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!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Northamptonshire Round - NR 1 Holcot to Sywell Country Park

Fri, 2013 Aug 9 10:29 AM 
With Marta. The footpahts in the first part were not very clearly marked, but manageable with map. Downpour before we started, but fine rest of the day. Just over 7.5 miles.

Marta and I were a little stumped for our next long-distance walk. This is close enough to home, and only 51 miles in all. We'll visit areas that I don't know,  south of Northampton , and some more familiar territory on the way. 

Clear and detailed instructions for this section are on The Ten Foot Club website.  We seem to have walked an extra mile!   The Ten Foot Club are the guys who set the round up.

Miss out the next paragraphs ** to ** if you don't want to read my grouses!

**We didn't get off to a great start - I was grumpy after yesterday's disappearing footpath experience, Marta was a bit tired.  We were going to park at Pitsford reservoir by the dam, but just as we got there the heavens opened, so we diverted to the Visitor Centre for a coffee, foolishly assuming the parking tickets would be transferable. 

More grumpiness when we discovered that the café doesn't open until ten, and the tickets are not transferable.  Luckily we can always produce a black coffee from our portable coffee stop kit, and we decided to give Pitsford Water a miss - we've been there so many times already, anyway. So - we started our walk from the village of Holcot!**

Holcot church

The phone box has a new use
Just opposite the church and phone box book exchange is a footpath between the houses. There is even a NR sign, so we walk through the passageway, and then turn left and downhill along Poplars Lane to Walgrave Road. Here we turn right and on the corner there's a footpath sign leading us through a gateway guarded by two eagles.

The way is not very clear, but turns sharp left at the gates and follows the field boundary for a couple of hundred yards. There is a footbridge, but it's overgrown and people obviously take an easier route round the culvert. 
Then the path goes uphill diagonally. We went a bit too far to our right, and had to correct our route.  Some of the field boundaries may have changed since the OS map was last revised.  Another case of "clear on the map not on the ground".

Our route may be not quite right, but we either follow field edges or footpaths, and manage to get ourselves on track again.

For a short distance the way is clear and we meet the bridleway which leads us to the A43 - which we have to cross.  We turn left along the road for a hundred yards - a closer look at the map shows we should have turned right and found the footpath in the layby. No matter - we use a wide bridleway leading toward Hardwick Lodge, and then turning to the right towards Hardwick Short Wood and Sywell Wood.  Once more there are footpath waymarks and NR ones too.
A friendly fence repairer.
The path comes out near Wood Lodge Farm, and when we reach the road we turn left and walk the rather busy quarter mile or so to the turn off for Mears Ashby, on the Beckwith's Emporium Corner. A quick wander through there - but we decide it's too busy and too posh for today, so make our way to the village. This road is very quiet once you pass the Emporium!  
Our route takes us round the village - a pretty one - and we stop for a sandwich at the Griffin Inn.
The rest of the route is straightforward - the footpath goes off to our left after Mears Ashby Hall. After a short wooded section near the wall it heads southwest, slightly to our right, across a large field to the Mears Ashby-Earls Barton road.  The gap in the hedge is a bit overgrown and the road's a bit busy, but it's a short distance to the path on the other side.
From here it's plain walking and gently downhill towards Sywell Reservoir and Country Park.  Seven a half miles in all.

Wildlife spotted: one hare, quite close by, and a buzzard circling and mewing. Lots of butterflies.

Map and details


Roy Norris said...

Two grumpy Women!, my goodness.(;))

aliqot said...

Sweetness and light, Roy, always.

aliqot said...
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