Walking from our doorstep

It’s now almost exactly a year to the day since we moved into our house in a Northamptonshire village. Over the twelve months we’ve been for plenty of walks around the county, both locally and further afield. However, we thought that walks from the house were limited to a couple of footpaths that didn’t really lead anywhere. We were very wrong and it’s just a pity it’s taken so long to realise.

There’s actually a permissive path leading from the village down into the neighbouring valley and joins a newly established footpath up to the next small settlement. Neither of these routes are on the Ordnance Survey mapping, so we were largely unaware about of them. We knew there was a permissive path but not really where it was or where it went, but after reading some arguments about it on the village Facebook page, we decided to check it out. It turns out the path is a real asset to the village and connects to a wider network of public rights of way.

On what was a very blustery late morning, we headed out well wrapped up but we soon warmed up. The walk was about 5.5 miles in total across open pasture and ploughed fields, along hedgerows and on some quiet country lanes. It’s reasonably rolling in these parts so there were a few inclines to climb but nothing too steep. There were good views all around as we headed down the slopes and reached new crests. I even managed to put some of my new badger surveying skills into practice but more on that later.

While this was a relatively short walk, we expected it to rain at any moment, it looks like we can extend it in various directions and create 10 mile and possibly 15 mile walks when the weather is nicer.

The route is a real find and no doubt we’ll be doing it as regularly as some of our other local walks as the spring arrives.

Finally, a fine day for a walk

Yesterday, after seemingly spending almost the whole Christmas period under a veil of dark and damp cloud, the final day of the holiday turned out to be clear and sunny. We went out on what is now our favourite walk in the area close to home – a circular around Cottesbrooke and Haselbech Hill.

I’ve found a great blog for wanders in the county – Northamptonshire Walks – with guides for hundreds of routes all over the county and beyond. Before we moved here early last year, I spotted an area that might be nice for a walk and by chance this blog already has a route around it – Walk 132.

We started in Cottesbrooke itself, a lovely old village with ironstone houses and cottages, heading out towards Brixworth but then some way after leaving the buildings behind, heading up a farm track into the countryside. The route meets up with one of our regular walks from Hanging Houghton but then continues up to the high ground between Cottesbrooke and Haselbech. Near to the top of hills is a view point with great vistas over the fields around our village and those surrounding it, with a very distant Northampton barely visible in the background. At this point, the land seems almost like the Downs rather than the more wold-like landscape lower down the hills and it has to be my favourite spot in Northamptonshire we’ve found so far. On a day like yesterday too, it really was a special place to be.