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:

I know I 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 under the tree near the pub in Hellidon, a beautiful village in lovely countryside. Facing the pub, turn left & walk down Stockwell Lane, named because it contains the most wells in the village. Pass the one with the pump on the right…

Continue down to the pretty green at the bottom of the hill


2. The Green has an interesting stone pillar box…


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…


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


..& then let’s climb…


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


How good are the views along here & the hill across to you left’s Arbury Hill, Northamptonshire’s highest point


5. Just as the lane bends left, there’s a fingerpost pointing into the field on the right…


Pass through the gate


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


…& through the large metal gate


Now bear slightly diagonally left across the field towards a stile…


Climb this or pass through the gate

7. Now head diagonally right towards the far right corner (you can make out the footpath sign at the stile). You might also get a view of the magnificent Catesby House…


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

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


…& then climb over the stile on the right & walk up the steep hill


…to the top left corner


9. Turn around to see some magnificent views from here…


After passing through the gate turn immediately left & continue up the hill with the hedge on your left. The stile here is broken so go through the gate


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


…Now walk diagonally right to the gate in the far corner of the field



11. Go through the gate & carefully climb the bank. You’re on the farm road & turn left towards the road…


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

Today it houses a 2.7km straight automotive test facility where cars can travel at 100mph for 40 seconds before braking

12. Be careful, but cross the road…


…& follow another well marked path diagonally right across the next field


…& at the hedge cross the bridge into the small paddock…


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


…walking towards the exit in the far right corner…


14. Go through the gate & follow the path through the private piece of land & through the gate…



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


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


Across to the left’s the comms tower…


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



…& exit onto the road again…


17. Turn right & walk carefully along the road for another 100 yards, looking for a left turn into the field. The next few stiles are interesting “squeezes” so be careful as getting off them isn’t easy


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


It’s a steep climb, but at the top we’re rewarded with some amazing views & the descent’s pretty spectacular too, crossing more “squeezes”


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


…& continue straight ahead with the hedge on your right


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


19. Turn right across the bridge…


20. After crossing the bridge, keep close to the fence & head up the slope…


…looking for some steps down on the left…


Carefully descend using the handrail

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


Also look out to see if the rather grand bath tub is still there

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


23. Turn left & follow the farm track through the gates to Stockwell Lane again…


To finish the walk, simply turn left & retrace your steps back up the hill to the pub

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!!

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

  1. Jo says:

    Shame there’s so many photos, I don’t think printing this off would be a good use of paper & ink…

    • Hi Jo
      That’s the USP. There’s no maps & they’re designed so a young child can lead their family on a walk by spotting the things in the pictures 🙂

      Most people either download the walks to their phone beforehand, or open the walk & put their phone into airplane mode to save data. Or screenshot it before they go.

      However, if you prefer a printed version….
      1. Press Print
      2. Press More
      3. Increase the number of sheets per page to say 6

      Then that’ll solve your issue. Dave 🙂

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