Walk 43: Great Addington Circular: The 3 ‘Ws’ – Water, Wildlife & Walking

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 4.5 miles (7.24km)

Time to walk: Normally this is a 2 hour walk, but there’s lots of wildlife to see & nice places to sit & watch the world go by. It’s a good picnic walk too on a nice day

Difficulty: Mainly off road. Some of it is on an old railway track, but other parts can get quite muddy & also overgrown with stinging nettles – shouldn’t have worn the shorts!!

Parking: We parked on-road in the middle of Great Addington

Public toilets: The Hare & Hounds pub at the start & end of the walk (although it was closed the lunchtime we were there)

Map of the route: @ ‘Footpaths for Fitness’

We did this walk on a beautifully warm June afternoon, although some of the paths were quite muddy as it had rained heavily the day before

If you’re a wildlife ‘buff’ (like we are…) this is a fabulous area as much of the walk takes in the River Nene & its water meadows plus some of the lakes that are associated with Stanwick Lakes, although not the main busy public ones

It really is a place to keep your eyes & ears open. There’s also quite a bit of local history around here & we’ll touch on some of that as we go along

Our walk starts in Great Addington, one of 2 villages known locally as ‘The Addingtons’. We’re more familiar with Little Addington (which we don’t touch today) & it’s great pub The Bell. So to have a look round the other village was also a bonus

Great Adington overlooks the river Nene and was mentioned in the Domesday Book as Edintone. It has a long history with the Romans building their villas beside the river & their road from Irchester passed through the village

Within a couple of miles of Great Addington can be found Roman Villa sites, a deserted medieval village & a bronze age burial ground. Saxon pottery has been found at many sites in the village and a Saxon graveyard was found on Shooters Hill in the spring of 1847. 

The oldest building in the village is the church which was dedicated to All Saints in 1234 – even that has a tale to tell!!

Anyway…let’s see where this walk takes us…so come on…Let’s Walk!

1. Great Addington is a very pretty, well kept village & the local pub, The Hare & Hounds, where we start looks inviting. See the above 2 links for fuller details

2. Facing the pub we turn right & walk down Lower Street…

There’s some lovely properties & gardens along here…

Bank House…the old village Bank?

Bank House…the old village Bank?

What's lurking behind this door??

What’s lurking behind this door??

They also know how to do a cottage garden here…

3. We’re looking for a footpath sign on the opposite side of the road that runs down the side of a stream…

The path's down the left side of the stream

The path’s down the left side of the stream

Pretty, clean stream

Pretty, clean stream

A word of warning down here. The path was very overgrown & we got stung quite heavily. Also it was quite muddy &, as there is steep drop down to the stream on our right, we’d recommend caution as, in these conditions, we couldn’t see the edge of the drop!

4. Further along on the left is a pretty impressive property with a large garden…

You can see how overgrown our path is

You can see how overgrown our path is

…& in the garden is an even more impressive statue of a horse…

…but finally, stung to high-heaven, we make our way over the bridge below into open fields – hurrah!!

5. It’s great to be back in the sun again & we need to turn right & follow the path along the edge of the field…

There were a couple of wrens buzzing around in the hedge here feeding their young – impossible to grab a photo, but they are a fantastic bird to sit & watch

6. On reaching the hedge we simply follow the half-hidden marker & continue straight ahead now following the left hedge…

…&, after a couple of hundred yards, we get our first glimpse of the lake on the left…

7. The path takes us to the edge of the lake which is a great place to take an early stop & admire the peace, tranquility & wildlife…

Let's go have a look at the family of swans on the left

Let’s go have a look at the family of swans on the left

How beautiful…

There were hundreds of little dragon flies around too

There were hundreds of little dragon flies around too

8. There’s so much to look at round here, but we need to get moving as there’s still more to see

So we head round to the right towards the bridge we need to cross…

If you want to fish here we think it's Wellingborough Angling Club...

If you want to fish here we think it’s Wellingborough Angling Club…

It’s a pretty stretch of the river around here…

9. Keeping straight ahead through some trees, the next bridge we need to cross is on a raised mound…

…& on the right here is part of the navigation system of the river…

10. Continuing on the track we come to another small bridge & lock gate…

…before finally crossing another smaller stone bridge with a lovely lily pond on the left. Hang around & see if you can spot any dragonflies…

11. We continue up the track & on the left is the Marina which we’ll see in a bit, but there’s building work going on…

…before heading through the locked gate at the top (there’s some more angling lakes on the right)…

….& our exit from this part of the walk is through the gate below on the left…

Fancy a Xmas dinner????

Fancy a Xmas dinner – it might be a bit cold by now….

12. Having passed through the gate we’re now on the disused Northampton – Peterborough railway line. If we turn right instead of through the gate we head into the really busy part of Stanwick Lakes – but come with us….it’s much more peaceful!

Nice logo

Nice logo

For the next 1.5 miles this is really easy walking so why not increase the pace for a bit of cardio??

For the next 1.5 miles this is really easy walking so why not increase the pace for a bit of cardio??

Oh no there’s a nice flower to photo…slow down!!

…& we think this may be some kind of Caterpillar nest – be careful of these…

13. Ready to move on??? Wait a minute we told you this was a wildlife walk so what’s that sitting on the heady smell of elderflower (try the elderflower champagne recipe)??

…so that’s messed up the quick cardio then 😉

14. The next notable spot we’re going to pass is the trout fishery on the right…

…we stopped & looked for about 15 mins but didn’t see a catch

15. Bet you’re still dallying… but the next view along the track we come to is the bridge over Willy Watt Mill..

…& it looks like if you fancy a party this is the place to be…

They looked empty to us...

They looked empty to us…

16. Great this walk isn’t it!! The next marker we come to is the bridge carrying the road which we pass under…

…there were a couple of signs here which could have tempted us back…

Well… we’ll be back for Woodford Mill Tea Room – check out this link!!

And then on the other side of the path is Glebe Farm which is fab as we’ll skirt round several times & meet their ‘family’ later…

17. The path just continues to head straight on…

…& eventually comes to another bridge over the river…

To the left is Woodford where we’ll be heading shortly &, if you look at the bottom picture, you can just make out a Heron

Also at this moment a Red Kite started circling overhead…

Stunning

Stunning

18. It was at this point our walk went wrong!! Despite having a map we were told by a “lady who had lived here all her life” that the riverside path through the water meadow to Woodford was to the left off this bridge…

We were unsure as our map indicated the river might bend again further up & that’s where we should go

But no…she was so insistent that we said thank you & then spent the next 45 minutes fighting off cows & finally sinking up to our ankles in the water meadow…

Not happy!!

Not happy!!

19. Right… so squelching well we retrace our steps to the railway track & continue under the next bridge…

…where we met….that ‘local’ lady again!!!!!!! This time she said “Ooooo if you’d carried straight on there was a male fox sat on the path. You’d have got a great photo”….not amused!!

20. Finally we come to the correct bridge over the Nene on our map. The problem is the Nene around here is really bendy & we cross it several times on this walk

The view to the lock on the left

The view to the lock on the left

Beautiful side stream

Beautiful side stream

21. We exit the track through the gate below & then turn left to finally head on a proper path towards Woodford…

Nice & wide & fairly dry at this point

Nice & wide & fairly dry at this point

But it soon becomes overgrown & very muddy (more stinging nettles)

But it soon becomes overgrown & very muddy (more stinging nettles)

22. We’re still following the river on our left…

…& when the path divides we take the left hand one…

…& eventually after a short climb we’re out in the open again…

23. We need to take the left path between the fences…

That's the outskirts of Woodford ahead

That’s the outskirts of Woodford ahead

…& we made some new friends along here…

Out of the corner of our eye we spotted a quick movement & quickly changed lens to snap this lovely thrush who was obviously feeding her young

24. So finally, & still with wet feet, welcome to Woodford…click on the link for full history, but there’s evidence of a Neolithic settlement near here as we’ll see later. Unfortunately our walk today doesn’t take us into the village centre, but it’s well worth a visit

An interesting selection of thatch animals

An interesting selection of thatch animals

Our route today lies straight through the village towards the church…

25. St Mary the Virgin Church has an interesting story attached to it so click on the link for the full account…

Basically though…in 1866 repairs were being carried out to the 13th century building &, on removing a piece of broken masonry, one of the workmen touched something that, from its texture, led him to believe that he had found an old, discarded bird’s nest. Pulling it out he let it fall to the stone floor where it shattered into countless pieces.

On closer inspection the object contained a fragile wicker container revealing a small bundle wrapped in cloth. It was a mummified human heart! 

Since that time speculation has been rife as to whose it was & how it got there. Needless to say there are several spooky stories. Again see the above link for the full story

26. Come on let’s get away from here so we keep straight on past the church & an interesting house on the right…

The family were very prominent in the area & their name crops up many times

There's our pointer out of the village

There’s our pointer out of the village

27. Carrying on straight ahead down the lane we enter a field through a kissing gate…

…& then our route out is up the hill over stile on the right. If you look over the river on the left you’ll see the water meadow where we got wet feet!!

…& the path across the field diagonally left seems to be well trodden for some reason…

Oh no...not more frisky young bullocks…& they ain't for moving!

Oh no…not more frisky young bullocks…& they ain’t for moving!

The youngster with the horns was particularly brave & we wouldn’t like to meet his mother…

28. So out through the gate & straight up the hard track towards the road thinking we got away with that, but on the left is….his mum!! Luckily she was behind a fence

Gorgeous lashes

Gorgeous lashes

These animals are from Glebe Farm where we saw the advert for the Open Day earlier

29. On reaching the road we turn left & need to carefully follow this back to Great Addington

Be very careful

Be very careful

Remember we mentioned the area’s connection to Neolithic times? In the field on the right are 3 small hills which are Bronze Age burial mounds…

Keep following the road & eventually we’re back in the village…

30. There’s a bit of a hill now as we pass a house clearly getting ready for the 2014 Football World Cup…

…& our final point of interest on this walk is All Saints Church which dates back to 1234…

So that’s another great walk complete &, if you’re a nature fan, then it’s a great one with plenty to see at all times of the year.

A word of warning though as the paths can get muddy & overgrown & you’re walking around water meadows that are liable to flood.

Despite that & the fact that most of that evening was spent with legs that felt they were having volts of electricity being put through them (from all the nettle stings) this is a fabulous stroll so…Go Walk!!

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