Footpaths & Bridleways
7 miles. 3-4 hours.
This walk takes us over the parish boundary (as does option 4 in Walk 5),
but where our paths link up with others to form good walks, as here, we shall include them. The walk is notable for the beauty of Ravenstone Lane, the extensive sheep pastures throughout, the views of Yardley Chase, the variety of wild life, and the sense in parts of wide open spaces. There’s also the charm of the ancient village of Yardley Hastings.
Begin in Horton just past the cricket field where the tree-lined Ravenstone Lane (locally known as the Olive Whatton road after a well-known resident) branches off to the right from the Denton road, and where an enormous Wellingtonia tree marks the spot.
This is a lovely peaceful country lane leading to Manor Farm and Yardley Chase, safe for walking as there is hardly any traffic. There are restful views of sheep grazing on either side, and gently undulating fields and woods.
You pass on the right, Horton Lodge, The Temple House (with its impressive iron gates), and then The Arches, with views beyond to Icehouse Spinney. To the left on the far side of the expansive field, the hedge marks the disused railway line which ran between Bedford and Northampton. At the point where it meets the Denton Road, the Stationmaster's house belonging to (curiously) Piddington Station, still stands. (There are plans to make this old line into a linear park - as has been done with the Brampton Way - which could be combined with this walk and provide a pleasant stroll, where the rich fund of wildlife and flora so often left behind by departed railways may be seen and enjoyed).
Just past the Arches, a private lane leads off to the right through a gateway bordered by stone columns surmounted by lions rampant to Horton Manor House. Continuing along Ravenstone Lane, the road dips down to cross a stream, then rises to where Manor Farm sits impressively at the top.
Going past the farm the road turns into a track, becoming KM57. From here there are two options.
Shortly, and before you get to a gate straight ahead leading into a big field, you will see a footpath marked on the left, running beside a hedge (KM51). There may be sheep in this field, so please keep dogs under control. Go through the gate and take this path, keeping close to the hedge, crossing the disused railway line at the other side of the field. Here we go over the parish boundary through a gate on to footpath LE14.
This runs beside a wood on the left for a short way before coming to a large open expanse of cultivated fields (‘The Wold’). An eye-catching chestnut tree stands on the corner ahead. Bear sharp left on the indicated footpath, still following the edge of the wood down to a stream at the bottom where the path turns right. There are several fine oaks along here. Away to your right on the other side of The Wold is the denser part of Yardley Chase. The grassy path eventually becomes a track leading to Chase Park Farm in Chase Park and running through more sheep pastures. As you come to the farm a magnificent oak tree stands on the corner at the point where the path turns sharp right. Very soon, the track bends sharp left along what is now a metalled road (Howcut Lane, becoming eventually Chase Park Road). The palatial mansions and their gardens at the top end here are worth a glance as are the oaks lining the road lower down. Continue along this road past Blenley Lodge (a bench on the verge just before you reach here offers a resting place) and Waterfall Farm. Beware of ducks crossing the road just past here! You are now in Yardley Hastings, and the picturesque village on the other side of the main Northampton-Bedford Road is worth a tour before you return. If you require refreshment, a public house (‘The Red Lion’) lies just across this road; and another (‘The Rose and Crown’) on the old Northampton Road further into the village and up to the left..
This is part of the 60 mile 'round Northampton' walk, so you could continue further if you wished!
There is no reasonable circular way back except by road, so you must return by the same route or be collected by car.
This is a great walk around part of Yardley Chase. Please keep to the directed paths in the Chase as most of the land is privately owned. Dogs need to be kept on leads all the time in case they worry the game. From Manor Farm, keep straight on along KM57 through a gate into a large field. The path runs beside the fence straight towards the trees. On reaching the wood, a waymarker directs you to the right. Shortly, you go through a gate to the left. The path then crosses a track and continues, opening on to a large clear area. Follow the path along the edge of ‘Great Wood’ on your right and then across the cultivated field ahead on a wide grassy path. Turn left at the end, still on a pleasant grassy track. At the bottom bear right, passing on old barn on the right. Go right as indicated at the end, through a gate where you make a hairpin bend on to the marked bridleway This takes you along a very pleasant narrow lane which soon opens on to a cultivated field. Keep to the hedge on the left and eventually emerge on to a more substantial track.
Here you have an option. You can turn right and follow the blue pointers on a circular walk which will bring you back on to the ground you have already covered, when you can retrace your steps to Manor Farm and Horton. Or you can turn left and explore the indicated footpath. If you go left, you soon pass a sewage works on the right, and a little further on, the still stout walls of an old railway bridge. Here, unfortunately, the path indicators run out, so it would be wise to retrace your footsteps. It is still a nice walk!
* Map Reproduced from OS
Landranger Map 1:50,000 by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of The
Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office. © Crown copyright.
All rights reserved. Licence Number 100043916
Footpaths & Bridleways