Walk 6: Great & Little Brington Circular: A wave to Diana..

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 4.4 miles (7.1 km)

Time to walk: If the weather’s good & 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 & 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 & Little Brington

Map of the route:

This walk covers a beautiful area of Northamptonshire & includes the Spencer Family Estate of Althorp with its links to Princess Diana. Indeed we will get a great view of Althorp House on this walk

The two villages the walk visits are both stunning & there’s benches to sit & chill, plus a couple of terrific pubs if you fancy a snack, or just something to drink

It’s a great stroll so…

Let’s Walk!

1. Park 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 is of course renowned for the Spencer family chapel & vault with 19 generations of the family laying here including Diana’s father. It’s well worth a visit when open, although the Spencer Chapel is heavily alarmed…

2. Turn right out of the car park & follow the lane for about 100 yards until you come to the two footpath signs below…

Take the right path that passes through the avenue of trees leading from Althorp House to the church. Continue through the trees & down across the next field…

3. At the end of the path cross through the gap in the hedge where there was once a stile, & then continue straight ahead, keeping the hedge on your right

4. Follow the path round to the right & into a lane…

There’s some nice properties along here & we’ll come back along here towards the end of the walk

5. At the end of this short lane, turn right & then at the t-junction turn right & head up the hill back into the village. On the left’s the Fox & Hounds The Althorp Coaching Inn which dates back to the 16th century. It’s a fantastic pub that serves 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 usually a free drink for dogs outside

6. At the green turn left turn left into a road called ‘The Pound’. You find this street name in many towns & villages as it was where animals would have been held prior to being marketed…

Walk along here & at the end, in the hedge, is a kissing gate into a grass field

7. The path isn’t well marked here so walk diagonally right towards the trees below…

…passing through the gate. The lock is unusual but you have to lift the catch before sliding the bolt

8. Now you need to walk diagonally left across the field towards the large tree in the picture below. In recent years there’s been an electric fence here, but look for a low insulated step over…

Upon approaching the tree, the field starts to drop down quite sharply. Continue past it to the bottom right corner of the field…

…where you’ll find a kissing gate that exits onto a road

9. On reaching the road turn left & continue along it for approximately 500 yards, passing several metal gates (do not go through these). The road bends left past the two large trees in the picture below…

Just pass them are two footpath signs. Take the first one on the left through a gap in the hedge over the brand new stile

10. Keep straight ahead & climb the hill aiming to the right of the wood below…

At the top of the slope pass through the gap where an old gate once was &, keeping the wood on your left, follow the track round & the right down the hill towards a telegraph pole stile with a white marker beside it…

Carefully climb the stile – it was at this point we began to wish we hadn’t worn shorts! Beware of the nettles!

11. Once over the stile continue in the same direction up the steep slope, keeping the hedge on your right, to find another stile. Cross this & pass through the gap in the hedge into the open fields…

When we first did this walk six years ago, this was where we encountered a major problem. The farmer had sown maize which was very high & the path had not been left clear. Today in 2020 the maize plants were only small, but the route is straight ahead towards the telegraph poles & Nobottle church spire…

12. Having headed towards the telegraph poles, go over the next stile…

This time there was no maize in this field, only very high oil seed rape, but luckily a path had been left (can you see Nobottle Spire?)

13. The path arrives at a hedge with a track going off to the left. We need to keep going in the same direction following the telegraph poles, so walk through the open gate & keep the hedge on your right…

At the end of the first field pass the kissing gate that was obviously once part of a fence!

14. Walk left to the hedge &, keeping it on you left, continue towards Little Brington ahead, passing underneath the telegraph wires…

15. The path drops & passes some way markers, showing it continuing up the next field…

At the top, pass through the kissing gate into a pasture. Now aim directly for Nobottle Spire once more…

16. The field drops down to a gate beside a shed. Pass through & walk up the narrow path beside the paddock…

…& then the grassy track to exit through the gate into Little Brington

17. Now, if you fancy a rest or some refreshments turn right & have a well earned stop at the Saracens Head ( we can really recommend it!)

18. To continue this walk turn left from where you exited the fields & walk to the junction with the village green…

The route now lies straight across down the side of a lodge, which doesn’t look like a path. It’s actually not a public right of way, but a carriage way from Althorp House, however permission is given to the public to walk along it to find the next path

19. Just round the corner pass through another gate & continue along the tree-lined avenue, ignoring the footpath sign on the right…

For the next half mile just enjoy a beautiful, peaceful stroll…

20. After 900 yards you’ll come across a sign saying it’s now private property & ahead you can see the entrance to Althorp House. On reaching this sign, turn left at the footpath through the hedge…

…& walk across the field, heading just to the right of the large tree

21. Once through the kissing gate, walk slightly diagonally left, towards the right of the houses in the distance. You should be able to see the trodden path in the grass…

On reaching the rather attractive properties, pass through the metal gate into the lane

22. After roughly 50 yards turn right at the footpath sign to Harlestone passing down the lane we came up earlier…

23. Continue straight ahead along the grass track as it bends slightly right down the hill, ignoring all others coming in from the sides, towards the wood in the distance…

Keep on the track beside the wood heading for the gate, which leads to a road & the boundary wall of Althorp House

24. Pass through the gate & turn left up the road. Shortly, where the wall is lower you get an incredible view of Althorp (click on the link to access their site). If you’re lucky you should be able to see some of the Estate’s Deer Herd

24. Continue along the road to almost the bend & then bear left up the avenue of trees that you crossed at the start of our walk. Again this is a permissive public footpath

At the top of the avenue the church & car park come into view once more where this walk ends

So…a lovely little walk, parts of which get quite popular in the summer. We’d recommend you go when the church is open & don’t forget to look for the older Spencer ancestry graves in the churchyard on the left, just through the gate from the car park

Plus definitely make time for a stop at Fox and Hounds, or go now as a reward!

Go Walk!

20 Responses to Walk 6: Great & Little Brington Circular: A wave to Diana..

  1. Tom says:

    Completed this walk this morning and thoroughly enjoyed it. The guide could not have been clearer! Thank you.

  2. Phil says:

    Done the walk today. I often cycle around the area but the walk made me see it completely differently. Your guide was perfect, thank you!

  3. Kev says:

    Did the walk this morning, saw loads of deer in front of Althorp house.
    PS Has anyone come across any cattle in the pasture you cross just before you reach Nobottle?
    I went across there at around 10.30 am and there were a few fresh(ish) cowpats but no sign of any cows.

    • Thanks Kev. Glad you enjoyed it. I’ve done that walk 3 times, but never seen any. There were some in the field on the bit back from the permissive walk across the field to Great Brington but they were quite passive

  4. Graham Brown says:

    Completed 06/07/20

    Such a contrast to the footpath issues on Walk 5! Everything signposted perfectly, brambles and nettles (for the most past) cleared. This was a wonderful way to break in some new boots. Nice easy stroll with loads of interesting things to look at! Beautifully described, as always!

  5. Holly Parnell says:

    Hi, we did this walk today with the family, thanks for the clear directions. It took us 3 hours taking it easy as the littlest legs among us was 3yo and it was warm. Very beautiful. Wild raspberries. Thoroughly recommend!

  6. Andy says:

    Completed this walk today, very enjoyable, great directions and looking forward to completing another walk soon, thanks.

  7. Ian says:

    Very enjoyable .
    Pub in Great Brington was shut but the Saracens Head in Little Brington was a smashing place for refreshments and dog friendly too

  8. Chrissie says:

    We did this walk today. The instructions were really clear and easy to follow thanks. However, the walk was very muddy and slippery, especially on the hills, so maybe leave this until summer if you don’t want to get your boots dirty!

  9. Patti says:

    We did this walk this morning and it is now one of our favourites. Directions were spot on and ground was good the entire route. Took exactly 2 hours and we had a 5 year old with us.

  10. Suzie says:

    Thank you what a wonderful walk we have enjoyed today plus a lunch at the Saracens head 😀

  11. Suzie says:

    Thank you what a wonderful walk we have enjoyed today plus a lunch at the Saracens head 😀

  12. Allan McLundie says:

    Done a shorter variation of this many times most recently on 12/11/2, it’s worth noting however if your doing this walk soon that the pub in Great Brington is closed but the Saracens Head in little Brington is open .

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