Walk 32: Litchborough & Farthingstone Circular – a little cardio exercise!

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 3.5 miles (5.5km)

Time to walk: About 1.5 hours, although there’s a couple of decent ‘watering holes’ en route so you might like to combine it with a Sunday lunch at one of them

Difficulty: Mainly across fields & then footpaths in the villages. The fields were pretty dry when we did this mid March 2014. The terrain is quite hilly at times so it’s a good cardio workout. There’s also several stiles & bridges to negotiate

Parking: Park in the main street in Litchborough outside The Old Red Lion Pub

Public toilets: The Old Red Lion in Litchborough, or The Kings Arms in Farthingstone.

Map of the route:

So what can we tell you about this short walk? Well the countryside in this area is quite hilly for Northamptonshire & the two villages we’ll visit are quiet & unspoilt

Litchborough, our starting point, is a small village about 10 miles south west of Northampton and 5 miles west of Towcester,  just 2 miles off the A5, although it is a world away from the hustle & bustle.

It’s well worth keeping your eyes & ears open for wildlife on this walk. As well as numerous sheep & lambs, we saw several buzzards, kestrels & a lovely little wren (who wouldn’t stay still long enough to have his photo taken!!)

We’ll expand on the features & history of the villages as we pass through them but, as it’s a glorious day….

Let’s Walk!

1. As mentioned above, this walk starts outside The Old Red Lion pub in Litchborough…

The Old Red Lion has been run by Radmore Farm in Litchborough who have farmed there since 1937. The menu is therefore sourced from their own & other local farms

2. Across the road is St Martin’s Church, a grade II listed building…

The church dates from 13th & 14th century. It was closed today, but apparently on Sunday afternoons during the summer they serve tea & cakes. The graveyard has a tale to tell…

In the 19th century a gravedigger turned up one November morning to inspect an area where he was due to dig a grave. He found the body of a man slumped across a mound where a local had been buried the previous day. The dead man was George Bates, a regular at the Red Lion & a doctor confirmed the death from a heart attack. However his face was contorted with fear & he was also clutching a sword which passed through his tailcoat into the soil

A group of men who had been drinking in the Red Lion the night before had been discussing Albert’s funeral, the man who had been buried the day before. They had all been praising Albert, but George, who had been drinking heavily, didn’t agree. A sword hung over the fireplace of the inn & a local wag, Nobby Clark, dared George to plunge it into Albert’s freshly dug grave. He went into the churchyard carrying the sword & that was the last time he was seen alive

Obviously this was the talk of the village for many weeks, but it was eventually assumed that when plunging the sword into the grave, a drunk George speared his tailcoat & pinned himself down. Having tried in vain to get up, George must have thought that Albert had grabbed him from the grave to take his revenge, hence the heart attack & the look on his face

Next door on the green is the war memorial…

3. Head down the main street & on the corner there’s some wrought iron gates which mark the entrance to Litchborough Hall…

Another grade II listed building, it dates back to 17th century. Occasionally the gardens are open under the National Gardens Scheme yellow book

4. Further down the road there’s two great different examples of a Monkey Puzzle tree

…& over the wall you get a glimpse of Litchborough Hall

5. At the cottage on the right with the thatched peacock on the roof turn right down Kiln Lane…

…& then turn left along the grassy path …

6. Walk down between the 2 hedges to the stile ahead

Just over the stile is a Wellingtonia tree

This is from the same family as a Giant Sequoia tree which we saw many of when visiting Yosemite USA some years ago – one of the most stunning places on this planet

7. Head diagonally right across the brow of the hill towards the fence & the footbridge & stile in the corner of the field

Next walk straight up the hill keeping the hedge on your right

8. Head for the kissing gate beside the pines…

Ermmm..excuse me but we're coming through there!!

9. After passing through the kissing gate head diagonally left across the field keeping the farm buildings on your left & heading for the gate in the hedge

This is now simply a case of keep bearing left up & down fields & across stiles, bridges & gaps in hedges…

Over another ridge…keep heading left

Over this stile...

Over this stile…

…& another bridge & stile - told you this walk would get you fit!!

…& another bridge & stile – told you this walk would get you fit!!

…& finally we emerge across an open field…

10. One final climb below & you’ll reach Farthingstone. Climb the hill keeping the sheds on your left…

…& cross a final stile to arrive at the road in the village

11. So…welcome to Farthingstone!, another lovely Northamptonshire village, probably best known for its undulating golf course

After climbing the final stile into the road turn left & head into the village to see what treasures await you

12. On the left look out for Joy Mead Gardens. The gardens were created by the Agnew family in 1922 to commemorate their two children who had died through illness & injuries from the Great War. The Gardens have been left in trust to the village to be enjoyed by the villagers and are managed by a Committee of trustees for that purpose


Joy, the mother, died in 1921 & the garden was started in that year as a memorial to her. Her husband, Philip, purchased an area of ground which was to be used as an “open public ground for the resort & recreation of adults & as a playground for children & youth” It was also intended that the Garden should be used for “lectures, bands, musical & dramatic entertainments, dances & other social amenities”

It opened on August 3rd 1922. Pass through the gate below & have a look around…

The cloisters

The cloisters

13. Continue along the main street & have a look at the village pub on the right…The Kings Arms

The pub has an unusual & award wining garden… have a look around the back

14. Across the road is the local church…St Mary the Virgin

A very pretty little church which, like so many we come across these days, it was locked

15. Head down Maidford Road passing the village hall on the corner…

…& then the quirky Pansion Row with its embedded broken glass, china & shells embedded into the walls…

16. Further along the road pass Wheelwright’s Cottage to a signpost indicating that you need to pass through the black gate…

17. Walk down the narrow alley & climb over the stile below to enter the horse paddock…

Walk down the hill & through the gate…

18. Now head up the hill to the corner & cross another stile. Keep walking up the hill keeping the hedge on your right

It's another slog uphill following the hedgeThere’s just one more field to cross…

19. Eventually you’ll reach the hedge & there’s a bridge ahead, but STOP! You need to ignore this & turn left keeping the hedge on our right. Eventually you’ll come to a gap & now continue straight ahead with the new hedge on your left…

…& ahead is your exit carefully onto the road

20. Turning left now & follow the road for a couple of hundred yards. Go through the gate at the signpost on the left

21. Bear right & head towards the barn where you’ll find another footbridge & stile in the hedge

Now head straight towards the Wellingtonia tree you passed near the start of this walk

One final stile & you’re back under that huge tree…

Cross the site back down the narrow path you came up earlier

22. To arrive back out onto the road. Turn left & head back to where you left your car

So…what’s our verdict on this short walk?  Well it’s mostly across fields & there isn’t too much to stop & look at but if you fancy a good leg stretch & lung buster then this is one for you. Litchborough & Farthingstone are both lovely rural Northamptonshire villages

So…if you fancy a Sunday afternoon stroll…

Go Walk!





8 Responses to Walk 32: Litchborough & Farthingstone Circular – a little cardio exercise!

  1. Anarchorambler says:

    We did this walk today, very enjoyable, AND we managed to go inside Farthingstone`s St Mary the Virgin church. Finished off at the Red Lion in Litchborough with a fine pint of Timothy Taylor`s Bolt Maker.

  2. India Abbott says:

    We did the walk (April 2021) and couldn’t find the diversion suggested. Ended up trying out the horse paddock and can confirm that the electric fence does NOT block off the path. It is still possible to go through. Must have changed since last year

    • Thanks for the update India. I’ll get that changed back to the original 🙂

      • K says:

        Great walk but lost our way at around point 19, deep in conversation. We’re convinced we were heading back to the road but somehow ended up in maidford as it was getting dark. Had no phone reception. Luckily there was a phone box that worked but would only let me call the emergency services to try and get a call put through to my neighbour to come and rescue me, my friend and the dog. Made it home in one piece and a memory I’ll never forget 😅

      • Ooops…first time in 9 years we’ve had someone go wrong on this walk. So glad you got back safely 🙂

  3. Susan Allen says:

    There seems to be a lot of stiles on this walk. Can anyone confirm if they are dog friendly please. Thank you

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