The walk for November is one that Carol and Graham have recently found. It is a little different from our usual walks because it is all within the borough boundary and in an urban setting for much of the time. Nonetheless, it includes several points of interest – both contemporary and historical. Here is the route:
- We meet at Delapre Abbey – Northampton’s “Urban Country House”. This is now a popular spot so I suggest we arrive in good time to be ready for a 10.00 start. There are toilets in the courtyard. There is no charge for parking but when we went today (6th November) it was filling up by 10.00 am. Delapre Abbey has had a chequered history over the last 900 years but has now been sympathetically restored.
- The walk begins as we pass through the grounds towards to the large lake to the east of the abbey. You may be familiar with this lake – it is the one you see from the A45 ring road near the Barnes Meadow interchange – sometimes there are water skiers in the summer.
- We skirt the end of the lake taking a footpath which enters the University of Northampton Waterside campus from the south. If you haven’t seen the new Uni campus before it is interesting to see the collection of modern purpose built facilities.
- This part of the walk is in the area thought to be the site of the Battle of Northampton (1460) which was a major battle of the War of the Roses. King Henry VI (House of Lancaster) was captured by the Yorkists who had a decisive victory.
- The Uni campus is quite small and the walk proceeds across the South Becket foot bridge over the river into Becket’s Park. Here we join the Nene Way which we follow for the next mile and a half.
- On the Nene Way we follow the northern bank of the river passing the Marina, Midsummer Meadow and the Skate Park. We cross the main river again at the White Water Centre weir and, after skirting the Casuals rugby club pitches, we leave the Nene Way and continue to the edge of the Brackmills industrial estate.
- Parts of the walk are distinctly urban such as when we walk under the bypass (A45) and we will see graffiti and perhaps evidence of rough sleeping. (Although one can also find that in Kingsthorpe sometimes).
- From the edge of Brackmills we pass back under the A45 and pick up a muddy path around the lake which we saw at the start. This path takes us away from the traffic and back to our starting point. The walk is about 3.75 miles in length.
- For those interested there are grounds to explore at the abbey including a walled garden and parkland. You could even make a day of it and tour the abbey building (open 11am to 5pm, admission £8).
Most the walk is on paved paths and is easy going with no steep hills or stiles. However there are some stretches which are rough unpaved paths and can be quite muddy. Depending on numbers we could lunch at the Orangery Café at the abbey but that doesn’t take reservations and can be quite popular, so as an alternative we could reserve a table at a nearby pub such as the Queen Eleanor.
As previously mentioned, please note that all those taking part in any of our Church Walks do so entirely at their own risk and the people who organise the walks bear no responsibility whatever for the health and safety of those taking part.
Please let Graham (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 21st November if you plan to join the walk, and whether or not you will be staying for lunch.