Walk 49: Kingsthorpe Circular: Kings, Dallies, Firs & a couple of Chapels…

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 5.6 miles (9.01 km)

Time to walk: Today took us about 2 hours 50 minutes, but that was with lots of photo taking so it can be done in about 2.5 hours

Difficulty: All off road, but mainly flat. We walked this on a crisp December 2014 morning &, as we’d had a lot of rain, were expecting it to be a lot wetter than it actually was

Parking: There’s a specific Brampton Valley Way car park opposite the Windhover pub in Kingsthorpe, Northampton. As we didn’t see this we parked in the very large pub car park

Public toilets: The Windhover at the start & end & The Spencer Arms 3/4 of the way round

Map of the route: Not the best & ignore the numbers. Just follow our instructions as the route’s pretty easy…

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So what can we tell you about this walk?

Well…given the short winter daylight hours we wanted a walk without too much travelling so chose this one starting in Kingsthorpe on the edge of Northampton

It takes in the Brampton Valley Way & Dallington Heath before crossing over into Harlestone Firs & then back across the fields to Chapel Brampton, before picking up the old railway line back to the start

This walk’s one for all ages &, because of its varied terrain gives us the opportunity to see many varieties of birds etc (today we saw Wren, Buzzards, Sparrowhawks, Falcons, numerous Robins & Woodpeckers). Apparently the Heath’s also noted for grass snakes…we didn’t see one of them but did have a close encounter with a beautiful fox

Plus if you’re a train spotter….well you need to be very careful

With frost on the ground & not a cloud in the sky it’s one of those mornings when it’s great to be alive so wrap up well &…

Let’s Walk!

1. So…as we said, take the A5199 out of Northampton towards Spratton &, when coming out of the built-up area at a sharp left with traffic lights, turn right to park in either the Windhover car park or in the Brampton Valley Way one on the other side of the road

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The Windhover is one of Northampton’s newer pubs & is well worth a visit…

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Could be good!

Could be good!

2. It could be an option for lunch, but first we need to burn a few calories off so head across the road & turn south along Brampton Valley Way back towards Northampton…

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We’ve got about 1/2 mile to walk along the track & already we’ve made some new friends…

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Keep going past a couple of new gates…

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3. The gate on the right that we need we is just past the dog poo bin (classy we know!)…

…& once entering the field we’re in an area known as Kingsthorpe North Meadows

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These meadows were bought in 2009 thanks to public donations & are now managed by the local Charitable Trust. There’s many different kinds of plants here

4. Upon entering the field we need to turn straight left & follow the narrow grass path to reach the first bridge (we’re walking into a low sun now)…

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5. Eventually we come to the first bridge over the river & ahead we can see the railway line we need to cross shortly…

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…30 years younger & on a warm summer’s day we wouldn’t mind a go at this…

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6. Oh come along children…let’s head across the next bridge towards the railway line…

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The area we’re now crossing is known as Dallington Heath. This area’s had some bad press in the past with criminal activity & now there’s plans to build 2000+ homes here which would be a real shame

7. Our next trig point is the tree on the right…

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…the tree here is very hollow & doesn’t look to have much of a life left…

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8. And now a warning…It’s been a long time since we’ve crossed a major railway line having to look left & right, but that’s what we to have to do here…

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9. Finally & safely across we now need to head diagonally right across the field towards the farm & a gate into the lane…

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In the shot above they were doing a photo shoot & we didn’t get a response to our “Hi” Shame as we had a considerably larger lens than you…ha ha!!

10. Passing through the gate we turn right along the lane & bear round pass the farm…

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…where we head straight along & down the narrow path between the fences…

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…until reaching the wood where we need to take the left fork…

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11. We’re now heading towards Harlestone Firs & following the boundary of Northamptonshire Golf Club on the right…

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The light today is simply amazing…

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…& eventually we reach the entrance into Harlestone Firs which is a real bonus on this walk..

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11. We need to take the left hand fork here for about 100 yards…

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…before bearing right after 250 yards…

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12. Even at this time of the year the colours along here are amazing…

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13. After the trees above we need to turn left at another track crossroads…

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…& now head up the hill past the saw mill on the left…

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14. Keep heading up here & this is where the light’s really coming into its own…

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15. Just before the path starts heading downhill we need to bear right…

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..past a very ugly mobile phone mast…

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16. At the bottom of this track we head straight across & under the railway bridge…

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…where we arrive at a bridge…

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…that we don’t cross, but turn left before & follow the track alongside the wood…

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17. At the end of the wood, ignore the railway bridge on the left & turn the corner round to the right & across the bridge…

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…where we probably have the steepest climb on this walk (& it isn’t that bad)…

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18. Made it to the top of the climb? Well then it’s now time to dodge the golf balls as we cross one of the fairways of Northamptonshire County Golf Club

Wanna join? Well you need to get 2 existing members to propose you & then pay a one-off joining fee. No? Well just head a few hundred yards down the road to Brampton Heath Golf Club, pay your well earned cash & enjoy…

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Head straight across…

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19. Once we each the track let’s turn left & follow it to the clubhouse…

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…turning left into the car park…

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…& then right past the front of the clubhouse…

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20. After exiting the gates we head down the drive past some very expensive houses in the lovely village of Church Brampton…

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…& once we reach a house on the left called Ferndean turn immediately right & down the narrow gap besides the house opposite…

The gap's hard to spot but it's here on the right

The gap’s hard to spot but it’s here on the right

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Apparently this track’s sometimes very overgrown so, if that’s the case, just follow the drive to the end of the road & turn right

21. Today though it was fine & we eventually emerge onto what looks like someone’s driveway…

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22. Eventually we meet the main road, turn left & follow it to the crossroads, but before we get there just have a quick peek at amazing ‘mansions’ along this road…

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23. At the crossroads turn right & cross over the road passing a rather plush looking bus stop…

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Chai chai chai...

Chai chai chai…

…before we look for a path on the left that we’ve walked some time ago on another walk

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The badge on the gate shows we’re on a familiar path…The Midshires Way

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24. The path now follows the hedge & there’s also some pretty good views across our county…

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…& shortly we reach another crossroads…

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…where we turn left & then immediately right down the well marked path towards Chapel Brampton. The farmer here really is a star as, like when we walked here last year, the crops were much higher & the path was kept so clear…

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25. Eventually we emerge at a road & ignore the bridleway sign below to turn right up the road – be careful here though as it’s a one-way street & the traffic moves pretty quickly…

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26. Some of the photos aren’t that good now as the rest of this walk’s into the sun. At the top of the road we turn left at the junction…

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…to arrive at the crossroads with the main road…

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We’ve already reviewed it in another walk, but if you fancy a break then The Spencer Arms is just on the right here

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27. Today though we head straight over the crossroads down the hill…

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…to eventually arrive at a footpath marker on the right just before the bridge…

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28. We’re now going to head straight back across the fields to our starting point. Our first challenge is to head straight across this field to the stile…

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…passing some lovely mates…

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So here’s the first one which was a bit of a challenge with a full backpack on as the farmer had put a waist-level bar across & it was a hands & knees job…

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29. The path to the second stile’s really easy to follow…

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…but the next one’s not quite so. The trick is to head just to the right of the old car & caravan below…

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Whilst we didn’t get a photo, at this point we came face to face with a beautiful fox who stared at us for a few seconds & then quickly disappeared into the undergrowth

30. The stile’s below & after climbing just head diagonally right for a few yards to climb into the next field…

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…where we’re now heading into the bridge in the distance…

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…towards the railway line…

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The last time we walked along here we spotted Sparrowhawks – today it was a pair of Buzzards chasing off a Kestrel

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31. The river here’s quite interesting & we wouldn’t mind casting a baited hook into the pool beneath the weir…

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…whilst the view the other side’s one of serenity…

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32. To finish this walk off we need to head right towards Boughton Mill (which we never knew existed until today)…

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33. We need to head to the right of the old mill…

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…past the beautiful mill pond…

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…before turning left to follow the marked path once more…

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34. Cue the woman opening the door who is unable to control her dogs after blatantly seeing me first…anyway they soon realised who was boss

Maybe it was, as the sign says “CC Robinson of Boughton Mill Riding School”. If so, other less mortals would have been afraid so please control your dogs next time thank you…

Anyway…just after the last barn turn left over the stile onto Brampton Valley Way again…

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35. Now once again we’re simply following the restored railway line back to the start of our walk…

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…& eventually, as they say, we come to the end of the line…

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36. Now all we need to do is turn left to find our car wherever we parked…

So that’s the end of todays walk & what a little cracker it is & is only on the outskirts of our town. If the planners have their way there may soon be several hundred more houses on Dallington Heath so go & walk now as it will be a real shame when this area disappears

It’s another gem so…

Go Walk!!

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