Brampton Valley Way

>>  Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Brampton valley way is an old railway line that is now a cycle (and walk) route of  22.5km (14 miles) between Northampton and Market Harborough and includes two tunnels you can go through.

The first parking is at Boughton & Church Brampton (Boughton Crossing) and you can ride a steam train for the first part of it.

I needed to do another Risk Assessment walk for Rangers as we hope to repeat last years event at some point but I wanted to add a bit of extra distance onto the walk.

I started at The Brixworth/Spratton car park which would make about a 10 mile walk to Harborough.

The path is good, flat, shingle all the way (except the tunnels).
There are plenty of places to sit on the entire route and there are a number of picnic tables along the route too.

It was about 4km from the Spratton car park to Hanging Houghton. Spratton car park is a much better size if you are planning to park for a long time or have bike racks but for a drop off Hanging Houghton is fine.

There are a number of mosaics along the route.
But more interesting to me, there is a lot of the old architecture from the original Railway.
I loved this old footbridge, still standing despite having seen better days.

And the mosaic to match the fretwork.

You have to cross the A508 as a part of the walk, it is on a bend on this fairly fast road.  Don't try to join the walk here it would be too dangerous to stop cars, go to one of the car parks.

Once you walk under the A14 bear right and it is a short distance to the first tunnel.

The light shining through is a bit of an illusion, it is further to the end than it initially seems.  The floor is uneven, it is pitch back and cold!  So wear shoes that are fairly protective (trainers not sandals) and take a torch.

Cyclists do come through the tunnels and some at quite a rate so make sure your torch can be seen by them.  If you want to know about the tunnels have a read here.
The Kelmarsh car park is north side of the tunnel and is a decent size.  

It is right near RAF Harrington. One of the Thor missile launch sites. No longer active since project Emily ended. It was a key player in the Cuban Missile crisis.

If you are coming this way for a day out why not pull in the Carpet baggers museum at the same time.

There is a pull in area on the Clipstone /Arthingworth lane that you can get to from the A508.  Like the Hanging Houghton access, this is ok for a drop off but not for proper parking.

The Great Oxendon tunnel isn't quite as long as the Kelmarsh tunnel but it is much wetter and muddier.  Stay away from the walls too, they are very dirty.
They are quite enthralling to walk through though, with the bricked up recesses, reflectors, railway markings, vents and I believe there is at least one geo-cache in them, but I've not found it yet.
The double bridge on the other side of the tunnel reminds you that there are in fact 2 tunnels side by side but only one is accessible.

It is really then the homeward straight for me.

A new access point close by the leisure centre means there is no need to walk all the way down to Scotland road and back up.  We usually leave a car at each end of out intended walk - this one was Spratton car park to Harborough Leisure Centre car park - just under 11 miles.  It took us about 3.5 hours

The walk goes on a little further to a small car park, which is it's final end point - the old Little Bowdon level crossing.

It is a lovely walk, very easy with interest along the way.  I will do the full 14 miles next time - as soon as I can convince HWMBO!!!


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