There’s lots that can be said for the Northamptonshire countryside. Not only have I experienced plenty of it on horseback, I’ve also walked for miles and miles with my friends and family. To celebrate Autumn and being able to officially wrap up warm with knitwear, I’ve rounded up 5 of my favourite places to walk – come rain or shine!
1) Harlestone Firs – only a stones throw away from built up Northampton town centre, this beautiful woodland is the property of the Althorp Estate owned by Earl Spencer. Althorp Estate is another beautiful hotspot to visit if you’re ever in Northamptonshire, the home of the late Princess Diana. They offer house tours and also hold a fantastic food fair every year but Covid-19 unfortunately stopped this year’s event.
With hardcore paths leading to small, forestry tracks weaving around the undergrowth, Harlestone Firs is perfect for dog-walking or slow Sunday mooching.
2) Salcey Forest – another lovely woodland just on the outskirts of the Courteenhall Estate with outlying villages of Hartwell, Courteenhall and Piddington. Salcey Forest offers a car park and play area for kiddies and also a lovely little café. With different routes marked and hardcore paths, this is a lovely destination for a bike ride or family walk and the longer routes are good for running. There is also a separate car park for horse box parking as there are bridleways running throughout the forest. One tip, make sure you arrive early as the car parks and horsebox spaces can get taken very quickly!
3) Greens Norton trails – a village very close to my heart as my pony lives here! With footpaths across the fields and the twisty turny pocket park, you can choose a new route every time you go for a walk. When dog sitting recently, I explored lots of these and will definitely incorporate a few into my jogging routes.
4) Little Preston – a lesser known village because it consists of about 10 houses, on the outskirts of the larger Preston Capes near Daventry. It’s where my boyfriend grew up and we have explored lots of the local footpaths with his border collie, Billy. There is one particular footpath where the view ALWAYS takes my breath away. This isn’t a well-known walking route and there is no car park or official guide, yet there are large verges down one of the small lanes off of the village so you could always park there courteously. If you were going for a long walk I’d definitely recommend taking a picnic as there are some gorgeous scenic spots on the way.
5) Badby woods – now if you go here at the right time of year you’ll get to walk amongst the bluebells. It’s truly magical! I’ve been on walks here since I was a little girl and I absolutely love walking up to the stone archway that welcomes you into the woodland. There is a small car park on the road adjacent to the woods but the paths are not even so this route isn’t really suitable for bikes or pushchairs.