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”.
NORTON JUNCTION – BALLOON WALK
Distance: Approx 4.2 miles
Norton is a quaint picturesque village with a population of about 400, set in beautiful countryside in the middle of Northamptonshire. This walk is just over 4 miles and incorporates a lovely walk along the Grand Union Canal. Spot the cute houses at Norton Junction and enjoy the sights of the open fields and Weltonfield Marina. We challenge you to spot the classic car collection!
It has not been proven, but apparently Norton was the birthplace of patron saint of Ireland, St Patrick! Google “Norton, St Patrick” and you will see the proof for yourself (if you believe everything you read on the internet).
History fact: Norton has an entry in the Domesday Book, but the Parish has been occupied as far back as 2000 BC by the “Beaker People”.
You can find step by step photo instructions, along with a detailed map of this route on www.adventuregeek.co.uk/ag01
With All Saints Church behind you, turn right down the main road. Cross the road and head down the lane on your left. You will now walk about 1.2 miles along the quiet county road, and skipping over the cattle grids before you reach the main road. Take care crossing over and follow to the bridge that takes you onto the canal. Remember to check out the views behind you, it is rather amazing!
Did you know? In 1993, the 145 mile unbroken Grand Union Canal walk opened between Little Venice in London and Gas Street Basin in Birmingham, and incorporated Norton Junction.
Turning right onto the towpath continue until you reach the pretty brick bridge. Take the steps to the right of the bridge and cross to the other side of the canal. Whilst you are there, check out the cute house at Norton Junction. If you have kids, then they may be interested in finding the geocache which is hidden nearby. Cross the 2nd bridge then take a left turn which leads you to Weltonfield Marina. This particular footpath is very peaceful in any season, so take a moment to enjoy your surroundings.
At Weltonfield Marina you will exit at bridge and then follow the footpath signs. Don’t worry, it may feel that you are going through someone’s garden, but rest assured this is a public footpath (just ignore the washing line!). (photos on the main map to show the route).
As you pass the barns then check out the classic car collection! Some of my Adventure Geekers were rather impressed, although all I could see was lots of old rusty vehicles!
Following the map, you will now walk in the direction of the footpath signs which will lead you around the outskirts of two fields, and then you will emerge onto the quiet country road.
The rest of the walk is nice and easy. Turn left and simply follow the road, wave to the cows and sheep in the field and take care again crossing the busy Long Buckby road. De ja vu? Yes, you are correct. You will complete your walk into Norton with a steep and long incline which is good for the heart rate!
As you exit the country road, turn right and you will be back at the church in no time. We hope you had a lovely walk.
Take time to visit All Saints Church, and also the White Horse Pub. If you get a chance then I would recommend to try the awesome fish and chips that is located next to the pub. (Note, it is closed on a Monday).
Your photo challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to take a photo that includes a reflection. For each Adventure Geek walk we will challenge you to take a photo and upload to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #AGPhotoChallenge
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Adventure is a way of life.
With my trusty backpack (Nellie) and my comfy walking boots, life is a dream. Go take a hike!