VILLAGE WALK 


This walk is designed to enable you to familiarise yourself with the village and its surroundings, to get to know its paths and hopefully to enable you to get about in the village without using your car. Because of the numerous jetties (paths) in the village you can break off from the walk at many places and complete it another day.

Start your walk on the village green, which is still the centre of the village, with its pub and shop/Post Office

 
 
 
 
Home Farm

The stone building at the back of the Green contains flats for the elderly but was originally "Home Farm", when animals would have been a familiar site at the centre of the village

 

 

 

 

 

 
The Gate

To the left the stone house, now known as "The Old Gate", was originally one of the four public houses in the village in the early 1900's. It bore the legend "The Gate Hangs Well and Hinders None, Refresh and Pay and Carry On." The remaining public house - the "Butchers Arms" was rebuilt in 1937 replacing an earlier stone building which was burned down in December 1936. There were three butchers, three bakers, a church and three chapels in the village at this time.

 

Walk past "The Gate" to Bradden Road

On the opposite side of Bradden Road is a shield-like object fixed to the wall of the corner house. This is known as the "Penstock" and was used by the fire brigade to dam the culvert that ran through the centre of the village to provide a supply of water for fire fighting in the village.

Turn up Bradden Road.

 

 
 
Methodist Church
 

On the right is the Methodist Church which opened for worship in 1855. It replaced another chapel which was built in 1837 but soon became too small. It was sold and is now used as part of the Post Office and General Store.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
The Rest

The house opposite the Methodist Church, called "The Rest", once housed a smithy on its site. The blacksmith was a Mrs. Lay.

Cross over the road just before the Methodist Church and take the footpath between the bungalow (No 11a) and the fence surrounding "The Old Court". This footpath (known as Birdcage Walk) leads to Smithland Court. Cross over and continue on to the fence. Pass through the kissing gate into the paddock. Don't follow the footpath that bears right across the paddock but cross the stile on your left into the adjacent paddock and cross diagonally to the far corner. Pass through one kissing gate, follow the path to the left and immediately pass through another kissing gate. The path now passes between the gardens of houses which front Bengal Lane.

Just before you get to the lane notice the stream as you pass over it; this stream starts at the lake in the grounds of "Lakeside" to the north of the village and passes right through the village, underground in places. This lake was originally the reservoir which provided the water supply for the village.

 

Turn right down Bengal Lane

Where No 6 Bengal Lane now stands there were six houses until they were demolished in the 1950s.The first stone house on the right is known as "The Old Malting House." On the plot where No12 stands there were once 5 houses occupied by 18 people. As there were numerous "yards" in the village which have now disappeared it is not surprising that there are not a great many more people living in the village now than there were at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century. Houses on the site of 6 and 14 were originally constructed for workers at the "Maltings".

Walk on down Bengal Lane.

 

 

 
Birds House

Just before the road bends to the right there is a large stone and brick house (No 26) known as "Birds House", one of the oldest houses in the village, dating from 1666. There is no truth in the village rumour that Catherine Parr, Henry VIII's Sixth wife, lived here for some time. There is no record that she ever visited the village; and in any case she died in 1548!

 

 

Where the lane bends sharply to the right turn left through a field gate on to a bridle path known as Frog Lane (perhaps for the obvious reason) that runs alongside the wall of "Greens Norton Hall".

In the 18th century the village was made up of two parts. The main village was centred on the green. To the south and linked to the village by Bengal Lane was a series of lanes with buildings scattered along them. They have now been abandoned and there is scant evidence of their existence.

Pass through the gate at the top of Frog Lane and then go through the kissing gate on your right to join the Hall drive and continue along the drive (a continuation of the bridle-path) to Mill Lane. Cross the road taking care to look out for traffic.

In spring and summer listen for the yellowhammer singing at this point. This bird repeats its 'little bit of bread and no cheese' song all day and is the last bird to stop singing in late summer.

Follow the footpath across the field opposite. At a crossing of paths turn left up the hill towards the village. Go through a gap in the hedge in to the next field and cross the field to walk with a wire fence on your left. Pass through the kissing gate and continue on in the same direction across the paddock and through the gate opposite on to a path between gardens. Pass directly across Calvert Close into another footpath between gardens and emerge on to Church View. Walk along Church View towards the church. In a short distance turn left down a jetty (footpath). Cross the paved cul-de-sac and turn right on to the next footpath to pass Mount Pleasant.

 

Old Reading Room

Near the end of this path is a stone building. It was used as a Dame School, the forerunner of today's nursery schools. It was noted in the school logbook in 1876 that children were admitted from here to the then new Church of England ('National') School. This Dame school took children at an early age where a "woman of good character" who was paid a very small salary by a local charity gave them a rudimentary education. It is likely that the school carried on for some time after the opening of the National School as a report from the Her Majesty's Inspector in 1889 noted that 'children must attend the National School and not the free infants school' Later it was used as a Reading Room attached to the church but now it is a private dwelling.

Continue on this path until it comes out on to Towcester Road opposite St. Bartholomew's church.

 
 

 

The Village Church

Parts of the church can be traced back to about 650 A.D. 

 

 

Cross the road and turn left down the hill

 

The Chantry

On your left is "The Chantry House", a nineteen-century house built on the site of one of the oldest houses in the village dating from 1496. Matilda Greene built the original house for six priests to pray for the dead.

Turn right into New Road - so called because it was constructed across the village green in the (19th?) century. The land between it and the "Butchers Arms" was then built upon. Half way down New Road on the right outside number one is the outfall from the village reservoir.

 

At the end of New Road turn right and go up Blakesley Hill. About 200 metres past the last house in the village turn left into Paul's Leys.

This offers excellent views across the surrounding countryside particularly to the south.

At the end of this road carry straight on to the bottom of the hill towards Bradden.

Before the road crosses the bridge over the River Tove, there is a house called "Kingthorn Mill". The house is modern but there was a mill sited on the road adjacent to the present bridge presumably for easy access by carts. The mill was powered by the river.

Just beyond the entrance to the house and before the bridge, turn left through a hand gate (remember to shut it) Follow the bridle-path straight ahead alongside the hedge to your right.

When the mill was in operation this track would have been used, no doubt, by the villagers to bring grain to the mill.

Pass through the bridle-gate, and you are in to Greens Norton Pocket Park. If you wish to explore the park go through the kissing-gate on your right. Otherwise, carry on following the public right of way, the bridle-path, straight to the next bridle-gate

Greens Norton Pocket Park is one of a number of Pocket Parks throughout Northamptonshire and is a former clay pit and brick and tile works. Clay pipes for drainage were also made here. The brickworks were closed in 1920. During the Second World War the Home Guard (Dads Army) used it for rifle practice and grenade throwing and later the area was used as a refuse pit. Fortunately this was halted before the whole of the excavated area was filled. We are now able to enjoy the wonderful variety of natural habitats that have arisen from the workings. Rest a while by the pond and if it is warm and sunny watch the dragonflies and damselflies. There are also butterflies flying over the adjacent grassland in summer. The Pocket Park was designated a Local Nature Reserve in 2008 twenty one years after it was established.

Climb the steps beyond the main pond and leave the Pocket Park by the bridle-gate. Turn right to follow the track again. Where the bridle-path meets Bengal Lane turn left and pass in front of "Bengal Manor".

 

 
 
 
Bengal Manor


This elegant house dates back to 1695.

 

 

Walk past "Bengal Farm" and if you are tired carry straight on along the track to meet Bradden Road. Turn right there and it's a short walk to the Green. 

If you want to carry on, pass through the kissing gate and cross the field in a diagonal direction. On the far side of the field there are two kissing gates, take the right hand gate into the footpath with a hedge on your right and a fence on your left.

This area was formally the local source of lime. Wagons pulled by teams of 6 horses transported the lime from the site. The kilns were in the west corner of the field adjacent to the bridle way and were still in existence in living memory. The diggings were filled in as recently as 1980.

Carry on down the path to reach the kissing gate that you passed through earlier. At Bengal Lane turn left, this time, past the stone cottage on your left.

 
 
 

Brookside Cottage

 

This is "Brookside Cottage" dating from the early 18th century and was thatched until 1986, when the roof was destroyed in a fire. Villagers, including the scouts, who were meeting in the Village Hall, removed furniture and belongings until only one impossibly large item of furniture was left and unfortunately this was lost to the fire.

 

In earlier times the cottage was used as a lace making school. Lace schools were generally the living rooms of small cottages and were renowned for being overcrowded, badly lit and often insanitary. Girls and some boys were put to work from the age of six or seven and spent long hours bent over their pillows learning their craft, until they could produce a marketable product. They even had to provide their own candles

Continue to the end of the lane

 

Village Hall

Opposite, as you come out on to High Street, is the Village Hall. This was originally the village school with the Headmaster's house adjoining. It was opened in 1875. In 1891 the small hall attached to the side was added to house the infant class. The school closed in 1972, and the building was acquired by Mr. & Mrs. Benham and made available to the village as its Village Hall. They wanted to put something back in to the community in which they had lived for many years - at Kingthorn Mill.

Turn Left down the High Street

 

The Old Red Lion

Just before the butchers shop, on the opposite side of the street is a stone house which once was the "Red Lion", one of four public houses in the village. Later the small brick extension at the right end of the house was the original village Post Office. One of the village bake houses was next door.

You have now completed a tour of the village and are back on the Green from where you started. You may now go and enjoy a well deserved drink in the "Butcher's Arms".