Walk 21: St Crispins, Marina Park & Old Duston Circular Walk

The ‘Needs to Know’

I’ve know Kathy & David for many years. They live in Northampton & this is their ‘Walk from my Doorstep’

I have to say I’m pleased to see it includes one of my favourite places, the Duston Bakery, a fantastic, friendly business that kept me going through Covid with their bread flour & fresh baker’s yeast. I still make the weekly trip to the bakery (Don’t mention the sausage rolls!)

It also includes an area of town that splits opinion as to its future. Kathy tells me it takes approximately 1.5 hours

Dogs: We only let our grand-puppy off the lead in the wood or St Lukes Playing field. The rest of the walk is on lead! 

You could adapt it for wet weather / pushchairs / wheelchairs by turning left at St Neophytos junction & then staying on St Crispin Drive pavement down to A45.  There is a way through at the Hollies onto the old Weedon Road.

Come on then…show us your Walk from my Doorstep!

Let’s Walk!

1. Our walk starts from the car park near St Crispin Social Club, Kent Road off Berrywood Road, Duston…

This whole area of Northampton is a conservation area & part of the old St Crispin’s Hospital, originally the Northampton County Lunatic Asylum. The Hospital was a large psychiatric facility on the outskirts of Duston village. It was established in 1876 & closed in 1995

2. Facing the club, turn right onto the no-through road & walk a short distance, through some yellow bollards…

3. Continue past St Neophytos Greek Church on the left. 

The Greek community of Northampton dates back more than 40 years. The first Greek Orthodox services in the town were held at All Saints Church next to the market square & then moved to St. Peter’s in Marefair around 1973. In 1998 the Orthodox church moved to the building of old Princess Marina hospital chapel

St. Neophytos Church is one of over 110 Greek Orthodox churches in the Archdiocese of Thyatira & Great Britain & the only Greek Orthodox church in Northamptonshire

 

The church used to be part of the old asylum with two doors (one for men & one for women as the inmates were kept separate!) 

4. At the sign for St Neophytos church turn right…

…& cross over St Crispin Drive, keeping the black railings on your left….

 

5. Continue walking for some way passing the Clock Tower on the left.  The Clock Tower was  part of the old asylum as well & also some of the surrounding original hospital buildings

Work started on the hospital in 1873. It was designed by Robert Griffiths using a corridor layout & opened as the Northampton Mental Hospital in 1876. Additional blocks for children with mental health difficulties & for epileptics were completed in 1887

It served as a military hospital during the First World War &, afterwards, it became Northampton Mental Hospital. It had joined the National Health Service in 1948 & two female patient villas were completed in 1954

The hospital was used as a filming location in the 1977 series of Doctor Who in a six-part story called ‘The Talons of Wend-Chiang. The mortuary was used to represent a Victorian operating theatre

Following the introduction of Care in the Community in the early 1980s the hospital went into a period of decline & closed in 1995. The children’s block & the superintendents’ house were developed for residential use between 2005 and 2008 & a small area was applied for the construction of Berrywood Hospital, a modern mental health facility

In August 2014, over 80 Firefighters responded to an emergency call as a large fire broke out. One of the buildings was also seriously damaged in March 2015 after it was set on fire by arsonists. Today controversy remains over what to do with parts of the site

6. At the junction, turn left into South Meadow Road & cross over to the right hand side…

Find the track & continue straight on, crossing over both North Meadow View & Charlock Road, continue down the single track way…

7. Then there is a T junction of footpaths…

Turn left, keeping the wall on your left, all the way past the allotments to St Crispin Drive

8. Turn right & cross over when safe…

Keep going until the pavement runs out & there is  a small opening into a wood…

Go through & follow the woodland path through the trees. Watch out for trip hazards ie roots

9. Keep the wooden fence to the left until you reach an exit in the fence, which is slightly obscured by trees…

It opens out onto a play area with a wooden fort…

10. Turn left & walk towards the wooden crocodile (that’s not an instruction you hear that often!!!), where you turn right on the footpath 

11. When facing number 15 Jennings Close turn left…

…& then cross over keeping to the right, bear right on the path & continue walking past two wooden benches

12. At Kent Road South, cross over & walk down Dover Close towards the hedge…

13. Turn right onto the old path…

& keep hedge on your left. This area used to be in the grounds of the old Princess Marina Hospital

Princess Marina was one of the last NHS learning disability hospitals to be built. It opened in 1972, & closed in 1995

14. Finally you arrive at the old Weedon Road…

Turn left after The Hollies & go past 437 Weedon Road, walking down to Millway…

15. Cross over  Millway & turn left keeping to the pavement. Continue  past Millway School

Cross over the road at zebra crossing, then cross straight over Stanfield Road, staying on Millway…

16. Keep going straight on & remember to  look up for the giraffe! (We’ve already had a crocodile & now we have a giraffe!!)…

17. Then take the path by the trees on Hall Close into St Luke’s Playing field

18. Follow the path through to Melbourne Lane & turn right…

& walk down towards ‘Taste of Spice’ & to Main Road…

 

…& then turn left towards Duston village

19. Walk through the village,  past The Squirrels & Duston Bakery

20. Follow Main Road up to the roundabout at Berrywood Road, turn left & walk back up to St Crispin Club

And that’s it the end of our very interesting walk around a part of Northampton that has quite a bit of history attached to it. I for one will definitely be visiting the Greek Orthodox Church, which I didn’t know existed!

Thanks Kathy!

Now…about that sausage roll…

Go Walk!