Walk 60: Sudborough Circular: Living it up around Lyvedon New Bield

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 7.5 miles (12.07km)

Time to walk: This walk takes in Lyvedon New Bield so, allowing time for visiting, around 4 hours

Difficulty: Pretty much all off road. We walked this in March 2015 & some areas were still very muddy. Undulating in places, but not strenuous

Parking: On road in Sudborough

Public toilets: The Vane Arms in Sudborough at the start & end, or the Tea Room at Lyvedon

Map of the route: @Walking World, but ignore the pointers & follow our instructions!

map copy

This is a pretty special walk as it takes in one of our favourite Northamptonshire places…Lyvedon New Bield

That aside, it’s very much a country (through the woods-type) walk & you’re unlikely to see many other people – we walked this in late March & only met a couple & a dog!

There’s not much to tell before we start so let’s just get going & we’ll see what we find…Come on…

Let’s Walk!

1. So our walk starts in the lovely village of Sudborough & we suggest you park by the round house just off the main road bypass coming from Thrapston direction…


There’s not to much to report about Sudborough, but we can really recommend The Vane Arms which is a well-established village pub…

Vane arms

…but we’ve got 7.5 miles to cover so a refreshment there will wait until the end

2. So after parking as above head away from the village towards the bypass…


…& before reaching the corner cut through the gap on the left…



3. Be careful on reaching the road as it’s extremely busy, but head straight across past where this pesky car’s parked & through the gate – it’s all country walking now…


…so initially just follow the edge of the field round a couple of bends until reaching the edge of the wood…



4. Ignore the Fermyn Woods sign & path on the left & head straight on through the woods & keep going up the hill…


…crossing straight over the crossroads & back into the next wood…



Yummy wild garlic

Yummy wild garlic

5. It can get very muddy here in wet weather & there’s about another quarter of a mile until we emerge from the trees at another crossroads. Again, head straight across & down the wider grassy track…



You’ll note the trees on left are deciduous &, on the right, conifers…


6. At the bottom of the hill follow the track round to the right & up the next hill, eventually emerging into the open again…



7. It’s good to be back out in the open air & the views all round are good. The path’s still easy to follow keeping straight on in the direction we were heading with the hedge on the left down the hill & round to the left…



It was along here that we saw the ‘footprint’ of what looked very much like a one-legged horse!


8. Eventually the path reaches another crossroads which is the bridleway from Lowick to Waddenhoe…

IMG_9277Turn left here & follow the track past all signs & gates until reaching the road…


Keeps going past the gate

Keeps going past the gate

It’s a bit of a boring slog up here with any views obscured by hedges, so ‘head down’ for a bit of cardio

Here's the road...

Here’s the road…

9. Cross the road & enter the field…


…& follow the hedge on the left for about a quarter of a mile past the farm & the large tree…



10. Just past the tree’s a ridge with a footpath sign showing the path diagonally right towards the corner of the Wadenhoe Great Wood…




11. Pass through the gate in the corner & then follow the right fence to the gate on the left…



…which after passing through turn immediately left & follow the hard track…


12. After 50 yards pass through the gate, turn right & head up the hill…


Fair enough...

Fair enough…


13. At the top of the rise ignore the track on the left & bear right watching out for the gate on the left a few yards further on…


14. Time to head directly towards beautiful Lyvedon New Bield by passing through the gate & down the hill to the next couple of kissing gate (watch out above as this is Red Kite country…)

The ground soon drops away to a stream which we cross & head up the next track…



…& through the final gate before heading up the hill towards Lyvedon…


15. The route’s clear &, on reaching the gate out of the wood, Lyvdon New Bield is straight ahead…

Would they be Kites?

Would they be Kites – yes they are!



16. When we continue our walk it will be from the footpath sign below just before the car park…

IMG_9327In the meantime let’s have a look at this strange property & its amazing grounds…


The entrance is just past the cottage...

The entrance is just past the cottage…

17. Please remember these are private grounds owned by the National Trust. Entrance if dwn the hill at the Manor House. No trespassing is allowed…we are members. Lyveden New Bield is an unfinished, Grade I listed Elizabethan house

It was constructed for Sir Thomas Tresham, the fervent Roman Catholic of Rushton Hall. The exact date is unknown, but it’s estimated around 1604–05, the year of Tresham’s death. The New Bield was on the estate of Tresham’s second home, Lyveden Manor House, also known as Lyveden Old Bield


Lyveden was never completed as the money ran out & the builders left following Tresham’s death

Like Tresham’s other folly, the Triangular Lodge at Rushton, the New Bield has a religious design full of symbolism. Designed on a plan reminiscent of a Greek cross, the facades have an exact symmetry decorated by religious symbols. These contain emblems & motifs also seen at the triangular lodge, such as the “IHS” christogram



Entrance is round the back through the servants’ doorway…



The building has two floors above a raised basement, with mullioned & transomed windows. Each floor had three rooms with a staircase in the south projection of the cross.




The house was obviously meant for occupation as, not only does it have a great hall & parlour on the first floor & kitchen & buttery in the basement, but also a bedroom on the upper floor


The building was probably never intended for full-time occupation. Too close to the main house for use as a hunting lodge, it may have been intended for use as a “Secret House” which was a custom of the 16th century. Often within a mile of the main house, the secret house was a place where the head of the household would retire for a few days with a minimum of servants, while the principal house was thoroughly cleaned

18. The grounds are also well worth exploring, starting at the far end away from the building

The old orchard has been fully replanted with many rare fruit trees


In 2010, National Trust experts studying photographs taken by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War discovered the remains of an Elizabethan labyrinth & garden in the grounds. A copy of the photograph can be seen in the shop. The gardens were subsequently upgraded to a Grade I listing by English Heritage. The National Trust reconstructed Tresham’s orchard & restored the moat on three sides of the labyrinth



Partly surrounded by the moats is the intriguing spiral mound…



The path was built in this fashion to allow the ladies of the day to walk higher up via a slope without having to hitch up their long skirts

Sir Thomas Tresham died in 1605 following decades of religious persecution & with his vast wealth having been severely depleted. His son Francis Tresham inherited the estate, but within the same year, along with his cousins Catesby & Wintour, became involved in the Gunpowder Plot. Therefore, within a year the estate had a third owner, Francis’s son Lewis Tresham. The estate was managed by Lewis’s mother until her death in 1615. After this Lewis Tresham, a spendthrift, lost the remaining family wealth. The estate was eventually sold following the death of his son in 1643

19. The final thing to tell you about Lyveden New Bield is it has a superb tea room which is near the Manor – they do some great home-made soups!


Right…it’s time to move on & finish our walk so head back to the car park & the signpost we saw earlier…

20. Follow the direction of the signpost, keeping the hedge on the right…


…&, after bending left, turn right upon reaching Lady Wood…



21. Keep the wood on the left  for the next half mile & on reaching the marker post, head for the gap in the hedge…


We were ‘buzzed’ from above by a glider from the nearby Welland Gliding Club

S122. On reaching the hedge, don’t pass through the gap, but turn left & walk towards the wood looking for the path into it…


What's that all about then?

What’s that all about then?

Turn into the wood at the marker post…


23. Continue through the trees for roughly 100 yards & the path then meets a forest track where we turn left…



24. The next mile is all on hard tracks & is flat, easy walking. After a couple of hundred yards take the right turn at the junction at the green gate…


The road bends left, then right angles right, followed by right angles left at the picture below…



… then left again & finally it curves right up a hill but just keep going & you can’t go wrong

Can you see a bear in this photo or is it just us?

Can you see a bear in this photo or is it just us?

On the final right bend there’s some colourful barks on the left side…



25. Just past the birches look for a waymarker on the right pointing the way back into the woods…




26. This path is now going to take us all the way back to where we first entered the wood & is really easy to follow. Just keep straight at all intersections before it bends downhill & becomes narrow between a fence & hedge…


…until it reaches the gate that we passed on our left at the start…


27. Pass through the gate & turn right to exit the wood. Now just retrace the route back out of the field & across the busy road to where we parked

So that’s the end of what’s been quite a varied walk combining fields & woodland with the fascinating Lyveden New Bield

Apart from those at Lyveden hardly saw a soul for the whole 7.5 miles & the birdsong in the woods was fab. So if the ground’s dry…

Go Walk!




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