Walk 38: Twywell Circular: ‘Up Hill & down Dale’

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 4.5 miles (7.25km)

Time to walk: This walk can be done in 2 hours at a steady pace

Difficulty: Mainly off road with a variety of field & forest walking. There are a few hills and it can get muddy in winter as you may be walking across ploughed fields. When we did this walk at the beginning of May it was a bright sunny day & we have to congratulate the local farmers on their maintenance of the paths

Parking: On road in Twywell village or use the pub car park if you’re having some refreshments later

Public toilets: Pubs in Twywell & Cranford St John

Map of the route: cc ‘Walking close to the River Ise near Kettering

The map’s a bit hard to see so just follow our instructions & pictures

Our walk today starts in the east of Northamptonshire in the lovely village of Twywell recorded in the Domesday book as Twowelle (Two Wells), but there are records dating it back to the Iron Age

It was the birthplace of the writer Hester Chapone whose book ‘Letters on the Improvement of the Mind’ (1773), addressed to a 15-year-old niece telling her how she should behave, remained influential and regularly reprinted for over 50 years

The village is centred along the High Street and The Green & there are 9 buildings of special architectural or historic interest in the parish

In the 1870s Twywell’s rector, Reverend Waller was a good friend of David Livingstone the explorer. When he died his heart was buried in Africa, but his body was embalmed in bark & brought back to England. Eventually his body was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey, but the bark wrapping was taken to Twywell where you can still see it in the church today

To the south east of the village lies the area which in the 1940s was mined for iron ore. This has now been turned into a great walking park & Site of Special Scientific Interest known as ‘Twywell Hills & Dales’ – we’ll explore it on our walk today

So…enough of the history lesson. Let’s walk!!

1. Our walk today starts in the centre of Twywell at ‘The Old Friar’ pub…

Years ago this pub was famous for its carvery & it’s great to see it’s still going strong today

2. In the entrance to the pub car park we made our first new friend of the day…

There's a carvery in there…keep moving!!

There’s a carvery in there…keep moving!!

…& then headed into the village…

…where we see a sign showing us where we need to go…

…down The Lane towards The Hills & Dales

3. At the end of the lane is an allotment sign where we need to turn right…

…the path along here is obvious but a bit overgrown…

Blossom's still blooming!

Blossom’s still blooming!

…but we finally reach a kissing gate through to an open paddock

4. We ‘re now in a lovely little paddock & need to keep to the left hand edge…

…& who’s that looking at us through the fence?

Awww - how gorgeous are these little ones?

Awww – how gorgeous are these little ones?

5. Exit the paddock via the kissing gate in the left corner…

…& then be careful going down the steps into the open field

6. We’re now going to cross this open meadow on the path which will lead us into ‘Twywell Hills & Dales’

Here's our entrance

Here’s our entrance

 

7. So what’s the ‘Hills and Dales’ about. Well it’s a fantastic conservation site &, if you’re a butterfly fan then you’re in for a treat. Here’s a clip we found on Youtube

After passing through the gate we climb the steep steps…

…& immediately we’re in a tranquil world, although maybe on a weekend summers afternoon it might be slightly busier!!

IMG_0471

8. There’s quite a number of walks around this park so it’s worth going back a few times (there’s a car park at the other end too), but for this walk we need to turn right at the signpost below & head up the hill…

Told you there were butterflies here

Told you there were butterflies here

…& at the top we turn left & follow the boundary fence

9. The quarry works are obvious along here & you can see why the whole area is called Hills & Dales…

The path's well marked

The path’s well marked

Ignore the path going off to the right & at the end follow the boundary round to the left

Ignore the path going off to the right & at the end follow the boundary round to the left

More examples of the quarrying

More examples of the quarrying

10. The path now continues straight ahead…

Another path leads off to the left into an area now known as Twywell Woods – we’ll save that for another day

When quarrying stopped around 1948 the area was planted with a mixture of pine, larch & sycamore. The Woodland Trust now looks after the area

New season pine cones

New season pine cones

11. The noise of the traffic on the A14’s getting louder & eventually we come to the boundary where we have to turn right through the gate below…

…& here’s why…

12. Unfortunately we now have to walk parallel to the A14 for a time, but the path’s actually quite picturesque…

Ignore the steps on the right & keep straight on

Ignore the steps on the right & keep straight on

…& shortly we emerge into an open area where we follow the left hand path

13. Before we follow the path up the hill it’s worth taking a look at the pond on the left known as Gullet Pond

Gullet Pond is a very important area as it’s home to the Great Crested Newt

 14. Bearing left around the pond we head up the steps…

…& finally there’s the exit into the field at the top of the hill on the left

15. After entering the field turn left & follow the left hand edge & pass through the gap in the hedge below…

Just follow the marker posts

Just follow the marker posts

Quite right too

Quite right too

…on reaching the notice board we bear right…

…this area of the ‘Hills & Dales’ is called ‘Whitestones’…

It was the white limestone that gave this are its name. Quarrying began in 1920 & later a railway line was laid to carry the stone to Islip – this was closed in 1948.

16. We now need to exit the ‘Hills & Dales’ & our way out is on the left before we get to the marker post…

…& we head down the left hand edge of the field to a bridge in the corner…

Think we're being watched...

Think we’re being watched…

Beautiful, but lots of calves so beware!!

Beautiful, but lots of calves so beware!!

17. Keeping to the left we exit this field over the stile below…

Let that be a warning then!!

Let that be a warning then!!

…& after passing through some thick undergrowth we emerge in the open & cross another stile with Cranford St John now visible in the distance

We were followed by a Red Kite along here - note the missing feather

We were followed by a Red Kite along here – note the missing feather

18. Heading diagonally right we exit the fields up a lane next to the sewerage works passing through a gate…

…following it up past a farm on the right to the road…

They were a bit nosy!!

They were a bit nosy!!

19. We didn’t have time to have a look round Cranford St John so click on the link to learn more. On reaching the road our route lies to the right following the road up the hill away from the village…

Beautiful properties

Beautiful properties

20. Keep heading up the hill on the road until you reach a footpath sign pointing you across a well defined path in the field. We met the farmer & his dog here – really friendly & we thanked him for maintained the walking paths

They were spraying around here today so try not to breath in & move quickly

They were spraying around here today so try not to breath in & move quickly

21. Once across the field we pass through the gap in the hedge into the next field & then head straight along the side of the hedge before passing through the gap just before the trees

That's a big single one

That’s a big single one

22. Having passed through the gap we follow the field down the hill with the hedge on our right…

…& at the bottom of the field we cross the bridge…

23. Turning immediately left we follow the hedge on the left to the gap into the next field & then take a diagonal well marked path across towards a large tree in the corner…

…now we turn left & follow the field edge making sure we ignore the footbridge…

Ignore this bridge & keep straight on

Ignore this bridge & keep straight on

24. It’s not easy to spot, but at the corner of the field with the big tree below we turn right through the gap…

25. We’re on the home stretch now…after passing through the gap above we follow the left hedge for about 100 yards & then pass through the gate on the left into the next field (our last one!)…

…& now it’s simply a case of keeping the hedge on our left across the field to reach the road

26. Be careful as this is a busy little road, but we turn right & follow it back round the bend into Twywell…

Lovely cottage garden

Lovely cottage garden

27. At the green take the left road & keep heading down into the village…

We're seeing more & more of these…so sad

We’re seeing more & more of these…so sad

& we're back!!

& we’re back!!

A bit of close up nature on our car!!

A bit of close up nature on our car!!

So that’s another fab walk completed & it’s a long time since we’ve been to Twywell – we’ve great memories of the carvery at the Old Friar (unfortunately we didn’t get time to eat there today)

What we haven’t done before though is visit the ‘Hills & Dales’ & it’s somewhere we will definitely come back to. This is a great area of Northamptonshire with, besides Twywell, some lovely villages such as Lowick (try The Snooty Fox)

So get yourselves across there &…go walk!!

 

 

 

 

 

1 Response to Walk 38: Twywell Circular: ‘Up Hill & down Dale’

  1. Sue says:

    That was beautiful. Dog is to old for this walk now but I enjoyed virtually going on it with you.

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