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!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Brigstock to Great Oakley via Geddington

Part of Mel Jarvis's Around Corby Walk, but clockwise.

With Barry and Gordon. between 9 and 10 miles in reality. Weather - a shower before we started, then very windy, but sunny. Hard work in the teeth of hurricane Katia's tail.

Beware - ignore miles 5 to 7 on the garmin link- no way did our guided tour of Geddington church cover 2 miles!  Nor was I running back and forward across the village! Technical hiccup. Then I left the machine running in the car for part of the journey back.  Human error.

We started walking from behind Brigstock Village Hall, crossing the stream via a footbridge, and taking the right-hand of two paths uphill over several cultivated fields. The path runs parallel to and slightly higher than the A43 road.

Making our way towards Stanion with a headwind
Crossing the brook
Once in Stanion we turned left into Willow Lane, then left again just before Keebles Close along a short footpath leading to the Pocket Park, which is managed for wildlife.  After the park we turned left again and walked along the road for about 100 yards before turning right on to the footpath which took us uphill through more fields towards Geddington Chase.
Walking uphill from Stanion

The path cuts off the corner of the first field, then follows the hedges as it climbs up a hundred feet or so.  It is well marked.  Eventually we arrived at Geddington Chase, and followed the wide grassy avenue to Chase Lodge, a fine well cared for house and garden, ruined (for me, though I'm sure the owners have good reason) by their guard dogs, which bark enthusiastically as soon as they hear or see you.
We followed the clear footpath arrows around the house and took the path south-west - not the one directly opposite us. This leads downhill through the woods, past an abandoned building, and on to a track which becomes Wood Street leading into Geddington village.  This is a village with a history far bigger than its size would imply.  Its most famous attraction is the Eleanor Cross, built by Edward I to mark one of the resting places of the funeral procession of his wife, Eleanor of Castile, as  her body returned to London in 1290. 
We stopped to look at the information board outside the church, and local enthusiast and editor of the Geddington website, Kam Caddell, came to tell us about the village and gave us a guided tour of the church, which dates from around the eighth century, and stands on a previous pagan site, linked to the well beneath the cross, which is reputed never to dry up.  The village was a favourite haunt of English royalty for most of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. For more information about this , go to the village website .  
The bridge over the River Ise was built in 1250

We crossed the bridge and walked along Bridge Street almost as far as the Post Office/ Tea Room before turning left along the path leading through a park.  It took us out at the main road (opposite Dallington Crescent.  The path continues across the road, just next to the drive to a house.  We followed the path,  eventually turning right near Mill Farm and emerging on to the road between Geddington and Newton.  A few hundred yards of road walking, then we took a path to the right.  There are two paths - we followed the right hand fork.
We walked uphill through a couple of large cultivated fields towards an electricity pylon - the highest point of this section.  The next stretch was downhill, under the railway bridge, and through a field near the old Great Oakley Station. Across the road and into a field next to the track the path has paving stones - the story goes that the landowner laid York stone slabs for the locals to walk to the station, which was far enough away from his land that it caused no disturbance. But once the station was no longer in use, the York stone was replaced by something cheaper - concrete.

We emerged into Great Oakley at the Row, and shortly afterwards took a footpath to the right, through the hall grounds, past a large pond, and past the church with its one-handed clock

We followed the road from the church, turned left, then right to pick up the footpath which follows Harper's Brook to the Spread Eagle.

Then it was about a mile to collect Gordon's car and get a lift home ( and a bag of apples!) 

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