Walk 8: Old Village Circular: 8 miles across the fields with great views & big trees on a boiling hot day. Mind the sheep poo though!!

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 considerately in Old village

Public toilets: Pubs in Old & Lamport when open

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

Follow the road down the hill until it bends left…our route is straight on as below..

2. Look for a footpath sign (with no arrows) pointing up a short lane with a sign saying “Private Access”

 

At the end pass through the kissing gate (again the footpath arrows have disappeared) & turn immediately left

Walk down the steps…

The path actually lies straight ahead across the cricket ground to the next footpath sign, but please walk around the boundary to it. Pass through into the 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. Cross the two stiles & then 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 bear slightly diagonally right across the field & through a gap in the hedge. Turn right & follow the path round & through the gate leading onto the main road. Cross over into the beautiful village of Hanging Houghton – great bench for lunch if you haven’t already eaten it!!

10. Right…time to crack on! Walk back to the main road & cross it. Ignore the gate you came of & look for another footpath sign about 30 yards to the right

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!!

Go Walk!

4 Responses to Walk 8: Old Village Circular: 8 miles across the fields with great views & big trees on a boiling hot day. Mind the sheep poo though!!

  1. Graham Brown says:

    Completed 08/07/20

    In contrast to the blazing sun that you experienced, it rained almost continuously while I was walking this route! I was still seeking out trees for shelter though, so it was handy to know where I could find them!

    Lamport Estate now has a beautifully signposted series of gates which lead you through to another field where you turn right and follow the path and out on to the road directly across from Hanging Houghton. I got a little confused exiting the village, I hadn’t realised I literally needed to turn around and go back the way I’d come, I think the playing field you mention is now just a field, but it does have a signpost to Scaldwell.

    The stables you mention just before Scaldwell is now a llama farm and the route takes you directly through a paddock with a couple in it. I thought llamas were known for being somewhat aggressive, but they largely ignored me.

    Sheep poo city is alive and well!

  2. Chris Thomas says:

    We just finished this walk, we came completely unstuck at point 10. Did you cross the road a couple of hundred feet down, because we were in the middle of a rape field, no hedge to our right to go through? We followed footpath signs to the edge of Scaldwell then ended up in the middle of waist high nettles (hubby was in shorts!) then the path petered out completely. We obviously weren’t on your path. We ended up backtracking, still couldn’t work out where we went wrong so walked down the road to Scaldwell where we picked up the footpath again.

    • Hi. Yes the path back from Hanging Houghton is a couple of hundred feet down from the gate you came out of to arrive at the main road. It then follows the hedge on your right before swapping to the left after a gap & carrying on in the same direction with the hedge now on your left. Not sure where you went wrong as not had an reported issue with that one before.

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