|The footpath sign is just by the churchyard gate|
We started from Braunston church, which we should have looked at a little more closely. - Confession time - we visited Braunston next day, took some better pics, and went for lunch in The Old Plough. A baguette with filling, salad with dressing and coleslaw for £6.25.
Though the interior is interesting, the most intriguing feature of All Saints is outside. Go around the side of the west tower and there you will find an roughly carved statue, about 3 feet high, depicting a grinning figure. The reverse of the figure is flat, and it was used for many years to form a step, so the carving was only discovered when the step was taken up.More discussion on this stone carving and more info about the church and carving.
No one knows how old the carving is, or what it is supposed to represent, but it is almost certainly pre-Christian. It may be a symbol of an ancient fertility cult, or some form of Celtic Earth Mother. Whatever it is supposed to represent, it is a quite extraordinary bit of primitive sculpture, and deserves more recognition.
|According to the info board she is supposed to ward off evil spirits.|
We walked through the churchyard to take the footpath going west. After a couple of fields the path crosses the young river Gwash, and turns south-west. It followed field edges climbing gradually , with clear way markers until we came to a field of long grass where we followed our noses and the map, diagonally upwards to the opposite corner. In fact we veered slightly to our left, but rejoined our route after going through a gate at the top of the field.
|Checking grid reference and map|
We continued walking straight on ( east) as far as Leigh Lodge. There we turned left (north-east) and followed the route of the Macmillan and Leighfield Ways, up a metalled road, for about a mile. When we reached the minor road to Braunston we turned left (north-west).
The original plan was to take a bridleway on our right, and follow the river Gwash to Braunston via the sewage works and the bridge pictured below. As it promised to be a mud-bath, we took the road instead.
|All Saints church, Braunston|
|Drawing of All Saints church by Harry Hamill|
Map and details