The Welford Arm - canal towpath and countryside walk.

This is an excellent 10 mile/16km Circular Walk starting from Welford Reservoir which includes wandering along The Welford Canal Arm towpath.

The Start of the Walk is at Welford Reservoir in Northants in the English Midlands. Welford (put NN6 6JQ onto your nav. device) is a small Northamptonshire town situated on the A5199 and around 16 miles south of Leicester. There is car-parking available at Welford Reservoir which is alongside Naseby Road where there is room for around 15 to 20 cars - when we last visited it was free to park. The walking route follows the Jurassic Way as far as The Grand Union Canal Leicester Section at Stockley Bridge then simply follows this canal section back up to Welford Junction before returning back along the Welford Canal Arm to Welford. The map to use with this very pleasant towpath and countryside walk is Ordnance Survey Explorer Map "Northampton and Market Harborough" no:223.
Leave the car park and turn left up the road (which is signposted Jurassic Way) - then 350 metres along and immediately past the entrance to a farm look for and take the footpath which goes off through a hedge on the right. Go slightly downhill and at the end of the farm buildings bear right to cross a small bridge, then aim towards and cross a concrete bridge further ahead. The fields are somewhat lumpy and you need to look for the next sign ahead since there is no clear path. The path goes through a cutting and at the end of this keep straight ahead to the next stile - the route climbs slowly over the fields and gently curves right - eventually arriving by houses and emerging on Northampton Road opposite a petrol station. Turn right along the road and then almost immediately turn left into Church Lane at the end of which find a road junction and St. Mary's Church.
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Start of the Welford walk on the Jurassic Way Trail, England.
Jurassic Way Welford
St Mary's Church in Welford, Northants, England
St. Mary's Welford
Walking along Hemplow Drive - near Welford
Hemplow Drive
Hemplow Hills woodland path in England.
Hemplow Hills

Turn left along West End and now the way is totally straightforward. Follow the road which travels in an almost straight line - crosses South Kilworth Road and continues still ahead on Hemplow Road - although the road is tarmac there is a wide green grass verge to walk along. After passing Hemplow Lodge Farm (which is on the left) go right along a farm road soon passing West Hill Farm - the Jurassic Way continues ahead and is clearly marked. Cross a field and walk into the woods at Hemplow Hills - these woods are beautifull - and in the Spring are full of bluebells and later lots of foxgloves. At the end of the woods the path drops down, heads across a field and driveway and continues ahead to then arrive at a small road by Canal Bridge 31. Cross the bridge and go onto the towpath - turn left and under the bridge and now simply enjoy a walk along the often tree-lined and always bendy but beautiful Grand Union Leicester Canal Section all the way back to Welford Arm Canal Junction (it's a walk along the towpath of about 4 miles).

Leave the Jurassic Way at Stockley Bridge (Leicester Canal Towpath)
Stockley Bridge
Leicester Canal Section's excellent towpath
Canal towpath
One of the old Leicester Canal bridges - Bridge 32
Canal bridge 32
Reed beds seen whilst walking along the Leicester Section
Canal reed beds

When you reach Bridge 42 at the canal junction if you divert by going left and down across the field you can take a look at where the newly born River Avon goes under the Leicester Section's aqueduct via a really nice little brick tunnel. Back at the Leicester Section cross over Bridge 42 and turn right to now head back past the canal junction and along the Welford Canal Arm (there is an ideally placed wooden seat right in front of the junction - it gets lots of sun and is just right for a lunch break).

Welford circular walk going under Leicester Canal Bridge 40
Bridge 40
Wandering along through the countryside on the Leicester Canal's towpath
The towpath
Small brick tunnel taking the River Avon under the Canal
Aqueduct
Bridge 42
Bridge 42

The Welford Arm does not have many bridges but this is a really lovely walk - lots of beautiful countryside to enjoy and fantastic trees. Just before the lock you can see the remains of where there was once a swing bridge (Bridge 3?) - perhaps one day this will be restored. Cross the canal via a small footbridge next to the Welford Arm's only canal lock and then soon pass a small marina on the left - at the end of the marina there is a wooden footbridge which may or may not be useable - when we last walked this area it was necessary to divert round the marina as the footbridge was brocken and cordoned off but one images it has been since fixed.

Walking along the Leicester Canal near Welford
Towpath near Welford
Welford Canal Arm - Bridge 1
Bridge 1
Bridge no1 crosses The Welford Arm.
Bridge 1
Gilberts Bridge 2 going over The Welford Canal Arm
Gilberts Bridge 2
The Welford Canal Arm crossing over Gilberts Bridge 2
Gilberts Bridge
The Welford Arm of The Grand Union Canal (Leicester Section) views
The Welford Arm
Site of a Missing Liftbridge on the Welford Canal Arm
Missing Lift Bridge
Welford Arm - Missing Lift Bridge (probably originally liftbridge 3)
Missing Liftbridge3
Bridge 3a crosses the Welford Canal Arm
Bridge 3a
Welford Canal Arm and Bridge 3a
Canal bridge 3a
The Welford Canal Arm has only canal lock
Welford Arm
Canal Lock
Welford Canal Lock lockgates.
Welford Lock
The Canal Marina at Welford, England.
Welford Marina
Welford Canal Arm with Bridge 3b crossing over the canal.
Canal bridge 3b
Canal Barges at Welford Wharf - Welford Canal.
Welford Wharf
The end of the Welford Canal Arm in England
End of Welford Arm
A Restored Lime Kiln at Welford Wharf in Northants, England. Welford itself. The Welford Canal Arm ends at the Wharf Inn (Public House) at Welford - apart from grabbing the opportunity to have a quick drink in the pub, perhaps if time permits go and take a look at some semi-restored lime kilns over on the right just where the towpath ends - there are also several information boards which are worth reading.
To get back to Welford Reservoir walk past the Wharf Inn on it's right hand side and go onto the A5199 Welford Road, turn right and then shortly turn left at the road junction now on Naseby Road - walk over a nice stone arched bridge and head back uphill to the start point i.e. at Welford's reservoir.
Please take a look at our Grand Union Canal in England Home Page - covering the entire length of the Grand Union Canal and also it's Canal Arms and Sections.
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