The ‘Needs to Know’
Distance: 8 miles (12.8km)
Time to walk: Can do in about 3 hours, but today was sooooo hot & needed to find lots of big trees for shade
Difficulty: All across fields so may be tricky in wet weather
Parking: We parked in Old village
Public toilets: None…hang on!!!!!!!!!!!
Map of the route: none available
Today was an absolutely boiling hot day, but as we hadn’t walked for a time we were all raring to get some field paths underneath our feet having had 4 weeks of ‘couldn’t make it’ etc.
So we packed the rucksack & headed out towards Old which is between Northampton and Kettering to start a walk that has great views.
1. The village of Old is a traditional stone built Northamptonshire village – pretty small & whilst we were there we didn’t see 1 person, or any ‘curtain twitching’.
We parked outside the pub, which, given the heat, we should probably have just sat in rather than taking this on today but hey….
Anyway, turn right & follow the road down the hill until it bends left…our route is straight on as below..
2. At the bottom of this lane there’s a garden of a house where they’ve erected a tombstone to their pet..don’t think it was a chiwaha. Anyway just before entering the garden turn right onto the cricket ground
Keep left around the fence ignoring the first gap & take one just after the swings. Careful down the slope & across the stile/bridge into a field.
3. Why oh why oh why do bullocks feel the need to advance towards me all the time?
Our route lies to the right of this tree – pretty much straight on…
4. Once over the stile we can relax & enjoy the next 3 miles in each others company, off the lead & free to dive in hedges & be totally carefree – love it! Our route now is quite simple…head straight on with the hedge on the left crossing over bridges but keep going.
5. Because of the season the farmer had ploughed across the next path but had at least mounded up some earth – head towards the hedge
Follow the hedge round to the left up the hill (a bit of puffing up here today!) & then bear right through the undergrowth below towards the buildings.
6. The path from here’s well marked so follow the arrows down the hill past the pond (there used to be a village here) & then up following the hedge on the left to a gate – dogs on lead here
At the top of the hill turn left through the gate below & into some welcomed shade…
7. Head through the gate at the end & then keep straight on following the hedge on the right. Great views on both sides…
8. Eventually we come to a gate so go through turn right & then left into the Lamport Estate – big tree time thank goodness as we need the shade & a rest!!
9. Lunch over keep straight on through the gate & then life became somewhat complicated…Basically the best advice we can offer is head towards the main Northampton – Market Harborough Road. There are several options, but once reaching the road head into the beautiful village of Hanging Houghton – great bench for lunch if you haven’t already eaten it!!
10. Right…time to crack on! Head back towards the road & cut across the playing field on the right, across the main road (careful) & down into the field by the marker post – we’re heading home now
11. Now it’s time to cross over the other side of the hedge…careful though the gap’s not easy to spot!
Right…let’s see how good you are with stiles because for the next 2 miles you’re gonna encounter plenty!. On reaching the end of the hedge climb over the first one into the paddock, head right & over the next one into the farmyard. Pass the stables on the left & then look sharp left – there’s our path!
12. In the lane turn right & at the end left and head down the hill into the beautiful village of Scaldwell – there’s a great sundial on the house on the left here.
The village name comes from the Saxon ‘sceald’ & ‘weillel’ meaning ‘shallow spring’ referring to the fact there were numerous wells in the village – one of them being a healing well
Follow the road until you come to the village green and the bear down the lane straight ahead. The oldest well was the Town Well which stood on the green
At the bottom of the lane is yet another stile…climb over & cross the field diagonally to the right heading towards the large farm shed in the distance. The route now gets a bit hilly back to Old
You may encounter a feeling that you’re not walking alone alone these lanes & for good reason. The ghost of Madeline Smith, also known as the ‘Grey Lady’. Madeline was tried in Edinburgh, charged with the murder of her lover Pierre L’Agelier on 22nd March 1868. The trial lasted several days & Madeline was found not guilty on one count & the second was dismissed, so she was released. Unfortunately the trial had taken its toll & she was sent to a relative, the Reverend AG Douglas in Scaldwell to recover. As she was a quiet person, she was viewed by many villagers as the ‘veiled lady’
If you do come across her she’s always shrouded in a gauzy veil
13. At the bottom of the hill cross the bridge & head up the side of the hedge then crossing another stile on the right. You’ll see the next stile at the top of the field. Climb over and turn right into the lane. Our path lies straight ahead through a farm.
14. Climb over the stile into the farmyard…warning I have been chased by a nasty little Jack Russell here before. He wasn’t around today which was good as we got a private display!!
You’ll see the footpath sign with the stile for the exit into a field – be careful here there’s a bit of a drop. The aim is for the gap to the left of the big tree below.
15. Once through the gap in the hedge turn right and go down the hill to…..yes, you’ve guessed it a stile, a bridge and another stile!!!!
Welcome to sheep poo city! Cross the next field up the hill diagonally left and go through the gap into the next field. Keeping going through another gate with the hedge on your right until you see the next stile taking you through into the next field – another double one!
16. The exit from this field is up the hill slightly to the right – another stile! Be careful this one was loose.
You can now see Old church across the final field.
The exit back onto the road is over the final stile diagonally right – again be careful there’s a big drop here. Turn right and follow the road back to the car.
So our thoughts…this is a great walk if you want to get away from it all. We hardly saw a soul all day and on a clear day the views are fantastic.
Admittedly it was a bit too hot for this one today & never have the feet been so happy to be released back into the flip-flops!!