Badby Down

A circular walk from Badby alongside the River Nene to Newnham, Little Everdon and across the hills to Fawsley Park, skirting Badby Down as we return to the car, conveniently parked near to The Malsters!

The Nene Way – The signpost clearly pointing the start of our journey down Courtyard Lane, Badby. This long-distance walk roughly follows the course of the river Nene, starting at Badby, Northamptonshire and ends at Sutton Bridge in Lincolnshire some 177 km away. We shall only be following it as far as Everdon before veering off to join up with The Knightley Way for our return journey. Both the Nene Way and the Knightley Way are well marked – it was the section in between that momentarily confused us where we had to trust we were actually heading in the right direction.

We passed through a Kissing Gate at the end of the path that led past Courtyard Lane and into a field continuing in the same direction to another kissing gate and over a footbridge to walk alongside the Nene.

If you’ve ever wondered what happens to those helium party balloons – well here’s where they end up.

Keep heading on towards Newnham – now in sight, past the resting sheep, and unusual wooden sculpture (to be honest we expected to see more of these) and over a footbridge.

Another kissing gate will bring you onto a road, turn right and enter the village of Newnham. It was too soon on our walk to stop at the village pub – we had planned to reach Everdon by lunchtime for a suitable refreshment, but more of that later.

It’s worth spending some time wandering around the village – the 14th century church, perched on a high bank in the centre of the village, disappears from view temporarily the closer you get to it. Past the church we bore right to turn down Manor Lane passing some fine houses, not least of which was The Nuttery which is the site of a Hazel Orchard. Then over a stile and left uphill past a telegraph pole and a farting sheep, bearing right in the next field to find a kissing gate and keep on this direction.

Keep following the signs, through the parkland past Everdon Hall bearing right through yet more kissing gates onto a road and follow the roadside path bear right at the junction in Everdon down to the church. To the left is The Plough Inn and a signpost to Snorscombe. The Plough Inn has a fine reputation for good food but even though the signs outside promoting their lunches indicated that the Inn opened at midday – it was now 12:30 – all was in utter darkness and the doors remained firmly shut. There was no sign of life within. As we stood outside wondering whether to explore further a less than friendly resident drove past, slowed down and yelled out “It’s Closed” and drove off. I think we’d managed to work that our for ourselves, thank you very much. (Back home, the next day I was told that the pub had closed completely and the owner was hoping to either sell or install a tenant. Another victim of the consequences of the current pandemic.

The second mystery we were faced with was why neither of us had ever heard of the village of Snorscombe – having grown up nearby and having worked in the area at various points in our lives – Alex was a journalist for the local newspaper for many years and he had never heard of Snorscombe*. Something to explore later?

So deprived of a break and our refreshments, which in hindsight was probably a good thing as we now had a number of hills to climb – we pressed on – ever onwards and upwards (as it turned out). With the church on our left and the pub most decidedly behind us, we walked through Everdon along the road, past more wonderful Northamptonshire sandstone houses, along the road (left) to Fawsley starting the climb upwards, looking out for steps on the right half hidden in the overgrowth leading to a rather high oddly-angled stile into a field turning left and climbing up the hill.

Time for some pictures.

Beginning to get something of a view in spite of the rain.

The weather so far had been ideal for walking – a bit overcast but not to dismal and certainly not too hot as our Foxton Locks walk was this time last year. But now the rain arrived, in fits and starts at first so you hardly noticed it, then heavy enough to regret our choice of walking gear and for me to put away the camera and get out the raincoat. It is also here, or here abouts that the guidebook began to let us down a bit. The next part of the walk led us through a couple of fields of crops where a path should be distinctly visible and lead us across a couple of stiles. We just about made out what we were 90% sure was the path leading to a gap in the hedge.

There should be a couple of stiles here.

Falling victim to Rising Damp as we sought our way through Knee-high crops then through lush meadows that had managed to retain most of the rain that had fallen the previous day, only to transfer it at first to our boots then our trousers we glanced at the vague directions in the guide book which indicated merely keep onwards in the same direction until you come to a road. I think it missed out a couple of fields as there was no sign from our vantage point of a road anywhere. Alex was prepared to declare us officially lost. I concurred but decided that the best way was to continue onwards rather that retrace our path. That this was a path was evident by the fact that a party of ramblers came walking towards us. Whether it was the right path was another matter. We stopped and exchanged greetings and I asked where they were going, we said we had started at Badby and were heading back via Fawsley. That they neither laughed nor called us mad fools reassured us that perhaps we were on the right path after all. I think our waterlogged feet (it had got through to the socks now) had sapped our confidence.

In time we came to the road which we had to cross and enter more fields and start climbing upwards to be rewarded with a view of Fawsley Park, Not only where we definitely on the right route but we were nearly back at our starting point. We only had to make one short detour to photograph the Church and the House. Cue more pictures.

The path is signposted The Knightley Way, in honour of the family who destroyed the village of Snorscombe*, unlawfully enclosed the land and forced a number of families to be out of work and homeless.

We followed the track, clearly posted , through the park up to the woods where we turned right through a gate and followed a path that skirted Badby Woods (on the right) and Badby Down on the left.

Emerging from the woods I took us with absolute confidence across a meadow path that led to the wrong footpath causing us to cut across a rain soaked meadow to find the right path. Our trousers, which had just dried out were once again soaked.

Do Not Take The Path On The Left


The sunken path leads to the Church where we turned right and followed the road downhill to the Pub. This bit did seem a bit of a race to make it in time before the kitchen closed.

We made it


Malsters Inn

Badby Walks

Walking to Badby – the long way round

All good walks start or end at a pub. Today’s walk started at The Countryman in the village of Staverton, Northamptonshire.

Opposite The Countryman, across the busy A425 lies our way – a stile and a signpost showing the footpath to Catesby. There are a number of stiles on this route most of them perfectly easy to climb over providing you have exceptionally long legs. In spite of the growth of the vegetation in the fields most of the route is fairly obvious at this time of year – it was less so a month ago when crossing ploughed fields was largely guesswork. Crossing diagonally over the first few fields down to a wooded hollow and stream and up an embankment.

Having clambered inelegantly over a number of stiles, cross the stream and climb the embankment to cross a field, pass a barn and over another stile by a gate, the valley is opening up and, thanks to a considerate farmer, the way ahead is apparently clear – this is where we got lost last month trying to align the field boundaries with the dots on out map!

And here we come to the first highlight of the walk – The Staverton Viaduct which crosses the River Leam and which once carried the line of the London extension of the Great Central Railway

The footpath takes is through one of the demolished arches to the left of the viaduct as we approach it – here it is seen looking back once we had passed through.

Having marvelled at the engineering work for several moments as it started to rain we moved on following the line of the fence across a couple of fields, where to the left we could see Catesby House, where my Grandfather worked as Gardener when he returned from the Front where he served as a private in the Army Cyclists Corps during the First World War. In the third field we headed diagonally right to the gate that led to the road.

At Lower Catesby we decided to abandon the planned route across footpaths that would circuit the rear of Arbury Hill -the highest point in the County -and we took the steep road to Upper Catesby, turning left at the junction then right along the gated road to Badby.

Ruby Horse Chestnut

A pleasant stroll along a smooth surface and the 2 miles sped by until we reached the village of Badby and a stop off point for a pint and a pizza. I must say Badby has some splendid trees.

Carefully crossing yet again the busy A361 with care, we stumbled ever more inelegantly over a very wobbly stile, across the field to a pair of stiles and bridge over the youthful Nene and followed the line of the river across the familiar fields back to Staverton.

Where were you?

The past five years have been particularly painful and I have avoided or at least learnt to avoid making any comment on the levels of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. The amount of harassment and abuse directed against anyone who dare raise the issue particularly on social media has been quite frightening. You cannot imagine what it has been like to read day after day after day the most vile and disgusting tirades directed against mostly Jews and their non-Jewish allies coming mostly from the supposedly anti-racist Left? It was hard not to read these as personal attacks against the very core of one’s being.

When Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader he spoke publicly of a kinder, gentler politics, and his approach to Prime Minister’s Question in the House of Commons was, at first refreshing and gave one hope of that kinder, gentler politics. What followed was the very opposite, especially when dealing with what a Labour Party activist referred to last week as “The Jewish Question” (Yes, seriously – in 2021, even after the release of the EHRC report – she used those very words – but I shall be coming back to that later.

Last Thursday the long awaited EHRC report following the investigation of complaints of anti-Semitism in the labour Party was released.

The findings of the investigation were quite damning – it found that the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership was responsible for unlawful anti-Semitic harassment and discrimination. That the practice of political interference into the handling of complaints of anti-Semitism was unlawful.

For a few minutes I felt not joy or elation, simply relief that it might, at last, be all over. There had been a vindication, and all the dismissals and accusations of political smears had been shown up for what they were. But of course, it is not over, the attacks resumed almost immediately, not least from the former leader himself, which resulted him in being suspended. Last week, an online support rally for Corbyn the day after the publishing of the EHRC report one of the participants, Rivkah Brown, referring to what she called “The Jewish Question”, shared an inspirational quote from a book written in 1942 by a Jewish Marxist dismissing anti-Semitism as a distraction. Really? Anti-Semitism in 1942 was a distraction?

Please, enough is enough, already.

It has been a tiring, lonely and truly depressing 5 years.

But what has been even more worrying and unsettling then the anti-Semitic attacks has been the silence, at best, from those whom I would have thought to be an ally. We have all sat and watched films and documentaries on Nazi Germany and thought – well, I for one would have spoken up and done something about it. The past few years has put pay to that fantasy.

At best, even those I personally know, who speak out most about social injustice have, for the most part remained quiet throughout, at worst some friends have even shared anti-Semitic information or on those rare occasions when I have spoken out, have either dismissed what I had to say or have got angry at me for talking about it. But what has been overwhelming above all else has been the silence.

Where were you?

Why did you not speak out?

Soft rain 

Soft rain beats upon my windows

Hardly hammering
But by the great gusts guessed further off
Up by the bare moor and brambly headland
Heaven and earth make war

That savage toss of the pine boughs past music
And that roar of the elms…
Here come, in the candle light, soft reminder
Of poetry’s truth, while rain beats as softly here
As sleep, or shelter of farms

Across the rainbow bridge

Their short lives, over too soon, enrich our own own with their devotion.

I’m deeply saddened by having to make a final update to Max’s page.  I never imagined that this would be the ending, nor that it would come so early.  I had planned to grow old together, there were plenty of walks still to do, sticks to throw.  

Dear sweet loving boy.

Thank you for the best of times

Run Free

Max 29.4.2007 – 10.2.2018

African Burying Ground Memorial Park (Portsmouth, NH) — New England Nomad

Date Of Visit: October 7, 2017 Location: 386 State St, Portsmouth, NH Hours: open daily, 24 hours a day Cost: Free Parking: There is not a parking lot for the memorial but there is limited metered parking on State St (free before 8 a.m.) Handicapped Accessible: Yes Dog Friendly: Yes Website: African Burying Ground Memorial Park […]

via African Burying Ground Memorial Park (Portsmouth, NH) — New England Nomad

The Imam Fainted

Tried out a new (to me) recipe today, one of the variations on stuffed, baked aubergine known as The Imam Fainted.

Sliced onion, garlic, ribbons of courgette & chopped tomato all heated together on the hob in olive oil.  Add chopped mint and reduce. 

Slice aubergine lengthwise and cut 3 lines into flesh about 1 inch deep and lightly brown in pan on fleshy side, turn for a few minutes to cook skin. Remove and place in ovenproof tray, flesh side up.

Pour onion/tomato mix onto and into aubergine grooves.  Pour any remaining oil on top. Squeeze juice of one lemon over mix and bake in oven (about 200/350) for about 40 mins.

We enjoyed this with hunks of wholemeal bread.