Stage 8: Blisworth – Bugbrooke

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 5 miles (8.05km)

Time to walk: A couple of hours, although some of the paths aren’t well marked so it could be slightly longer

Difficulty: A mixture of field & road walking with a few hills

Parking: A linear walk as part of The Northampton Round, but easy on-road parking in Blisworth

Public toilets: Pubs in Blisworth & Bugbrooke

Map of the route: 

map

Stage 8 of the Round takes us along several paths that we’ve walked before. It also takes us back to the canals which is always something we enjoy. The weather today was a real mix of sunshine & showers so it was best foot forward & sheltering under trees

So…

Let’s Walk!

1. Blisworth lies about 5 miles south of Northampton & is probably most famous for its canal tunnel which we covered in Stage 7. If you fancy stocking up on provisions before this stage, there’s a small general store in the centre of the village

Otherwise have a peep up the canal from the bridge & then cross the Towcester Road & head down the Gayton one…

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2. Pass the entrance to Blisworth Tunnel Narrowboats yard on the right…

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The gate to the yard was locked shut & had a sign attached saying ‘Beware of the Jack Russell’. He was a yappy little chappie, but we soon talked him round

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3. The Round indicates there’s a footpath halfway up the hill on the left which heads diagonally across a field. Unfortunately we couldn’t find the path so decided to follow the road which links up later. So walk to the T-junction…

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If you’re hungry then at this time of year there’s plenty of food in the hedgerows

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Turn left along the road past the farm & the footpath marker showing where the path we missed comes out

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4. Cross the busy A43…

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…to arrive at some crossroads, where we turn left down a narrow lane

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5. Look out for the fishing lakes on the left. This is Gayton Wood Farm Fishery – not one we’ve ever fished, but now we know about it, quite fancy a day there

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Look for a footpath opposite the entrance the fishery – the sign was blocked by the hedge. If it can’t be seen just walk through the gate to the field & straight up the hill…

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Harvest time

Harvest time

6. At the hedge cross the stile – careful as there’s quite a drop…

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…& then turn immediately left towards the gap in the corner of the hedge. Pass through here onto what’s the banks of a disused railway line. Be careful as this is a deep cutting & you can just make out the old bridge we need to cross. Walk over it & exit the copse into a narrow grass alley between two fences

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7. Exit the narrow strip into what used to be Gayton Wilds Farm. This is now a very attractive development of private dwellings

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Walk down the gravel track & then turn right onto Tiffield Road

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8. We’re now going to follow this road all the way to Gayton…

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At the T-junction carry straight on into the village. Gayton Allotments are on the right & they’re pretty impressive

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9. Walk straight over the crossroads into the High Street…

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We’ve looked at Gayton on a couple of our normal walks. Sited near Watling Street, this attractive village was probably the unnamed settlement in the Hundred of Towcester held by the Knight Sigar of Chocques, who came from the village of that name near Béthune in the north of France. It wasn’t mentioned in the Domesday Book

Continue down High Street. Gayton has two pubs, both in this road. At the time of this walk in September 2016, the best known one, the Queen Victoria was closed down

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Years ago this place had an excellent reputation for food & drink & even ran a free mini bus to pick you up & return you to Northampton. We made a couple of visits in recent years & it gradually went down hill (not our fault!), its last guise being as a ‘thai’ sideline. We hope one day it regains its former glory…

Slightly further on is The Crown, which appears to be the ‘locals’ pub

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10. As the High Street bends right, head straight on down Park Lane, which looks like you’re walking into someone’s back yard

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We plough the fields & scatter...

We plough the fields & scatter…

11. The ‘back yard’ gives way to a grassy track & after 50 yards or so turn right…

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…to the iron gate leading into the large field (today with sheep in)

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Some gates are just worth ‘leaning on’ for a short while & taking in the views. You can just make out the Lift Tower in the distance

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12. It’s now time to head downhill to pick up the canal which will lead us all the way to Bugbrooke. Cross the bridge at the bottom of the sheep field & head diagonally left to exit the second field onto the road…

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13. Turn left over the bridge across the main railway line & walk down to the canal bridge…

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Cross it & turn left down onto the towpath, turning right & walking away from the bridge, not under it

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There was plenty of ‘traffic’ on the canal today

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14. Like we said, we’re going to follow the canal all the way to Bugbrooke. Pass under the old wooden bridge & then the modern road one…

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We now arrive at one of our favourite spots on the canal…the stunning Bridge 43, also known as Banbury Lane Bridge

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15. Normally it’s a pleasure to walk along the canals of The Shire, but today the vegetation on the tow path hadn’t been cut for some time & it was hard going…

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You never know who you’re going to meet on the canals & today was no exception. We met 3 cyclists who were following the canal from Leicester to London over two days. If we thought we were struggling against the shrubs etc, then they were having a much worse time

16. Eventually, after persistent use of the machete we pass under Bridge 38 & look for a gate on the right…

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Pass through the gate & follow the left edge of the field, turning right at the bottom. Bugbrooke can be seen ahead now

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17. Look for the large wooden bridge over the stream & cross it into the final field before the village…

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The path diagonally right is clearly marked…

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…so cross it & enter Bugbrooke

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18. The village, named in the Domesday as “Buchebroc”, lies on the Hoarestone Brook, which flows through the village from south to north. The name of the stream is supposed to be a corruption of Horse-stone, as an old packhorse route crossed the brook by a simple slab bridge just outside the village. When the stream was widened in the 1970s, the last of the mediaeval slabs was damaged beyond repair, but the pillars are still intact

Walk straight up the street over the crossroads past the Millennium Park on the right…

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…& into the churchyard

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19. Exit onto the main road. Opposite’s The Five Bells if you fancy some refreshment

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Turn right & walk towards the centre of the village. Bugbrooke’s a very ‘active place…

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20. This part of The Northampton Round ends at the village green in which is at the junction on this road…

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So…that’s another stage ticked off. We found this one quite easy to walk & didn’t lose the path apart from coming out of Blisworth, but maybe because we’d walked much of this route before

Next up…Bugbrooke to Nobottle!

Go Walk!