Walk 21: Harringworth Circular: Wonderful structures & wildlife in the Welland Valley

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 4.4 miles (7.1km)

Time to walk: We walked this route in late November 2013 in a couple of hours, but it’s so stunning that in summer, with a picnic, you could easily double that just by stopping & admiring the views. Plus, if you’re lucky you might see a Kingfisher!

Thanks to Penny for checking the route & enabling me to update it

Difficulty: Easy routes along well marked paths & fields. There’s also a mile of walking along a road, so care is needed. It’s also pretty flat apart from a couple of small climbs.

Parking: We parked on the street in Harringworth

Public toilets: There’s a couple of good pubs en route…

Map of the route: 

It’s about 30 years since we last visited this part of the county which lies in the far North & borders the county of Rutland…some of this walk actually passes into it.

The stunning Welland Valley is one of the most rewarding places to walk in Northamptonshire. A major bonus is the views of the incredible Welland Viaduct which spans the valley &, now that Corby Station has reopened, trains once again pass across this magnificent  structure

Our walk today starts on the valley floor sticking close to the River Welland, before climbing to a ridge to give fantastic views & then finishes underneath the viaduct itself

Keep your eyes & ears open for wildlife today…we saw Kingfishers & numerous Red Kites

So come on…

Let’s walk!!

1. Our walk starts in the beautiful village of Harringworth. We parked up just outside the church. The roads in the village are narrow, so beware that your parking doesn’t block any access. If you drive in from the Rockingham side you’ll pass under the massive viaduct. You’ll also get glimpses of it as you pass through the village

2. Enter the gates of the Church of St John the Baptist . The Church is normally kept unlocked for visitors & it’s well worth a look inside.

IMG_5847

3. Exit the churchyard through the path & gate at the rear into a small field, which is now the new graveyard…

…turning right through the gates into Harringworth Manor Stables

4. At the end of the path, our route is left along the road, although it’s worth just turning right & having a quick look at the centre of the village

Maybe pick some up at the end?

Maybe pick some up at the end?

5. Leave the pub until the end of the walk & head back along the road past the Stables for about 50 yards & turn left through the gate at the footpath marker

6. Head diagonally to the corner in the far right of the field…

…& go through the gate below & then over the wooden footbridge into the next field

7. Now you get your first glimpse of the River Welland & are now going to follow this for the next mile or so. Rising close to Market Harborough in Leicestershire, the river is very much in its infancy here, but gathers in size along its journey into The Wash some 65 miles away

A quick look back will also give you another view of the viaduct as it starts to span the valley…

8. There’s lots of good picnic opportunities along the river, with well positioned benches to sit & look for wildlife

9. Whilst sitting here we saw a Kingfisher that was moving too quickly to get a photo so here’s a ‘cheat’…

…& several Red Kites, which we saw all along this walk.

This area was one of several where this magnificent bird was reintroduced into the UK. To see them close up locally we recommend either Fermyn Woods or Fineshade Wood.

10. Keep following the river’s twists & turns & eventually you’ll come to an old stone bridge known as ‘Turtle Bridge’…

Cross it to arrive in…

11. Now head up the stone track, which soon crosses a disused railway line. Continue to reach the road at the top

Nice reflections

Nice reflections

This little chap followed us all up the lane

This little chap followed us all up the lane

Almost at the road...that's got the lungs going!

Almost at the road…that’s got the lungs going!

12. On reaching the road turn left & follow it along the ridge. Be careful here as it’s quite narrow & can be quite busy. Although road walking isn’t normally our favourite, the views along here really make up for it…

13. Continue along the road as it swings left down the hill until reaching the junction below…

…when it’s time to turn right & head up the steep hill towards Seaton

There's still amazing displays even though it's nearly December

There’s still amazing displays even though it’s nearly December

14. There’s a gate on the left to lean against to admire the viaduct. It’s 1,275 yards long & has 82 arches, each of which has a 40 feet span. It was completed in around 1878 & is the longest masonry viaduct across a valley in Britain. It contains 30 million bricks!

15. You can now see the spired church of Seaton ahead, & thank goodness the road finally begins to flatten – you’ve now reached the highest point of this walk

16. Seaton’s a pretty little village with great views over the valley, especially on a day like today. There’s a drink, food & toilet opportunity here at the George & Dragon pub on the right

17. Suitably refreshed? Right then…come on it’s time to return to Harringworth! Turn left at All Hallows Church down Church Lane.

…& as the road swings right follow the footpath sign left down a small lane & through the kissing gate at the bottom

18. Now continue straight down the field, through another kissing gate heading for the steps ahead over the disused railway line

Head up & over the steps

Head up & over the steps

19. Descend the other side & be careful crossing over the road. Follow the footpath (unmarked) down the driveway leading to a private house

We made some new friends down here…

20. A few yards before the house bear left along a grass path with the pond on your right…

…& climb over the stile on the left & keep right & over the next one (both have way markers). Now continue around the back of the house & over the footbridge below

IMG_5943

21. Now follow the path south east across the field towards the viaduct

…& cross the river & pass through the gate…

22. The final part of this route takes you directly through the viaduct as below…

…and the exit is through the gate below

23. Now it’s a simple case of turn left & follow the road past some fabulous properties back to where we left the car.

Sadly the 16th century coaching inn, the White Swan in the middle of the village is now closed, which is a real shame as they sell used to sell Adnams Southwold bitter!

However (August 2020) Spokes pop up cafe is highly recommended…

Well that’s the end of our walk in this glorious part of Northamptonshire. Like we said it only took us a couple of hours, but on a warm summer’s day it’s well worth taking a picnic & sitting by the river watching the wildlife.

Try….it’s a great walk…

Go Walk!

 

14 Responses to Walk 21: Harringworth Circular: Wonderful structures & wildlife in the Welland Valley

  1. veryemmie says:

    Hi. This looks a lovely walk. Did you have to walk through many fields with livestock? We have a dog who doesn’t react well when walking through a field of animals!! If you don’t think it would be a suitable walk, please can you suggest another that might be good?
    Many thanks.

    • Hi there & thank you

      As far as I can remember there wasn’t any livestock on this walk. It does go past some stables, but the horses are fenced in so as long as you keep the dog on the lead you’ll be fine

      I used to have the same problem when I had the Westies so know how you feel

      Have fun & keep walking

      Kind regards

      Dave

    • wiltondog says:

      Hi folks: There are always sheep in the field closest to the viaduct right at the end of the walk! Thought you should know this folks…. We overlook these fields & rarely is it empty of a flock.

    • Sally Cooke says:

      Hi there. We did the walk yesterday and we only had one field of sheep to pass through ❤️

  2. fnbarr says:

    Hi, A wonderful and accurate description of a walk I enjoyed last September. Great photos. Just a word of warning to people thinking of doing the walk, unfortunately The White Swan appears to have closed.
    Regards
    Finbarr

  3. Simon Carter says:

    Four of us did this great circular walk today, parking in Harringworth as suggested. Everything went pretty well and we stopped briefly at the George & Dragon for a drink & the loo. The section from Seaton to Harringworth was OK but you need to walk a bit further than you expect before crossing the river. Otherwise, a really well described walk and the pictures were very helpful. The White Swan at Harringworth is closed, regretfully.
    We’d definitely do this walk again BUT start and finish at the excellent George & Dragon in Seaton where we went back to for lunch.
    We’d then spend a bit more time looking round Harringworth as there is a cafe there now. Oh… The eggs in the picture are really good!!

  4. Shelley says:

    Lovely walk.
    Well described.. but not so it was easy. We enjoy as a family working out the right way to cross. Everything too clear just isn’t the same.
    Nonetheless.. directions more than ample to get you round.

    Thank you for writing it.

    • Hi Shelley. Thanks for the feedback – the Welland Valley is fabulous, as is the magnificent viaduct.
      If there’s any suggestions where I need to update the directions just let me know & that would be great.
      Cheers
      Dave

  5. Dani Sharman says:

    Fantastic walk, just got back and wanted to update because of COVID.
    Both pubs mentioned were closed, I think the Swan is shut completely as there was a for sale sign, and the George and Dragon was closed up despite their website saying they would be open. We called their number but there was no answer.
    We couldn’t find any public toilets or shops to grab a drink, so definitely pack a lunch and water.
    There were lots of sheep on the fields we walked through, I’m guessing because of the time of year? Very friendly though, no issues with them but we did see signs asking dogs to be leashed because of sheep being killed in the fields.
    This guide was excellent and the photos were spot on.
    We parked at Morcott and walked in from there, added an extra 2 hours to the walk and meant we did 10 miles in around 4 hours including the lunch break.
    I definitely recommend this walk!

  6. Allan Nickson says:

    We loved the walk, even our 14 & 11 year old girls managed without complaining too much! Good directions and the photos helped with the navigation. The George & Dragon was open, lovely setting with friendly and helpful staff and good beer. Finished back In Harringworth at the Spokes pop up cafe for lovely coffee and cakes. Perfect day.

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