson so a big thanks to her! I know this area really well so have added in a “few gems” to her commentary

Clipston is a small village just south of Market Harborough in the north of the county, on the Leicestershire border

The village has very old origins & King John is said to have had a palace here. It’s thought that the palace was merely a hunting lodge. A Saxon mill has been found close by & also many Roman artefacts

Clipston village is first documented in Domesday of 1086 under the name ‘Clippestone’, the first part of which is thought to come from the old Norse name ‘Klypper’ The name therefore probably means ‘Klyppr’s farm’. In Victorian times Clipston was described as “large & respectable”. Whilst today I’m sure it’s still “respectable’, it now has a population of approximately 643

It’s located close to the Battle of Naseby Battlefield sites & the village is recorded many times as having played an important part of the events of 14th June 1645

Shall we go & explore then…

Let’s Walk!

1. Like I say, this walk starts from the Bull’s Head

Turn left from the pub & head towards the centre of the village, passing the village green on your right

2. We’ll return to the green very shortly, but it’s worth a wander down the High Street to look at the village school

The main school building dates from 1667-73. It was originally a Free Grammar School & Hospital. There’s a fascinating mural on the wall of the school staircase donated by American airmen in the Second World War who flew the ‘Carpetbaggers’ from Harrington Airfield

The Hospital section had two wards to accommodate ‘twelve poor aged persons’

3. There are some other lovely houses on the way down to the church…

This one has a stone inscription with a date of 1575

4. On the left’s All Saints Church, a grade 1 listed building, it wasn’t open in the day I visited

5. Retrace your steps back to the village green, noting the lovely war memorial…

Cross the green & look for a footpath sign straight in front of you

6. Continue following the footpath straight until you reach the road

Turn right into Chapel Lane & follow the road past the large chapel on the left…

The Baptist Chapel (1803) has an impressive façade (1864) by Edmund Francis Law, who carried out many restorations & similar projects in Northamptonshire & neighbouring counties

7. Ignore the footpath sign by the Old Manse. According to a lovely lady I met, the farmer permanently keeps a bull in the field to deter walkers!

At the end of the road, note the Village sign on the right.

8. Turn left along the single track road, until you see a footpath sign on the right heading into a field…

Cross the footbridge & head up the field following the marked path. There were lots of sheep here!

9. Go through the next field & exit via a stile on to a narrow lane. Cross the road & go through the gate towards an English flag & a Royal Observer Corps (ROC) site. From this brick-built look-out post you can, with help from the information & map boards, see the full extent of the main Naseby conflict area &, in particular, the believed route of the Royalist retreat

The Royal Observer Corps post is of considerable historical interest itself…

Constructed originally to observe aircraft movements during the Second World War, it later became part of the Cold War early warning system, when an underground bunker was built – certainly there is still visible evidence of a ventilation system on the surface

10. After taking in the stunning views retrace your steps back to the road…

Turn left once you reach the road & follow the road for 1.2 km, until you reach a large wood on the right hand side called ‘Alford Thorns’…

11. Not long after the end of the wood you’ll see a sign for the Jurassic Way…

Take the stile on the left into the field…

12. Continue across this field & then over a stile into the next field…

Cross this next field & head towards the stile that will take you into the woods

13. This stile was quite difficult to get to, but once over you will be on woodland paths. It’s also time to look back & see the glorious autumn colour…

14. Walk through the woods, initially uphill, & they will soon open up to fields again…

15. Here the footpath is shown to go diagonally across the field, but as the farmer had not left a clear path, & as it was very muddy, it’s currently best to walk round the field edge, (might be different when the crops are growing again) keeping the hedge on your left

16. Continue to the end of the field & then turn right keeping the hedge on your left. Soon you will see a stile on your left…

Follow the marked track across this field into the next one, & then two more, continuing pretty much straight, In the fourth field there is an electricity pole…

17. Head to the left of the pole, where there is a footbridge…

Cross the footbridge into a short lane that takes you on to a road. Turn left & you’ll arrive in Sibbertoft (this is covered more in Walk 116)

Nobody really knows how old the village of Sibbertoft is, but sometime in the first millennium AD a family called Sigbiorn, started to clear land for a settlement – the “toft”

18. Walk past St Helen’s Church, which has seen many alterations over the years, mainly in the 13th & 14th centuries. It also contains a memorial to a 16th century Roman Catholic priest who found sanctuary here

19. Continue walking straight down the road until you see a signpost indicating Clipston…

This road takes you all the way back to Clipston. It is a single track road so be careful as a few cars do whizz down there quite fast!

Look out for Sibbertoft Manor on the left which is now a nursing home. This is possibly the third Manor on this site & dates back to the Georgian period

20. Continue along the road…

…enjoying the views to the left

21. Continue along the road, from Sibbertoft to Clipston. It’s about 3km, but the road is pretty quiet &, after a few cars near Sibbertoft, I didn’t encounter any more

You’ll eventually see, on the left, the footpath we took initially across the field. Continue to the Clipston village sign, walk down Chapel Street looking out for the footpath you came up earlier & arrive back at the village green

Turn left & you will see the Bulls Head where this walk started We had lunch there, friendly people & excellent food, recommended

So that’s the end of another excellent walk, exploring the beautiful part of Northamptonshire that’s still relatively unspoilt

Go Walk!