Local Walk: Kings Cliffe & Blatherwycke
21st August 2020
Wait for a crisp, blue sky day and set out on this wonderful walk, traversing a varied landscape from deep woodland to sheep-grazing pastures and a path alongside a babbling brook
- Distance: 6 miles (9.6km)
- Typical time: 2.5–3 hours
- OS map: Explorer 234, Landranger 141
- Start & finish: Post Office, King’s Cliffe, PE8 6XB
- Terrain: Easy-going
- Stiles: About half a dozen Getting there: 5 miles west of Wansford along the A47, then 3 miles south along minor road
- Park at the Post Office in the centre of Kings Cliffe. Head west along the main village street, then cross the Blatherwycke Road up a track called Wood Lane over the disused railway line.
- Almost immediately after the railway line, turn left over a stile and follow the path across open access land in a westerly direction; at the start of the second field keep to the right along the edge of the wood and follow this path until you cross a stile and enter the woods.
- The path through the woods is reasonably well marked, but keep your eyes peeled; it briefly follows the route of the disused railway line and then passes behind a derelict footbridge.
- Shortly you come out into a field; turn right, following the line of the woods, and, where the field edge bears sharply round to the right, strike out across the field to a stile you can just see on the far side of the field.
- Follow the path through the wood; in a few minutes you will come out on a metalled track; follow this to the right and go through a gate. There is then a steepish descent down towards a small brook, keeping Fineshade Abbey on your right.
- On reaching the brook, turn left, keeping this side of it, passing through a sheep pen and along a field; after a couple of hundred yards start to climb in a southerly direction. Once over the brow of the hill you will get a view of Blatherwycke Park Farm; follow the path through a further four fields until you reach it.
- Walk through Blatherwycke village along the road until it turns sharp right; at this point turn left in a northeasterly direction, passing by the church; the path at this stage is easy to follow. About three quarters of a mile after the church there is a little gap in the fence on your left; one path goes towards a footbridge over Willow Brook, but you need to take the path that turns immediately right after going through the gap, heading towards Alders Farm.
- At the other side of the farmyard, walk on the right of the fence and fairly soon you will come alongside the brook; this is a charming part of the walk and a good spot for a picnic. After a mile, cross a footbridge over the brook and you will soon find yourselves approaching Kings Cliffe.
- Cross a stile into a field (beware of the bull sign) and then another. Pass the allotments into Orchard Lane – follow this straight ahead towards the church, through the lovely back ways of the village; you come out on to Hall Yard. Turn left and you will be back at the Post Office.
Points of Interest
The Domesday Book records that the village comprised more than a square mile of woodland in 1086 with only a small amount of cultivated land. Successive kings visited the area to hunt, notably King John and Henry II.
Blatherwycke’s Holy Trinity Church is in the former grounds of Blatherwycke Hall, built by the Stafford family in 1713 in Grecian style but sold for £1,600 in 1948 and demolished for building materials. The garden is being restored. So far, a large kitchen garden, wall-trained fruit trees, extensive herbaceous borders, seasonal beds, parterre, orchard and wild-flower meadows have been created. Garden occasionally open to the public.
The Cross Keys, Kings Cliffe, PE8 6XA, tel: 01780 470276, crosskeyskingscliffe.uk, a welcoming pub under fairly new management.
The Post Office, 1 West Street, PE8 6XB. General store with lots of useful things, including several pamphlets on local walks in the area.