Walk 168: Bozeat & Strixton Circular

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 6.3 miles (10.2km)

Time to walk: Roughly 2.5 hours

Difficulty: Mainly off road across fields & can be muddy in winter. There are also several stiles on route & people with large dogs would struggle

Parking: Considerately on the street in Bozeat

Public toilets: The Red Lion in Bozeat when open

Map of the route:

The legwork on this walk was done for me by Penny Gasson in Spring 2021, so some of the field paths will look considerably different during the crop growing season

This walk starts in Bozeat, which lies some 6 miles south of  Wellingborough. From there it heads towards Wollaston & then across to Strixton

The village name is derived from “Bosiete” meaning ‘Gate or gap of a man called Bosa’. There has been evidence found here of occupancy during Saxon times, when the name is thought to have been “Bosgate”, again linking back to the ‘gate’ theory. It’s thought that the change to the more flamboyant “Bosiete” came with the Normans, as it has more of a French sounding to it. The Romans were also in the area

In the 15th century there was a thriving weaving industry, but by the start of the 20th century the population had risen to 1,200 & boasted a cottage lace-making industry, a shoe industry & a windmill, with many independent tradesmen, making it a very self-reliant village. At this time Bozeat had at least 20 shops, a school, five pubs & four churches

​Northamptonshire’s well known for its connection to the shoe industry & Bozeat is accredited as being the home of the first “Trainer”. The Bozeat Boot Company was the first company in the country to produce trainers & one of the first to produce football boots with the moulded multi studs. Bobby Charlton helped to design the ‘Bobby Charlton football boot’…

Bobby Moore was also signed. In 1974 the company was bought out by a major public company & traded under the name of Gola Sports Limited. Sadly in 1981, the Gola Shoe Factory in Easton Lane, as it was now known, closed & all its workers made redundant

On that happy note…

Let’s Walk!

1. This walk starts at the junction of Allens Hill & Harold Road. Take the signed footpath & cross the stile into the field…

Apparently this field used to be the old quarry, hence its hilly nature. In the summer it’s full of wildflowers

2. Walk across the field diagonally to the top corner to find another stile in the gap in the hedge. Cross this & continue to another one beside a gate…

3. Follow the field edge keeping the hedge on your left…

Guess what there is at the end of this field? Yes, another stile so cross that & continue on the path into the open fields

4. As you walk up the field edge, you’re only a couple of fields away from the Bedfordshire border over to your left…

Upon reaching the hedge at the bottom, go through the gap in the picture below…

…& turn immediately right. Continue keeping the hedge on your right towards the telegraph pole in the distance

5. Walk straight ahead into the next field & turn immediately left & continue up the track, keeping the trees & hedge on your left

6. The track turns to the right. At Well Ley Plantation bear right through the gap as in the map below, walk over the bridge &…

…continue with the wood now on your left towards Poplar Farm, which you can see in the distance 

7. There might be a reason this property’s called Poplar Farm! Immediately before these tall trees in the picture below, look for the gap in the hedge & cross the stile 

Walk to the left of the tennis court passing the farmhouse on your right…

8. Continue through the gate into the field…

At the time of this walk the field was bare, but head diagonally left. You can see Wollaston ahead of you

9. Just before the end of the field, look for a small gap in the left hedge & walk over the footbridge

Continue in the same direction across two fields until reaching another, more impressive, footbridge…

10. After crossing the footbridge, continue ahead, heading slightly to the left of Wollaston

At the next hedge the footpath bears slightly right over another footbridge into a grassy field…

Now follow the stream on your right towards some industrial buildings that will start to appear

11. As they get closer, look for a steep path down to the stream on your right…

Cross the footbridge over the stream & continue ahead to emerge into the industrial estate

12. Walk straight ahead & turn left to reach Hinwick Road in Wollaston…

Wollaston is covered in Walk 80 which is a Village Walk, so we won’t go into detail here as we are only touching the edge of the village. However if you want to go & explore, or have a refreshment stop, come back to this point before heading onto Strixton

13. Right, refreshed or not turn left & walk down the road for a few paces until you reach a footpath sign on your left…

Follow the path as it leads you between allotments on the left & the backs of houses on your right

14. At the end you’ll see a gate that leads to a road. Do Not follow the footpath sign, but turn left along the road (The Pyghtles) to the end…

On reaching the road, cross over & turn right, walking towards the building & school crossing sign…

15. Turn left just before the school crossing sign through the gate & walk straight across the field looking for a gate in the hedge…

Cross the next field & the footbridge to emerge on to Wollaston Playing Fields. The villagers are very lucky as this area includes football & cricket pitches, tennis & basketball courts & a play area

16. Turn right & walk to the right of the cricket nets, looking for a gate leading onto the main A509…

Cross very carefully as this is a busy road & go down into the ditch opposite. Don’t take the footpath straight ahead, but walk to your left until you see another footpath sign

17. Go through the gate & cross the field ahead until you reach another gate leading into some trees…

Walk through this spinney to emerge on to a road into Strixton

18. The name Strixton dates back to the 12th century & is thought to mean ‘Farmstead or village of a man called Strikr’

In its day Strixton has been a place of some importance & there can be no doubt its population at one time was considerably larger than at present. There are less than 20 properties

This is a delightful hamlet & takes only a few minutes to explore. Turn right & walk towards Manor farm. The houses here don’t have a street name

Strixton has a share of legend & tradition. If you take the trouble to look round the meadow between the church and road you will find a pond & this is said to have been a bath. Some have gone so far as to suggest it was a Roman bath, whilst others say it was a private bath for the mansion which stood near by. The tradition has it that the coaches used to stop for watering at the strip of water & that on one occasion a coach & horses were drowned there

19. Retrace your steps & walk to the other end of the village passing lovely Church Farm…

St Romwold’s Church dates back to the 13th century & in the 19th century attempts were unsuccessfully made to rededicate it to St John the Baptist. St Rumwold (note the slight difference in spelling), after whom it was named, was a medieval infant saint said to have lived for three days in 662

He is said to have been full of Christian piety despite his young age, & able to speak from the moment of his birth, professing his faith, requesting baptism, & delivering a sermon prior to his early death. Several churches were dedicated to him, of which at least four survive

20. With your back to the church, look for a footpath & gate opposite & slightly to the right…

Walk straight ahead across the field & then pass through two gates & continue across the next field towards Strixton Plantation

21. When you reach the plantation track head left, following the footpath marker & keep walking under the telegraph wires

22. On arriving at the point in the picture below, ignore the path going off to the right…

…instead taking the narrow, but clearly trodden path to the left

23. Head through the open gate…

…& follow the path as it bends right through some trees. When you see the overhanging trees in the picture below, look for a footpath signed to your left

Here it is…

24. The path is now really easy to follow as there is a fence on each side as well as some amazing views towards Earls Barton & Grendon. Head towards the electricity pylons…

…& at the end of the fencing pass through the gate

25. Walk across the field towards the hedge on the far side, where there’s a small stone bridge over a stream & a marker post on the left

Now continue diagonally left across the next field to another marker post at the end of a hedge

26. Walk along the edge of the field, keeping the hedge on your right until arriving at the opening in the picture below

Pass through the gap & bear left along the field edge, keeping the hedge & stream on your left. In the distance you can see Easton Maudit Church which can be visited on Walk 35

27. Continue along the field edge looking for a footbridge on your left…

Cross the the bridge & walk up the field edge, keeping the hedge on your left, crossing the stile 

28. Walk across the next field, looking for a footbridge slightly to the left…

After crossing the bridge, turn immediately right & follow the field edge. Shortly you’ll reach the A509 road. Cross this carefully & take the footpath immediately opposite. You’re now on the outskirts of Bozeat

29. Follow the footpath towards the village & you’ll soon see the church come into view. Cross the footbridge…

Ahead are two paths. Take the left one, still heading towards the church & pass through the gate into the field

30. This field had cows, sheep & goats. The goats were very friendly…

31. Continue across the field, heading for the gate opposite, which leads on to the road…

Turn left & cross the road, walking up Hensmans Lane towards the church & enter the churchyard

32. The Norman church of St Mary dates back to around 1130 & survived the Great Fire of Bozeat in 1729. It was however rebuilt in 1880-83

Leave the churchyard & stroll down Church Walk. Turn left into Mile Street where there’s some lovely houses, the one below dating back to 1731

At the end of the lane turn left into Allens Hill where this walk started.

So that’s it & two more Northamptonshire villages that have a walk on the website. Just remember some of the pictures will look different in summertime

Go Walk!