Walk 31: Wadenhoe Circular: Kingfishers & just a stunning walk

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 2.5 miles (4.02km)

Time to walk: At a push you can walk this in 1 hour, but you’re in such beautiful Northamptonshire countryside so why not take your time &, at the start or end, have a refreshment & meal in The King’s Head. In the summer grab a drink & sit by the river – it’s idyllic

Difficulty: On road initially & then across fields & then finishing on road

Parking: We just parked up in the street

Public toilets: At the King’s Head pub

Map of the route: @ Pub strolls in Northamptonshire

So…what can we tell you about one of the most beautiful areas of our county?

Wadenhoe sits on the River Nene approximately 4 miles from Thrapston & 10 miles from Kettering. The Nene Way Footpath passes through the village

It’s one of Northamptonshire’s “chocolate box” villages & a must visit! The village once had the first telegraph office outside of London in 1868 by Sir George Ward-Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer under Disraeli, who lived in Wadenhoe House (we’ll have a look at that later)

Right as it’s a beautiful March spring day let’s not waste anymore time. This short walk’s turned out to be one of the most rewarding we’ve done so…

Let’s Walk!

1. Our walk starts in probably the most beautiful part of this village…outside The King’s Head pub

The view down the hill to The King's Head on the left

The view down the hill to The King’s Head on the left

Here's the view from where we start with he pub on the right

Here’s the view from where we start with the pub on the right

We can’t recommend this pub enough …in an idyllic village with riverside gardens for the summer, fabulous beer & food.

If you’re a beer drinker then you won’t be disappointed, When we first visited in the 1980’s they simply poured the beer direct from the barrel – beautiful!!

Imagine sitting out here on a hot summer's evening...

Imagine sitting out here on a hot summer’s evening…

Next to the pub is the village hall which has a great bell tower…

2. Anyway…come on we have a walk to do so let’s move up the hill

Stunning

Stunning

Spring is here

Spring is here

3. On the right is The Old Barn. This is basically a great tea room. Wadenhoe is pretty much off the beaten track, but, in our time there, 2 cars asked where they could find this place, so well done you guys your reputation is paying dividends!

4. The car park’s round the back, down Mill Lane on the right at the junction with a picture postcard cottage ahead…

Our route down Mill Lane

Our route down Mill Lane

There’s more signs of spring down here…

5. At the bottom of the hill our path passes a car park on the left (which we’ll come back to later) & crosses the mill pond on a wooden bridge

The path's well marked

The path’s well marked

This area’s been really well preserved…

IMG_8322

Standing on the bridge above we heard a strong cheep & a Kingfisher landed on a branch to our left. Unfortunately we didn’t get our lens changed in time, but we knew that a Kingfisher always returns to the same perch.

So let’s come back here at the end of our walk…

But in the meantime…click here for a quick video of this area

6. The path initially follows the river on the left…

Keep watching out for that woodpecker...

Keep watching out for that woodpecker…

…& after passing through the gate below…

…we head diagonally right across the water meadow towards the raised bridge

7. The water meadows here are a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. Here’s the view across to Church, where we’re heading

8. The bridge we need to cross is below…

…where we can stand atop & look back across to Wadenhoe where we started this walk…

9. It’s time now to head through the gate & head up the hill towards Achurch Church

Fabulous stretch of river along here..

Fabulous stretch of river along here..

As we near the entrance to the church we heard the familiar calls of Red Kites overhead. We spotted one sitting in a tree, but he cleared off as we approached. Here’s shots we got of a pair in flight…

Stunning birds

Stunning birds

10. At the top of the hill we pass through the gate into the churchyard…

…& it’s a beauty

11. This is the church of St John the Baptist. We tried to have a look around the church, but unfortunately it was locked

The present church was built in 1218 by Sir Ascelin de Waterville, a Knight Crusader as thanks for his safe return – his tomb can be seen in the south side of the church

12. As we can’t look further, we pass out of the churchyard through the carved oak lychgate which dates back to 1896…

…& continue along the lane for about 100 yards…

Stone walls need repairing along here...

Stone walls need repairing along here…

…before turning left into the small charming woods known as ‘The Linches’

Let's enter the wood

Let’s enter the wood

13. The track here is really easy to follow & we saw pussy willow & some great butterflies…

We stood patiently around to get this couple of snaps..

14. We soon come to a junction in the path & need to turn left. After doing so a Peacock Butterfly followed us & finally settled down to sun itself for its photo…

…& now we need to head down the steps below – you can just see the river ahead through the trees

15. This really is  a lovely little wood to walk through &, like with all woods, will change at differing times of the year. Above us we can still hear the Red Kites screeching as they’re being chased by Rooks

16. Eventually the path descends & on the left is Lilford lock. Our path takes us to the right of a very nice property…

…& eventually emerges onto a road where we turn left & cross two bridges…

…on the left is Lilford lock which we’ve just past

…& over the 2nd bridge

…& over the 2nd bridge

17. Just over the bridge our path is shown by a signpost & a stile on the left…

…where we need to head diagonally right towards another stile passing some lovely lambs & mums

Gorgeous mum & baby

Gorgeous mum & baby

18. After crossing the stile the path should take us diagonally left, but it was a newly ploughed field so we simply made our way round the outside…

…to exit onto the road…

19. Now we need to turn left & follow the road back into Wadenhoe. If you keep looking left there’s views back across to Achurch Spire…

Simply follow the road

Simply follow the road

Hedge blossom

Hedge blossom

20. Just up the hill we come into Wadenhoe again…

…& on the left is Wadenhoe House which is now a conference centre

21. We love this village as it really welcomes its visitors – see the flowers…

22. Over the wall on the left we can see Wadenhoe House…

23. Keep walking along the road as there’s some great properties along here…

24. On the left here is Wadenhoe’s Dovecote…

IMG_8442

Nearly 200 years ago this Dovecote would have housed around 650 birds & their youngsters. In medieval times Dovecotes were built to ensure a constant supply of meat to the table.

This Dovecote was built around 1800. There’s a great little display at the entrance too…

IMG_8284

25. So now all we need to do is head back down the hill to where we started but……….we can’t leave without trying to catch that little Kingfisher can we….

So…let’s head back down to the millpond & stand on the bridge. One thing a Kingfisher does is always return to the same perch so all you have to do is sit & wait

Today it took about 30 mins & we could also hear him calling to his mate which was awesome

Over the next 15 minutes we were privileged to watch him sit, then dive & pick up a minnow. Some of our photos aren’t as sharp as we’d like but..wow!!

Spot the minnow in his beak

Spot the minnow in his beak

So that’s the end of this short walk.

We have to say though that this is one of the most stunning walks we’ve ever done in this beautiful county. It’s ideal for a Sunday Lunch at the pub & then a stroll afterwards. We could also imagine doing this as a stroll on a late summer’s evening

It’s just stunning so…

Go Walk!

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