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

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 4 miles (6.44km)

Time to walk: Well, it took us about 2.5 hours as we follow a very outdated map & some instructions that were, quite frankly, hopeless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: We’re not publishing the map we followed as it was so confusing & meant we spent 30 minutes battling nettles & thistles so just follow our guide & you won’t get lost – hopefully…

So…what can we tell you about this walk? The start point’s in the mid-east of the County in Finedon which we know well – it was 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…


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

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…




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




3. We have to admit that this is quite a spooky place & we actually felt quite uncomfortable. At the bottom turn left along the railway line under the bridge where we parked our car…



4. The next mile or so follows the old railway cutting & we have to admit, whilst stunningly silent apart from the birdsong, we did keep looking behind. Just don’t know, but it was one of those places – perhaps it was being enclosed in a deep embankment. The old sleepers are still there…



The damp area is a mushroom heaven…


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





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


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



7. Ignore the path on the left…


…or maybe not as in a minute we think this is where we should have gone…you’ll see!

8. The somewhat vague directions suggested we should enter 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


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 hawthorn and blackthorn scrub is a haven for warblers

9. After crossing the bridge follow the path to the edge of the wood & turn sharp right – it doesn’t look like a path but it will become one…



According to the guide we should be heading across here but there's a ditch between us

According to the guide we should be heading across here but there’s a ditch between us

This is the path after turning right…



10. There’s suddenly an open stretch towards the road…


…but upon reaching it it’s clear that this isn’t right as there’s no way out. Zoe, who did this walk in July 2020 says…”I would suggest crossing over into the field as you come to the clearing after the cutting (everyone else seemed to as there was a clear track) as the ‘proper route’ is now very overgrown”


11. So to get back on track we turn left & follow the roadside hedge for about 200 yards to find an exit onto Harrowden Lane…



12. Right…after walking 200 yards along the hedge, now turn right onto the road & follow it back to where we came from – how annoying…


Ah yes…we recognise that fence...

Ah yes…we recognise that fence…

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




Unfortunately there’s some really bad fly-tipping along here…


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



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…



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



Oooh there’s one!


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




16. The oil seed rape was really ‘ripe’ but keep going looking for a footpath post

17. We went horrendously wrong here & carried on to the road & then right along another footpath into a field of tall thistles & nettles. Don’t do it…turn right as above & follow the ditch down to the new wooden bridge…



The old stone packhorse bridge the wooden one’s replaced’s across to the right…


18. Turn left & we’re back at the Ise again. Follow the path over the bridge where there used to once be a mill…



The people were trying to teach a young dog to retrieve from water

The people were trying to teach a young dog to retrieve from water

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




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


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


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


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


The litter along here was shocking

The litter along here was shocking

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


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


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


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…


Well we 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

Go Walk!


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