Walk 193: The ‘Binty Bint’ Graffiti Walk

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 5.26 miles (8.5 km)

Time to walk: Lots of photo opportunities so allow up to 3 hours

Difficulty: All on hard surface apart from the path around Sixfields Reservoir. It is possible to use a hard surface path if the other one’s muddy

Parking: Parking at the Midsummer Meadow car park – timing restrictions apply in the week. Pay & Display larger car park near Beckets Park (free on Sunday)

Public toilets: None on the route itself

Map of the route: 

This walk has been a Group Walk favourite for sometime now, so I thought it would be good to share it so others could do it on their own

Have you seen the “Happy Chickens” as you’ve walked around Northampton, along with giraffes, rabbits & lots of “You Look Nice!”? Also you may have seen houses brightly coloured rubbish bins as you drive around. These are the work of local graffiti artist ‘Binty Bint’, often described as Northampton’s very own Banksy

This walk doesn’t take in the larger murals (I will tell you where to find some of those) but there’s still plenty to see, along with other artists’ work. Also the walk may take you to some parts of the town you’re not familiar with. Don’t forget that these paintings change on a regular basis

Shall we get going?

Let’s Walk!

1. Our walk starts at the cafe next to the skateboard park…

Close by is the River Nene, where you’ll also see vegan cafe & bar, The Ark

2. Facing The Ark, turn right & follow the hard path keeping the river on your left…

The path runs parallel to the river. The area of grass on your right’s Midsummer Meadow. If you look closely you’ll see a depression in the ground. This was once the site of Northampton’s outdoor lido which opened in 1908. It was demolished in 1983 & you’ll be amazed how many people on our Facebook Group have fond memories of it

3. Continue along the riverside, looking out for any ripples you might see. This is because there have been otters living along here for sometime…

Across the river is the site of Northampton University, including the tall video screen

4. Ahead, at the bridge leading into the University is where you can normally find your first piece of graffiti, although not normally a Binty Bint…

Walk under the bridge. The sheer size of this is impressive

5. Continue on the path. Over the river now’s a Northampton institution…Avon Cosmetics.  Avon launched in the UK in Northampton in 1959 & between 1989 & 2004 Avon had a manufacturing facility on the site. The building we see today is Avon’s current UK headquarters, having been there since 2009…

6. Cross the road & carry on in the same direction into Beckets Park…

It’s thought Becket’s Park may have been part of the Norman defence of the town & in the late 16th century it was the site of a mill

Flat racing took place here around 1612 & slightly later the area was know as Cow Meadow. The name was changed to Beckets Park in 1935

7. Across to the left’s the HQ Of Northampton Sea Cadets, which was established in 1952 when they put up a nissan hut. The area the HQ is still on is called Calvesholme Island…

Look across to the right, across the park, where you can just see ‘St Thomas a Becket’s Well’, one of the most impressive wells in the Northamptonshire. The legend goes that Thomas a Becket stopped to drink at the well during his night escape from the castle on October 19th, 1165…

However, it’s known that Becket fled is on the other side of Northampton

8. Pass the blue bridge which leads into the marina…

…& then the new, curved one that leads into the University

9. Continue along the riverbank. There’s usually quite a few canal boats moored along this stretch…

…& lots & lots of swans as you pass under the next footbridge

10. Ahead now starts to loom the road bridge, which we’ll cross shortly…

Have a look at the flood defence wall on the right. Note the different, decorative bricks that have been placed into it

11. Follow the path up to the crossing. Ahead’s the Carlsberg bottling plant…

Cross the road & turn left over the bridge. This is the Nene, which we’ll follow on our return journey. For now though our outward walk will follow the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal

12. There’s some well-known Northampton drinking establishments along this stretch…firstly The Railway Tavern, a proper old, no frills, drinking establishment

Quickly followed by The Pomfret Arms which has it’s own brewery out the back!

And finally at the junction with Old Towcester Road is The Old White Hart, the building of which dates back to Victorian times

13. At the junction turn right along Old Towcester Road…

…& take the footpath on the right just before the flats which leads down to the canal

14. The area we arrive at is the ‘Junction Wharf’ & the start of the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal. The wharf existed from the early 1800s to the start of the 1900s. The crane you see before you was built by the Eagle Foundry & was used for loading & unloading the barges

The Northampton Arm was opened on the 1st May 1815 & stretches from where you’re standing, 4.8 miles to the Gayton junction. It contains 17 locks, which is a large number for such a sort stretch & boats travel up or down a height of 33 metres along the Arm 

15. Walk along the canal past Lock No.17…

…passing a rather lovely commemorative bench

Be careful along this short stretch as there are normally large communities of Canadian Geese which can make the area slippery if it’s been raining

16. If you’re lucky enough to do this walk on a still, bright day then the reflections in the canal are superb…

Walk up to the bridge. We can never guarantee what you’ll see, but I know that Binty did this just for us…so thank you 🙂

17. Have a look under the bridge. When we did this walk in February 2022 there was a guide to all of the local “tags”

And just a few yards further on is our first Chicken!

18. Continue along the canal path to arrive at the next bridge & one of Binty’s most famous pieces..

…her pants!

19. The next part of this walk follows a wall which forms part of Northampton’s flood defences…

The wall was built in 2000 & a plaque tells you that “To raise awareness of the risk of flooding & the need for flood defence structures, local children from Delapre Middle School have designed over 200 bricks which have been incorporated into this wall”

There’s quite a few Binty’s along the wall, amongst other graffiti…

20. The wall ends & the canal path now moves towards the railway bridge & lock..

This is Lock No.16 & again, the reflections are amazing

21. Bridges are always a good site for graffiti & this one is no exception. The “head’s” been there many years & is always watching you!

Have a good look around as there’s several Binty Bint’s here, including some rabbits & carrots…

22. Continue along to the next bridge, a beautiful old brick one…

Our route is straight ahead along the canal, but go up the slope on the left to see another Binty ‘trademark’…a bee

23. Go back down onto the canal path & continue in the same direction…

After a while you’ll reach other old bridge which is where we leave the canal…

There’s a small chicken on the left side

24. Before the bridge, turn left through the bollards & walk up & over the bridge. Now continue straight ahead crossing another bridge…

The path now splits. If you wanted to continue on a hard surface, turn right. Our route, which is around Sixfields Reservoir’s straight ahead…

25. Cross another bridge. The area around here may be dry, but in times of flood this will be a raging torrent…

Bear right through more bollards & enter the car park

26. Walk straight ahead & then, at the small roundabout, bear slightly right through the barrier onto the narrow path…

Now it’s time to relax & simply follow this path to the opposite, eastern end of the reservoir…

27. As you walk around the reservoir notice the ‘back water’ that’s on your left. Patience is required, but otters have been seen along here

Continue as the track bends right to reach the eastern end, where there’s a great view all the way back along the water

28. Just after the dog bin in the picture below is a post. Bear left at this along a narrow track through some bushes…

The track emerges at a bridge over the river…cross this & bear left along the hard path

29. Walk along the hard path towards the blue bridge…

Cross the bridge & turn right towards the railway bridge…now it’s ‘Binty Alert’ time so keep your eyes peeled & keep looking behind you as well

30. On the left’s another bee…

…& then on the right a large chicken!

Once past the bridge turn around & look behind you

31. Continue along the hard track. Keep your eyes & ears open as bicycles move quite quickly along here…

After a short while you’ll come to another bridge

There’s crows all over the entrance, but look to the left to find another Binty…

32. Pass under the bridge & turn around. This used to have the Binty trademark words ‘You Look Nice’. Sadly it’s been defaced…

After a short while the path leaves the river, rising up the slope. However this is only a temporary diversion as, at the sign before Kentucky Fried Chicken, bear right back down to the canal once more…

33. Continue towards the bridge under the busy Towcester Road…

There’s lots of different graffiti under the bridge, including an old Binty horse immediately on the left

Across the river’s a large mural – can you spot the Binty in the middle?

34. As you exit the bridge look at the wall on your left to see a huge chicken!

And another bee

35. At the junction continue along the river…

The huge Carlsberg brewery now begins to come into view & there’s a sign which we hope isn’t true in May!

36. The path bends left at an open area. Look ahead & now appreciate how wide the Nene is here. This is the point in its journey where it becomes navigable for the first time…

Bear left…you’ll see a bridge heading across the water towards Carlsberg – this is your route

37. Cross the bridge & turn right…

Follow the path around past the brewery with the river on your right, passing the bottling plant…

38. Ahead now, once again, is the road bridge you crossed earlier in the walk…

The path now arrives at the crossing once more

Now to finish this walk, cross the road & retrace your steps along the river & through Becket’s Park to Midsummer Meadow where it started

So that concludes the formal walk, but there are several other locations around the town where you can see some more, larger Binty’s. See how many more you can spot!

Firstly in East Street just off Wellingborough Road, there’s a large wall mural…

Next at Click Antiques & Vintage in Moore Street, just off the Kettering Road there’s a large, whole wall mural & some large chickens

Next, it’s not the best area, but there’s some amazing art in the walkthrough from the Mayorhold car park to the Market Place, including some Binty’s

And finally….

Go Walk!