Walk 164: Brixworth & Pitsford Circular

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 5.5 miles (9km)

Time to walk: Roughly 2 hours

Difficulty: Mostly on paths, well drained tracks & roads. There is a small stretch across fields with a small area being very muddy when I completed this walk in March 2021. There are some stiles and one set of steps

Parking: The walk starts at All Saints Church in Brixworth in Church Street which has it’s own car park.

Public toilets: Brixworth does have 2 pubs & a couple of cafes, but due to Covid restrictions at the time of writing, the toilets were not available.  However, the walk does pass through Brixworth Country Park where the toilets were open during the day. There is also one pub in Pitsford village The Griffin Inn

Refreshments: There are 3 cafes / takeaways in Brixworth, The community run ‘Olive Branch’ inside the library,  The Workhouse & the Little Workhouse as well as 2 pubs, The Coach and Horses & The George.  Due to the current Covid restrictions, not all are open, & those that were open could only offer take away, but hopefully they will all reopen soon.  There is also a small cafe in Brixworth Country Park

Map of the route:

This is one of two walks that’s been sent to me by Theresa White of two walks from her village of Brixworth. Thanks Theresa!

Brixworth village is a large village just off the A508 in Northamptonshire approx 8 miles north of Northampton. The origin of the village name refers back to “Enclosure of a man called Beorhtel, or Bricel”. The village has a real community feel to it & a great “trail” – watch this space!

The imposing & famous All Saints Church dates back to an age when Roman Britain was crumbling & the Saxons were beginning to reap what was left over. The church was built around 680 AD & therefore the sophistication of its design comes from the builders plundering tiles etc for their work from the deserted Roman villas

Today it’s one of the oldest, largest & most complete Anglo-Saxon churches in the country & was called “the finest Romanesque church north of the Alps”. It’s historically & architecturally interesting, with a round stair turret, Romanesque tiled arches, a ring crypt & a recently restored weathervane

Let’s Walk!

1. To start the walk, exit the car park via the main entrance on Church Street…

Our walk takes us across the road & down Cross Hill, but you may want to take a look to the left & see the old Market or Butter Cross, a 16th century replacement for a cross erected in 1268 by the Lord of the Manor to commemorate Henry III’s grant of a weekly market and annual fair 

The stocks are replicas made by local craftsmen in the 1960’s. Next to the stocks & the Butter Cross is what is now All Saints Church Heritage Centre, but was originally a school built in 1811 to educate ten poor children from Scaldwell & Brixworth using funds provided by Thomas Roe. The charity still provides financial support for the education of children today

2. When you walk down Cross Hill, go past ‘The Granary’ & turn right at The Old Fire Station, now a private house, but it was Brixworth’s first purpose-built fire station with a horse drawn pump opening in 1912

Walk to the end of the lane, turning left onto Newlands & walk up the hill passing Grange Court and The Grange on the right & The Brown House on the left

3. At the end of the road, is The George, a public house where parts of the building date back to the 14th century & Oliver Cromwell is reputed to have stayed prior to the Battle of Naseby in 1645

4. Cross Northampton Road. You’ll see the old parish hall on the left & the Ace Reuse building to your right…

Walk up the lane between these two buildings passing the village hall on your left. You then reach Holcot Road. 

Cross the road to Brixworth fire station & continue left along Holcot Road. Shortly after crossing Swansnest, you’ll see a footpath sign directing you to Brixworth Country Park

5. Turn right & walk down this path. You’ll cross over 2 roads, & pass through some staggered gates. Then you’ll emerge onto Iron Pikes with some houses to your left & a recreation field on your right

Continue in this direction towards the second mini roundabout. Look ahead & slightly right – you are looking for a path next to a small red postbox at the entrance to a cul-de-sac with houses on the left

6. Follow the path past the houses, where it bends round to the right & takes you to the A508, a busy road so take care.  Cross the road, where the footpath continues on the other side of the road

Follow the path downhill into Brixworth Country Park, which opened in 1997 next to Pitsford Reservoir

7. At the bottom of the path you’ll see a pond, & three paths. Take the middle path slightly to the left of the pond where there will be a gate leading to the path around Pitsford Reservoir…

Go through the gate, turn right & keep walking, keeping the water on your left-hand side

8. After a short distance the grounds of the sailing club will appear on your left, & the picnic tables & play areas of Brixworth Country Park appear on your right. There will soon be a path on the right, which you can use to visit the cafe & toilets…

9. Keep walking with the water on your left. At the large gate, where the path meets the entrance to the sailing club, pass beside the gate, turn left & walk over the dam…

10. Continue to follow the path (to the left) around the reservoir until the path meets a road with a sign pointing towards Grange Lane Car Park…

11. Turn right, walk up the slight hill. You will pass the Grange Lane car park.  These are currently closed due to long running maintenance, but if they re-open there are toilets here too.

Continue along the road which drops down & turns left. Walk past the beautiful Paddock Cottage & you’ll soon see a small village green & a traditional telephone box that is now a local library in the village of Pitsford

12. Turn right into Church Lane, & walk to the end, where you’ll find All Saints’ Church 

All Saints dates back to Norman times, but was heavily altered in the 12th, 13th & 14th centuries. Have a look at the Norman south doorway with the zigzag carving & grotesque heads

Look for a footpath sign directing you to go through the churchyard

13. Walk through the churchyard &, in the far left corner, you’ll see a stile in the wall…

14. Cross the stile into the field which, at the time I completed this walk, was occupied by sheep & their lambs. Cross a stile, at the other side of the field

If you look ahead & to your left, there’s a small brick building looking in need of some TLC. You need to walk across the field, aiming to the right of the small building, where the field narrows down…

This small area was very boggy when I completed the walk. In the next field, there is a tree. Walk to the left of the tree, following the fence

15. Cross the next stile & walk a short distance to a gate. Carry on to a second gate & walk up the steps…

16. At the top of the steps you pass through a gap in the wall, where you meet the A508 again

Cross the road, taking great care because this is a very busy road. Turn right & walk along the path towards Brixworth.  After a short distance you’ll pass a memorial erected to the memory of Charles 3rd Baron Chesham who died in 1907…

Charles Compton William Cavendish, 3rd Baron Chesham KCB PC DL (13 December 1850 – 9 November 1907), styled The Honourable Charles Cavendish between 1863 and 1882, was a British soldier, courtier and Conservative politician. He served as the last Master of the Buckhounds under Lord Salisbury from 1900 to 1901

17. Keep walking towards Brixworth. The cricket club & vineyard will appear on the left as you enter the village of Brixworth again…

Cross the road that leads to the Cricket & Tennis Club & cross Merry Tom Lane

(If you fancy making this walk a little longer, you can follow the notes from the walk “Brixworth to Holcot Circular”. You can turn down Merry Tom Lane & pick up the Brampton Valley Way to return to Brixworth)

The path on this side of the road runs out for a short stretch, so you may feel more comfortable crossing over the road

18. Continue walking down Northampton Road, until you reach the junction with Spratton Road…

At the junction of Spratton Road, turn left.  The local shops will be on your right (including a Co-op & fish & chip shop. The library, with the community run cafe inside it, is on the left

Next to the library is The Workhouse cafe in what was part of the Brixworth Union Workhouse. It opened in 1837 & closed in 1935.  Cross over Brampton Way & pass the recreation ground & play area on the right

After the bus stop, you need to turn right & walk down Woodside. Brixworth Church will be ahead in the distance & there are some good views on the left.  Walk down the hill

Woodside transitions into Froghall & on the right-hand side are The Swedish Houses a good example of pre-fabricated houses that appeared in many towns & villages across Britain after the Second World War

At the bottom of the road, the road splits into two. Take the left-hand fork & walk down hill. Then turn slightly left & walk uphill back into Church Street where, turning right, you’ll shortly reach the car park where the walk started

So that’s the first of Theresa’s two walks from her home village of Brixworth

Thanks Theresa!

Go Walk!