Walk 45: Kings Cliffe Circular: Bouncing dogs & unusual libraries…

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 6 miles (10km)

Time to walk: About 2.5 – 3 hours. It also depends whether you want to spend more time looking around the two lovely villages we’ll visit on the walk…Kings Cliffe & Apethorpe

Difficulty: Much of this walk’s across meadow land & can get muddy so beware & keep those boots on! There are a few ‘ups & downs’ but nothing too strenuous

Parking: On road in Kings Cliffe – we parked outside the church

Public toilets: Try the Cross Keys in Kings Cliffe or The King’s Arms in Apethorpe – both well worth being paid a visit too!

Map of the route: @ ‘Walks for all Ages’

We decided that we hadn’t paid enough visits to the North of our County so aim to put this right in the coming weeks. We had hoped to visit East Carlton Country Park as well today, but were held up on the road so next time

This area in years gone by was Rockingham Forest which was a royal hunting ground, allegedly a favourite of William the Conqueror. It’s also known for it’s diverse wildlife, including dormice, so we’re wondering what awaits us

Our starting point, Kings Cliffe, lies between Corby, Stamford & Oundle. If you get time have a walk around – it reminds us very much of Cotswold villages

In Saxon times Kings Cliffe was called Clive, which meant “on the bank of a river”. William the Conqueror made it into a Royal Manor & hence the name changed to King’s Clive. “Cliffe” is an old English word meaning a slope or the bank of a river. In 11th Century King John & his son Henry both came to stay

Signs around here also remind us that it was known as ‘The Wood Turning’ village because of its location in Rockingham Forest. It was well known for its wood turning & carving industry

Love it! A local village promoting its heritage

Love it! A local village promoting its heritage

Right….we could babble on forever about this beautiful village, but we have a walk to do today & still need to visit the Church & Watermill!!

So come on…Let’s Walk!!

1. Ok we’ve parked up outside All Saints & St James Church &, as you know, we can’t resist a look inside. Thanks Kings Cliffe it was open!

The tower dates back to Norman times, with late 13th century upper parts and spire. Inside is a monument erected in 1623 to the Thorpe family, whose descendant John Thorpe (1565–1655) was a notable Elizabethan and Jacobean architect

What a welcoming note...

What a welcoming note…

Come on though…let’s look inside…

2. The church is beautiful & the one thing we were immediately struck by was the silence & peace broken only by the ‘tick-tock’ of the internal workings of the clock – how fabulous to hear that!

Beautiful ceiling

Beautiful ceiling

What also struck us is that this is a real community church & there are information & local group leaflets everywhere…

& it had plenty in it...

& it had plenty in it…

What a novel idea!!

What a novel idea!!

There’s also an information leaflet on the Church itself with some great illustrations by Peter Lloyd Bennett…

The stain glass window is calling us towards it…

3. Look…we told you that this walk could take longer than you think, but it really now is time to head out & see what we can find

Outside the Church is Hall Yard. The farmhouse was built in 1603 & Kings Cliffe’s most famous resident, William Law, who was born in the village, retired here in 1740 – see the link for details

Ahead of us is The Rectory…

…& we need to head down the lane on the left…

4. The bottom of the lane opens out into a type of paddock…

…where on the right we can hear the sound of rushing water, but where is it?

We’re actually standing on top of the old mill stream & the building on our right is the mill itself, although you wouldn’t know it. Have a peep through the battered door…

How amazing to see this. Let's hope at some stage it can all be fully restored

How amazing to see this. Let’s hope at some stage it can all be fully restored

Have a wander down to the Willow Brook for another view…

The water we could hear was rushing underneath us

The water we could hear was rushing underneath us

5. Although there’s machinery etc laying around here it’s a little oasis with the crystal clear Willow Brook running through past 2 Willow trees (well they had to be didn’t they!!). Our path out of here though lies across the bridge to the right of the Willow trees…

…across the bridge are a flight of steps we need to ascend before turning left…

6. After following the path for a short while we take the right turn up through the kissing gate below…

…& now we have a bit of ‘cardio time’ as we climb the hill. On every walk we do we always say “as well as looking ahead of you don’t forget to look behind” &, in this case, it’s back at the village…

There were Red Kites ‘buzzing’ us up here & the area’s well know for their reintroduction into the UK

7. As we climb there’s a gate to pass through…

….& a stile to climb…

…but we’re now in some stunning meadowland with lots of flowers & butterflies everywhere which we disturb as we wade through the long grass…

8. Through another gate…

…& on the left is the site is an old clay pit…

9. It’s downhill for this bit &, on the left across the fence here are an abundance of flora…

10. At the bottom of the hill there’s a bridge under the tree where we start our climb uphill, heading straight along keeping the hedge on our left…

…& then after the climb there’s another kissing gate into the next field…

11. It was in this next field that we met Rachel & her 2 dogs including the ‘amazing bouncing dog’! He kept dashing off into the cornfield & then bouncing up to see where he was. So funny & shame we didn’t get a picture…

Where is he??

Where is he??

12. Eventually we arrive at a road which we need to head across & over the bridge into the next field…

…& the path just keeps straight ahead…

If this warm weather continues it could be an early harvest...

If this warm weather continues it could be an early harvest…

13. Finally we come to a gate that takes us out of the field & onto another road…

…where we now have a choice. You can either continue down the road straight across or turn left & walk the couple of hundred yards or so into Apethorpe

For us it was an easy decision as we’d heard a rumour about Apethorpe’s Library & wanted to check it out

Apethorpe’s famous for its Hall (see the link).

Apethorpe Hall is a Grade I listed country house, dating back to the 15th century. The house is built around three courtyards lying on an east-west axis & is acknowledged as one of the finest Jacobean houses in England. It was the main seat of the Fane family, Earls of Westmorland

In its prime the Hall entertained Elizabeth I, James I and Charles I who among them made some thirteen visits to the house. We didn’t get time to visit the Hall today, which is owned by English Heritage, but here’s a picture & it really looks well worth a visit

14. At the crossroads on the right is The Kings Head so if you fancy a break this is a good spot…

Mmmm...

Mmmm…

15. Right…what we’ve really come to see is Apethorpe Library & here it is on the other side of the crossroads…

Established in 2011, residents are asked to put books, dvd’s etc inside to be shared around. How fantastic is that!!

16. Time now to continue our walk so we head back up the hill & turn left at the gate where we exited the field…

Follow the sign...

Follow the sign…

The next mile or so is now on road so it’s easy going. Again Red Kites were all around us & we tried to photo one that was shrieking in a tree, but it didn’t want to show itself…

Much of the land around here is linked to Apethorpe Hall, including the Scots Pine plantation below… 

17. Eventually the road bend to the right & ahead is we can see Cheeseman’s Lodge (with a very noisy dog barking!!)…

…but luckily our route’s not going past it as we need to turn right following the track on the right down the ‘diverted bridleway’…

18. There’s a fab lake down here on the left…large, but secluded so no close-up photos we’re afraid only a peep…

 

New season teasel

New season teasel

19. The track now bends left over a bridge…

…& then follows the hedge up the hill towards Lodge Farm barns…

…where we turn right along another tarmac road…

20. The wood above on the right is Tomlin Wood & we’re going to follow this for the next couple of miles. As we get closer to it we arrive at a crossroads of tracks & need to follow the one that hugs the left of the wood (basically heading straight ahead)…

21. Butterflies abound along here again, especially this one…

It’s a Large Skipper & a first for us…

22. After another couple of hundred yards look out for a sign indicating a footpath through into a field along the other edge of the wood…

….which we follow through a group of interestingly marked birch trees…

…& then along the field keeping Tomlin Wood on our right…

23. Tomlin Wood’s ‘no access’ but it does look a fab place to explore & the type of trees in there change as we move along it from deciduous to carnivorous…

…but finally as we come to the junction our exit is across the bridge onto the road…

…where we turn left & follow it up the hill…

24. There’s a junction ahead at the old tree, but ignore it & head straight towards Spa Farm Cottages…

Now there’s another first along here as when we reach the cottages our route takes us down the marked footpath to the right of the first one…

The darker tree on the left is unusual & has a familiar smell. Grab a couple of leaves, rub & smell…it’s eucalyptus & very pleasant too…not sure what the house holder thought though but we just waved, said hi & moved on…

25. Once over the stile at this time of year the path is very overgrown & it’s stung legs & bramble scratched arms time…

…but the garden on the left has some chickens to entertain us for a while…

26. The path here’s straight ahead & can obviously get quite muddy, but eventually opens out into a field & there ahead again in the distance is Kings Cliffe…

Hug the hedge on the right again, but on the left is a fantastic wild meadow…

…plus actually on our path are some beautiful wild flowers…

27. Eventually we spy a gate on the right leading into another meadow…

…& now it’s a case of walking diagonally across the next two meadows to reach the gate we went through at the top of our first climb…

28. Now we simply walk back down the path we walked up earlier back along the fences with Kings Cliffe straight ahead of us…

…& then it’s simply retrace our steps to arrive back to where we started

29. Fancy a swift refreshment? Then let’s cross over & have a rest in The Cross Keys

So that’s the end of our journey around some lovely countryside in this part of the county.     We do have other walks that will take in the villages themselves as they really are stunners & worth experiencing.

So go & try this one. You won’t be disappointed &, you never know, you might see a ‘bouncing’ dog in a corn field!!

Go Walk!

 

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