Walk 163: Adstone & Woodend Circular

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: Roughly 6 miles (10 km). I say roughly as we struggled to find the path at times, plus the entrance into Plumpton Wood – but I go wrong so you don’t have to!

Time to walk: I would estimate it would take you around 2.5 hours. I was longer as you’ll read!

Difficulty: Mainly all off road across farmland & wooded tracks. There is some quiet road walking. There are many stiles on this walk. We didn’t see any cattle, but there are lots of sheep & some horses

Parking: Considerately on the road in Adstone

Public toilets: None

Map of the route: You can see the two spikes where we lost the path

You’ve probably never heard of beautiful Adstone or Woodend. I certainly had never been there, but I was looking at what villages I hadn’t visited before & found some footpaths that linked these two

This walk is in South West Northamptonshire with rolling hills, farms & equestrian centres. In the past I have had issues with walks in this part of the County &, as you’ll see, today was no exception. The good news is that because I struggled, you won’t!

That said this is a cracking walk &, apart from our two ‘guardian angels’ & one fox, I never saw a soul, so if you like peace then this is a walk for you

Shall we go & have a look then…

Let’s Walk!

1. This walk starts in the wonderful, small village of Adstone, which is situated 6.5 miles south-east of Daventry & 6.5 miles northwest of Towcester. The population is around 100. Originally called ‘Atenestone’ meaning “Farmstead or village of a man called Aettin”

After parking carefully make your way to the beautiful All Saints Church…

The original church was of Norman origin, but little of the original building now remains It was heavily restored in both 1843, when the chancel was added, & again in 1896 

2. With your back to the church, turn left & walk along the road out of the village passing a rather beautiful large house on the left…

Look across to the left…this is a sign of the views to come on this walk

3. On reaching the end of the speed limit sign look for the signpost pointing you through the hedge on the right…

This is the first of many single & double stiles that you’ll have to negotiate on this walk. Most of them were in pretty good condition, although several had no gaps for dogs to pass through

4. Once through you’ll find yourself in an equestrian farm with a fenced oval, surrounded by an all weather horse track ahead of you. This is where the first issue began…

Our OS map & App both indicated that the footpath headed diagonally left, straight through the horse ring. This, however, is impossible to cross so I decided to walk in an anti-clockwise direction around the all weather oval track. To be honest it’s probably quicker to walk clockwise i.e. to the left

5. I must say though there are some magnificent horses here…

6. Where you’re aiming for is the gap in the large row of conifers you can see behind the horses in the pictures above. So, if you go clockwise after entering the field you’ll get there a lot quicker

Once you get there you’ll find a stile onto another track…

7. This is the second place I went wrong as there was no signage, as you can see from the spike on the map & I had to retrace my steps…

Again the OS App shows that once you cross the stile you should continue straight ahead, but there’s another training ring in front of you, again with no access

8. So…walk down the track & take the left turn, following the left fence as below…

Once round the corner, bear right to the left side of the bungalow…

9. Ignore the stile on the left & keep on the hard track…

…turning left down a clear open track on the left – all clearly signposted

 

10. Now on the right’s a direction indicator on the post showing that you should head straight down the next pasture…

It’s time to relax & just take in the amazing view!

11. At the bottom of the hill is a gate with a fence panel attached to it, obviously to prevent horses trying to jump it…

This gate requires a bit of force to get it open wide enough to pass through. Once negotiated it’s straight ahead again down the next field…what a view again!

12. In the dip you can see the next stile to cross…

…& an all weather racing track. Continue ahead to another stile beside the large tree to exit the field…

13. You’re now standing on a disused railway line. This is the second place where you can see a spike on the map. OS told us to go left to find the entrance into Plumpton Wood, but it was all protected by barbed wire. Luckily we met two lovely walkers who helped us out

So…turn RIGHT along the track…

…& follow it for a couple of hundred yards looking for a footpath sign & bridge across the ditch on the left

14. From now on the rest of the walk’s very easy! Cross the field towards Plumpton Wood…

At the bottom of the slope walk through the gap into the wood

15. Plumpton Wood covers 150 acres & is looked after by the Forestry Commision. It’s extremely quiet apart from the birdsong & I never saw a soul, apart from a fox who stood & stared at us

Paths come in from the left & right, but just keep straight ahead where the track turns into more of a hard surface & climbs steadily uphill to eventually arrive at a barrier & road

16. Turn left & walk along the road which is quite quiet…

…& after about 10 minutes it’s…Welcome to Woodend!

17. Follow the road down towards the village – look out for the amazing climbing wall on the side of a house!

The rooks were also very active getting ready for their young to arrive

18. As you get closer to the centre of the village the daffodils were putting on a great show. On the right’s a bus shelter where lunch was taken!

Not surprisingly the village name means “At the end of the wood”. It was a hamlet in the parish of Blakesley until 1866, when it became a parish in its own right. After World War I it was designated a “thankful village” as all of the soldiers it sent to war returned safely

19. Follow the road as it bends left & then up the hill, passing the old Chapel…

…& then turning left along the lane, just before the large house in the picture below (before the road bends right)…

20. Walk down the lane passing College Farm on the left…

…&, at the end bear right…

21. The path now splits as it arrives at two gates. Our route is through the one on the right & it’s now actually pretty much a straight line all the way back to Adstone

The views now once again spread out all around you…

22. Pass though the next gate, remembering to observe the Countryside Code & close it after you. Look across to the right to see the old windmill at Quinbury End…

Remember the disused railway line from earlier? Now it’s time to pass under it – another stiff gate!

23. At this time of year the path is kept clear & is easy to follow. If there are no crops, then it’s straight ahead…

At the hedge is a bridge & kissing gate into another grass field

24. Cross the pasture. There’s two exits in the hedge about 30 yards apart. The one you need is the one on the right…

Walk across the road & through the large gate on the left…

25. And yet again, straight up the paddock to the next gate…

If you’re lucky you may get to say hello to ‘Little & Large’

26. It’s very apt that this area leading up to the road is called ‘Lambclose Barn’. When we did this walk in early April there was hundreds of them! As before, keep going straight…

…& over the next stile into another pasture

27. Keep to the right side of this field, passing the large pile of manure, if it’s still there…

Now at the top of this field’s a double stile where an infamous incident happened…

I crossed the first stile, but felt my glasses brushed off the top of my head whilst crossing the second. After 5 minutes of combing the ground I finally caught sight of where they were…

28. Anyway…let’s hope you get through unscathed & now follow the right side of the field up the steady incline

There’s no stile this time, just a large gate to go through…

…into the last field

29. This time head diagonally left to the top of the field & exit through the new kissing gate onto the road…

Now turn right on the road, passing the speed limit sign & footpath you went down earlier, & continue back down the hill into Adstone

And that’s it. A stroll around some of Northamptonshire’s loveliest rolling countryside. Please don’t be put off by my early trials & tribulations as these instructions are really to follow

If you want peace then this is a great walk for you

Go Walk!