The ‘Needs to Know’
Distance: 4 miles (6.44km)
Time to walk: Roughly 1.5 hours, but it could turn into a bit of a pub crawl with a couple of half shandy opportunities available in this one!
Difficulty: A mixture of hard & field paths which may become muddy at times. Some small inclines
Parking: We used the carpark near the Olde Victoria in Burton Latimer
Public toilets: Pubs in both villages
Map of the route:
This is a blast from our past. Having lived in Burton Latimer in the late 1970’s & early 80’s & getting married at Isham Church, they both hold special places in our memory bank
Also we’re conscious of not having done as many walks in that area of The Shire as we could have & therefore it’s time to address this
So we start in Burton Latimer. We came to that small Northamptonshire town with work in 1979, knowing only that it was where they made Weetabix…the smell is just the same today.
The town’s name is derived from the le Latimer family who lived there in the 13th century. Before the arrival of the Latimers, it was known as ‘Burtone’. It grew in the 19th century around the ironstone quarrying, clothing & footwear industries. A watermill used for grinding corn was converted & used at various times for the manufacture of silk, worsted & carpet-weaving, followed by its conversion to a steam mill to make chicory, mustard, animal foodstuffs & flour. The mill was acquired in the 1930s & became the home of Weetabix – the rest as they say is history!
1. We’ve parked today in the small free car park near the Olde Victoria pub – one of our old haunts
The ‘Vic’s’ moved forward with the times as can be seen from their website which is good. It was far more rustic in our day & also served a pretty darn good of Sam Smith’s bitter
2. Facing the pub turn left & walk down the alley through a housing close & out into the High Street
Opposite’s a Burton Latimer institution that’s been there for more years than we care to remember…The Palmichael Italian Restaurant
In 1981 the Palmiero family established The Palmichael Restaurant in Burton Latimer which is now managed by son Michael & daughter Maria
3. Turn left towards the town centre, walking past the war memorial as the road bends right
Continue past the fast food takeaways & take the right turn into Churchill Way…
4. We’re now going to follow Churchill Way all the way down to its end. It’s a long street through housing, so head down & crack on!
Whilst we’re meandering down the road we’ll tell you a bit more about the town. It’s very much a self-contained town with a community spirit, although now much larger, residentially, since we lived there. Some of the pubs are no longer there, but Burton’s Clubs keep going strong, especially the Britannia Working Mens Club, the Conservative Club & the Band Club. There’s another institution which we won’t pass today, but is well worth a visit & that’s Bosworth’s Nursery
5. Right…enough reminiscing, by now we should have reached the bottom of Churchill Way & the junction with Queensway
Turn right & follow Queensway until in becomes Bridle Road
Two thirds of the way down Bridle Road turn left into Mutloe Drive, looking for a footpath sign leading down a track before the houses on the left
6. Pass through the gap at the bottom into the field…
The path splits here. We need to follow the on that goes diagonally right down the hill – you can just make out the green railway bridge at the bottom. There’s normally plenty of horses & foals in the field
7. Before we reach the bridge we arrive at the River Ise, a river we’ve come across many times including near its source in the west of the county
The river rises in the very field that hosted the Battle of Naseby at the north western tip of Northamptonshire. Flowing east past Desborough & the Eleanor cross at Geddington, through the grounds of Ruston Hall, it then turns south & passes Kettering, through Wicksteed Park, past Barton Seagrave & Burton Latimer before joining the Nene just south of Wellingborough
8. Cross the river bridge & then the railway bridge…
Once over the path becomes hard surface again, eventually joining Mill Lane on the outskirts of Isham
Isham was originally a surname meaning ‘from a small village on the River Ise’. Its derivation was from the the River “Ise” & the Saxon word ‘Ham’, meaning a small village
9. At the grass triangle at the top of Mill Lane, take the right fork passing The Lilacs on the right…
Lilacs takes its name for a local breed of rabbit! On the right’s the Methodist Chapel
10. We’re now walking up Church Street towards the upper part of the village…
…where at the top we arrive at a place we last attended for a certain ceremony some 33 years ago, St Peter’s Church
11. St Peters earliest parts date from the 12th century, although the tower is early 14th century
I remember waiting at the front!
12. Walk round the other side of the church to see the view that you see on most pictures, next to the telephone box
Walk down Middle Street past the village green & sign…
…turning right down South Street to begin to return to the lower part of the village. Follow it down to the end past some rather attractive properties
13. At the bottom look for a footpath sign to Finedon heading off to the right
Pass through the gate into the fields once more & walk diagonally right. In the distance you can see another bridge over the railway
Continue across the next field to arrive at the bridge which we need to cross…
14. Once over, climb the stiles (NOT the one going right) & keep straight ahead through the trees, ignoring the footpath heading off right to Finedon. Once out of the trees walk diagonally left between the bushes below. This area appears like it could get extremely muddy in wet weather
Look for the footbridge across the Ise…
The river is much wider & faster flowing than it was when we crossed it a few hundred yards further back. However…it probably isn’t cleaner!
15. Take your time following the river as it winds its way back to the bridge we crossed earlier…we’re going to follow the river all the way back to Weetabix
…where there’s a choice of paths. Firstly you have the option to return to Burton Latimer up the path we came down earlier. Or, like us you can keep straight on through Burton Latimer Pocket Park…watch out for tigers though
16. Burton Latimer Pocket Park covers 11 acres of meadowland & was established in 1995 on the flood plain bordering the river Ise. There is a wide diversity of wildlife along the riverbank & within the surrounding grassland & hedgerows.
17. Follow the river to the exit onto Station Road opposite Weetabix…
Weetabix is Burton Latimer’s most famous export – if the wind’s in the right direction you’ll probably smell it too!
Click on this link for the history of the business
18. Walk back up Station Road into the town…
…turning right at the top to return to The Palmichael. The large house across the road used to be our local in the late 1970’s, The Waggon & Horses
It’s a real shame it’s no longer a pub as it has considerable history dating back to earlier than 1696. Turn left back down the alley to return to the Olde Victoria & the start of this walk
So that’s a short, pretty uneventful stroll between two of the County’s smaller places. It’s good for a pre or post lunch stroll, with maybe a couple of stops on the way – we didn’t get time to catch up with the Olde Victoria this time, but will be back!