Walk 53: Arthingworth Circular: A walk through a railway tunnel? No ‘Bull’

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 3 miles (4.83km)

Time to walk: We walked this at a very quick pace due to fading light so completed it in about 1 hour. There are a few hills & a couple of pubs en route so it could take longer

Difficulty: This is a combination of hard, gravel paths & a final stretch all across fields, which were quite muddy when we did this walk in January 2015. The early stages are flat, but there is one short, steep field climb towards the end up to the highest point for miles around & then it’s downhill into Arthingworth at the end

Parking: If you’re going to partake at The Bull’s Head in Arthingworth then you can use their car park. We parked in one of the side streets

Public toilets: The Bull’s Head, Arthingworth or The George Inn, Great Oxendon (check as to whether this is open as it was on the market in January 2015)

Map of the route: Not the best, but this is an easy one to follow…

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This walk starts from the ancient village of Arthingworth in the north of the County. Sitting on the top of a hill in a commanding position, it looks out over the River Ise valley  with views across to neighbouring Leicestershire

We’ve wanted to do this walk for quite a time as, not only does it take in some beautiful countryside, it also gives us the opportunity to walk through a disused railway tunnel along the Brampton Valley Way – Tip No. 1. Don’t forget your torch!!

So as light’s fading & this is our second walk of the day, it’s best foot forward…

Let’s Walk!

1. Our walk starts outside The Bull’s Head in Arthingworth, somewhere we’ve not been for many years…

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This is a good, honest pub serving some real ale & offering traditional meals & snacks as well as accommodation. Have a look at the above link for details, but it’s worth a stop before or after the walk

2. With our back to the pub we turn left up the hill & take the left fork up Oxendon Road. St Andrews Church is on the right of the junction…

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3. This is the main residential area in the village & the road initially heads uphill before falling down into the valley…

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Wonder if the natives are friendly?

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Bin day then!

Bin day then!

4. At the bottom of the hill the road changes into a hard track which bisects the fields…

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Ignore the fingerpost sign on the right & just keep on the hard track

5. Shortly on the left we get our first view of the River Ise…

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The River Ise is a tributary of the River Nene & rises in the very field that hosted the Battle of Naseby at the north-western tip of the County, only a few miles from where we are now

Flowing east past Desborough & the Eleanor Cross at Geddington, through the grounds of Rushton Hall, it then turns south & passes Kettering, through Wicksteed Park, past Barton Seagrave & Burton Latimer before joining the Nene just south of Wellingborough

Although small it’s known for its variety of fish, including barbel & is the only river in Northamptonshire known to contain grayling

6. We continue on the track for approximately 1/2 mile before coming to a gate into a farmyard…

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7. There’s no path markings here & we were slightly concerned that we’d missed our turning, but trust us you need to head straight on & hope the cows are friendly…

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Yes we know you've got calves & very big horns but just stay there!!

Yes we know you’ve got calves & very big horns but just stay there please!!

8. Phew…safely negotiated (I’m now considering a new career as a ‘cow whisperer’) we move quickly further along the track through another gate & then up the rise where we’ll pick up the Brampton Valley Way…

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Our escape just in case the cows are following you!

Our escape just in case the cows are following you!

At the top of this rise is our next path…

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Is this a 'cow shine'?

Is this a ‘cow spruce & shine’?

9. Finally we arrive at the Brampton Valley Way & the sign shows that this walk’s shortly going to get exciting!!

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Remember what Tip No.1 was?? Bring a torch…

Anyway moving on…

10. We’ve walked several parts of the Brampton Valley Way before closer to Northampton…

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They'd remembered Tip No.1

They’d remembered Tip No.1…

The Brampton Valley Way is a 14-mile trail built on the way of the former Northampton to Market Harborough Railway

The railway line was closed in 1981 & the 13-mile (21 km) Northamptonshire section was purchased by Northamptonshire County Council with grant aid from the Countryside Commission in 1987. The 1 mile section north of the county boundary is owned by Leicestershire County Council although Northamptonshire County Council undertake the management of the complete route

There are two former railway tunnels on the route, Kelmarsh (322 yards) and Oxendon (462 yards). The tunnels are unlit (Tip No.1…) & so can be quite an experience to travel through, although alternative routes over the them are available

11. If you don’t fancy walking through the tunnel there’s a signpost showing the alternative route, but hey…come on as we’ve got a torch!!

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Finally the tunnel looms into view & you can actually see the other end…

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Have a look at this link as it’s a cracking little website giving the history of the tunnel etc. It only takes 5 or 6 minutes to walk through & today was quiet, although at busy times you’d need to be wary of cyclists

We also found this video on Youtube which someone’s taken walking through it that gives you an idea of the experience (corny commentary though)…

12. So…torch on & let’s go!

Torch…torch…remember Tip No.1…WHERE’S THE TORCH?????   Who forgot the torch???

Okay…..so better use the light app on the iPhone then. We were having problems with the camera at this point so didn’t get many photos

The tunnel floor is slightly uneven & there were a few puddles that you’d obviously see if you had a…oh stop harping on & walk!

One of the best parts is the air shaft as it gives one of those spooky spotlight effects & the water’s also dripping down around you…the bright dot is the other end of the tunnel

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As we said it doesn’t take long to walk through…

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It was pretty damp in there

It was pretty damp in there

13. Finally through (& that was good fun!) we emerge back into the light & head towards the bridge ahead…

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…but before we reach it need to bear left up the narrow steps – be careful here when it’s wet

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14. The path bends left & heads across the top of the tunnel, but our walk turns right over the stile below & into the farm paddock…

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On the right’s a very happy chappy!!

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The path through the paddock’s very well marked – just keep between the fences & then over the stile at the end into another one…

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This paddock’s small & downhill to the stile in the corner – the horse was just waiting for us to slip over…

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15. Over the stile & then the next one into the small lane where we arrive at the main Market Harborough road…

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Turning left we were now looking forward to a quick refreshment at The George Inn but, at our time of walking, this pub was also on the market which is a real shame…

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16. On reaching the crossroads we need to turn towards Braybrooke & follow the road to the garage on the right…

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You can just make out the fingerpost into the field on the right…

IMG_701217. It’s all fields now back to Arthingworth

The first couple though are quite a steep climb so best foot forward, heading just to the right of the ventilation shaft that we walked under in the tunnel…

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…& through the gaps to the top of the hill…

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…where we’re rewarded with some fantastic views over the surrounding countryside…

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18. From the brow of the hill we can see Arthingworth in the distance & the path crosses the fields (with a few stiles) directly towards it…

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Even though the crops are only just starting to grow, the farmer’s done a good job in making sure the path’s visible…

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19. Because the fields were so wet & the paths well trod, the boots were beginning to feel slightly heavy by this stage…

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Only a couple more fields to cross so pass through the gap in the hedge & head to the left of the large oak tree…

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…before crossing the final field to rejoin the hard path we set out on – time to get that mud off the boots!!

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20. Now it’s simply a case of retracing our footsteps back to where we left the car

So that’s the end of our second little walk in one day around this beautiful area of the County. The villages & pubs around here are well worth a visit alone & this walk is short enough to be done either before, or after a drink & bite to eat at The Bull’s Head

However, this is definitely another walk that we’d recommend doing when the fields are much drier, maybe in summer

For something different though the tunnel section’s worth the experience alone…just don’t forget your torch!!

Go Walk!!

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