Walk 42: Cosgrove Circular: watch out for a ‘stampede’

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 2 miles (3.22 km)

Time to walk: You can easily do this walk in 1 hour, but that depends whether you fancy a halfway stop at The Navigation Inn

Difficulty: Mainly off road across fields & canal paths

Parking: We parked outside The Barley Mow pub in Cosgrove

Public toilets: Either the Barley Mow or The Navigation Inn

Map of the route: @ ‘Pub Strolls in Northamptonshire

We’ve already touched on the outskirts of the South Northamptonshire village of Cosgrove on Walk 18. It looked a really nice place so we thought we’d visit again for a more in-depth look

This walk’s very short & ideal for taking in one of the 2 pubs for a bite to eat. We started it outside The Barley Mow in Cosgrove, but you could start at The Navigation Inn where there’s also ample parking for patrons

So what can we tell you about Cosgrove? Situated close to the Buckinghamshire border it’s dissected by The Grand Union Canal. When it was built the village was literally split in two & part of the deal was the building of the Gothic Bridge which we’ll see later

The village is also home to Cosgrove Park Holiday Home & Touring Caravan Park

We did this walk on a lovely day in May 2014. Right it’s only a shortie so…Let’s Walk!

1. We parked in the street outside The Barley Mow pub in the centre of the village

An 17th century Everards pub, it’s well known for it’s beers. What we really like is the way it advertises it’s location…”If you are on a boat you can find us at Bridge number 65″

2. Our walk starts to the right of the above picture as we head up the gravel road with The Old Brewery on our left…

…& then turn immediately right up the small path round the back of some houses…

3. We’re heading to have a look at the church. On the right down here is the new graveyard…

…& on the left’s the old one which was pretty overgrown…

You can just make out a couple of the tops of gravestones

You can just make out a couple of the tops of gravestones

4. Finally just around the corner we arrive at the Church of St Peter & St Paul which has parts dating back to the 13th century…

Just outside was a beautiful rose bush…

5. We’d heard about the 15th century timbered roof inside the church so, approaching the door, we turned the handle &…it was open!!

They were right…the roof is impressive

They were right…the roof is impressive

The stain glass window behind the altar is also particularly stunning…

6. Right it’s time to continue our walk exiting the churchyard through the front gate…

Here's a glimpse back at the main entrance to the church

Here’s a glimpse back at the main entrance to the church

…& exit right along the road…

The local village store's seen better days...

The local village store’s seen better days…

7. At the village crossroads we head straight across past the school on the left…

Great advert for the local duck race

Great advert for the local duck race

…& continue until the road starts to bend right where we take the path to the left indicated by the Bridleway sign below…

8. The bridleway runs between the houses – we followed an old boy down here who must have been wondering why we were taking pictures of him…

Chase me!!

Chase me!!

Where did he go?

We’re still after you!!

Eventually we exit the narrow bridleway through the gate below…

9. We now need to cross 3 fields (all steadily uphill), but the path’s well marked & basically keeps against the left hedge…

All was going well until we reached the gate below…

10. Beyond the above gate is about 25 yards of grass & then another gate. As we approached it there was much rustling to the left &, on opening the first gate, we were immediately advanced upon by some pretty challenging young men…

To have these boys come straight at you was a daunting experience & they weren’t for backing off!! We quickly went through the second gate & still they wouldn’t back off…

He ain't happy!!

He ain’t happy!!

11. Anyway….& relax! Just a couple more parts of fields to cross, but we seem to have picked up the pace somewhat…

Oh God there's more of them over there!!

Oh God there’s more of them over there!!

12. Now, definitely walking quicker, we exit through 2 more gates & finally reach the Castlethorpe road…

…where we turn right & head towards The Navigation Inn

Be careful along here as the road's busy & there's no path

Be careful along here as the road’s busy & there’s no path

13. It’s a nice day so ready for a rest & some refreshments? Welcome to The Navigation Inn

Have a look round the back as there’s a large garden which overlooks the canal & the marina

14. Suitably refreshed? Then let’s cross back over the road as we now need to follow the canal all the way back to Cosgrove

Good local produce

Good local produce

Don’t cross the bridge, but follow the path down to the canal tow path…

15. As always it’s good to be back to the water, especially on a nice day like today…

You can just make out the steep spire of Hanslope church

You can just make out the steep spire of Hanslope church

We did one of our earliest walks around Braunston

We did one of our earliest walks around Braunston

16. It’s a nice stretch of the canal along here &, as always, all the boat people were happy to wave & say hi…

Sweet heady honeysuckle

Sweet heady honeysuckle

17. As we get closer to Cosgrove the canal becomes more bendy & there’s many more boats moored up…

We think that one person may have been moored up a little too long…

He's even still got his pipe in his mouth!!

He’s even still got his pipe in his mouth!!

18. Remember we talked at the start about the Gothic style bridge that was built in Cosgrove when the canal split the village in two?

Well just around the next bend…

The gothic style Ornamental Bridge over the canal was built in 1790s at the insistence of a local landowner, the Biggins family when the two halves of the canal joined here, one from Braunston, the other from Brentford. It is one of only two ornamental bridges over the canal

19. Take the path up to the bridge…

…& be careful crossing over it before turning immediately right & down to the canal on the other side…

That bench looks inviting...

That bench looks inviting…

Lovely place to rest a while

Lovely place to rest a while

The bridge really is unique

The bridge really is unique

20. Ok…there’s only a short few steps to take before we’re back at the car so let’s head along the canal path for about 100 yards…

Who remembers The Magic Roundabout?

Who remembers The Magic Roundabout?

There's the Barley Mow over the canal

There’s the Barley Mow over the canal

21. Erm….hang on a minute. The Gothic Bridge was built to stop the village being split in two by the canal & there’s no other bridge so how are we going to get across the canal?

Our solution is a novel one & lies the way of the marker below…

Now that sounds interesting!

Now that sounds interesting!

22. Head down the steps & here we are!

The 250 year old structure connects the two halves of Cosgrove. At barely six feet high and two across, the Horse Tunnel seems very small, or the horses must have been!  The tunnel was built to allow the horses that pulled the barges to cross from one side to the other where the towpath switches over. In the days before steam power, horses were the only way to provide barges with power. This is where the name ‘towpath’ originates, as well as the term ‘bargepole’, which was the pole connecting the horse to the barge.

It's a bit damp & dark in here...

It’s a bit damp & dark in here…

23. Emerging back into the light we head up the hill…

Some pretty gardens along here

Some pretty gardens along here

On the right is The Barley Mow & it looks as though they may have had a fire…

And barely an hour after starting we’re back at our car

We’d recommend this walk for a weekend or summer’s evening where you can meander slowly & maybe take in lunch at one of the two hostelries

The only time you may not wish to ‘meander slowly’ is if you meet ‘the boys’ along the way!!

Go Walk!

 

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