Walk 34: Flore Circular: This one’s flawless

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 4.5 miles (7.24km)

Time to walk: We did this walk in March 2014 when the fields were drying out. It took us about 2 hours, but that was with stops for photos etc

Difficulty: A mixture of field paths, lanes & canal towpaths – it really is that varied. It’s also pretty much flat & we have to congratulate the landowners for the excellent signage & maintenance of the paths

Parking: We parked in the lane leading down to the church

Public toilets: None obvious, but there are a few pubs in Flore & Nether Heyford if you feel the need

Map of the route:

So what can we tell you about this walk? Well again it’s another short cracker & perfect for a Sunday afternoon stroll

Flore is a village on the busy A45 & from that road it doesn’t look much, but you need to get off the main road & explore, what is, a lovely Northamptonshire village. Rather than go into detail about its history here we’ll simply ask you to click on this link to the excellent village website

This is a really varied walk taking in a short canal stretch as well – always welcome to see the wildlife & chat to the people that live on the water

So ….are you ready? Let’s go!

1. The church isn’t the easiest place to find in Flore. If you’re coming from Northampton then take the turn after the 2 pubs just before the road bends sharp right. It’s down the bottom of the hill. We parked in the road leading down to the church just outside the primary school

Our route’s through the church yard…the gates are below

2. All Saints Flore churchyard contains the graves of John & Sarah Adams who are though to have been the parents of John Adams, the 2nd President of the USA & the grandparents of John Quincey Adams, the 6th President

 3. Our route starts here & exits the graveyard through the kissing gate…

…& onto the well marked Nene Way path across the field…

The view back to the church

The view back to the church

4. At the end of the field we cross the bridge below…

…& head left following the edge of the field as it bends right along a ditch before crossing another bridge & then, keeping the ditch on your right, follow the track towards the main A5 below…

That's not good parking

That’s not good parking

Care..we're approaching a busy road here

Care..we’re approaching a busy road here

5. On reaching the road our path lies straight across it…

…winding it’s way up on a large stony track…

…until we come to the canal bridge below…

6. If you’re a bit of a ‘train spotter’ it’s worth just carrying on a few yards to the West Coast Line to watch the Virgin Pendolino trains leaning round the bend

Wow!

Wow!

7. Enough of the ‘fast life’ let’s now return down the steps to the canal…

…& turn left under the bridge…

8. Suddenly the pace of life slows considerably…

…as we move along the canal towards the bridge under the A5

Wondered what the pong was

Wondered what the pong was

9. After passing under the bridge, over the canal here is a well know Northamptonshire pub, The Narrowboat

…& also Weedon Marina…

 10. Now simply continue along the canal path until we reach the next bridge…

The canals are stunning...

The canals are stunning…

On the left the view back across the fields to our starting point

On the left the view back across the fields to our starting point

& on the other side some stunning properties

& on the other side some stunning properties

11. Eventually we arrive at the next bridge where it appears a ship has run aground…

…where we now need to leave the canal stretch of this walk through the gate ahead onto the road

12. Once through the gate it’s turn left & then a short road walk to our next entry into a field…

Nice little vehicle parked along here

Nice little vehicle parked along here

Woah!! That's basic

Woah!! That’s basic

…& after heading round a right bend we can see the marker showing our next path into a field on the right opposite a large dead tree…

Over the stile & the path's very clear

Over the stile & the path’s very clear

13. On the climb up this field we met a couple of ladies with 4 very boisterous dogs – great fun!

Now we simply have to follow this clear path from field to field for about 1 mile towards Nether Heyford over stiles & footbridges – it’s great that the landowners have really looked after us walkers…

Head towards the aerial in the next field

Head towards the aerial in the next field

& towards the old farm buildings

& towards the old farm buildings

& across the bridge

& across the bridge

…keep going – there’s a few more fields to cross yet!!

A combination jump!!

A combination jump!!

This one got quite brave!!

This one got quite brave!!

Almost there

Almost there

14. Finally ahead we can see Nether Heyford…

…& on reaching a stone track we turn right. If we turn left we come to one of Northamptonshire’s most famous angling spots…Heyford Fishery

The church is our next aiming point

The church is our next aiming point

15. After about 20 yards it’s easy to see the track leading into the field on the left which leads us to the edge of Nether Heyford…

Another excellent path

Another excellent path

…where at the path junction we turn left & head down a narrow path between a ditch & the backs of some houses

Whilst we don’t touch the centre of Nether Heyford on this walk it’s well worth a diversion. Click on the above link to see more details of it. It’s a lovely little self-contained village built around one of the largest village greens in the country

Anyway…we’ve now reached the halfway point of our walk so it’s time to strike out back towards Flore

16. At the end of the narrow path we reach the river again & cross into the field opposite…

 

Pretty stretch of river around here

Pretty stretch of river around here

Our path continues straight across the next field

Our path continues straight across the next field

17. This track across the field was once used to bring flour to the village from the Mill which we’ll come to shortly

Through the gate below & we’re now back on the Nene Way all the way back to Flore

Before passing through the gate below there’s, at first glance, a non-descript old barn on the left…

This building is a rare example of an Ox Hovel & is the only known one in Northamptonshire & maybe one of the earliest examples of cattle housing in the UK

This one was first mentioned in the sale of the farm in 1758

That’s the Mill ahead above &, whilst you can’t get too close, it was clear it’s still under a major restoration programme

The mill was derelict, but underwent extensive restoration and refurbishment in 2008. The Mill is mentioned in the Domesday Book. In November 2008, South Northants Council decided to serve a “planning enforcement notice” on the developer alleging failure to comply his planning permission

The mill fell into disuse in the 1960s. With the intention of saving its historic character, the Council granted planning permission in 2005 to restore and change the use of several derelict buildings at Heyford Mill after they had suffered arson and vandalism attacks

18. The path continues over a bridge below & straight down a gravel track where we get further views of the Mill development

They're obviously golfers!

They’re obviously golfers!

19. The track’s easy to follow &, after a short while, opens into another field where we head towards the electricity pylon…

Head towards that pylon

Head towards that pylon

Everything's coming alive

Everything’s coming alive

20. Eventually we reach a bridge across a ditch which leads into the field with the pylon. But hang on a minute…they’re not bulls are they?

Luckily not…

Someone needs a scratch

Someone needs a scratch

21. Our route out of this field is via the 2 gates below…

…& at this point we were being followed by buzzards circling high overhead

22. Now it’s simply a case of following the Nene Way across the final couple of fields to emerge back in Flore…

We're in horse country now

We’re in horse country now

…just 1 more field. We’re heading for the left hand side of the thatched cottage

More lovely creatures

More lovely creatures

23. So exiting through the gate we find ourselves back in Flore.

Fancy a cuppa? Well if you do then turn right & head up the lane to Paddocks Tea Room. Unfortunately we didn’t get time today & head left still following the Nene Way…

On the right down here is the Methodist Chapel…

…& eventually, as the road bends left, we need to turn right up Spring Lane

…& then left through the narrow alleyway…

…where we arrive back at where we started

So that’s the end of a cracking little walk around an area that probably most people just drive through. It’s another that can be done on a weekend stroll & doesn’t have any major climbs so is ideal for all ages.

As an aside…on the way back we drove via Kislingbury & had a quick look at the millpond as that’s another beautiful place. As we drove past we spotted a Little Egret strolling around in the water. We quickly stopped the car, fitted a long lens & walked down the opposite side of the road before quietly crossing over to start sneaking up on it.

It was still there & after crouching down & getting ready to shoot a man & dog suddenly appeared &…it flew off!!  So here’s the resultant picture…you can’t get them all

 

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