Walk 215: Norton Circular…the best Fish ‘n’ Chips in Northamptonshire?

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 4.6 miles (7.4km)

Time to walk: Roughly 2 hours

Difficulty: A mixture of quiet lane, field edge & canal path walking. Slightly hilly in places but nothing too strenuous

Parking: Carefully & considerately on the road near the White Horse pub, postcode for sat nav NN11 2ND. If you use What3Words it’s directive.singing.rebirth

Public toilets: White Horse pub

Map of the route:

We haven’t visited Norton before &, as everyone was telling us they have the best fish & chips, we thought we’d better put that right. So out came the OS Maps & I devised this lovely 4.6 mile walk. So armed with it 003.5 was despatched to do the legwork

Norton lies around 2 miles east of Daventry & near the village, on Watling Street, is the Roman settlement of Bannaventa. The name means ‘North farm / settlement’

It’s possible, but unsubstantiated, that Bannaventa was the birthplace of St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. In his Confessio, Patrick writes:

I had as my father the deacon Calpornius, son of the late Potitus, a priest, who belonged to the small town of Bannavem Taberniae; he had a small estate nearby, and it was there I was taken captive.

This could possibly be an alternative name for Bannaventa. In around 405 AD when he was aged 16 he was kidnapped by “pirates” who were raiding the imperial highways, & taken to Ireland as a slave. This view is backed by the fact that the Watling Street ran indirectly to North Wales & thus offered easy passage to Ireland

Norton Hall was inhabited during the reign of Elizabeth I by the Knightley family of Fawsley & the marble tomb of Lady Elizabeth Semour, second wife of Sir Richard Knightley can be seen in the church. Sadly in 1947 the hall was blown up by the British Army!

There’s a lovely story that before 1840 the owner of the hall, Beriah Botfield had the village, which used to surround it, demolished & moved. He had a ‘lady’ that used to visit him & he didn’t want the villagers gossiping. Once row of cottages in the village is called ‘Tattle Bank Row’ as the local women used to swap ‘tittle tattle’ over the walls

Anyway…enough of our own ‘tittle tattle’…

Let’s Walk!

1. This walk begins outside the White Horse pub in Norton which many of our group have stories to tell about. What’s great is, as well as being a pub, it’s also a ‘chippy’ & by all accounts is excellent

Facing the pub turn right & follow the road down the hill

2. At the end of the path carefully continue on the verge &, just after the speed sign, turn left into the lane…

Continue down the lane over a cattle grid

4. Ignore the gates on the left & continue on the country lane…

…crossing over a couple of cattle grids

5. Eventually the lane reaches the crossroads in the picture below…

Carefully cross over & continue in the same direction, crossing a bridge

6. Ignore the footpath sign on the right & continue to climb the hill on the road…

As the road bends left, turn sharp right through the metal gate with the Bridlway sign…

7. Keep the hedge on your left & head down towards the farm house. I recognised this field as it’s part of the Welton Circular Walk 106.

On reaching the building turn left through a big metal gate, keeping the house on your right as in the picture below…

Cross over the canal bridge

8. Once over the bridge, turn immediately right onto the canal path (DO NOT go under the bridge)…

This is the Leicester Arm of the Grand Union Canal. Soon you’ll arrive at the bridge in the picture below…

Cross this & carry on ahead along the grassy path

9. Cross a second bridge & turn immediately right, as in the picture below to join the canal path once more…

Again DO NOT go under the bridge. However if you fancy a break & some refreshments you can turn left under it & walk for 5 minutes to reach the canal-side pub ‘The New Inn’

Continue along the towpath, where you’ll find a bridge you can go under! This is actually one you walked over earlier!

10. Keep going until you arrive at Bridge No.7…

Go under the bridge & turn immediately left up the steps. At the top turn right & follow the left hedge up the hill

11. At the top of the hill walk along the bridleway to arrive at a gate…

Go through the gate & then the gate opposite to continue in the same direction, heading towards the church in the distance

12. At the crossway of grass paths in the picture below, keep going straight forwards with the hedge on your left & little fence on the right…

Continue in the same direction, but this time the hedgerows on your right & the little fence is on your left

13. Eventually you’ll arrive at another gate leading onto a road…

Turn to & walk carefully along the verge to arrive back in the village & the pub at the start of this walk

So that’s it…a great little walk

Now…about those chips…what’s the verdict?

It’s a big “Yes!” from me, they are very very good

Go Walk!