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!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Northampton Round 2 - Sywell Country Park to Castle Ashby

Wed, 2013 Sep 4 10:19 AM British Summer Time
With Marta. Very hot weather. Quite undulating. 7.5 miles then almost two more walking round Castle Ashby Gardens.

From Sywell Country Park we turn right and take the road uphill past East Lodge Farm, where the footpath is clearly marked.  We cross fields with horses, then the path crosses a line of trees and comes out on the A4500. 
We turn right along this, and soon left towards Ecton, on the quiet Wellingborough Road.  Ecton is a lovely village, with a large church, and attractive ironstone cottages.
The war memorial

  Benjamin Franklin visited in 1758 in search of his ancestors' graves.

Our route takes us along the High Street and towards the end we turn right onto a small path leading to West Street.  At the end of this we turn left, and walk south along a footpath.
The footpath joins a road, and we continue south along the road which goes above the A45.

Just after the bridge we turn left, or east,  along a byway - as the Northants Round instructions warn us, quite a lot of junk has been dumped here.   So much so that we missed our turning at first. Just before a gate you turn to the right away from the dual carriageway, and head south once more.

The bushes are covered in sloes and then haws as we approach fishing lakes and irrigation channels, and finally the River Nene. 


We have a break sitting on the bridge looking towards Cogenhoe Mill Lock.  The cows and bull obligingly move away from the pathway.  I think they're used to people from the caravan site and boats.

We have walked this way before

The church clock still stands at the wrong time, though it has moved in the two years since I last took its photograph.

We soon leave the short section shared with the Nene Way, and at the Royal Oak pub we turn left and downhill on the Whiston Road. 
Near the bottom of the dip the footpath is on the right, and leads south eastwards. 
 We walk along the hedgerow, under electrical power lines and follow the edge of the woodland.  Our instructions tell us to make two ninety degree turns - we manage the first  (to our right) and overshoot the second (to our left).   This adds a couple of hundred yards to our route, but we find the steps down from the embankment.
Jerusalem Steps, I presume.
The steps take us down to the bottom of the quarry, out of the woodland, then across a field and a track, and over a stream.  We turn right then slightly left to follow a track south east to the Denton to Whiston Road. We continue south east, through a short stretch of woodland and more fields to arrive at Chadstone Lodge.   On the small road we turn right and walk along to the tiny village of Chadstone. There a man and his daughter have been collecting plums, and he sings the joys of living there and foraging. "You can get a coffee . . ."  No he's not offering us one! " . . .at Ashby" he calls as he goes into his house.

We join the Castle Ashby Road, and walk the mile or so back to the car.  We take in the "rural shopping yard", fortify ourselves with tuna baguettes and cold drinks, and then explore Castle Ashby Gardens - £4.50 for us oldies, but a lovely place.  Lucky Marquess of Northampton.
Castle Ashby House with Latin words around the "battlements".

See next post for a few photos of the gardens.
Map and details

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