Stage 11: Church Brampton to Brixworth

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 4 miles (6.4km)

Time to walk: Roughly 1 hour

Difficulty: A mixture of fields & rough tracks, so it could easily get muddy in wet conditions. There’s also a few hills, including a long final stretch uphill. We’d already done 9 miles before tackling this stage were feeling it somewhat by then! Shouldn’t be a problem as an easy one-off

Parking: On road in Church Brampton

Public toilets: At the end in Brixworth Country Park

Map of the route: @tenfootclub

map

So this is it…our final 4 miles of a 51 mile trek around Northampton through some stunning countryside & villages. How would we feel at finally getting back to the start point / what were the highs / the lows / would we recommend it / do it again?

There’s only one way to find out…

Let’s Walk!

1. This leg starts at the bench at the end of Golf Lane in Church Brampton. Stand up, turn right, cross the road & walk up what looks like the drive of a private house

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The paths down the right side of the house…

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2. It’s quite a grassy track which emerges at a road beside a telephone box…

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This really is another gorgeous Shire area. Turn left & follow the road as it bends right out of the village

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3. As the road starts to climb look for a footpath sign on the right

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It was here after 48 miles that we wondered if fate was against us completing this trek. Was that a severed head on the gatepost? Is there witchcraft here?

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4. The path climbs steadily up the side of the field now, passing the farm on the left to emerge at some rough tracks

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Walk straight across & down the track to the left of the green tank which leads into open fields once more until it arrives at a multitude of paths as shown by the signpost below

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5. The one we want is the Bridleway to the right. Walk along the side of the hedge to the hard track at the end. It was at this point, we looked across the valley to the left & saw the water treatment plant building at Pitsford Reservoir – our first sight of the finish point since we left almost 50 miles ago

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Our step had a little skip in it at this point! Turn left along the hard track & walk down to the main road

6. Turn left, cross the road & look for a sign & steps going down into the field…

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Today the ground was firm so we could follow the diagonally left path across it, but in wet times you’d probably have to walk round the edge to the bridge across into the next one

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7. Continue in the same direction across the centre of the next field (again, could be muddy)…

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…to exit onto a lane. Follow this left & up to & over the old railway line, now part of the Brampton Valley Way

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The Brampton Valley Way is a 14 mile rail trail built on the way of the former Northampton to Market Harborough Railway.

The railway line was closed in 1981 & the 13-mile Northamptonshire section was purchased by Northamptonshire County Council with grant aid from the Countryside Commission in 1987, when work began on developing it as a linear park

The Brampton Valley Way, from Boughton Crossing in Northampton to Little Bowden Crossing in Market Harborough, was opened in the spring of 1993 & provides recreational access for cyclists and walkers including the opportunity to pass through two former railway tunnels on the route, Kelmarsh (322 yards) & Oxendon (462 yards). The tunnels are unlit & so can be quite an experience to travel through, although alternative routes over the them are provided – see ‘Walk 53’ under ‘Northamptonshire Walks’ tab

8. Continue straight ahead as the track now becomes rougher & passes Merry Tom Farm. Now the Pitsford Pumping Station is definitely getting nearer

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The track’s now stoney & hard underfoot, & it’s a long up & down, seemingly never ending stretch which will finally emerge in Brixworth. After already having walked 13 miles that day, this felt like hard going

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9. Eventually it arrives at civilisation again…

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If you want to have at look at Brixworth village turn left. The main road from Northampton to Market Harborough passed through the village, where a number of inns served the needs of travellers for refreshment, lodging & a change of horses.  Two of the present day pubs in the village date back to the era of horse-drawn transport, The George InnThe Coach and Horses

All Saints’ church is one of the oldest, largest & most complete Anglo-Saxon churches in the country. It was founded circa 680 AD & has been called as “The finest Saxon church north of the Alps”

10. Our route though is right along the road towards the busy bypass…

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…passing the Cricket & Tennis Clubs

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11. Just pass here on the right’s one of Northamptonshire’s success stories, but probably one that’s still not that well know…Fleur Fields Northamptonshire Vineyard

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Husband and wife team Bill & Flora Hulme have been running Fleur Fields Vineyard for over 10 years & have won a host of top wine-making awards

12. Cross straight over the roundabout down the approach road into Brixworth Country Park…

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…& there once again is Pitsford Reservoir

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Turn left along the driveway to finally arrive at journey’s end, the park cafe

So that’s it…51 miles round Northampton through some of most beautiful countryside

In most places the paths are well marked, although the biggest tip we can give is to take ordinance survey maps with you as, at times, they aren’t particularly well marked, especially along the southern stretches. If you do miss a turn though, never panic & just look for a route to get you back on track as quickly as possible

Also, it’s best to time when you actually do the walk – summer is obviously best as there are long stretches that could be very muddy

Would we recommend it? A most definite yes. Would we do it again? Probably not in a whole stretch. If you fancy walking various sections of the route then our circular walks do cover much of it

It is however a very satisfying thing to have done!

Go Walk!