and occasionally rides a bike.
A word of warning. The walk descriptions are not detailed enough to guide you - please take a map. The batteries never run out, and you always have a signal. Oh, And don't take left or right as gospel!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Nene Way 2 Nether Heyford - Sixfields and return.

With Marta.  22 July 2011. 11.2 miles. Walking time  3 hrs 30, a total of almost 5 hrs including breaks. Weather, fine, warm, some sun. 

'Organisational difficulties' meant that we had to do this walk as a there-and-back. Fortunately we worked this out after 5 and a half miles, and the walk was roughly the same distance as we had planned.
At Nether Heyford
The pub at the start of the walk served us coffee although they were not officially open until 12 noon. Much appreciated.  We turned left from the pub car park, along Middle Street, turned right at T-junction, then right into Watery Lane, where we met the first waymarker.

The first waymarker - were the bags too heavy before we'd even started the walk?

From Watery Lane we took a signposted track between two houses. The path turns slightly left and crosses a stream (not the Nene) and several fields. There are stiles. On the left a mile or so away is Glassthorpe Hill, and according to Mia Butler, there was once a Roman villa in the valley. 

We meet the mighty Nene itself as we approach the bulk of Heygate's Flour Mill (marked on the OS map as Bugbrooke Mill. Weirs remain from the original watermill.   The water is very clear - we saw small fish and a froglet, as well as damselflies.  There's also a walled fruit and veg garden full of rows of beans, and with a fig tree growing against the wall.

Just here was the only place we made a small unintentional detour.  After crossing the service road, we followed the clearly signposted path, but didn't notice the gap in the hedge a couple of hundred yards further on - no signs here. We realised what we'd done when we came to an impassable ditch and barbed wire at the end of the field.  We even walked all the way back and missed the turning.  Careful consulting of the map - and, yes, there had to be some way through the hedge - it's just after the end of the taller bushes, to skirt the industrial building.
The path leads diagonally through a field storing what look like abandoned food storage containers - grain silos? - round and very big. 

 Through the gate and across a wheat field towards the M1 and through a tunnel underneath.  
Under the M1
This was the quietest place within a hundred yards or so, and was clearly the place where old farm machinery comes to die.

Across a meadow where cows were doing their best to eat the maize in the next field, then through the maize jungle, closely planted, neat rows, computerised sowing, taller than we are, past an area where children were playing by the river and a cat was observing from its vantage point.

Totem cat

The fourteenth century church at Kislingbury
 Kislingbury has three pubs, a general store and a butcher's shop, as well as the church.

I like the colours here, though I should have got the writing and flowers in focus too. Need to study 'depth of field'.

The path to the footbridge is part of the flood defences, and a large metal gate can be closed off to protect the village against another two for three foot rise in the water level.

After Kislingbury we turned right from the road, and walked through several fields, quite a distance from the Nene, which was on our right.  We could see a raised dyke area, and the path was clearly marked.  We walked past a long wall, which has fallen down in places, although there is a door in one of the remaining sections.  We arrived at Upton Hall Farm with horses and vociferous geese, then came to the new development of Upton Sustainable Urban Extension.  It still looks rather new, but when the trees have grown and the water/ drainage areas have settled in it promises to be an attractive area.

Part of Upton Sustainable Housing Development
The signs for the Nene Way were a little sparse through the new houses, but we found our way through to where the path crosses the dual carriageway of the old A45 at traffic lights
and were ready to take the Duston Mill Lane when we decided we had to turn back.

Geese getting ornery

Wildlife - kestrels and a couple of herons. 
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