Walk 70: Finedon Circular: Ghostly trains & feeling of being watched…

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 3.1 miles (4.91km)

Time to walk: Well, it took us about 2.5 hours as we follow a very outdated map & some instructions that were, quite frankly, hopeless

Difficulty: Mainly across well marked paths & all pretty much flat

Parking: On road outside the cemetery in Station Road, Finedon

Public toilets: The Bell Inn Finedon

Map of the route:

So…what can we tell you about this walk? The start point’s in the mid-east of the County in Finedon, once in the heart of Northamptonshire’s shoe making industry

Along with Wellingborough, Finedon’s twinned with Wittlich in Germany & Niort in France. In the Domesday Book Finedon was recorded as Tingdene & had a large royal manor held by Queen Edith

If you fancy some ‘light refreshments’ then The Bell Inn claims to be the oldest licensed house in England…

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It’s a fab little town & well worth a look around. Unfortunately this walk doesn’t take in the town itself

This area is called “Cally Banks” & I’m really grateful to Gary Alderson for writing up the legend…Click on this link as it’s a great read but…don’t be scared…

The Legend of Cally Banks

So shall we get going?

Let’s Walk!

1. The starting point for this walk’s though the village up Station Road, heading towards Burton Latimer. Park up on the verge opposite the cemetery & head across the bridge into Finedon Pocket Park…

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2. Pass through the gates & follow the path for about 25 yards before turning sharp left down onto the old railway line…

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3. I have to admit that this is quite a spooky place & I actually felt quite uncomfortable & was turning round a lot to see if I was being followed. At the bottom turn left along the railway line under the bridge where we parked our car…

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Told you I was being watched…

4. The next mile or so follows the old railway cutting. The old sleepers are still there & apart from the bird song it’s a beautiful, peaceful place, although can be very damp in wet weather

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The damp area is a mushroom heaven…

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5. Ignore any of the paths heading off to the side & keep straight ahead in the cutting…

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6. All of a sudden the old track climbs out of the cutting & we can see where we are…

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We’re now walking much higher up &, as the trees don’t have restricted light, they’re more sparse…

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7. Ignore the paths going off to either side & continue straight ahead…

8. The path now descends & crosses the bridge into Cally Banks Nature Reserve…

Part of an old ironstone workings in the 1870’s the area’s now been reclaimed by nature. The ore was transported along a specially constructed railway to what is now the Cally Banks nature reserve

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The name Cally Banks comes from the process of burning iron ore to remove impurities, leaving a deposit called calcine which provides the poor soil conditions in which wildflowers flourish. Look for beautiful speckled wood butterflies among these flowers in spring & autumn

Crickets, dragonflies & wetland flora thrive here, while hawthornblackthorn scrub is a haven for warblers

9. After crossing the bridge follow the path up the bank to the right, basically continuing in the same direction as before…

Continue straight ahead…

…taking the left path at the fork

10. Suddenly the path comes out into the open. Cross the ditch & follow the track slightly diagonally right towards the road…

11. Exit the field across another ditch. It obviously gets wet in winter as someone’s left a carpet in the bottom!

12. Turn right onto the road & follow it towards the bridge…

Walking this in June there’s flowers everywhere in the hedgerows…

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13. Continue along Harrowden Road cross the bridge over an old friend the River Ise

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Every time we come across the Ise it always seems so clear & sparkly & here’s no exception

14. Time for a bit of train spotting? Well there were quite a few spotters parked up along here…

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This is the East Midlands Line & is quite busy as you’ll see. Anyway as the road bends left head straight on down the bridleway…

Oooh there’s one!

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15. Follow the bridleway for roughly 1/2 mile. Again, there were plenty of wild flowers about…

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16. Eventually you’ll arrive at a marker post

17. Turn right at marker post & walk to the new wooden bridge…

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The beautiful old stone packhorse bridge the wooden one’s replaced is close by…

18. Turn left & we’re back at the Ise again. Follow the river bank & maybe sit for a while as this is a beautiful area. There was so much varied bird song

Cross the bridge. There was once a mill here & you can see how the water flows much quicker

19. Now follow the winding grassy path up the hill, not forgetting to keep turning back as the view across the valley improves…

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20. Ignore the path off to the left leading to a farm & continue to climb…

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As the path approaches the road, over to the right’s an impressive property known as Windmill Cottage…

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21. Eventually the grassy path meets the Burton Latimer road – be careful the cars move quick along here…

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All that needs be done now is cross over the road, turn right onto the path & follow it back to our start point…

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22. After a quarter of a mile we arrive back in Finedon…

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The property on the left has an interesting sign on its wall…

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Here was once the site of the Volta Tower. This is what it looked like before it collapsed…

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The Volta Tower was a folly built in 1865 by William Mackworth-Dolben of Finedon Hall to commemorate the death of his eldest son, William Digby, who drowned at sea on 1 September 1863. Digby, a naval officer serving on the Volta. His younger brother, the poet Digby Mackworth-Dolben also drowned in 1867

The tower was circular & about 100 feet high. It collapsed on 16 November 1951 after standing for 86 years. Of the residents, Mr Northen was outside at the time of its collapse & survived, but Mrs Northen was inside & was killed by the tower’s collapse. It was discovered after its collapse that no mortar had been used at all in its construction. Older residents of the town who remember the day of the Volta Tower’s collapse describe hearing a loud rumble & describe seeing a huge dust cloud in the air over where the Volta Tower had been standing

23. Pass the cemetery on the left to arrive back to where we left the car…

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Well I have to say that was a very pleasant, easy stroll & it didn’t seem like 4 miles, probably because it was so varied

The only tip we would give you is to avoid walking the first section in the railway cutting if the light’s poor & also, if you’re a single lady walker, take a companion with you. We didn’t feel unsafe, but it is slightly eerie

Now about that legend…

Go Walk!

 

1 Response to Walk 70: Finedon Circular: Ghostly trains & feeling of being watched…

  1. Lovely walk on a sunny day. Easy to follow instructions. Sad to see litter even right out in the fields.

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