Northamptonshire offers a surprising variety of landscapes from the rolling hills in the north, to the scenic vistas and amazing woodlands in the south. If you add the Grand Union Canal with its many towpaths, quaint little villages that are secreted in history it is no wonder that they call this county the “Hidden Cotswolds”.
LITCHBOROUGH LOOP – CIRCULAR WALK
Distance: 4.3 miles
This is a moderate walk as the countryside in this area is quite hilly, especially for Northampton villages, but the unspoilt villages of Church Stowe, Upper Stowe and Litchborough are certainly worth the extra effort.
Starting at The Old Red Lion pub in Litchborough who are very welcoming and offer a range of ales, wines and the food is sourced locally. Follow the main road towards the local play park with the glorious Grade II listed St Martins Church behind us.
As you follow the footpaths signs into the park it is now a case of keep bearing right, up and down fields, across stiles, over ploughed fields, small footbridges and gaps in hedges. It is well worth keeping your eye out for all sorts of wildlife on this walk. I have often seen buzzards, kite, kestrels and wrens, as well as the gorgeous little lambs. One point to note is that you are likely to cross a field or two of cows, so please be wary of this if you have a dog with you.
You will see Upper Stowe in the distance and yes, you have a hill to climb before you can be rewarded with a cuppa and perhaps a slice of cake at The Old Dairy Farm. Take your time to explore the various unique selection of shops and crafts as well as the fabulous restaurant and tea room.
Turn right as you leave the Old Dairy Farm and look out for another footpath sign on the right hand side. This will take you onto a little path that will emerge into the most wonderful views of Northamptonshire. Now is the time to snap photos of bouncing lambs and fantastic vistas.
As you make your way to Church Stowe you will actually turn left following the footpath before you reach the village itself. Those little boxes to your right are not hedgehog houses, but beehives, so beware! Continue along the footpath until you reach the B-road, where you will turn left. There is now a short walk along this quiet road, but if you are tired then you can always take five mins on the bench and enjoy the views.
Look out for a green footpath sign on the left and then once again you are on a trail of stiles, and well-trodden routes through open fields. We are making our way back to Litchborough and you can see the village in the distance. The views on the way back are absolutely amazing and I urge you to turn around every now and then to capture the scenery behind you.
As we head back, we now have a few steep declines, so if you have your walking poles with you, now is the time to use them! The final uphill into the village will take you across two large fields which house livestock. These particular cows are rather inquisitive, so be aware that they may want to come over to say hello.
As we make our way along the road back into the village we can take a few minutes to explore the church that dates back to the 13th & 14th century. There is a war memorial on the green and if wanted to explore the village then you will be able to see (through the wrought iron gates), Litchborough Hall which is closed to the public and only opened during the National Gardens Scheme.
Check out our latest guided walks:
Adventure is a way of life.
With my trusty backpack (Nellie) and my comfy walking boots, life is a dream. Go take a hike!