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, October 24, 2011

Harrington - Arthingworth - Brampton Valley Way - H'ton

Barry led this walk with Gordon and Maureen.  Fine weather, some sun.  Almost 11 miles. 

We set off from Harrington, not far from the pump, taking a path which leads downhill with an area called the Falls on our right hand side. From the leaflet linked above:

The manor house 'was pulled down in 1745 by Lionel, Earl of Dysart, who had other estates to maintain.  No trace remains above ground - the stone may have been used in building houses, cottages and walls in the village.  A stone pillar from one of the gateposts now stands in the middle of Desborough.  Maybe, someday, it will find its way back to Harrington.
. . .
The site of the old manor house is called 'The Falls' with the 'Park' adjoining.  An avenue of elm trees lined a carriage drive to the village road but sadly, due to their great age and the onset of dutch elm disease, they were all felled in the 1960s.
The Falls has the remains of terraces, fishponds and a sunken garden, which may have had a fountain.   This was laid out by Sir Lionel Tollemache who married Lady Elizabeth Stanhope and inherited the estate in 1675.  It is now listed as an historical archaeological site.
The fishponds were constructed to supply fresh fish to the monastic house. Eel, bream. pike and perch were bred in a series of ponds of varying sizes fed by channels.  Traces of ridge and furrow, remains of the medieval farming system can still be seen.
The terraces of the manor house gardens

 From here we followed the path in a north easterly direction towards Arthingworth.
Arthingworth church

We turned left and walked through the village, turning right along a footpath leading almost due north along field boundaries. After a gap in the hedge the path leads diagonally to the left up a hill past a spinney, then slightly to the right heading towards the trig point at 146 metres high. The trig point is a few yards away from the footpath sign.
We crossed the road from Great Oxenden and joined a path directly opposite, which was part of the Midshires Way.  This goes downhill along the field edge, until it reaches a bench.  At this point we turned left.
A path with a confused sense of identity
 The path leads to a farm called Waterloo Lodge (again?) and through an orchard and a landscaped area before coming to a couple of cultivated field, then grassland with a big dip in the middle.
 The pears look almost too perfect to be real.

What goes down has to come up - when we're talking hills
At the top of the rise we climbed a stile (one of several) into a wooded area.
Going gently downhill
This path through the trees took us gently down towards the Brampton Valley Way, where we turned right, pretty well back on ourselves,  to walk along the old railway line towards Northampton.

into the dark tunnel

and out at the other end

The tunnel floor was a bit uneven and damp in places. Most of the walk along the railway path was sheltered from the wind, and very warm when the sun shone.
The second tunnel was slightly longer at 480 metres
There are plenty of seats for the weary traveller.

Between Arthingworth and Kelmarsh, close to the disused railway, is Kelmarsh depot.

We left the Brampton Valley Way at Green Lane Crossing and turned left along a path heading towards the A14. To avoid crossing this very fast road we took the path past Sunnydale Farm with its Aviation Museum (open only at weekends)
The Carpet-bagger Group were involved in flying "Special Operations" to deliver supplies to resistance groups in enemy occupied countries and in delivering personnel  and occasionally bringing them back from the field.
We walked across the corner of the disused airfield, where some of the concrete roadways still survive.

After a while we came out to the road to Harrington, where we turned left and crossed the A14 on a bridge. Shortly after the Harrington village sign we took a footpath to the right.  This branched off to the left near some farm vehicles, and we emerged at our starting point.

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