Walk 2: Collingtree Circular: A golf course, open fields, villages, a canal, pocket parks

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 8 miles (12.8 km)

Time to walk: Can be done in roughly 3.5 hours

Difficulty: Mainly off road & along canal paths. Mostly flat easy walking, although there are several stiles to negotiate

Parking: Use the parking at Collingtree Golf Club in Windingbrook Lane, East Hunsbury, Northampton

Public toilets: The Greyhound pub at Milton Malser, The Drovers Return Cafe in Hunsbury Hill Park, or Tesco’s at Mereway

Map of the route: None available

The beauty of this walk is that you’re never far from civilisation, but it shows how you can make the most of the open spaces that are around you. It’s also very varied with open fields, leafy tracks & canals – another one to be done throughout the differing seasons.

So…

Let’s Walk!

1. Park in the car park at Collingtree Golf course or in any of the residential roads in the area….

Walk out of the entrance to the car park & turn right, as if going back up the hill…

2. The path actually starts beside the lamp post in the above picture on the left

Walk down the narrow wooded path, passing the 1st tee, so please go quietly & stand still if golfers are teeing off

3. The path now follows the golf cart track so make sure to keep to it. There’s some of the most expensive houses in Northampton on your right…

Keep an eye out for people hitting golf balls behind you as you walk down the track.

4. As the path splits, continue to follow it round to the right…

…& stay on the path around the back of the green

5. Once round the back of the green you’ll come across the sign below, with a small footpath marker beside it

Now follow the track (like a tunnel) up the side of the golf course – at times you wonder where you’re going, but trust me you’re heading in the right direction

6. Finally the path arrives at a gate so turn right, go through & keep on in the same direction keeping the edge of the field on your left.

7. Now it’s up to another stile &, at this point, there’s an option to turn left & follow a track into Collingtree Village, where you must visit a fab pub The Wooden Walls of Old England

But that’s for another walk..so continue straight ahead over the M1. After crossing the motorway look for a footpath sign as below where it looks like you’re walking into a garden…

8. At the bottom of the garden you’ll see your way ahead marked by a sole large tree

Then it’s over some more stiles. The the path is well marked in summer, but in winter head for the building

9. The path’s straight ahead from here & your marker is the spire of Milton Malser Church. In winter just keep to the field edge

Soon you’ll come to the railway line which you pass under & continue in the same direction

10. Cross one more field to arrive at Milton Malser. Pass through the gate below & walk around the corner towards the church…

11. Continue down the hill into the village bearing left past the Compass Inn

Have a look at the blue plaques as you pass The Baptist Chapel

…before arriving at the village ‘Pound’. An animal pound is a place where stray livestock were impounded. Animals were kept in a dedicated enclosure, until claimed by their owners, or sold to cover the costs of impounding

12. Keep on straight across the village green & you’ll come to one of Northampton’s best know ‘outside’ pubs – The Greyhound

13. Walk down beside the pub & down the driveway. Cross the busy road & turn left, following the narrow footpath left. At the bend, turn right. Be careful here as there’s no path. The lane initially goes down hill & then up again across the A43

At the T-Junction turn left towards Gayton…

14. After a few yards you’ll reach a canal bridge…

Don’t cross the bridge, but turn down the path at the right side to join the path

15. It’s time to head back towards Northampton…

16. This is a lovely stretch of the canal. Shortly you’ll come to a flight of locks leading down the Northampton arm so just keep following  it down. Here’s a selection of photos of things to look out for…

17. At the bottom of the hill, the canal & its path pass under the M1 motorway. Look out for the graffiti…

18. Pass the restored raised bridge & then you’ll arrive at a lock & the stunning bridge below. It’s time to say a sorry farewell to a great stretch of water & head back towards where we started

19. Turn right before the bridge & pass a new development & carry straight ahead on the path leading under the flyover

20. This area is full of amazing pocket parks that allow you to walk through the estates without really knowing you’re in them. On reaching the road, cross into the first of these…

21. The path’s dead straight as it climbs the hill…

…to arrive at another road

22. Cross this road & walk straight into Hunsbury Hill Park, which has a lot of important history attached to it as we’ll see shortly

If you fancy some refreshments I can highly recommend The Drovers Return on the left…

23. Continue up the hill crossing the Ironstone Railway. The Northamptonshire Ironstone Railway Trust operates a 1 12-mile long heritage railway. The line is mainly dedicated to freight working, featuring many sharp curves & steep gradients, which were typical of the industrial railway, but rides are available in a variety of vehicles including a converted brake van

24. The path remains in the same direction & the Park has recently opened a “Tree Trail” You’ll see lots of posts with QR Codes on them. On the left you’ll see what looks like a large ditch or moat

Hunsbury Hill is an Iron Age hill fort & it’s probable that defences were built here between the 7th & 4th centuries BC. The deep ditch excavated has survived to the present day. A wooden rampart was also constructed. There is evidence that Hunsbury hill fort’s inner ramparts were burned down and vitrified which is rare in England

Ironstone extraction began at the hill fort in about 1883, after an attempt to have the site protected under the Ancient Monuments Act of 1882 failed due to the cost of compensating the landowner. Many of the fort’s internal features were destroyed, but the work revealed up to 300 pits which, according to the curator of Northampton Museum in 1887, contained numerous artefacts that now comprise one of the finest collections of Prehistoric antiquities in England. The finds included iron weapons & tools, bronze brooches, pottery, glass & around 159 quern stones. All were given to the town’s museum

25. If you look down a path to the left you may catch a glimpse of the air shaft from the Hunsbury Hill tunnel which runs under here…

26. Continue on the track until reaching a junction with a hard path at the bin in the picture below. Carry straight on (or slightly left) through the underpass…

After this you’ll come to a junction of three paths. Take the right one & continue through two other underpasses to arrive at Tesco Mereway

27. From the right edge of the building in the picture above, walk diagonally right across the car park, looking for a zebra crossing…

Carefully cross the road &…welcome to my local park…Grangewood Park…

28. Walk down to the edge of the wooded area & go diagonally left into the wood…

Now follow the track straight ahead through some stunning woodland with numerous squirrels. In spring this whole place is covered in bluebells…

29. The track eventually meet a cross one, so bear left & emerge into an open grassy area…

Again, the path is easy to follow as it arrives at the exit gate & another road…

30. Cross the road to enter Penvale Park…

At the bottom of the slope above, follow the path left up the hill…

31. The track descends again & crosses a wooden bridge…

…& then turns right up past some exercise equipment to the road

32. Walk out of the park, turn right & follow the road up to a bus stop…

On reaching the bus stop, cross the road & walk up the path past some houses…

33. At the top of the rise walk diagonally right across a small piece of grass to reach a track that enters another park!

34. This is easy walking along the gravel track to reach another road…

Cross this & walk through the next small area & cross the next road…just keep following the track. After crossing the road walk straight ahead. The Collingtree Pub is ahead of you, together with a range of shops & businesses

35. Do not enter the shopping area, but turn right & walk down the path into the park with the play area. This area of Northampton is called ‘Blackymore’ – I bet you can’t say that without using a “Pirate Accent”…

36. On reaching the road turn left & follow the road to a roundabout…

At the roundabout take the right turn down the hill to arrive back at the golf club car park where this walk started

So that’s the end of a walk that has a bit of everything…woodland, canals, historic sites etc. It really is a lovely stroll so…

Go Walk!

 

11 Responses to Walk 2: Collingtree Circular: A golf course, open fields, villages, a canal, pocket parks

  1. Graham Brown says:

    Completed 28/06/20

    I particularly enjoyed exploring Milton Malsor on the way through, what a beautiful little place. I got a little lost coming off the canal in Northampton because they seem to have redeveloped even further and the path I needed to take wasn’t completely clear, but I found my way.

    Thank you, I’m really enjoying doing these walks!

  2. Richard says:

    We completed this walk today (27th Nov) and thoroughly enjoyed it.
    Can we point out that at step no. 15 where your directions say to go under the bridge, you actually don’t and should walk away from the bridge after coming off the road.
    Hope this makes sense!
    Richard

  3. Paul says:

    Excellent walk. Alternative parking at the Drovers Return.

  4. Julia Ginns says:

    Dave, you probably know this already but The Compass is no more. It’s boarded up with a For Sale sign, I guess it won’t be long before the name goes and it becomes a house or something.
    We found the start confusing as there are several lamp-posts, that together with the building works but we found our way eventually:)

    We got lost, and found ourselves, a couple of times except towards the end as we took the wrong diagonal across the wooded area – after that we had to rely on my phone maps app. but we were only a couple of miles from the end. We did 10.5 miles in the end, but no problem with that – we had to carry the dog the last mile or so as she has very short legs and was tired (mini Dachshund) ! 🙂

    The canal area was lovely and we saw close up a Grey Wagtail – brilliant.

    I wonder whether the directions just need filling out a bit – might help 🙂

    Thanks for the work you do with the walks. Great.

  5. Beryl Anderson says:

    Did this walk today, loved it, but list the trail at number18/ 19 and cannot figure out what we did wrong, Where we left the canal at a bridge like the photo the path to leave was up the steep ground onto the bridge but we never came to underpass.., will cycle that way one day to try again

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