Walk 152: Quinton, Preston Deanery, Wootton, & Grange Park Circular

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 8.8 miles (14.16 km), with a bail out option at mile 3

Time to walk: Can be done in just under 3.5 hours

Difficulty: A mixture of hard & field paths, so may be muddy at times. Mostly flat & easy

Parking: On the road outside the church in Quinton

Public toilets: Three quarters of the way round we pass the Grange Inn (when open)

Map of the route:

This is another great walk that’s been done for me by Richard Parkes – thanks Richard! 

It’s easy, safe walking & can be reduced to a shorter 3 mile walk also before the Preston Deanery section. Simple & very enjoyable with some amazing big sky walking at times. So come on Richard, show us your route…

Let’s Walk!

The lovely village of Quinton lies on a broad plateau of rich agricultural land about 7 kilometres south of Northampton. Apart from the late Norman Church of John the Baptist and the nearby former rectory, there are only a handful of traditional stone cottages in the village

The name Quinton probably comes from the Old English words for the “Queen’s farmstead or estate” -‘cwen’ & ‘tun’ 

Historically this appears to be as a result of the village consisting of three separate parts; that of the existing village centred around the church, another small group of buildings at Glebe Farm to the north-west & other properties around Manor Farm to the south.

The clearest identity within the village is the group of local authority built properties fronting a small green & facing the church. The properties are semi detached houses or small terraces faced in both buff & red brick under brown concrete tile roofs. There is no distinctive front boundary treatment & parking is for the most part limited to the highway, although there is a group of purpose built garages to the east. Along Preston Deanery Road are some of the traditional limestone buildings including the former bakehouse, all have seen significant remodelling this century. Other properties include a render faced bungalow & modern two storey residential infilling in buff brick with concrete roofing. The approach into the village from Preston Deanery appears relatively modern, & is emphasised by the tall close boarded timber fences flanking the highway

School Lane comprises for the most part modern infilling, single & two storey properties set in spacious plots, some open plan others with substantial screening & mature trees fronting the road. A small group of 19th & 20th century stone & brick buildings stand at the north end of the lane. These include the red brick & slate former school & school house, a pair of traditional stone cottages, faced in pale buff limestone with red clay plain tile roofs standing to the back edge of the footway & a further pair of stone & render houses with slate roofs, again built on the edge of the footway

1. We start our walk at St John the Baptist church, which dates back to the 13th century, with Norman section, although most of it was remodelled on the 1800s…

Walk through the churchyard & out other side. Take footpath on the right & follow the garden edges where we come to gate which leads to a little trail called the “faerie trail” which the residents of Quinton have made. An unexpected treat!

The trail is in the grounds of Quinton Old Rectory. The woodland walk was first created in 2015, but was enhanced in 2020 as a place where fairies might make their homes – how wonderful!

2. Ok now pass through the gate at the end of the trail & cross the busy road, taking the road towards Courteenhall. We’re now looking for a footpath sign on the left & into the fields…

3. Continue straight with the hedgerow on your right, heading towards the busy M1 in the far corner of the field. Go through the gap in the hedge pictured below…

4. Then immediate right to follow the M1 & down the edge of the field towards the farm buildings at the bottom. On reaching the bottom, go through the big gap on the right & immediately left down the track to the road…

5. Cross the road & continue up the bridleway as it bends round the field with the hedge & farm buildings on your left. We are now walking a very small part of the Midshires Way long distance footpath

In Northamptonshire we’re very familiar with the Midshires Way which runs for 230 miles from near Bledlow in Buckinghamshire, passing through Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire, before finishing in Stockport, Greater Manchester

What’s great about it is that, along the route, there are many individual circular pub routes in each County. In Northamptonshire there are ten of these, most of which are on the website

6. At the gravel track, cross over & head to the farm buildings in the distance. On reaching the farm continue straight ahead, keeping the farm buildings at all times on your right. Cross the driveway & carry straight on into the next field, where we keep the hedge on the left into the field corner & then up the hill…

7. As we get to the corner at the top of the hill we turn left, keeping the hedgerows on the left as go up the hill past the farmhouse

At the top, ignore the way marker sign & turn left, keeping the fence on your right & the farmhouse on your left until you reach the road…

Then continue up the road to the T junction

8. We are turning right towards Preston Deanery, ignoring the footpath sign & continuing on the road…

9. If you decide 3 miles is enough don’t turn right, but turn left & follow the road back into Quinton. The Church where we started is about ¼ of a mile on this road.

For the rest of us, we follow the road on the right as it slowly drops down into Preston Deanery …. remember although it’s extremely quiet, this is a road so please be careful

Welcome to the beautiful hamlet of Preston Deanery, so called from having given its name to the deanery of Preston. Known for it’s beautiful Victorian houses & being the home of the host of ‘Countdown’

10. Continue on the road straight through this small hamlet, stopping to look at the church on the left & the impressive hall

The church was dedicated to St Peter circa 1200, & then St Peter and St Paul c.1415. It was a parish church for what was at the time a much larger & later abandoned village

In the 16th century the church was unused for 50 years when a squire “sold the lead & bells, pulled down the body, & converted it into a profane use”. The chancel became a dog kennel & the rugged Norman tower a pigeon house! It was restored in 1620

The church is now redundant & is cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust. It has a 12th century west tower. A small part of the church is early Norman (11th century), however it’s the earlier influence of the Vikings on the interior that are most interesting

A snake with a protruding tongue, two fan-tailed birds & a strange animal, all Viking in character & 1,000 years old, are carved on each side of the chancel arch in this simple aisle-less church

11. Preston Hall stood immediately to the northwest of the church, & was a large stuccoed stone building erected originally in 1716 by Sir Richard Newman. It was altered & extended several times, but after a fire in 1872 was rebuilt…

The greater part of the house was pulled down in 1933 & the remainder refashioned. In the 1940’s it became home to a group of monks

12. Continue over the bridge & take the footpath sign on the immediate left. Go over the stile and our path continues diagonal right up the hill behind the tree…

Heading towards the left farm buildings, cross over the stile to exit the field.

Immediate turn left & then right up the hill. At the way mark junction we are going straight across & through two fields following the telegraph pole line

13. Through the gate and follow the hedgerow on the right and also through the next gate before heading slightly diagonally left to the corner of the hedge

We follow the field edge down the hill, keeping the hedge on the right to the next gate. Continue through the gate & down the grass path towards the roundabout

14. Cross the wooden bridge & walk up the small hill towards the road…

…& welcome to Wootton!

In the Domesday Book, Wootton is described as “Wetone” & later becoming “Weton”, “Wutton” & then “Witton”. The village finally became Wootton in the 14th century. The name is thought to came come from the Saxon culture, meaning “settlement, or farmstead in, or by a wood, which may have been Salcey Forest

15. Cross over the road & head left towards the roundabout. Once over the roundabout take the path on the right over the bridge & continue up the hill…

At the lamp post below turn left…

…& then keep straight on to the zebra crossing. Carefully cross over the road & continue straight ahead

16. At the junction continue down the hill…

17. Cross the road. The village, with a couple of pubs & a shop, is to the right, but we head slight left & continue down the hill between the houses…

18. Take the footpath between the hedges…

…& cross over the road & then carefully cross the main road ahead into another field…

19. Continue straight down the middle of the field to the big trees at the bottom & cross over the bridge…

Then left, following the woodland path to the road…

Welcome to Grange Park! The village was created from agricultural land belonging to Courteenhall Grange Farm in the late 1990s. Approval for the initial development of the village was granted on 8 May 1998, initially for one thousand houses to be built along with amenities such as a primary school, a community centre, & country parks

20. Cross the road & keep following the gravel path. This path is now our best friend as we follow it through the houses & down to the next country park…

Ok…here is your opportunity for a toilet break & some refreshments (if open) This is the Grange Inn. (sadly I’m doing this walk during lockdown sowill have to hold on!)

21. To continue the walk, we pass the pub on the gravel path &, at the fork, take the right turn & head up the hill…

22. At the next junction continue down the hill, keeping the school your left…

23. Cross the little bridge & walk up the hill with the school still on your left & the woodland on your right…

On the right, out of view, is the local Co Op if you’re in need of a chocolate bar or two Lets continue this walk over the bridge, keeping the school on your left & the play park on the right…

24. When you get to the square, turn immediately right & continue straight to the road. Cross over & take the footpath between the hedges…

25. Continue straight ahead on the gravel path. Don’t take any of the paths going on to the left or right. (I told you the path would be good to us!!)

Cross over the road & keep straight ahead…

30. Welcome to Foxfields Country Park…

Both paths lead us to the same point. We are here now so lets enjoy this park! The path straight across is the more scenic route & the it’s the one we are following today…

31. At the bridge turn left (Don’t go over the bridge)…

We’re heading for the wooden gate in the picture below in the far top right corner of the park…

32. Now we’re through the gate, take a quick look behind to say goodbye to the park. Not many people will know the park is even there…a hidden beauty in the shadow of Grange Park

Go straight up the hill, keeping the trees on your left, until reaching the gate…

33. Pass through the gate & turn left. Please be careful as you’re now following the road back to Quinton for about 1/4 mile. It’s not a busy road, but cars do pick up speed along here

At the t-junction cross carefully & re-enter the woodland created by the residents of Quinton. Follow this back to the church…

So that’s it!! I loved this walk & will be back very soon, Hopefully the pub will be open next time!

Thanks Richard! It looks great guys so…

Go Walk!