Walk 154: Holcot Circular Walk

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 5.53 miles (8.9 km)

Time to walk: Roughly 2.5 hours

Difficulty: The walk starts on village paths, follows field edges, crosses fields & follows the reservoir path. There are several stiles, but no livestock at the time of the walk (Oct 20) 

Parking: In Main Street outside the Church

Public toilets: The White Swan in Holcot when open

Map of the route:

This is another walk where the leg work has been done for me by Penny Gasson & is a great circular stroll

This is an excellent walk as it takes in Holcot village & part of the Pitsford reservoir circular. It’s therefore a great opportunity to explore the reservoir without walking the whole distance

The walk starts in Holcot Village which is situated a couple of miles from the A43 between Northampton & Kettering

As with many rural villages, the early history centres around the Church. The first Church in Holcot was endowed early in the 12th century by King David of Scotland. Building of the present Church, dedicated to St Mary and All Saints, began in the early 13th century

The increasing prosperity of Church & Village went hand in hand, & Holcot remained a strong rural community until well into the 20th century. The 1881 census records a population of 240 adults of which 59 (25%) were agricultural workers & 35 (15%) were shoe makers. In 2011 the population was 438

Whilst still retaining a rural spirit, & surrounded by rich agricultural land, the village is now mainly the home base for people working in the surrounding towns.  Many fine old buildings in the local stone, some still thatched, remain & a walk around the village will reward the visitor with views of the way the village would have appeared in the 17th century

Holcot has made little impact on the history of the country. Apart from the 14th century Dominican theologian, Robert de Holcot, the village lays very few claims to fame. Therein lies its attraction. It is a typical English village showing all its developments & changes through the centuries yet still retaining a rich architectural heritage & a strong community spirit & relationship with the rural environment

Let’s Walk!

1. I parked in Main Street outside the church. The White Swan is just past the church if you require refreshments at the end of the walk…

Walk through the churchyard, (the church was unfortunately locked today)

2. Carry on down the short alleyway into Rectory Lane…

Once in Rectory Lane follow it round to the left, where it gets narrower & then you’ll meet the main road

3. Cross the road & turn right looking for a footpath sign in the hedge on the left just before the Pitsford Causeway sign…

Go over the stile (be careful it is more like a see-saw) & follow the path

4. The path from here is so easy to follow & very well signposted…

Keep looking to the right for great views across to the reservoir

5. Shortly you’ll reach a memorial at the corner of a cricket pitch…

The memorial is for the former chairman of housebuilder Wilson Connolly, Lynn Wilson, who was tragically killed in a car accident in Scotland in 2008. He used to live at the Grange in Holcot

Mr Wilson, a keen racehorse owner, sold the Wilson Connolly business to Taylor Woodrow for £480m in 2003. He was also the ex-president of Northamptonshire County Cricket Club

According to Mr Askew, Mick Jagger amongst other have played cricket at the ground here

6. Continue past the cricket pavilion…

…& then down towards a drive

Continue looking to the right for more lovely views

7. Follow the hedge on your left & look out for a footpath sign, go through the hedge into a field & walk across to the other side

Turn right & walk to the end of the field until you see a new footbridge…

8. Take the footpath signposted Pitsford & head slightly uphill keeping just to the right of the left hand fence

At the end of this field look for a finger post & continue to follow the path…

9. Cross the footbridge below…

…& continue along the next field to another footbridge

10. Walk up the next field until you a see a sign on the list stating “Private property of Moulton College”

Turn right here & follow the field edge into a spinney…

11. Once in the spinney you’ll arrive at a gate…

Go through the gate & continue along the field, You can see farm buildings ahead

There are more nice views across to the reservoir from here…

12. Go through another gate into a woodland & through lots of sweet chestnut trees. Unfortunately the squirrels had beaten me to it!

Emerging from the trees you’ll see the farm buildings of Moulton Grange Farm getting nearer…

13. There was a lovely field of flowering clover here, not bad for the end of October! Keep walking straight until you reach a gate, some houses & a minor road…

14. Turn left here & follow the road round. You’ll see the entrance of Moulton Grange estate on your left…

Moulton Grange is a Grade 2, 28 acre estate with a 9 bedroom house which you can rent through Airbnb! (You can’t see it from the road so here is a picture from Google)!

It’s believed that the house once belonged to Harry Manfield the son of a wealthy Shoe factory owner from Northampton. Harry Manfield was one of the leading new men of his generation to enter county politics & social affairs &, despite ill-health, shyness & living under the shadow of his father, he enjoyed an extensive public life

In 1909 he purchased the Moulton Grange estate & a year later married Louise Barran of Leeds both symbols of his success & prestige

15. Continue round to the right through the estate. There were a couple of lovely calves in the field on the left…

When you see the lodge house ahead of you, turn right along the signed Pitsford Reservoir path…

16. The next part of the walk follows the reservoir path & is easy to follow, initially through trees, & then when you reach ‘The Pines’ you start to see the water in front of you…

17. Just continue to follow the path & enjoy the views…

There’s some lovely autumn colour along the way

18. You’ll soon see the causeway on the left & shortly after reach the road. Turn right at the road & follow the path up to the village…

At the crossroads turn left down Main Street to where you left your car

If you want to visit the pub the White Swan is a little further down on the right, it has been a pub since 1866 when it was also a butchers shop

What a great little walk with big skies, water & much more!

Go Walk!