Northants walks with coffee stops
With a roadmap out of lockdown and spring in the air, we've picked 8 of our favourite Northants coffee and cake stops to round off a brisk walk. Make sure you check opening hours before you set off. Wellies advised!
Culworth-Edgecote circular route (5.7 miles)
Culworth is a delightfully unspoilt part of the county for a welly walk with some super posh houses to gawp at and, happily, Forge Coffee serves up sensationally good coffees, cakes, pies and pastries to kickstart you on your merry way. You can stock up on wine from Trelawney Wines and handthrown ceramics from Hagstone Pottery while you’re here. Set off down Banbury Lane and cut across a track to the right that runs behind the High Street and the cafe itself. Meander down a green lane, under a disused railway bridge and cross over the Millennium Way long distance path where you’ll walk across Danes Moor, site of the Battle of Edgecote during the War of the Roses, and pick up the Millennium Way in Edgecote village. If you’re as old as I am you might juuust about remember the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, in which Edgecote House, which you’ll pass by en route, featured as Charles Bingley’s rented estate, Netherfield. Swing back round along the Battlefields Trail, past Culworth Mill and onwards to return to the village.
Evenley Wood Garden (1-2 miles of walking routes)
You do have to pay for entry but you can opt for a season ticket, which is well worth it if you’re based close by. The beautiful woods are like a magical fairyland, with rare and unusual plants and trees and a meandering stream that babbles idyllically through the setting. If you’ve got intrepid Mudlings they’re bound to love running wild in here and Uncle Geordie’s Shed is an absolute must. An open-sided wooden chalet style building at the edge of the woods with chunky wooden tables and scrumptious cakes, pastries, quiches and jacket spuds served up on vintage china. Fabulous, fuss-free fare in a picturesque wonderland, what more could you wish for?
Blakesley to Plumpton Wood circular walk (4.5 miles)
Though it is wee, the brilliant Blakesley Tea Room is the perfect pitstop for thirsty walkers. They serve great coffee and amazing cakes, sausage rolls and loads more to set you up for a wintry walk. Start at the tea room and head along the road over the bridge towards Wood End. This first mile and a half stretch is good if you don’t fancy being up to your eyeballs in mud as it’s hard surfaced roads all the way to the woods but it’s a single track road and you’ll be lucky to see many cars. Walk through the very pretty village of Wood End and up to Plumpton Wood. Here you can cut through the woods or take the green lane byway (which at this time of year will be very muddy) along the far edge and along the back of the woods, swinging back towards Adstone Lodge and Fulling Mill, which follows another quiet single track road until you veer off to the right on a bridleway that takes you back to Blakesley for a well-earned hot chocolate.
Long Buckby – The Bringtons circular walk (8 miles)
A glorious walk if you fancy striding out through open countryside but enjoy passing through pretty villages too, this takes you from Long Buckby southwards. A footbridge leads over the railway before the route continues through Whilton and onwards to Little Brington. Here you meet the Midshires Way long distance path and then head for Great Brington where the route heads back across farmland and picks up the road back to Long Buckby where the fab Pohutakawa Coffee awaits. This is one of our favourite local cafes serving up fantastic coffee and amazing food plus they welcome Muddy paws too, when they’re fully open.
Pitsford Water (7 miles)
Starting in Brixworth, head for the Country Park and pick up the hard surfaced path around the edge of Pitsford Water past the sailing club. The route meanders through woodland and marshes along the edge of the reservoir and is great for bird spotting and wildlife, but it’s still manageable with a pushchair or wheelchair. There’s a cafe here, but you can also swing back into Brixworth where The Workhouse awaits with some pretty epic hot chocolates, sweet treats and mouthwatering toasties.
Towcester Watermeadows – Easton Neston (5 miles)
From the historic centre of Towcester, head towards Moat Lane, where a path leads to Bury Mount, the site of a former Motte and Bailey castle. Cross the River Tove to the Watermeadows parkland, which was once part of the grand Easton Neston estate and makes for a picturesque potter. The footpath wiggles along the Tove and skirts the edge of Towcester Racecourse before turning northwards and swinging back towards Hulcote and returning to Towcester down the old Northampton Road. Head to Ten Hands cafe for amazing food and life-affirming coffee.
Oundle to Cotterstock circular walk (7 miles)
It almost seems a shame to leave the gorgeous winding streets of Oundle, but outside this pretty market town the countryside is rather breathtaking too. You can halve this route if you want to, as it almost follows a figure of eight. Starting at the market square head south to the River Nene and follow the path along the river bank as it loops back up towards Oundle Wharf. You can call it quits here or continue northwards to Cotterstock. Take a left through the village and then turn back down, following the opposite river bank and back into picturesque Oundle. Step into Brew Babu, one of our favourite refreshment stops, where the comprehensive tea and coffee menu will see you right.
Daventry Country Park (2.5 miles)
A shortish walk but with loads of nature and wildlife to enjoy and ducks to feed. The route follows the edge of the reservoir and is a mix of hard and more rugged paths, but it’s fairly easy and do-able with a nimble pushchair, perfect for smaller kids or those less sure on their feet. Head to Sheaf Street in the centre of town to warm up at the wonderful Bread and Circus cafe and bakery for a well earned pastry.
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