Our Wappenham walk is a quiet wander through the gently rolling Northamptonshire countryside. Even though it passes through three small villages, you’re unlikely to meet a soul. This is a walk to get away from the stresses of life, so take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy!
The starting location for the walk - Wappenham - is a typical Northamptonshire village. Mentioned in the Doomsday Book, it's a mix of old and very old houses huddled around the village green and the church. Once upon a time, Wappenham boasted three pubs, but... not any more.
The starting point for our 5.5 mile long meander around the Northamptonshire countryside is the car park at the end of the village along Brookside, the road heading towards Syresham. Just as the road ramps up, the car park is found on the right-hand side.
This walk is best attempted during dry spells as after wet weather the ground will be very muddy in places. After heavy rain, there is also the chance that the River Tove may flood, making parts of the route impassable.
If you use komoot.com and want to follow our walking route using the GPS on your phone, then use this link to our Wappenham walk.
Leave the car park, walking away from the road towards the fishing lake. Join a clear footpath that heads up a grassy slope towards the church tower. At a footpath junction, continue straight between two wire fences, past the village hall and onto a road.
road around to the right, and then left on Rectory Way towards St. Mary the
Virgin church. The church is a listed building, with parts dating back to the
late thirteenth century. Make sure you pop inside as it is very peaceful, and don't forget to dally a little between the old graves. We find them fascinating!
Leave the church and turn right at the village green to head past the red telephone box. Believe it or not, the telephone box is a listed structure, as are the gate posts of The Beeches beside it!
There are a
couple of benches around the green that make a nice place for a picnic, or simply to sit and admire the houses on the green.
onto Greenside and follow the road round to the right onto High Street. The
road descends gently, and once you've passed Wappenham Chapel look for a footpath on the left. (Hint: it's opposite Sheppard's Way)
Turn left onto the footpath and walk along a field boundary. We did this walk in mid-May and the crop growing was broad beans. The fields around here may look a bit bare after harvest time and throughout the winter!
The footpath is almost straight and crosses a small wooden bridge and a stone bridge over the River Tove. Climb away from the river towards the barn conversion ahead. The footpath passes the rear of the house and continues to a T-junction with a major footpath.
the new footpath, our route leaves it almost immediately by turning right into
a grassy field with a hedge on the right. Walk through the field as it slopes
down, through a gap in another hedge, and into more fields full of broad beans. This is as peaceful as it can get in the Northamptonshire countryside!
Footpath signs lead you across another wooden bridge and up into the farmyard of Slapton Manor. Follow the footpath signs through the yard towards the church and Chapel Lane. Pass through the gate beside the cattle grid. Just ahead is St. Boltolph Church.
Don't pass it by!
This small medieval church is a gem, hidden away in the Northamptonshire countryside, and well worth visiting whether you're a fan of churches or not. It's been very little altered since medieval times, and boasts some
of Northamptonshire’s best preserved medieval wall paintings. Step inside, marvel at the paintings, and don't forget to take a few deep breaths to soak up the peace and calm of the place.
After visiting the church, return to the footpath by the cattle grid. Walk along a clear path towards another gate beside the walled garden of a large house. Continue on the footpath, passing the house on your left to join Church Lane.
Walk down to the T-junction at the end of Church Lane, turn left and continue walking through pretty Slapton.
Turn right into Mill Lane and walk towards the impressive Slapton Mill. Follow the footpath signs back over the River Tove and through fields to enter the village of Abthorpe on the corner of Main Street. Abthorpe is another pretty village tucked away in the Northamptonshire countryside - and it has a pub! If you require refreshments, whether a bite to eat, a cooling drink, or a pint of the Hook Norton Breweries' finest, we can recommend the New Inn!.
You find it on your right, just before you reach the church.
It is well worth having a potter around St. John the Baptist church and the village green, too, as there are some lovely old buildings.
Our Northamptonshire countryside meander continues along Main Street to the T-junction. Take care crossing the road and turn right, and then left into Brackley Lane.
Follow Brackley Lane slightly uphill. The route is heading back out into the fields, with the road turning from tarmac into a gravelly/stony track at the edge of Bucknells Wood.
The route continues along the edge of the wood on a “green lane”. This part of the walk can get muddy and rutted due to the off-road motorcyclists that come this way. After passing through several gates, the “green lane” becomes a grass field used for grazing animals. At another gate, our route turns right towards some barns and down to join the road between Wappenham and Syresham.
Turn right on the road, and then quickly left over a stile into a field. There are pretty views over the Northamptonshire countryside here, over the lake and towards Wappenham. The footpath crosses the field back down to the car park.
I designed our Wappenham walk route after finding Komoot, a GPS based app, while looking for a new canal walk to do that week. So, after signing up, I had to try it out. Planning the walking route wasn’t too bad and as it was a nice sunny day, I made a route we could walk from our door that afternoon. Therefore, if you want to make the walk easier and follow your progress around our circuit with the addition of voice commands, then look up essential-england.com Wappenham Wander on Komoot.
Otherwise, I would recommend taking a map with you, especially when the fields are empty, as some of the footpaths may be difficult to follow.
Northamptonshire is a lovely rural county right in the centre of England, renowned for shoemaking, stunning countryside, and very pretty villages. It makes a great place for walking and cycling and an ideal area for a quiet holiday or short break.
Below are some holiday cottage ideas. Personally, I would love to stay in Stoke Bruerne right next to the canal. It is a very pretty small village with a couple of nice pubs, an Indian restaurant, and easy walking from the door.
To browse holiday cottages in other parts of England click here.
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