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, April 29, 2013

Badby - Hellidon - Charwelton - Fawsley

Mon, 2013 Apr 29 9:39 AM Western European Time 
Led by me. with Barry and Maureen. Quite hilly, good underfoot - one ploughed field but dry. Weather dry and sunny with some wind. 834 feet ascent. Excellent views. 11 miles. Included the highest point in Northamptonshire at 738 feet/225 m. Peak bagged!

One of two ancient chestnut trees in Badby. They are trying to preserve them, but warn you not to park or hang around underneath them.

Leaving Badby by Bunkers Hill.
We crossed the A361 and followed the Gated Road to Catesby. It climbed gradually, and we took the second footpath on the left - a bridleway. 
After less than half a mile we could see the motocross track on Arbury Hill to our right, and walked to it across the field.  The summit is wide and flat and we're not sure we we found the very highest point.

Ha! I worked out the self timer. Another peak bagged - a molehill with quite a view.
Then it's back to the bridleway, and past the tunnel airshafts.  Yet another dismantled railway. We walk past a large house and arrive at the minor road to Hellidon.  We turn right then left into a very large ploughed field with little evidence of a path, apart from the signpost. Another smaller and easier ploughed field leads into a grass meadow and we see a small lake close to Hellidon village
There are swans nesting, and the trees show signs of approaching summer at last.
We find our way into the village which is glorious in its spring outfit. 
Spring and autumn together?
We stop to chat to a man who's repairing the stonework of his cottage, which dates from the eighteenth century. 
A fire insurance plate - if you didn't display this the firefighters would leave your house to burn.

We leave the village at the road junction opposite the Red Lion and make our way up Windmill Hill.
Hellidon from Windmill Hill
We find a place for a break - sheltered from the wind and with lovely views. The sun's shining and all's well with the world.
We follow the Jurassic Way as far as Charwelton. heading south east until we meet the minor road just before it crosses the old railway. We go slightly astray because the field is ploughed, but we're near enough.  We pick up the Jurassic Way signs and emerge on the A 361 in Charwelton, just opposite the pack horse bridge.

The footpath crosses a couple of fields from here and takes us to a small road leading to the church. It's open so we have a look round, then take another break on a sunny bench.

We leave the Jurassic Way now and take a path through a gate and to a gap in the hedge on the left side of the field, then across the corner of the next field. We cross the road and follow a footpath up a small hill, and over some open fields full of sheep,  and pass Fawsley Farm - (or Fawsley Grange) on our right. We come out on a farm road which joins a minor road at Little Fawsley. This road takes us into Fawsley, with its Hall - seat of the Knightleys, and the church which contains many of their tombs and monuments.
Fawsley Hall - hotel and spa.
Fawsley church

All this - and a box collecting for a food bank too.

We follow the Knightley Way - very well signposted through parkland, pasture and Badby Woods, where wood anemones are in flower and bluebells are beginning to bloom.

All that remains is the walk downhill into Badby - well, there's steep short pull at the end - and then finding the car.  Another delightful walk, and fine weather. Not quite fine enough to take layers off yet, though.
Wildlife - a couple of birds I think were wheatears - very noticeable pale/ white rumps as they flew up, quite strong markings on an open meadow.
Map and details

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