Walk 62: Middleton & East Carlton Circular: ‘Steel yourself’…

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 4 miles (6.4km)

Time to walk: Cracking little walk that can easily be done in 1.5 hours

Difficulty: Mainly off road. A couple of steep climbs, especially at the start, as this is the wonderful Welland Valley, but nothing too taxing

Parking: On street in Middleton

Public toilets: East Carlton Country Park

Map of the route:


Oh this is a corker in some of Northamptonshire’s best walking country with views to die for

It starts in the lovely village of Middleton, a few miles to the west of Corby. We’ll also be walking along an old friend, The Jurassic Way. It also takes in East Carlton Country Park which we hadn’t visited for many years & had forgotten how beautiful it was

So come with us on a lovely short walk & let’s see what we can find…

Let’s Walk…

1. Today’s walk (May 2015) starts in the lovely village of Middleton which lies west of Corby overlooking the stunning Welland Valley. Park up as near to Nazz Spice (formerly the Red Lion) as you can, but be sensible as they’re narrow roads…



2. So…facing the restaurant turn right up the hill & then first left up the road – ready for an early climb?



It’s a real push up here…


…but the view back’s already good…


3. Pass the pump & turn left along Camsdale Walk…



We’re still climbing to the ridge & the views keep getting better…



4. At the end of the road pass through the gate onto a narrow path…


Lovely walking round here

Lovely walking round here


5. Eventually the path arrives at a gate leading into a field with even better views…



…just keep straight ahead..


6. Pass through the gate, down the hill to meet…a very charming gentleman…



Oh how we love cows…NOT!

7. So…here we go as we need to turn right through the gate & head up the valley…



Luckily walking quickly & with only occasional glances back they stayed put…

Nice countryside

Nice countryside

8. The exit from this great little valley’s to the right under the tree…



…where we turn left along the road for a couple of hundred yards looking for a footpath signpost on the right…



9, Walk through the kissing gate & we’re on…a golf course!!




So…welcome to Blackthorn Wood Golf Course which from the look of it is a lovely little 9 hole challenge, although when one of the guys above missed his putt his language indicated he didn’t think much to it…

First Red Kite of the day

First Red Kite of the day

10. Just follow the hedge-line past the tee & out over the stile in the corner to the main road…



11. Turn right for about 100 yards, then cross the road & head down the bridleway…




12. The bridleway continues for just over a mile to meet a road. It’s easy walking & very peaceful…



Plenty about now

Plenty about now

There’s not much to see down here as there’s mainly hedgerow on both sides…


…but eventually it meets the road…


13. Turn right now & walk on the road to come to the main road we crossed earlier & the village of East Carlton…


Fine views around now

Fine views around now

The give-way sign’s seen better days…


14. Cross over the road & through the gap to arrive in East Carlton…


Carlton was probably first occupied by the Danes. In the Domesday Book it’s referred to as Carlintone. East Carlton is one of the ‘Thankful Villages’ that suffered no fatalities during World War I

It’s also well know for its Country Park & Hall which we’re going to have a look at now

15. Head down the road past some very desirable properties on the left…

That's what you call a lawn!

That’s what you call a lawn!

…& also a lovely cricket ground on the right…


16. The entrance into East Carlton Country Park is at the bottom of the road on the right. Enter it & head diagonally right towards the Hall



The Country Park also has a heritage centre which contains models & historical information about the Corby Steelworks

17. The Hall’s an impressive property…


In 1776/1778 Sir John Palmer, 5th Baronet, commissioned John Johnson, a Leicester architect to design a new hall. It was built on the foundations of the previous hall & was further rebuilt in 1870 by Edmund Francis Law, with red brick & ironstone in the style of a French château

In the early 20th century large deposits of iron ore were found in the area. Stewarts & Lloyds Ltd, steel manufacturers from Glasgow set up the steel works in Corby & purchased the Hall & the park. By 1936 the hall was converted into a hostel for unmarried bachelor staff.  As the steele works expanded the directors began a house building programme to accommodate future employees. Part of the grounds of the hall were used to build housing for senior staff & 59 houses were built during 1934 & 1935, making up a large part of East Carlton as it is known today. The original village is situated west of the hall grounds

Following the end of steel manufacturing in Corby in 1979 the house & grounds were later acquired by Corby Borough Council. The house was then sold as a family home & is not open to the public

18. Turn back from the house & walk towards the buildings passing an old locomotive…



…& turn right down towards The Old Coach House…

Plenty going on

Plenty going on


19. On the right’s a display of some of the old equipment relating to Corby’s steel heydays. The two most impressive pieces are:

Firstly a huge bucket that was used to transport the molten metal in the factory…

The photo doesn't so justice to the size

The photo doesn’t so justice to the size

Here's what it would have looked like

Here’s what it would have looked like

Secondly, the scoop from one of the massive ore diggers



Can remember these massive cranes

Can remember these massive cranes

Sundew was a large electrically powered dragline excavator used in Rutland & Corby. It began work in a Rutland iron ore quarry in 1957  &, at the time, was the largest walking dragline in the world, weighing 1675 tons. With a reach of 86 metres & a bucket capacity of 27 tons the machine was able to move a substantial amount of material in a relatively short period

It moved via two large feet which could be used to “walk” the dragline forwards & backwards. Sundew remained until operations at the quarry ceased in 1974 & plans were then drawn up to relocate the machine to a British Steel quarry near Corby. At a cost of £250,000 & taking two years to complete it was decided that dismantling, moving & reconstructing the machine was not a viable option. So over an eight-week period in 1974 Sundew walked 13 miles from its home to Corby

Some of the other exhibits

Some of the other exhibits

20. The Old Coach House is on the left so stop off for a cuppa if you fancy it!


21. Refreshed? Well it’s only a short stroll now back to Middleton. Walk to the end of the terrace & turn right past the loos down towards the lake…


There’s a view back to the Hall – you can see its chateau style…


22. Take the left fork & head into the woods round the left side of the lake…



…& then left down to the bridge at the bottom…


23. Head through the gate & turn right on the bridleway that will take us all the way back to our start…



…passing through the next gate…

There's Middleton ahead

There’s Middleton ahead

24. One final gate & down to alley to join the road where we parked…



So that’s the end of a very interesting & short tea-room walk in some of our loveliest countryside

Apart from on the golf course & in the park, we didn’t see another soul & it’s a very quiet walk, being away from busy roads

It’s well worth it so…

Go Walk!

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