Monday, 4 November 2013

Upper Harlestone, Nobottle & The Bringtons – approx 6.00 miles

Sunday November 3rd 2013


Map: OS Explorer 223 – Northampton & Market Harborough
Upper Harlestone – Midshires Way (W) – Nobottle – Little Brington – Great Brington – Chinkwell Spinney – Edge of Althorp Park – Upper Harlestone
It’s been quite a while since we last went out on anything other than a trundle round the local paths and lanes, and even longer since my last blog post. There are a number of reasons for this, none of which I will bore you with now (maybe later, eh?): suffice it to say that what with one thing or another we haven’t really had the opportunity.
So, faced with the prospect of a bright, sunny Sunday morning and with little to distract us, we decided to take advantage and get our boots muddy for the first time since returning from Albania. And we needed to reccy a walk for the next issue of the parish magazine. All in all, it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.
On the Midshires Way between Upper Harlestone and Nobottle
The circuit itself was a fairly simple six-miler connecting a group of four villages located just to the southwest of Althop Park (home of the Spencer family, if you are struggling to recall the name). We began by parking in Upper Harlestone and taking the Midshires Way westwards towards the hamlet of Nobottle.

Designed as a link route between the Ridgeway and the Trans Pennine Trail, the Midshires Way runs through 230 miles of Middle England from Bledlow in Buckinghamshire to Stockport, Greater Manchester. With more than 40 miles of the route in Northamptonshire it is a path we come across quite frequently, but my last encounter with it was over one weekend earlier this summer when walking two different routes between Cromford and Turnditch.   


Heading for Little Brington

From Nobottle, we left the Midshires Way and picked a line across the fields towards Little Brington. The weather was still treating us kindly, and the surrounding countryside, whilst being nothing more dramatic than gently rolling agricultural land, looked as good as it gets. I’ve probably mentioned it before, but with its open farmland, country houses and quaint villages built from the local golden sandstone, the area has more than a hint of Cotswolds about it.

Great Brington Church, built in local stone

After picking up the Macmillan Way (designed to promote and raise money for Macmillan Cancer Relief) we reached Great Brington, where we sat to rest for a few minutes outside the solid-looking church and watched the world go by. Then a short walk across the fields brought us out on to the road that skirts the edge of Althop Park and leads back to Upper Harlestone.
Having a rest
At around 6 miles, this is a lovely little circuit for a half-day stroll. It’s a bit muddy in one or two places, but with some road walking and a number of good paths it is quite a manageable choice in winter. In fact it would make a great outing on a cold, frosty winter’s day – and there are a couple of fine-looking pubs en route should refreshments or food be on the agenda.
It’s been about 8 years since we last walked this route. On the basis of yesterday’s findings, we should ensure it is not another 8 years until we go again!