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The 3 Castles Ride from Oundle

3_castles_rideThis 40 mile route passes three local castles and apart from three very short sections on A roads and passing through Thrapston, is all on quiet country lanes.

On leaving Oundle via the south bridge you pass Barnwell country park and Barnwell lock gates on your right. After about 2 miles turn right onto the A605 and then very shortly afterwards turn left towards Barnwell village. You don’t go into the village proper but follow the road ignoring the two right turns. At the second of these you will catch a glimpse of our first castle.

Continue to follow the road turning left at the T-junction (4 miles). From here you descend to the roundabout on the A605 where you turn right (3rd exit) and ride a short distance along the main road until you take the first left to Tansor. An alternative route to Tansor if you are on mountain bikes is to turn right through Ashton before you get to the A605 and, after passing the Chequered Skipper pub and taking the left fork by Murder Cottage, follow the road past the Oundle School rifle range (it now becomes a track). If you take this alternative route then you will need to turn left where the track joins the road, and follow this road across the A 605 and into Tansor via a pair of gates.

As you go through Tansor, with the church on your left, you will see the old rectory, Tansor Court. Follow the road north to Fotheringhay. As you approach Fothringhay, just before the bridge, you will have a very fine view of the church on your left and the remains of our second Castle on the right. This is the Castle where Richard III was born and Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded.

Taking the right turn in the village centre (near the church entrance) you ride up a short hill and take the right turn at the top to descend into Elton. As you pass the Crown pub on your left take the right fork by the Green and then follow the road up a short sharp hill turning left at the T junction towards Peterborough on the old Oundle road. This road goes up a hill and you take the next right into Bullock Road once you get to the bottom on the other side. Go straight over the cross roads, and then left at the first T junction and then right at the next towards Gt Gidding.

In Gt Gidding turn right at the cross roads at the bottom of the hill and then first left to Thurning and continue on this road to Clopton where you turn right at the T junction and then next left towards Titchmarsh. Right at the T-junction and into the village of Titchmarsh. The site of castle number 3 is visible from the road on your left by the old style redpillar post box.

Turn left after passing the church, then follow this road over two roundabouts and down the hill into Thrapston. Straight over another mini roundabout and then turn right after crossing the River Nene into Islip. Ride all the way through Islip and turn right at the T junction with the A6116, taking the first right after about 300m. You can avoid this short stretch of A road by taking the path as the road bends to the left before the T junction. This lane will take you into Aldwincle and turning left at the T junction in the village you simply follow the road all the way back into Oundle.

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