Walk 3: Braunston Circular: An ancient footpath, a gunpowder plot, a tale of woes, fab jams & marmalades & a canal finish

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 7.5 miles (12.07 km)

Time to walk: It is possible to this walk in 2.5 hours, but there is so much to stop off & look at that, first time, it’s best to allow 3 – 3.5 hours

Difficulty: Mainly off road. There are quite a few hills and it can get muddy in winter, but it’s great to enjoy the changing seasons

Parking: Use the free street parking in Braunston ( if you can park outside the building with the Hovis signs. You’ll know when you see them…)

Public toilets: None, but plenty of pubs etc en route

Map of the route: None but see route & photographs below

We’ve done this walk so many times but it’s easy & there’s lots of places to stop & take in a lot of history & facts.

Right…flip flops off & boots on

Let’s Walk!

1. So Braunston’s the start for our walk. A lovely little village just to the west of Daventry split in two by the Grand Union Canal. There’s free parking on the street here & one of the best places to park is outside the ‘Hovis’ house as that’s where we’ll finish. I won’t show a photo of that as you can’t miss it 😉

2. Walk further into the village going away from the church. Over the road is a fantastic butchers shop (no link) so when you get back suggest you pay a visit to see what’s on offer. At the fork in the road bear left past The Wheatsheaf pub & head up the hill.

3. Keep heading up the hill until the road turns sharp right. Ahead is a sign marking our route where we join the Jurassic Way towards Ashby St Ledgers.

Head on down the lane, but be careful…many people seem to ignore picking up the poo. There’s great views to the  left over Warwickshire.

4. Keep an eye out on this lane for birds & wildlife. Today we saw 2 Jays & several Buzzards who were being chased by an angry group of rooks. The lane finally ends & we move through a gate into a field (usually cows here) & continue to climb keeping on the path which sticks to the right hand hedge.

Go through another gate, still climbing through another field, then stop, take a breather & have a look back at the views over Braunston. We started near the church you can see so we’ve made a good climb.

At the top pass through the gate onto the road, then mind as you’re on a busy minor road, but turn right & after about 25 yards spot the somewhat hidden path sign in the hedge on the left.

5. Although it’s late the oil seed rape at this time of year is a fantastic spectacle &, although the path sticks close to the hedge

Keep going into the next field (haricot beans the other day) & then it’s down the hill until you met the main road – PLEASE BE CAREFUL HERE…this is an extremely busy road & traffic travels at speed & is often blind

Go straight over & into the stunning hamlet of Ashby St Ledgers

6. Ashby St Ledgers is one of those villages where you can just sit, admire, wander a bit, sit a bit more & then take in the incredible history & sights that it offers. First stop on the right, if you’re thirsty, has to be The Olde Coach House, especially if it’s a hot day (ha!) as you can sit out in the garden. Good food & ales.

When wandering through the village have a look at all the old cottages – stunning

So…if you can resist the pub, we usually bring a few sarnies, water & doggie treats for a stop here on this bench to spend 20 mins or so & watch the world go by

7. Now it’s time to move further along the village – peek down at the huge house on the left with the Godfather horses heads on the pillars – what’s that about!!!!

Now we start delving into the history of this village. On the left you’ll see a pair of pillars & a gateway which shows where the old road used to run down to the manor

Keep going straight on ignoring the turn to the right which is our path after we’ve explored. Now walk up towards the church & look at the wooden building above you.

Many years ago this is the room where the Gunpowder Plot was hatched. “Remember, remember the 5th of November…” Wow what could have been if what was planned in that small room had come to fruition…

Now let’s have a look at an incredible church – the door’s always open although it was sad to see this time notices about thieves. Note the signs about staying away from the tower (Ashby St Ledgers’ leaning tower of Pisa). Go into the church, stick some money in the box & treat yourself to a fantastic leaflet guide, admiring the very old frescos – we can’t recommend this enough.

Told you this place was good, but now let’s come out of the church, turn right & wander down the lane to the gates of the manor – WOW how stunning is that. I understand that the Queen bought this a few years ago.

8. Right….enough of the history so come on let’s get going there’s much more to see on this walk! Retrace your steps & turn left down the lane signposted Welton & Daventry & head past the ‘The Old Dairy’ – come on we’re on a roll here, all down hill & no more hills are there…?? Be careful as you’re walking down country lanes here so dogs on a short leash. Eventually you’ll come to a kind of t-junction but if you look straight ahead you’ll see a stile & a footpath sign – that’s our path!

9. The path now is well marked across the next 3 fields as we head towards Welton. You’re now walking on arable land so it could get muddy in wet weather but this is a great farmer who marks the paths well at all times – thanks. The first field this year is full of maize & we then cross into corn

Continue across the next two fields. The 3rd field at this time of year looks like oil seed rape, but it’s actually a wild flower meadow & these are buttercups…

Now look through the gap & there’s the path to Welton. The path is deceptive as it dips down & there’s a bit of an uphill climb here…

10. So come out of the fields, down an alley & we’re in Welton, another lovely village. Turn let after the alley & walk along the street. At the junction turn right down the High Street & pass the school on the right. There’s another lovely pub here if you fancy a stop,

but we prefer to head on lower down to the bench on the green for more drinks & biscuits.

Pass by St Martin’s church

& then have a look up to see a stand-alone gravestone over looking the wall

Now continue done the main road & on the left is something you don’t see very often…a person who makes the most amazing marmalades, jams & pickles & leaves outside. There used to be an honesty box but, due to theft one was then asked to put money through the letterbox. How long this tradition will continue I don’t know, but it will be missed as the produce is amazing

Right, purchases made & backpack now weighing significantly more carry on down to the main road & turn right, crossing over to the footpath – there’s  a big tree in the middle of the junction.

Now we follow the path up the road until we come to the Grand Union Canal – this is our route back to Braunston.

11. It’s time to leave the roads again & our path lies on the right side of the canal bridge down the steps

Move along the path & we come to Braunston tunnel. It’s a 20 min trip through but if you fancy a quick visit click on the above link

Climb up the side of the tunnel. Here the path splits but we need to head straight on – sometimes in summer this gets overgrown & narrow but eventually opens out onto a concrete drive that eventually joins the main road. Look to the left to see the first aeration chimney – we’re following the tunnel here..

12. Cross a very busy road & head straight up the track.

There are several marked paths off it, but we need to keep straight ahead. After a short climb we get our first sight of Braunston church again

There’s the next tunnel tower on the right…

Keep on down the hill & we come to the other end of the tunnel – here’s the plaque recording the opening – bet that was a ‘rave’

13. Keep on the canal path & descend along side the Braunston locks. Many of these are doubles & are usually busy so you should see plenty of fun. Eventually you come to a great place to stop for a well earned drink & a bite to eat, The Admiral Nelson. If it’s fine sit outside

If you have stopped then cross back over to the left canal path & carry on into Braunston. Cross the footbridge & have a look at all the boats in the marina.

14. At the next bridge (the one that mentions Coventry Angling Club) cross over to the other side. Our route back to the Hovis building lies ahead. Have a look out for the friendly horse in the field on the left…call her & she’ll come over. Plus there’s a bench half way up the hill if you fancy another stop.

Well that’s it…the end of another great walk. If you fancy an end of walk drink by the canal you can either drive back to The Admiral Nelson or go back over the main road to The Boat House.

It’s a fab stroll so…

Go Walk!


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