Stage 10: Nobottle to Church Brampton

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 4 miles (6.4km)

Time to walk: Roughly 1 hour, although there’s the opportunity of a very pleasant pub stop on the way in Harlestone

Difficulty: A mixture of hard paths & tracks. Slightly hilly in places & there are a couple of area through the woods which could get muddy in wet weather

Parking: None in Nobottle as it’s so small. This linear walk is best done in conjunction with others

Public toilets: Pub in Harlestone

Map of the route: @tenfootclub

map

This short of the Northampton Round follows familiar footpaths from some of our circular walks through some of the County’s prettiest villages

It also marks a point where the 51 mile path turns eastwards once more for the final 2 stages that lead us back to our start point at Brixworth Country Park

So…head towards the rising sun…

Let’s Walk!

1. Stage 10 begins in the tiny hamlet of Nobottle (see Stage 9 for some facts on the village). There’s very few places to park a car here so please exercise care. Beginning from the tiny green under the tree turn right & walk a few yards towards the telephone box on the Duston to Whilton Road

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Look for the footpath sign & gate over the road & enter the field. Pass through this & another paddock to arrive beside a wood

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2. Walk through the metal gate & follow the edge of the field through the next gate into the woods…

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We’re on a familiar long distance footpath now, the Midshires Way that runs for 230 miles from the Chiltern Hills from near Bledlow in Buckinghamshire, through the Midlands counties of Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire, to Stockport, Greater Manchester. It also links several other long-distance walking routes or trackways including The Ridgeway & the Trans-Pennine Trail

The route was opened in 1994 as a collaboration between numerous Local Authorities & user groups. It is intended as a multi-user trail, but there are places where the recommended route for walkers differs from the route for horse riders & cyclists

3. The short path through the wood’s easy to follow…

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…& exits into fields with big skies & fantastic views!

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4. Follow the left hand edge of 3 fields to finally arrive at a footpath sign beside a large tree…

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This is a crossroads of several paths & we need to take the one diagonally left, following the same direction keeping the hedge on the left. Across to the left you can make out the villages of Little & Great Brington

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5. Towards the end of this field there’s another junction of paths with a signpost. Bear left down the rough track to arrive at a road

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Turn left along the road & follow it down & into the lovely village of Upper Harlestone

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Harlestone, the village, is one of the County’s prettiest & is divided into two settlements – we’ll come to the Lower part shortly. It forms part of the nearby Althorp Estate

6. Carry on round the corner, looking for the old village well on the left…

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There’s several footpaths on the right, all heading in the same direction. We need to take the one through the gate just past the house in the picture below which follows a stone wall

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7. Walk up the narrow hard path, passing through another gate towards the top of the hill & the village hall on the green

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This is a beautiful quiet part of the village. Other villages have a village hall… Upper & Lower Harlestone enjoy “The Institute”, so called because its origins lie in creating reading rooms for the betterment of local folk. It dates back to 1924 & the brick & timber framed building is privately managed & maintained by a village committee

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The chestnut trees on the green were also displaying their wares. If you fancy some refreshment there’s a small village store that’s well worth supporting at the bottom of the green on the left

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8. Walk straight across in front of the village institute & through the gate into the next field. & then through the next gate onto Northampton Golf Club

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9. Be careful, but keep to the path across the fairway & up the hill past the first tee

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Keep straight on towards Harlestone Church which can be seen above. The parish church of St Andrew was mostly built between 1320 & 1325, although the tower dates back to the 12th century, with Henry de Bray, the owner of the Manor, providing the stone & timber

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10. Keep to the footpath down the alley to the right of the church to emerge next to the gates of Harlestone House

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Look around & you can still see the remains of the old stable blocks etc. Harlestone House is thought to be the inspiration for Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park &  it’s known she resided at the house for a period because letters have been discovered written from there. The original house was demolished in 1940, although the impressive stables still remain. The Jane Austen Society have stated that there is no evidence that she visited Northamptonshire

11. Walk straight across & then through the gate into the field on the left – the small hard path’s easy to spot

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Continue through the next paddock & exit onto the road into Lower Harlestone

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12. It’s refreshment time so turn right & follow the busy road round & up the hill…

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…to arrive at the well-known Fox & Hounds which has seen a few changes over the years, the most controversial of which was the name change to the Snooty Fox for a period of time with a garish pub sign. It’s good to see the return to the more traditional fit with the village. The restaurant gets good write ups

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13. Look for the footpath sign on the left…

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…& then through the gate at the bottom which leads to another rough track that will take us towards Church Brampton

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14. More big skies & easy walking along here, plenty of noisy skylarks & the fact that we’re finally nearing the end of the long distance path puts an extra kick in our step

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At the bottom of the hill’s the railway so pass through the gate, turn right & look for the tunnel under the line…

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15. Pass under the bridge & turn left, following the field edge & look for a new bridge though a gap in the hedge

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The path now twists & turn steeply upwards through the woods towards another golf course…

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16. Be careful crossing Northamptonshire County Golf Club which is one of the best in the Shire

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Just keep following the path straight through woods & across fairways, the last of which looks down to the clubhouse on the left

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17. After crossing this last fairway climb the stile & turn left up the gravel track, which then turns into a hard one known as Golf Lane which is one of the most exclusive private places to live around here

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At the end is another bench under a tree – this is becoming a bit of a regular on the last stages of this walk & they’re always welcome

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So…the penultimate stage of the 51 mile Northampton Round is over & there’s only one more stretch to do. This one was a lovely stroll taking in the beautiful Harlestones

Do it as part of a circular stroll from one of our other walks sometime…

Go Walk!