Northamptonshire Walks – 9 of the Best

There are so many lovely Northamptonshire walks. From dog walks to pub strolls and all the lovely walks somewhere in the middle, there really is a Northampton walk for everyone. With lockdown I’ve even started to consider how easy it is social distance on each of them.

I’ve lived here for most of my life, so I’ve rounded up my favourite walks in Northamptonshire. After all, you can’t beat a bit of fresh air and countryside views. And if you want to pair it up with another Northampton activity, take a look at this list of 30 things to do in Northamptonshire.

9 Pretty Walks in Northamptonshire

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1. Riverside Walk in Northampton

Looking for a Northampton riverside walk? Try Becket’s Park. No, really.

There’s now a pedestrianised bridge (Becket’s Bridge) heading over the water into the University of Northampton (Waterside Campus). The long(ish) bridge pathway is perfect for kiddie scooters and bikes. Once over the bridge you’ll find a blanket of giant daisies. There’s a campus shop opposite where you can buy an ice lolly to enjoy on the grass.

Becket's Park in Northamptonshire walks
^ Becket’s Park

You can follow the River Nene along Waterside Place, going back along the other side of Beckett’s Park – basically making a big loop. It’s just the right length for pre-schoolers.

You could stop in the playround and/or skate park (once re-opened). For now, take some duck food – there are seemingly zillions of geese and swans. And a ball or frisbee to enjoy in the wide green spaces.

Becket's Bridge at Becket's Park in Northampton
^ Becket’s Bridge

Tip: From here it’s a five-minute walk into town where you can get an Insta-Worthy lunch.

How to Get There

Park in the official car park – use NN1 5NG for your SatNav. Rates are from £1-£8.

2. Brampton Valley Way

We love this walk as it features vintage trains, streams and horses – basically things to entertain little ones! It’s also a fenced, wide track so you can let them run ahead without worrying too much.

 Brampton Valley Way
^ Brampton Valley Way

The flat, mainly smooth, 14-mile path follows a train track and at some points you’ll see vintage train carriages – look out for the special events where you can go on board. At various points there’s the chance to drop small sticks over a bridge and to see horses in the surrounding fields.

When it’s been raining this is also a good place to go puddle splashing. It’s a buggy-friendly area, but if you’re little one is capable of walking I’d let them run about here. We usually walk a bit and when we can sense they’re getting tired, walk back to our start point.

^ Brampton Valley Way

During lockdown it’s been a bit busier than normal – mainly with cyclists – but it’s still a worthy walk. The flat track is wide enough to be able to get past people without getting too close.

How to Get There

You have a few options for Brampton Valley Way. There’s free parking at Boughton crossing, Brampton Halt, Spratton, Draughton crossing and Kelmarsh station.

3. Grendon to Castle Ashby

Grendon is a tiny, beautiful village in Northamptonshire. It’s home to lovely cottages, a village pub and hall, and well, not a lot else, which in my biased opinion is part of the appeal. Disclaimer – I lived there for three years.

From the little pathway by Manor Road and Manor Court, walk down it for 10 seconds and it will bring you out to sweeping fields. Pass through the gate and head left towards the sty.

Tip: During elderflower season (May-mid June) you can find lots here – perfect for my Elderflower Champagne recipe!

Once over the sty, continue in the same direction passing through a few more fields until you get to a narrow paved road. Follow it up the hill, past cattle and into the equally pretty village of Castle Ashby.

If you turn right in the village you’ll find The Falcon. It’s due to reopen in Summer 2020 as a wonderful country retreat, serving locally sourced produce and creative cocktails, and offering a stylish place to stay in Northamptonshire (somewhat of a rarity in my opinion).

If you turn left it will lead you to The Rural Shopping Yard; a small collection of independent boutiques and café. The perfect spot for a pause in your walk, before heading back.

Apart from the first 10 second walk down the Grendon pathway and the sty it’s easy to social distance on this walk. It’s also one of the popular dog walks in Northamptonshire. Expect it to take around 20-30-minutes each way.

Tip: Head into Castle Ashby Gardens if you want to make a day of it (once lockdown restrictions have been removed).

How to Get There

Use NN7 1JF for your SatNav. Park your car on one of the (many) unmarked roads in the village, ideally at the outer edge to be respectful to residents.

4. Salcey Forest

This is probably one of the most family-friendly walks in Northamptonshire. There are lots of varying lengths of trails to choose from, there’s a playground and café, and it’s a flat walk. It’s also another popular dog walk in Northamptonshire. We often have to stop because the kids want to pet a dog!

Salcey Forest
^ Salcey Forest

Park up in the official car park and then head to the café (currently only open to takeaways). From here you’ll be able to spot the trail map and decide which direction to head in. Although it’s not paved, it’s buggy-friendly and the tracks are wide enough for social distancing.

Walk in this Medieval royal hunting forest, spying ancient trees and letting the little ones burn off energy. Looking to make your walk a little more exciting? Have a go at archery or axe-throwing!

How to Get There

Use NN7 2HX for your SatNav. Parking costs from £2-£6 and can often fill up on a weekend. Official website here.

5. Country Park Walk in Northamptonshire

There are loads of country parks in Northamptonshire. Upton Country Park is great as you can pick and choose which trails to take. My 2 and 4 year old love this walk, but do need a bit of persuading to keep going if we do the outer/longer route.

It’s another popular dog walk in Northamptonshire, with many taking a dip in the water to fetch a stick (much to the amusement of my two).

Some of the pathways are a little narrow if you’re trying to pass strangers, but it’s easy to temporarily veer onto the grass. There are some small hills and occasionally parts get a bit boggy, so consider the weather if you’re thinking of bringing bikes or scooters for littles. Same logic goes for buggy vs carrier.

Upton Country Park
^ Upton Country Park

How to Get There

For this one you can either park the little turning road by the Upton Valley East roundabout or by The Elgar Centre (NN5 4EN). You can enter the park from either side.

6. Delapré Abbey

This walk is great for those who want to burn some steam and equally for those who want to explore in the woods or walled garden (when it re-opens).

To the right of the car park you’ll find big, wide green spaces. My two love running up and down the small hills. And in front of the car park you’ll find the walled garden – a cute courtyard filled with different walkways and plants. It’s a great spot if you have young children who are inclined to try and do a runner, as it’s an enclosed space.

Delapré  Abbey
^ Delapré Abbey

Further on you’ll find the woodland space, with various tracks so you can make your walk as long or as short as you like. My two love racing about, collecting sticks and spying squirrels. On the far side there’s a lake.

Again, this walk is popular with dog walkers too.

There’s a stylish café right by the car park that is said to be opening for take-aways and no doubt, will re-open soon.

How to Get There

Use NN4 8AW for your SatNav. Parking is free at Delapré Abbey.

7. Harlestone Firs

This is probably the most popular dog walk in Northamptonshire that I know. The mainly mud tracks twist in and out of the firs, creating different routes so it’s quite easy to keep away from others.

The main pathway into Harlestone Firs is paved so it’s great for scooters and balance bikes, but afterwards it’s better suited to wellies and puddlesuits. I don’t think we’ve ever been and not been covered in mud!

It’s a mainly flat track, so ideal for little ones, with plenty of opportunities for den building, collecting pinecones and leaves, and generally just having a good stomp about.

It’s easy to make a big loop walk here.

How to Get There

Use NN7 4EW for your SatNav. There’s free parking on the roadside. It can get busy at the weekend, but the garden centre car park is a good option if it’s full.

8. Another Countryside Park Walk in Northamptonshire

We love Irchester Country Park. Set in a 200-acre woodland site, there are loads of different length tracks to follow. We usually follow the outer, bigger loop walk which is doable for our 4 year old, but the 2 year old has to be carried or needs to ride in the buggy for a bit. It takes about 60-90 minutes.

The tracks lead you in and out of the woods, past a quarry and fields with horses, and down to the great playground and café (obvs not in use during lockdown). You can even go zip-lining here if that’s your thing.

It’s easy to keep a distance from others on this walk. It’s bike/scooter/buggy-friendly. And best of all, it feels like a million miles away.

How to Get There

There’s a chargeable car park with plenty of spaces. Use NN29 7DL for Irchester Country Park.

9. Canal Walks in Northamptonshire

If you’re looking for a canal walk, most head to nearby Stoke Buerne. And why not? It’s pretty and ticks all those boxes. There are pubs and cafés in the village, so once lockdown eases you can tie this walk in with lunch.

Some of the pathways are quite narrow, so it can be tricky to keep distance and if you have really young children walking can feel a bit stressful. That said, if you can live with that it’s a nice chance to enjoy the views.

Walk in either direction before heading back to your start point.

How to Get There

Parking can be tight in this little village, so you may need to drive about a bit. Pop NN12 7SE into your SatNav, which will take you to the centre. In the summertime you’ll sometimes see a sign directing visitors to a field car park by the Church. From here it’s a short stroll down to the canal.

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