Now, I see quite a lot of posts on here of INCREDIBLE walks with the most epic scenery – especially in the US and Canada. Trails are super long and the climbs are massive and the views monumental. In England we only really have a few areas where mountain climbs are even possible. I don’t live in those areas so it’s not possible for me to visit them for a day’s walking.
BUT. I live in a beautiful part of the country which is just brimming with pretty English countryside, village pubs, thatched cottages and relatively flat walks which make for a really easy way to spend a day. A 40 minute drive from home is lovely Lyveden, home of the Lyveden Way – a flat (obviously), very English stroll.
I wouldn’t recommend travelling far to do this walk as there are much better options across England, but if you’re in the area it’s a lovely way to spend a day.
Location: You start the hike at Lyveden New Bield, a National Trust property in Northamptonshire (right in the middle of England), which has plenty of parking.
Hike distance and time: The full round loop is 13km long and will take around 3 hours, so is perfect for a morning or afternoon.
Terrain: Flat through fields, woodland and villages.
You can download a map of the Lyveden Way HERE.
A. Lyveden New Bield
Park in the car park at Lyveden New Bield and spend some time exploring the grounds. At the site is a grade one listed Elizabethan house, owned by the Tresham family until 1649 when it was sequestered during the Civil War because Tresham was a Catholic and refused to refute his beliefs. In 1660 Charles II granted Lyveden to the Earl of Sandwich (only in England) and from then the house passed through various family members, before ultimately becoming property of the National Trust.
There is also an orchard, some lovely gardens and even a labyrinth on the site, however the main draw is the Garden Lodge which is a roofless and partially derelict structure out in the gardens. It’s just beautiful.
B. Lyveden New Bield to Lady Wood Head
Exiting to the left of the Garden Lodge as you look at it, head in to the field, and follow either of the Lyveden way signs (straight on or right) – the route is a loop so whichever you don’t choose, you’ll come back that way. We chose to go right. Follow the field round and then enter another field with woods on your left. These were particularly beautiful with the bluebells out. Continue with the woods on your left until you come out at a tarmac road, marked Bridleway.
C. Lady Wood Head to Green Side Wood
At the tarmac road, turn left, following the Bridleway (or head straight across the fields for a detour in to Fermyn Woods Country Park depending on time). Eventually this path will enter the woods, which you can meander through enjoying the trees. It will come out at some fields, normally housing horses, cows or sheep.
D. Green Side Wood to Wadenhoe Church
From here continue through a couple of fields until you come out on a track, at which point you turn left and walk slightly uphill to a gate at the top. From there turn right in to another field, and follow that until another road, where again you turn left and then right over a cattle grid through a tree lined path towards a church.
Wadenhoe Church Tower was built in around 1195 (!), and the remainder of the structure was built between the 1200s and 1500s. The church is famous for being the one used in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, a film made in 1999.
E. Wadenhoe Church to Wadenhoe
Follow along the field with the river on your right, before entering the village car park through a gate. Head up the hill with the pub on your right (stop for lunch or drinks if you want to!) and then onwards through the stunning village full of thatched cottages. At the cottage pictured below, don’t miss the Lyveden Way sign pointing through the gate as it’s easy to miss.
F. Wadenhoe to Lyveden New Bield
Follow along the field, cross over one road, then at the next road turn right and then left down a narrower track. Keep following the signs for the Lyveden Way as you walk down the track, past a farm on your left and a beautiful house on the right. You’ll come out at some more woods, and you’re then on the straight track back to Lyveden New Bield.
So, even though it’s not epic views – what do you think of the Lyveden Way? Would you want to walk it? I think there are definitely more varied walks in England in The Lake District, Peak District and Yorkshire, but if you’re in the area it’s well worth doing. Stay safe and happy travelling everyone!