Walk 99: Collingtree & Milton Malser Circular: Max’s Morning Walk


The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 3.9 miles (6.25km)

Time to walk: Can be done in less than two hours if walking continuously, but this is a two pub walk & is ideal for an afternoon / early evening stroll

Difficulty: A mixture of hard & field paths so may be muddy at times. Flat & easy

Parking: On the road in Collingtree

Public toilets: Either of the two pubs on the way

Map of the route:

We found this route online where it was “Max’s Morning Walk”. If you fancy a short lovely stroll across fields, taking in two gorgeous villages & sitting in two superb pub gardens then this is the walk for you – what’s not to love?

Max is a lucky boy!

This walk crosses the busy M1 twice, but it seems a mile away from the hustle & bustle of it. It starts in the lovely village of Collingtree & strolls across the fields to Milton Malser, where we stop at the well-known Greyhound before completing the circuit to end at The Wooden Walls of Old England

Simple, easy walking & very enjoyable!

Let’s Walk!

1. So what can we tell you about Collingtree? In the Domesday Book the settlement is referred to as Collingtrev or Colentreu, “Colen” being Celtic for place & “trev” possibly meaning ‘tree’ or trough. Others think that “Colen” is a version of St Columba to whom the village church was dedicated in 1170. In the 15th century the village is referred to as Colyngtrowgh & in the 17th century as Collingtrough

Our walk starts outside the church of St Columbas

2. Turn right along the High Street…

The village has one of the most unusual High Streets in the country. It runs roughly north to south, has a pub, The Wooden Walls of Old England, but no shops & leads nowhere in either direction

In 1642 Collingtree became caught up in the English Civil War when a troop of Roundhead soldiers on their way to the Battle of Naseby billeted at The Wooden Walls of Old England pub, then called ‘The Ship’. They drank the pub dry & left without paying the bill of four shillings, six pennies & three farthings – about the cost of a packet of crisps at today’s prices

Let’s hope they have some beer left when we get back!

The manorial rights of the village passed through several families until they were aquired through the purchase of land by a Victorian businessman who became Collingtree’s greatest benefactor. Pickering Phipps was head of ‘Phipps & Co.’ one of the biggest Breweries in the Midlands. He was twice elected as MP for Northampton, twice elected as its Mayor & involved with most of the major charities of the time. In 1871 the Phipps family built a grand mansion, ‘The Grange’ & Parkland next to the church & involved themselves in the welfare of the village. When Pickering Phipps died in 1890 it took a Sergeant & ten constables to control the hundreds of mourners who packed the narrow High Street

3. Continue along the High Street to the crossroads…

…& continue straight over. There’s some very attractive old houses & cottages along this road

As the road bends right at the end, look for a gap through a gate near the house on the left

There’s a notice on the gate with the headline “Stop Roxhill” which is something we’ll see throughout this walk. The Roxhill ‘Gateway’ will be one of the largest warehouse developments in Europe displacing 460 acres of agricultural land & its support for wildlife habitats. Roxhill is seeking to bypass the local planning process by presenting this as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP), rather than another large warehouse complex with some limited capacity to accept rail freight. The DIRFT Strategic Rail Freight Interchange at Daventry is only a few miles away

The impact on the wider area surrounding Junction 15 will be dramatic. The environmental impact of traffic using the UK’s busiest stretch of Motorway has up to now been balanced by the open landscape in this part of Northamptonshire. Turning this open countryside into a 5m sq ft industrial estate will affect the quality of life over large parts of south Northampton – it’s pretty scary!

4. Cross over the busy M1…

Don’t worry the noise will soon disappear

Once over continue straight ahead, ignoring the path that veers off to the left & we’re finally in the fields heading towards Milton Malser

5. We did this walk at the start of July & the hedgerow flowers were out in force…

Follow the track as it bends right after the small copse keeping the hedge on the left. The corn was growing well &, at this point, we reminded ourselves just what a beautiful County we live in…

6. At the top of the hill the track bends to the left…

After about 200 yards look for a signpost showing a path at right angles going off to the right. At this time of year you can see the route, but in winter head for the gap in the hedge…

…passing through it & continuing to the railway line. You can see Milton Malser across to the right

7. Cross the railway bridge & continue straight ahead. When we walked this route it was through rape fields…

At the end of this field pass through the gate into the final field (full of sheep) that leads to the lane

There’s a notice on the side of the gate which made us smile, but is also some great advice if you’re walking amongst sheep

8. Exit the field through the gate onto Barn Lane & head right towards Milton Malser

On the left’s a little gem…Flowercraft Nurseries

This a proper nursery & we bought a large rosemary bush from here some years ago. They are also involved in building gardens for the Chelsea Flower Show

9. It’s now a case of following Barn Lane all the way to the T-junction. The site on the left was once the over-wintering place for a circus & there’s still a trailer there that shows signs of days gone by…

Eventually we arrive at the junction…

…& turn right. Ahead you can see the Church of the Holy Cross

Once again there’s evidence of the opposition to the proposed development

10. The church, which dates back to the late 13th century, is grouped with four other parishes including Blisworth & Stoke Bruerne

Turn left to walk towards the village…

11. Around the corner pass the Compass which is the “locals” pub although they will make you feel very welcome

Next door is the beautiful Baptist Church which is well worthy of its blue plaque

Baptists have been meeting in Milton Malsor for over 220 years. In the very early days the congregation met in the home of Joseph Dent &, as their numbers grew, they used one of Dent’s farm buildings. At that stage the worshippers were formally members of the Baptist Church at Roade & in addition to holding services at Milton they would trek across the fields every Sunday to the “Mother Church” at Roade. In 1825 the Milton congregation was considered large enough & well enough established to separate from Roade & from then on they met only at Milton under the leadership of Thomas Marriott

It was soon apparent that a permanent, dedicated, chapel building was needed to house the growing congregation & Mrs Hannah Frome, one of the founder members, offered to sell to the church Trustees, her two cottages in Green Street, together with the land, provided she was allowed to retain a lifetime interest in the property. A chapel was duly erected in her garden & was opened for divine worship in 1827. After her death, Hannah’s cottages were turned into a small meeting room where Baptist children attended day & Sunday school. The chapel has a number of interesting features including “box pews”, ornate metal-work on the gallery & a baptistry where baptism by “total immersion” is practiced

12. The village’s name is from the Old English for “Middle” & “tun” meaning farm or settlement & the second part of the name appears to be from “Malsoures”, the name of a prominent local family added much later. The first recorded mention of the village is in the days of William the Conqueror & the Domesday Book. This records that there were two manors & two men held lands at Milton as part of their Baronies. These were William Peverel & Goisfrid Alselin

At the top of the road is “The Pound” where animals were kept prior to market

We love the memorial & village sign…

13. It’s time for our first refreshment stop so walk straight across past the village hall to arrive at The Greyhound…

The Greyhound is a traditional English country pub which dates back to the 16th century. It has a very large beer garden which is extremely popular in the summer & a great duck pond!

Much of the village is quite old & there are over 30 listed buildings

14. All done, come out back out to the memorial & continue left down the High Street past the local store. There’s more lovely properties along here

At the end turn right into Green Street which leads us round the back of the village to rejoin the road we entered it on

Turn left onto Collingtree Road & walk back to the church. It’s possible to follow this road straight back to Collingtree, but we prefer the field route. If you do choose the road be careful as it’s narrow with no pavement & the traffic moves very quickly

15. After the church turn first left into Church Close…

Look out for some garages on the right. At the end of them is a footpath sign & a gate leading back into the fields

16. Once again the path is clearly defined towards the railway bridge

This is really easy flat walking all the way back & is pretty much straight across the fields all the way to the growing noise of the M1 once more

17. Cross the bridge beneath the above tree…

…& walk across the final field to exit through another gate into the well-manicured lawn of a small industrial estate

18. At the fence at the end turn left up a concrete lane to cross the M1 once again

Once over the bridge look for a slightly hidden path on the right. Walk through the bushes to emerge in a meadow

Collingtree is straight ahead

19. This walk has been stile-free until this point, but climb the one between the trees…

Ahead now is a final gate which leads us back into the village. Walk straight ahead to return to the church & the start of this walk

Why not now relax in the large garden of The Wooden Walls of Old England with some well earned refreshment

This is a lovely short walk which can be done at all times of the year & proves that, although it straddles a busy motorway, it’s still easy to feel completely unaware of it & thus you could be in the deepest countryside

Go Walk!