Helpston, in Northamptonshire at the time, was the birthplace of the poet John Clare. We started our walk from the John Clare Cottage and museum. Apart from the information about the poet, this is another useful stop on the coffee-shop circuit.
We walked towards the village cross for a few yards, then turned left into the yard of The Blue Bell pub. At the back of the car park there's a stone stile leading on to a footpath which goes behind the village primary school, then across a couple of fields to reach a minor road. We turned left, and walked along the road for a few hundred yards, past another small road, until we came to a footpath leading off to the left. We followed this path east with a hedge on our right, then slightly south until we met yet another small road. Here we turned right, then after a couple of hundred yards we turned right, taking the footpath, not the bridleway. They are very close - the footpath is about three yards beyond the bridleway.
The path goes south west across a field, then south along the edge of a wood, then south-west again, before reaching the Stamford Road. Just opposite this point is The Granary - a farm shop and another one on the coffee-shop circuit. We decided we had plenty of time to indulge ourselves today!
|What d'you mean - we've only walked three miles!|
We turned left along the road for a very short distance, then right along a path, which skirted Hayes Wood, then turned south east to the Stamford Road again, turning north-west just as the path meets the road. We followed the path along the edge of Simon's Wood, and decided we could afford another short break - Maureen's scones, a nearly forgotten treat over the last three weeks, were welcome.
We followed the edge of the wood, which became Oxey Wood. The path ruined slightly north east at the end of the woodland, and led to a wider track running east. We followed this for about half a mile, then turned left past College cottages. This track took us directly to the road into Helpston, very close to the railway crossing. From there it was a straightforward road walk back into the village, past the church, the John Clare monument and the market cross.
|St Botolph's church|
|John Clare monument|
|Helpston Butter Cross, where markets were held|
Map and details
For a similar walk on 10 October 2011 click here. In reverse, with slight variations.