Walk 69: Hellidon Circular: The ‘Peaks’ of our stunning County…

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 3.75 miles (6.04km)

Time to walk: It’s quite hilly so allow a good couple of hours

Difficulty: Mainly off road. It’s a hilly walk & some paths are across fields so they could get muddy

Parking: On street in Hellidon. The walk starts from the green at the bottom of the hill, although you could start it from The Red Lion at the top

Public toilets: None en-route

Map of the route: @Footpaths for Fitness

map

We know we say it a lot, but this really is another cracking walk amongst the highest points of Northamptonshire with fabulous views all the way, Although not particularly high in terms of mountains, the highest part of the County, Arbury Hill lies just to the east of Hellidon

The Domesday Book doesn’t have any record of Hellidon. In the 12th century a manor of four hides at “Eliden” (Hellidon) was recorded & from the 13th century the village had two manors: Baskervilles & Giffords. The present manor house at the northwest end of the village is on the site of the former Baskervilles Manor (listen for the Hound!). Giffords Manor was on the northeast side of the village. The house had been abandoned by the 18th century

Also have a look at the Church. After World War II a beehive was found in the belfry & a hundredweight of honey kept the population going for a year

The best time to walk this one’s in summer as we can imagine that the fields we cross will get muddy in wet weather

So boots on & crampons at the ready…

Let’s Walk!

1. This walk starts at the village green in lower Hellidon, a beautiful village in lovely countryside…

IMG_1994

We parked outside a farm barn & there were some very cheeky squirrels about…

H1

H2

H3

2. The Green has an interesting stone pillar box…

IMG_1995

IMG_1998

The walk starts down the lane away from the pillar box above known as Catesby End. This is a really historical area of Northamptonshire as the Catesby family name includes Robert Catesby who was involved in the Gunpowder Plot with Guy Fawkes

3. The locals are very friendly & wish us well on our journey…

IMG_1996

So we say hi & head straight up the End passing through the gate onto an ‘old friend’ The Jurassic Way

IMG_1999

..& then let’s climb…

IMG_2001

4. The next half mile or so along this road is stunning walking with views all around  &, today, beautiful flowers…

IMG_2002

Oh..Hello!!

Oh..Hello!!

IMG_2005

H4

4. How good are the views along here…

IMG_2011

IMG_2015

5. Just after the bend there’s a fingerpost pointing into the field on the right…

IMG_2016

…but unfortunately the gate’s been locked so just walk round…

IMG_2017

6. Head down the field to the right of the red-brick barn & through the gate…

IMG_2018

IMG_2019

…& on reaching the large oak turn sharp left across the field towards a stile…

IMG_2020

IMG_2022

IMG_2023

7. Now head diagonally right towards the magnificent Catesby House…

IMG_2024

Catesby House, a Jacobethan property, was built in 1863 & enlarged in 1894

8. Go through the gate & up the lane for about 100 yards…

IMG_2026

Friendly locals

Friendly locals

IMG_2030

…& then climb over the stile on the right & climb steeply up the hill

IMG_2028

IMG_2031

Above there was a crow really chasing a common buzzard away…

H6

9. There’s some magnificent views from here…

IMG_2037

For some reason the farmer’s set the next couple of stiles very high. If you were a person of short legs you’d struggle here! Cross the first one & turn sharp left following the tree line over the next one – even we could climb this one so went through the gate

IMG_2035

IMG_2038

10. Carry on straight ahead hugging the tree line & exit over the next stile…

IMG_2039

IMG_2041

…before climbing again, this time diagonally right to the gate in the corner

IMG_2042

IMG_2043

11. Through the gate & we’re on the farm road so turn left towards the road…

IMG_2044

We’re walking across Catesby Tunnel now

Catesby Tunnel is a disused railway tunnel on the route of the former Great Central Main Line. It passes about 250 yards west of Upper Catesby & about 100 yards east of Catesby House

The Great Central Railway intended its Southern Extension to pass through Catesby parish in a cutting. However, the owner of Catesby House, Henry Attenborough, owned much of the land in the parish & insisted that the line pass beneath it in a tunnel. The first Great Central services to use the tunnel were coal trains, which started running on 25 July 1898. The line opened fully on 15 March 1899

British Railways closed the Great Central Main Line through the tunnel on 5 September 1966 & the track was lifted shortly thereafter. In recent years the tunnel has featured in numerous reopening proposals, one of which was as a possible, though rejected, route for HS2. Chiltern Railways have expressed an interest in reopening the route as far as Rugby or even Leicester

Really rural around here

Really rural around here

12. Be careful, but cross the road & follow another well marked path across the next field…

IMG_2047

IMG_2048

…& at the hedge, dodging the nettles, cross the bridge into the small paddock…

IMG_2050

IMG_2051

13. Exit through the gate & straight opposite enter the next field which was full of sheep &  lambs…

IMG_2052

IMG_2053

…walking towards the exit in the far right corner…

IMG_2055

14. Go through the gate & say hi to the couple of nervous observers…

IMG_2057

IMG_2058

Follow the path through the private piece of land & through the gate…

IMG_2059

IMG_2062

Across to the right’s one of the ventilation towers for the Catesby Tunnel…

IMG_2061

15. After passing through the gate turn left & walk up the hard track…

IMG_2063

Across to the left’s the comms tower…

IMG_2064

16. At the top of the track be brave & walk through the gate into what’s obviously a private property…

IMG_2065

IMG_2066

…& exit onto the road again…

IMG_2067

IMG_2069

17. Turn right & walk carefully along the road for another 100 yards, looking for a left turn into the field…

IMG_2070

We honestly think that at this time of the year the next mile or so through the corn fields is probably one of the most beautiful we’ve ever walked in Northamptonshire

IMG_2071

IMG_2075

It’s a steep climb, but at the top we’re rewarded with some amazing views & the descent’s pretty spectacular too..

IMG_2081

IMG_2083

18. At the bottom of the field pass through the kissing gate into the next one…

IMG_2084

IMG_2085

We’re now approaching another stunning spot – the ponds of Hellidon

IMG_2086

19. Turn right across the bridge…

IMG_2087

…but stand & admire the view for a while…

IMG_2088

IMG_2091

20. After crossing the bridge head top the slope & turn left following the hedge line…

IMG_2092

…looking for some steps down on the left…

IMG_2094

Through the gate at the bottom

Through the gate at the bottom

21. We’re now the end of our walk now so why not just sit & admire this lovely pond, with the cygnets & the somewhat sizeable carp cruising around…

IMG_2099

IMG_2102

IMG_2104

22. Head diagonally right towards Hellidon looking for a double stile in the dip on the right.

IMG_2105

IMG_2106

Before exiting over the stile’s another smaller pond on the left…

IMG_2107

23. After costing the stiles turn left & follow the farm track through the gates to where we  left our car…

IMG_2108

IMG_2109

So that’s it…2 hours of absolutely superb walking with stunning views in the highest parts of our stunning County

You simply have to spend 2 hours of your life walking here so…

Go Walk!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s