The ‘Needs to Know’
Distance: 3.1 miles (4.9km)
Time to walk: Roughly 1 hour
Difficulty: A mixture of village paths, hard tracks & muddy footpaths. There are no stiles or livestock
Parking: Carefully in the High Street, anywhere between the Stanwick Club & the Church
Public toilets: The Duke of Wellington pub at the start or end of this walk
Map of the route:
This is another walk that I’m grateful to Penny Gasson for doing the legwork on, just before the third lockdown (Oct 2020)
Stanwick is a large village just off the A45 between Rushden & Raunds
There has been a settlement at Stanwick since Roman times at the latest. A Roman villa was excavated in 1984–1992 & several mosaics were found prior to the construction of a bypass & mass excavation of gravel
In 2013, one of the mosaics was returned after study & is now on display in the Visitor Centre at Stanwick Lakes
In 10th century, it was referred to as “Stan Wigga” which means “the rocking or logan stone”
Until the 18th Century, employment in Stanwick was mainly Agricultural, but then the village began to grow with the leather & boot industries. According to a statistical survey of shoemakers in Northamptonshire, Stanwick returned a larger than average proportion of shoemakers to all listed men between 1762-81. Census records tell us, also, that during the 10 years between 1841 & 1851, women had begun to be employed in the shoe trade. Shoemaking at this time was on an outwork basis, with the first shoe factory in Stanwick being built by Cave of Rushden in 1890
It’s thought that the Duke of Wellington‘s boots were made in Stanwick!
1. After parking up in the High Street, walk past the village shop. It looks interesting & is based in the old School, but I didn’t get a chance to go in…
This was the first National School in the High Street & was funded by grants & contributions from local dignitaries & landowners. It opened in 1841 & extra land was purchased in 1875 & the School was extended to provide better facilities for the children
2. Cross the road towards the church of St Laurence, which is Grade 1 listed & dates back to the 13th century…
St. Laurence Church was built on the site of an earlier Church, of which virtually nothing remains.
Many years ago the church spire was “usually considered by experts to be the most valuable gem of Northamptonshire church architecture”
3. Keep walking up the road past the church which is signposted Raunds. Continue until you see the footpath sign on the left, just before the Raunds village sign…
4. Turn left here & follow the concrete track round to the left
There were some lovely autumn colours along here…
5. When the concrete runs out continue along the grassy track…
There are also some far-reaching views over to your right…
6. This is really pretty walking along here…
As you get closer to the A45 turn slightly left & continue so you are walking parallel to it, with the road on your right
7. Continue long the track…
…until you reach a gate. It was pretty muddy down here (Oct 20)
8. Go to the left of the gate & turn left through the village, passing the Stanwick Hotel on your right. One of our contributors got married here 😉
Many of the streets in Stanwick have been named after former Rectors, including Ralph of Collingham, the first recorded Rector at the Church in 1224
When you reach Villa Street turn right. Note the old shoe factory on the left which has now been changed to residential dwellings.
9. Look across to your right you’ll see Stanwick Hall, which was built in 1742-1743 for James Lambe by William Smith (1705-1747) at a cost of £750 (about £150,000 in modern terms) Stanwick Hall is a Grade 2 listed building
In 1931, there was a major fire at Stanwick Hall that started in one of the lower rooms. The owners escaped & no one was killed, but the building was gutted. The building was placed on the English Heritage “At Risk” Register, with fungus growing on damp walls, roof tiles broken & roof timbers in danger of collapsing at any moment
The building was purchased in 2007 by the current owners. The major restoration project started soon after and was the subject of a BBC Restoration Home programme in 2011
It’s now available for exclusive private stays
10. At the T junction ahead turn left down High Street & follow it round back to the start. It was here I thought I had found a Northants village without a thatched house, but this one proved me wrong!
11. The Duke of Wellington in Church Street looks a great place for refreshments either at the beginning or end of your walk
The pub dates back to the 18th century & obviously takes it name from the Duke of Wellington’s boots being made in the village
So that’s our look at a short walk from lovely Stanwick, something you could maybe combine with a visit to Stanwick Lakes just over the A45. All you need to do is turn right at the roundabout instead of left!