The ‘Needs to Know’
Distance: 4.4 miles (7.1 km)
Time to walk: If the weather’s good and the land dry you should be able to cover this in just under 2 hours, although there’s a cracking couple of pubs en route so you might want to make it a leisurely stroll calling in at Great Brington church too if it’s open.
Difficulty: Mainly off road including across grass fields. There are a few steep up & down hills and it can get muddy in winter, but it’s great to enjoy the changing seasons
Parking: Use the parking either behind the church in Great Brington, or park in the road
Public toilets: Pubs in Great Brington and Little Brington
Map of the route (not the best & ignore the numbers. Best to follow the instructions:
This is the first time we’d done this walk & followed another publication which followed the 30 grid reference points on the map above. We found this to be very complicated and lost the path a couple of times in a race against a huge thunderstorm.
So just follow the guide below & you’ll be fine. Right…Let’s Walk!
1. Our parking point is in the car park behind the church in the gorgeous village of Great Brington. The church is open quite a few days of the week, serving teas on some of them. It of course is renowned for the Spencer family chapel & vault with 19 generations of the family laying here including Diana’s father. Well worth a visit!
2. Turn right out of the car park & follow the lane for about 100 yards until you come to the two footpath signs below…we need to take the right path that passes through the avenue of trees leading from the Althorp Estate to the church.
Continue through the trees and down across the next field & then cross into the next one keeping the hedge on your right
3. Follow the path round to the right & into a lane. Some nice properties along here & we’ll see them again later.
4. At the crossroads turn right and then at the tea junction turn right & head up the hill back into the village. Here on the left is the Fox & Hounds The Althorp Coaching Inn which dates back to the 16th century. Fantastic pub serving great beer & food. If you don’t fancy a stop now then call in at the end of the walk. It’s also got a great courtyard on a sunny day.
Also note the Post Office next door. There’s a free drink outside
5. Continue up the hill staying on the left and turn left into a road known as ‘The Pound’. Walk along here & at the end is our route through a gate & into a grass field. There’s no path now so we got a bit lost, but just follow these notes & photos & you’ll be fine.
6. Our route lies diagonally right through the gate below:
Again this is just a grass field with no sign of a path, but trust us & head slightly left and our aim is just right of the large bush in the picture above. Once you get there go carefully down the steep grassy hill and through the gate into the lane. Turn left and follow the lane for about 500 yards turning left at the first Footpath sign. Climb over the stile & into another field.
7. Keeping the hedge on your right, climb the hill aiming to the right of the wood below:
Keeping the wood on your left follow the fence round until you come to another fence where you can’t go any further. Now turn right & follow the hedge on your left down & up the steep hill to the stile at the top. Cross over this and the next one into the next field.
8. We now had a few problems…our map said that we should follow the well marked path past the telegraph poles to the next stile. Our problem? The farmer had planted maize & had not left the path clear. All we could do was aim for the telegraph poles, but as you can see from the second photo, the maize was well above our heads
9. So eventually we break free & climb yet another stile & then our route lies straight ahead across the fields into Little Bridgeton
So once we arrive in Little Brington we have a choice….turn right & have a well earned stop at the Saracens Head (& I can really recommend it!)
or, if you hear the impending noise of a very large thunderstorm you can turn left & crack on…
10. So turning left we come across the village green & stop for water. Our route now lies straight across down the side of a house which doesn’t look like a path. It’s actually not a public right of way, but a carriage way from Althorp House, however we’re given permission to walk it to find our next path. That storm’s chasing us now…we’ve gotta move!!
11. After 900 yards you’ll come across a sign saying it’s now private property & ahead you can see the entrance to Althorp House. For us, we need to turn left at the footpath sign & head back across the fields to Great Brington
12. Have a look across to your right as you walk up here & you can just see Althorp House peeping at you…
By now the storm clouds are really gathering & it’s thundering loudly so there’s less photos!
13. Exit the field by the gate at the top on the right and after about 50 yards turn right at the footpath sign to Harlestone passing down the lane we came up earlier. Now instead of turning left and back along our original track follow the path straight ahead. At the bottom enter the wood and follow the path around to the left until you arrive at the road.
14. Bear left and follow the road for 400m. You now get a great view of Althorp (click on the link for their site).
15. After 400m we come to the avenue of trees that we crossed at the start of our walk. Now it’s time to turn left and walk up them back to the church and our car park. Whilst again this is not a public footpath, the Althorp Estate allows people to use it.
So…a nice little walk that if you stick to these instructions you’ll follow easily. We’d recommend you go when the church is open, plus definitely make time for a stop at Fox and Hounds, or go now as a reward!
Did we get wet? No…we were lucky as the storm passed to the south of us resulting in a deluge back in Northampton