Walk 41: Welford Circular…views across 3 counties & ‘Postman Pat’

The ‘Needs to Know

Distance: 4 miles (6.5km)

Time to walk: About 1.5 – 2 hours including stops for drinks, chats with the locals &, of course…photos!

Difficulty: Once away from the starting point in Welford all of this walk is across well marked field paths. There are a few hills and, although when we walked it on a hot day in May 2014, it will definitely get muddy in wetter weather

Parking: We parked outside the church in Welford

Public toilets: Couldn’t really find any apart from at The Elizabethan Pub in the village

Map of the route: @ Walks for all ages…

We’re right on the Northamptonshire, Leicestershire border today, but also will be treated to great views over neighbouring Warwickshire. So what can we tell you about our starting point…Welford?

Lying on the border of Northamptonshire and Leicestershire, the village of Welford, once known as Wellesford, is first noted in the Doomsday Book in 1086 AD. From pottery identified as belonging to the 2nd and 4th centuries, it’s clear the Romans farmed the fields around the village..

The village was also an important stopping place for stagecoaches heading towards London during the 17th and 18th centuries. Some of the houses on the High Street are old coaching inns & their names reflect this

Welford is very popular with walkers with The Jurassic Way passing through the village

Anyway…that’s enough about our start point…today is a stunning early warm summer’s day so if you’re ready…Let’s Walk!!

1. We’ve parked up outside the Church in Welford

The Church of St Mary dates from 13th Century. The graveyard is really fascinating as it’s so old…

2. We couldn’t go into the Church today as there was a service in progress so let’s crack on with our walk…

With the Church in front  of us we turn left & head down past the school on the left…

…then the village hall…

The notice board shows that this is a very active community

The notice board shows that this is a very active community

…&, on the right,a building known as The Engine House…

We think this was something to do with the canal, but can’t find any hard evidence so if anyone knows anything we’ll input it here

3. Keep heading down the street…

Beautiful Laburnum tree...

Beautiful Laburnum tree…

…& finally we come to the junction of the main Northampton – Leicester road…

4. Directly over the road is evidence that this house was once a pub…

Phipps were a brewery in Northampton that closed 40 years ago. The fantastic news is they have now returned & are once again brewing excellent beer in the town. Check out this link for their website & full details…welcome back Phipps!!

5. Having had a close look at this, we cross back over the road & look for the footpath sign showing us the way down a path known as ‘Welford Walk’…

However rather than turn left at the above signs we could simply say “turn left at the wood carvings”…

It's Postman Pat & Jess!!

It’s Postman Pat & Jess!!

6. It’s time to leave Welford & get into the fields so head down the lane below past the local sewerage works…

…& eventually we find our exit into the fields…

7. What would a walk be without sheep? Let’s head diagonally right across the field…

Yes…we know we're being watched!!

Yes…we know we’re being watched!!

…& exit through the gate…

8. On the right we get our first glimpse of the canal & Welford Marina…

…but need to keep straight on across the next field ignoring paths coming in from the right…

Nice family snap!

Nice family snap!

…& through the gate below…

Follow the signs...

Follow the signs…

9. On the right here’s a medieval fish pond – these were used to stock fish to feed the village…

…& our route now takes us across another field. We need to hug the left-hand side & head towards the big tree in the picture below…

Family gathering

Family gathering

As we walk across this field towards the gate there’s lots of humps & bumps. These show where the old village used to be…

…& there’s our exit onto the lane…

Looking back you can clearly see the evidence of the old village

Looking back you can clearly see the evidence of the old village

10. Through the gate we’re into Hall Lane & need to turn right. This is now easy hard-track walking for about 1 mile although slightly undulating…

Beautiful early summer lane foliage

Beautiful early summer lane foliage

 11. There’s some fantastic views along here so, if the weather’s good, dally a while & enjoy…

The view towards Warwickshire

The view towards Warwickshire

It really is great to be outside along here...

It really is great to be outside along here…

…on the right is Lodge Farm & that will soon be our cue to leave the hard track & get back on the fields…

12. As the track bends right we head straight on keeping the hedge on our left…

Happy walking days!!

Happy walking days!!

13. From this high point we can see 3 counties. To our right is Leicestershire…

…to our left is Northamptonshire…

…& straight ahead is Warwickshire…

14. The path splits at the dead tree below, but we need to keep straight ahead descending towards the canal stretch of today’s walk…

On the left we can make out Stanford Reservoir in the distance…

See if you can spot the 2 churches in the distance here..the one on the left is South Kilworth & the one on the right North Kilworth

The final stretch down to the canal

The final stretch down to the canal

15. Eventually we arrive at the bridge over the canal – for some reason these days we always feel happy when we reach one of our canals. Is it being back by the water, wildlife, or simply the serenity & the fact that on our canals everything moves at a slower pace & people say “hi…how’s it going?” – yep I think that’s the one

The view from the bridge

The view from the bridge

To reach the canal path we need to head over the bridge, turn right & then backtrack underneath the bridge…

Heading back into the sun at this point

Heading back into the sun at this point

16. So now let’s relax & enjoy the next mile along one of our treasures. It doesn’t take long before the first boat comes into view…

& shortly after another one

& shortly after another one

They gave us a friendly wave & chat

They gave us a friendly wave & chat

It's busy on here today

It’s busy on here today

19. Shortly we pass under one of Northamptonshire’s fabulous canal bridges…bridge 39…

Here’s the view from the other side…

20. Fancy a sit by the canal for a while? Why not. Once refreshed let’s kick on &, with the blossom in full bloom, there’s some great photo opportunities…

21. We passed a ‘houseboat’ along here & had a chat with the owner then suddenly spotted a movement along the reeds…

Can you see him?

Can you see him?

Much to the astonishment of the boat owner we quickly changed lens to a massive wildlife one & picked up a great snap of this beauty…we’re very proud of this snap which is completely natural with no editing!

22. Sadly our short spell along the canal’s coming to an end as we need to end this walk by heading back to Welford

So as Bridge 38 comes into view this is our cue to leave the path & head under, up & over…

23. After crossing the bridge we need to turn immediately left – be careful as the path was overgrown at this point…

24. Now we’re out in the fields again we can relax & follow the opposite side of the canal for a short while…

Sorry to bang on but it is stunning round here today...

Sorry to bang on but it is stunning round here today…

…but at the end of the field it’s sadly time to say goodbye to the canal & turn right & follow the left hedge uphill…

A bit of a climb up here...

A bit of a climb up here…

25. At the top of the hill we cross across the bridge below…

…before carrying straight on – that’s Welford ahead…

…& then across another bridge…

…before climbing to the corner of the field…

26. At the corner we turn right & soon come to a gate on the left…

…which we pass through & head straight towards Welford keeping close to the hedge on the left

Downtown Welford eh!!

Downtown Welford eh!!

We’re also now on Shakespeare’s Way, a 146 mile long distance path. The web site is pretty good so click on the link & have a look

27. Eventually we reach some old red brick buildings on the left…

…which is our cue to now head diagonally right across the field to the far right corner…

…where a final bridge awaits us…

28. Our exit back into the village lies through the gate in the top left corner. This field lies opposite the one with the ‘humps & bumps’ of the old village that we crossed earlier & there’s further evidence of them here…

Exit through the gate back into Hall Lane

Exit through the gate back into Hall Lane

29. Turning right we now head back up Hall Lane to arrive back in Welford…

…where we turn left & head back to the Church & where we parked

So that’s the end of a walk on a very warm spring day which obviously makes the beautiful countryside around here even more stunning

This walk shows off north-west Northamptonshire at its very best with great views across rolling countryside & a stroll along our fantastic canals

It will get muddy during the winter, but on a day like today it’s a lovely stroll so…Go Walk!

 

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