Walk 172: Wollaston Saxby’s Cider Circular

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 4.75 miles (7.64km)

Time to walk: Just over a couple of hours at a steady pace, but there’s also some opportunity stops on the route

Difficulty: Pretty flat easy walking, on a mixture of surfaces. There are no stiles so this is great for dogs. Care is required as there is a stretch along a road with no footpath

Parking: Considerately on the street in Wollaston

Public toilets: Cafes & pubs in Wollaston

Map of the route: 

The legwork on this walk has been done for me by Zoe & David Whyman & the lovely Tilly

I love Wollaston. It’s just one of those villages where, whenever I visit I feel I could live & it has a real community feel. Have a look at my village walk there which is Walk 80. I won’t go into the history of the village again here as that walk covers it in abundance, apart from saying ‘Doc Martens’

This walk leaves the village & heads north towards Irchester, before cutting back, with a diversion, past Farndish to visit Saxby’s Cider Farm – so you may not get back!

Shall we go & have a look?

Let’s Walk!

1. Our walk starts on Irchester Road in Wollaston…

Behind the high wall’s the Scott Bader factory.

Scott Bader was founded in 1921. The founder conventionally managed for 30 years, however in 1951 a radical decision was made resulting in the creation of The Scott Bader Commonwealth, which was founded on Quaker Principles

Links to these principles are at the core of Scott Bader & include:- the development of individuals (to achieve their full potential); equal opportunities (workplace benefits available to everyone); involvement & participation (everyone having a voice);  the chance to be involved in social/ community activities; responsibility for one’s own actions; leading by example & resolving conflicts non-violently through dialogue

These principles changed the fundamental structure of the company & shared out the responsibility for its long-term future to its workforce. It is a prime example of how a business can be run differently, while also being successful

2. We’re looking for a footpath off to the left & it look’s like Tilly has found it first!

3. Follow the path, which soon opens up onto fields…

…& then crosses over the road which is the main entrance into Scott Bader

4. Our path lies straight across the road…

The footpath is very well marked & continues straight ahead…

The OS Map below shows how straight the path is from Wollaston, leading up to the road

Finally we get back to the road…

5. Cross the road carefully as it’s very close to a bend. Our path lies straight across…

Once again it’s really well defined & crosses a wooden bridge

6. We’re now approaching Irchester ahead, continuing with the hedge on your left as in the picture below

7. Civilisation is now approaching fast…

…but just before the houses start to back onto the field, the footpath turns left over a small wooden bridge…

…& opens up onto Woodlands Road

8. Turn right…

…& follow Woodlands Road to the junction with Farndish Road

9. Turn right again, but take care as this stretch is on a road which has no footpath. However there is little traffic

You’ll soon come to Irchester Grange House on the left, with its beautiful floral displays on the gate…

10. Keep walking along Farndish Road. Ignore the green lane on the left which leads to a footpath that goes to Poddington. You can see from the map that we did explore down there, but decided against the longer walk

Continue along the road to Farndish, which was mentioned in the Domesday Book as ‘Fernadis’

The local author H.E.Bates often would come through the village on his nocturnal walks in the 1920s & 1930s. It was on one of the night walks that he got the inspiration for his first novel, ‘The Two Sisters’, when he saw a light burning in a cottage window

Once in the village it’s worth taking the road off to the left

In 1937 The Times reported the plans being made in Farndish to mark the celebrations for the Coronation of King George VI & Queen Elizabeth – “a fine example of how England’s villages may make this a memorable day in the lives of their people”. On Coronation Day each of the twelve houses in the village was to be decorated to represent a different part of the British Empire. In the morning there would be a service in the parish church, for which the parson would come from Podington

“Then”, according to The Times, “the population of 45 will adjourn to the village hall to drink the health of the King in ale. Port wine will be supplied to those who are teetotallers, in accordance with a well-known English custom.” In the afternoon there were to be sports & games, & in the evening the villagers would return to the village hall for a fancy-dress dance & whist drive

11. The Church of St Michaels & All Angels appears to have been built sometime between 1180 & 1210. The masonry used to build the church is mainly local rubble along with some rust-coloured ironstone; the window dressings are of local limestone. The tower was added in the 15th century

There’s also another green lane here which would have been our route back to Farndish had we continued on the footpath to Poddington. Ignore it

12. Retrace your steps back to what’s now called Irchester Road…

…& continue onwards until you see the entrance to Saxby’s Farm on your right…

13. Saxby’s is of course famous for its ciders. Check out this link to its website & details of events often held at the Farm

14. Continue along Irchester Road. There’s a footpath though Farndish, but it’s back onto the road when you leave the village so please take care, remaining cautious of traffic

Shortly the road reaches a junction…

15. Look for the fingerpost showing the footpath…

back across the fields to Wollaston

16. Tilly is off the lead again & leads us on the way home…

We timed the trip across the fields perfectly as they were in the middle of harvesting & it would have got very noisy & dusty had we not moved on!

17. The road soon comes into sight again…

…& we turn left to head back into Wollaston

18. This time there’s a path, which we follow, back to our start point

You see from the map that I kept the tracking on as, if you continue on the path & take a right into Bell End, depending on the time of day, Khandan Indian Restaurant on the right & The Hill on the left offer food & refreshments should they be needed

So that’s our walk taking in locally famous Saxby’s Cider Farm. It’s got to be worth a visit & maybe makes sense of another local walk called the ‘Wollaston Wobble!’ 

Thanks Zoe & David

Go Walk!