| Bugbrooke LINK
...the website for the village of Bugbrooke, Northamptonshire
Please note that Countryside Walk leaflets are available on line for most villages in South Northants.
The walks below written out for the canal users magazine ‘Endeavor’ for the benefit of boat owners. They all start from the Wharf and could be useful to LINK readers looking for a good walk.
the towpath south to Rainbows bridge (so named after Jimmy Rainbow who
managed the level crossing over the railway at this point for many
years). The remains of his garden can be seen although well overgrown.
His house stood right next to the line.
the towpath and cross the canal bridge and head for the new footbridge
over the railway. This replaced the level crossing when the line was
upgraded in the 1990's. If children are with you they can usually get a
'toot' from the train driver if they stand half way down the bridge
facing south and level with the drivers cab. Wave vigorously!
Take the marked path to Littliff Farm at the top of the hill. Pass in front of the house and look for a stile and small gate in the top right corner of the paddock. On clearing the gate turn sharp left and head across the field towards Eastcote. A wire fence with stile will be about 300 yards ahead. Clear views of the Nelne Valley are availab1e from this hill back atross the canal. Northampton is encroachingto the north east whilst the clear sighted will see the last radio mast standing on Borough Hill at Daventry when looking north west (MR 675561).
reaching the stile in the wire fence a short cut can be contemplated. If
you turn right and head downhill you will meet the path from Pattishall
that leads under the railway and canal tunnels back to Bugbrooke.
head straight on across the grass field where a series of stiles will
bring you to the old Banbury Lane at its junction with Eastcote Lane.
Turn right along this road for half a mile to the crossroads at
Pattisball. then right again to Pattishall Church. As you take care of
traffic you might peruse that this is the old animal drovers road
between Northampton and Banbury. The villages close to this road and the
A5 (Eastcote. Astcote. Dalscote. Caldecote. Grimscote) all bear
testimony to those days. Cote means shelter, particularly for sheep.
reaching Pattishall Church walk through the churchyard and turn right as
you descend the steps at the far end. This takes you onto a farm track
where a path is marked on the right hand side. Pass through the farmyard
where vehicles are stored and go straight ahead. The A5 will be visible
400 yards away to the left.
reaching the top of the hill (MR671548) you will again get excellent
views over the Nene Valley.
the path down to the small brook, locally known as the Washbrook; and
head down stream towards the
underneath the canal that you passed over early in the walk. As you
approach the railway you will come into contact with past and present.
300 yards from the railway, close to where two streams meet, evidence
of a Roman Villa although it has never been fully explored. At the
see extensive new works to the embankment which the stream and the
This has been necessitated by the intrusion of rabbits and foxes ever
was built in the 1830's and accentuated by the extra pressure caused by
the speed and
of the Pendalino (tilting) trains on this long bend.
exiting the aqueduct a wooden bridge on your left will take you to the
old part of Bugbrooke (West End) and The Wharf. The wooden structure on
the bridge covers the remains of the Clapper Bridge that dates from
medieval times. Only the uprights remain as it was destroyed when the
Hoarstone Brook was widened in the 1970's.
walk will take about 2-3 hours but if the short cut is taken it will be
about 1 hour 30
Leave the towpath at the Wharf
Bridge and head east towards Bugbrooke. In 200 yards cross the road at
the T junction and go through the Kissing Gate into the Park. Go
straight ahead noting on your left the large house. This was built in
1813 by the Harrison family who were Rectors in the parish from the
1780's to 1970s, a span of almost 200 years. It is now in the
ownership of the Jesus Fellowship who operate from the local chapel
since the 1970's. They are reflective of the non-conformist traditions
of Bugbrooke which had the third largest congregation of Quakers in
Northamptonshire in the 1600's
On reaching the end of the field turn left towards
the Church and into Bugbrooke's Millennium Green. This was planted up
in 1999 with all the native trees of Britain. They are clearly
and a time capsule rests underneath the small stone wall in the green.
Continue on to the Church where a peep inside will reveal one of the
oldest Rood Screens in the County. Note the Five Bells Public House on
the left (named after the number of church bells) and head east up
Church Lane over the brook and towards the village school.
Laddermakers Yard on the left is built on the site of the last
laddermakers (John Ward and Son) to survive in the county. They closed
in the 1980's. Cross the bridge and you will see the current Rectory
whilst on the other side are the Sunday School rooms built by the
Harrison family in the 1830's. A further 100 yards along is Baptists
Close, the first meeting place of the Baptists when they took over
from the Quakers in the late 1700's and early 1800's. The farmhouse,
now called The Byre and formerly Ivy Nook, was their early meeting
house. (MR 676575).
Ahead is the village Primary
School, formerly the Board School, built after the Education Act of
the 1870' s. Turn left at the junction at Waggon and Horses Green, so
named after the pub that once stood here and received passers by on
their way from Northampton to Banbury. Carry on for 200 yards and turn
left into a track known locally as Smiths Lane. On your right is the
Manor House. At its furthest end is an archway. This is the entrance
to the previous Manor House that stood behind the present one. The
archway is the oldest structure in Bugbrooke other than the Church.
You are entering the area that
would have represented Bugbrooke in Medieval times. The village moved
it centre of gravity at some stage. The fact that the Church had three
rectors in the space of five
years at the time of the Black Death might be a clue. In the fields to
the left of Smiths Lane have been found a stone mace, whilst in the
fields near the brook are the remains of medieval fish ponds (MR
675577) (not apparent to the naked eye but clear from aerial
photographs - see 'Bugbrooke 2000 BC - 2000 AD' available from the
Post Office for £10) .
Carry on down Smiths Lane. When
you get to a sharp left hand bend you will see Bugbrooke Mill straight
ahead. This was clearly a route to the Mill at one stage. Follow the
lane to its conclusion and enter the field at its end. Walk straight
forward and in 300 yards you will join Nene Way which runs from the
source of the River Nene at Badby to its end at the Wash (Mr 6773586)
The narrow field immediately in
front is called Charity Meadow and was once one of 12 such meadows
between this point and Nether Heyford to the west. It is a Site of
Special Scientific Interest, there being only two of its kind in
Northamptonshire. It has never been ploughed or fertilized and,
consequently, grows over 100 species of wild flowers and grasses. It
is at it best about June time.
At this point you have two
options. Option One is to head east towards Northampton and in about
half a mile you will come across Heygates Mill, the largest
independent millers in the country. It has grown since 1940 from a
small agricultural mill and now produces flour for many bread and
biscuit manufacturers. On reaching the Mill look out for the footpath
to the right that runs straight across the centre of the field. (MR
680587) Follow this path until it reaches Bugbrooke at the Telephone
Exchange and Garage. Turn right at this point and retrace your steps
to the Church and Canal.
Option Two is to turn west towards Nether Heyford.
Follow the path into the village and turn left into Watery Lane. Turn
left again towards Bugbrooke taking care at the double bends in the
road. At the first bend take the footpath across the fields towards
Bugbrooke Church in the distance (MR 665582). You wilt pass by the
Sewage Works in 300 yards and head into brook meadows. Before being
straightened in 1970 the brook between Bugbrooke and Nether Heyford
meandered a considerable distance. Look to your left as you near
Bugbrooke and you will see the remains of these meanders.
As you near the village you can go straight ahead to the Church and Five Bells or take a diagonal path to the right leading to the Heyford Road (MR672578). Cross the road and
take the track to the Old
Crown, on the canal, then follow the towpath south to the Wharf. As you
approach the Old Crown canal bridge if you look closely you will see the
remains of a Lime Kiln, a reminder of the industrial past of the Grand
These walks will take about 2 - 2 hours 30 mins
If you want a shorter option
taking about 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes when you get to the village
and Horses Green, turn right and head south down the village High
Street (MR 677575).
On the right in about 50 yards
you will see the former Bakehouse and at 80 yards there are two
examples of the fine farmhouses that are common in Bugbrooke. On the
left is Merriefields Farmhouse at the entrance to Badgers Close,
whilst on the left is Brook Farmhouse at the entrance to The Paddocks.
Roth of these houses would have hacked on to the fields they served
before the large expansion of Bugbrooke in the 1960's and 1970's.
In a few more yards there is
the Post Office and Bakers Arms on the right whilst on the left is
Bugbrooke Baptist Chapel built in 1808. It is one of the largest
village chapels and, since 1960's, it has been taken over by the Jesus
Fellowship. This is an evangelical group who tend to live communally
in large houses in Bugbrooke and surrounding
A further 50 yards will take
you to Elm Tree Hank,
locally as the centre of the village. The Elm Tree has been replaced
by a Cherry Tree and The Stores convenience store is next to it.
Overlooking 'The Green' is The
Grange, another example of a former farmhouse. This one has been
considerably extended and during the 1960's to 90's the wing in Ace
Lane housed the local doctor's surgery.
Almost opposite the shop, up a driveway behind a five bar gate, stands Quakers Cottage. This is the site of the Quaker Chapel that was the centre of the non-conformist tradition in Bugbrooke - the village had the third largest congregation of Quakers in Northamptonshire in the 1600's. The Quakers subsided in influence as the Baptists took over.
About 100 yards further on the
right is the Dower House. It has a large garden extending down to the
village cricket ground and in the 1920's to 1960's two rooms were used
as the doctors surgery.
A further 30 yards along on the
other side of the road are outbuildings attached to the Pet Store. In
these barns it is reported that the first soap factory in the country
was set up" j)y John Wheeler, the first Baptist Minister in the
village. He was skilled as a candle maker and plied his trade from these
premises. He also started to make soap from the raw materials used in
candle making. As he used to dip candles in wax to make them and dip (Baptise)
converts in the local brook in his role as Baptist Minister he became
known locally as John the Dipper!
At the junction of Pilgrims
Lane (named after the Quakers who used this route to go out into the
fields to hold services when they were being persecuted) there is an
option. Either go through the signposted footpath to Pattishall or carry
on up Camp Hill for 200 yards and take the signposted footpath opposite
Pound Lane. Both will take you back to the canal towpath where you turn
right to arrive back at The Wharf.