Walk 48: Canons Ashby Circular: Round & round the Mulberry Bush…

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 3.7 miles (5.95 km)

Time to walk: This one only takes around 1.5 hours so it’s ideal to combine with a visit to the amazing Canons Ashby House (& tea room!)

Difficulty: A real mix of quiet country lanes, grass tracks & (in October) some drilled fields. It’s an undulating walk too so, if you fancy a workout, pace it!

Parking: Being National Trust members we parked in the House’s car park – don’t forget to show your ticket. If you’re not a member well just walk up the lane to the ticket office.

Public toilets: Canons Ashby House

Map of the route: 

This area of our Shire is one of the most beautiful…lovely old villages, rolling countryside, history & lots of wildlife

Lots of the fields around here are “ribbed” to show where the boundaries of each family owned a plot

Canons Ashby House is a beautiful property owned by The National Trust. If you’re not a member then just pay the fee, but include a bit extra for the guided tour as it’s well worth the admission fee alone

So what can we tell you about this walk? Well it’s very easy &, in early October, Autumn’s already here in all its glory. It’s a short one, but the villages of Canons Ashby & lovely Moreton Pinkney are well worth a look around

So why are we wasting time….

Let’s Walk!!

1. Being National Trust members we parked in the house car park, although we don’t think anyone checks this, but just pay the fee & visit the fab house & gardens. Probably the best time to do this is late summer when the vegetable gardens are at their best plus the Mulberry Tree is in fruit…

The admissions hut in the car park is great & rather quirky…

Canons Ashby’s an Elizabethan House built by the Drydens using the remains of a medieval priory, the house and gardens

It’s been in the hands of the National Trust since 1981 when the house was close to collapse & the fantastic gardens had turned into a meadow. “The Tower” of the building is looked after by the Landmark Trust & you can stay there!

The house had been the home of the Dryden family since its construction in the 16th century, being built in approximately 1550 with additions in the 1590s, 1630s & 1710

John Dryden married Elizabeth Cope in 1551 & inherited, through his wife, an L-shaped farmhouse which he gradually extended. In the 1590s his son, Sir Erasmus Dryden completed the final north range of the house which enclosed the Pebble Courtyard

The interior of the house is famous for its Elizabethan wall paintings & Jacobean plasterwork. It’s remained essentially unchanged since 1710

The gardens are well worth a visit in the summer months with colourful herbaceous borders, an orchard featuring varieties of fruit trees from the 16th century, terraces, walls and gate piers from 1710. There’s also the remains of a medieval priory church (from which the house gets its name)

There’s also a Mulberry Tree which was in fruit the last time we visited…

Also close by is Canons Ashby Church (St Mary’s). Here’s a video we found online…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShXAPauI0lA

2. Today we’ve not come to see the house, but to walk around the surrounding landscape so….having parked in the car park let’s exit through the main gates…

…& turn right down the lane past the gates to the House gardens & immaculate vegetable plots…

Be careful walking down here as the road is pretty narrow…

3. After a couple of hundred yards we arrive at a footpath signpost showing the entrance into a field on the left…

…so pass through the kissing gate…

Whether or not there was something wrong with the electric fencing in this field we’re not sure, but there were many strange crackling noises going on so just beware

4. The path lies straight ahead across the field to another kissing gate, but we meet with some of our ‘friends’ early on…

Whoa…stay there fella!!

Whoa…stay there fella!!

The last few times we’ve encountered cows we’ve had bad experiences, but this one & his ladies were very placid. Maybe it’s because it wasn’t now breeding time or something

There's the kissing gate into the next field

There’s the kissing gate into the next field

5. After passing into the next field we meet ‘the ladies’…

They weren’t particularly interested either & didn’t want to set foot on the cultivated field that we now have to cross, heading for the road…

The way out is in the bottom corner

The way out is in the bottom corner

6. This road stretch is only short, but we turn right & pass what used to be Moreton Pinkney Station Yard which was opened in 1873 & closed in 1952…

IMG_4516

Some fine specimens around here

Some fine specimens around here

…before turning right into the next field

Without knowing it we now actually back on a footpath we’ve walked parts of before (near Stoke Bruerne rings a bell) the Macmillan Way

The Macmillan Way is a long-distance footpath in England that links Boston, Lincolnshire to Abbotsbury in Dorset. The route’s distance is 290 miles (470 km). It is promoted to raise money for the charity Macmillan Cancer Relief

7. There’s more ‘wildlife’ in this field, but it’s of the ‘woolly’ variety. The path heads for another stile which is between the first & second telegraph poles…

Hello girls!

Hello girls!

8. The next field, also full of sheep, is of historical interest & similar to many others we’ve come across near old villages

The furrows here date back to medieval times & the uneven bumps etc show where the old village once stood…

The exit from this field is across the stile-bridge diagonally left…

9. Now it’s head across the next field to the left corner where we finally pass through another kissing gate & head down the grass lane to arrive in beautiful Moreton Pinkney…

Moreton Pinkney is a stunning village with references back to the times of Edward the Confessor & Norman times, although most of today’s properties are early 18th Century. They were built of brown ironstone. We need to turn right & follow the road towards the Manor which was built in 1859

10. The entrance to the Manor House lies through the very impressive Victorian ‘Scottish baronial’ style gatehouse which was designed by EF Law of Northampton & bears the arms of Lord Sempril

There’s a  fantastic knotted rope running round it…

11. Continue round the bend walking on the right side taking the footpath through to Prestige Row…

IMG_4549The house on the right here has some impressive fruit trees…

12. Entering Prestige Row we can see why this beautiful part of the village gets its name from. The 18th Century cottages here have a unique feature which if you visit in May you’ll see at its glorious best. A single wisteria winds its way across all the cottages, linking them together

…& our route away from it is down the left road above called Brooke Lane (guess what there is at the bottom of it?). The properties down here are also stunning…

There's a thriving village entertainment scene...

There’s a thriving village entertainment scene…

13. Finally at the bottom of Brooke Lane we arrive at….the brook!

…& follow the path straight ahead past the bench (time for a bit of R&R before an uphill stretch if you need it)…

14. The stretch of the walk on this track until the next checkpoint is steadily uphill & quite long so just keep straight ahead until you finally come to the lane with the old railway bridge on the left…

Keep left at the fork

Keep left at the fork

Last of this years Sloes - we didn't manage to make any Sloe Gin this time

Last of this years Sloes – we didn’t manage to make any Sloe Gin this time

If it’s been raining the track can become a bit muddy so hop around the puddles…

15. Eventually after passing a farm on the right the path narrows & enters a wood…

…& finally we arrive at the road & old railway bridge…

16. The rest of this walk is now along narrow lanes so please be careful. We don’t need to cross the bridge, but simply continue straight ahead round the right bend…

…& finally out into the open once more. On the left here is the entrance to Foxhill Farm which has a horse cross-country course across its fields. A look at the above link shows just how impressive this equestrian centre is…

It's great to be back in the sunshine again

17. Follow the road down the hill & across the stream marked with white railings, before passing through what was once a railway bridge – plenty of old railway tracks around here

There were plenty of ducks quacking around here, but we couldn’t find them so continued up the hill to the crossroads…

18. At the crossroads it’s right turn & follow the up & down lane that takes us all the way back to Canons Ashby…

There’s a good chance to stretch the legs & lungs along this final stretch…

…& it also has fine views back across to Moreton Pinkney…

…& ahead to Canaons Ashby…

19. We managed to just save a cat from being run over here as a car came over a blind bump rather quickly…

Almost back...

Almost back…

On the left in the dip are the famous Canons Ashby Lakes which were developed by the Canons of Canons Ashby, medieval Augustinian Friars, to provide food for the monastery. Today the Lakes are one of the top Northamptonshire’s fishing venues

20. Right…time to finish this walk so carry on down the lane. We had to say hi to the gorgeous ladies on the right first though…

Just round the corner we arrive at the point where we entered the first field & now simply need to continue up the hill past the gates back to the car park

So there we are, safely back at the car park &, unfortunately today, with no time to visit the house. What we’ll do is revisit & then post under the ‘About Northamptonshire’ section of the Blog

This walk’s another pre or post lunch stroll & visit to Canons Ashby House, but some of the tracks may get wet after prolonged rain so walking boots recommended

It’s a good one though & we must go back in May to look at that wisteria!!

Go Walk!!

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s