Family Friendly Elton & Fotheringhay Circuit

Family Friendly Elton & Fotheringhay Circuit

Length: 5 miles

Duration: 2 hours 

This is an easy five mile circular route. It is not suitable for pushchairs and may get very muddy in the winter.

This flat route is perfect for a family stroll. Passing through green countryside it features river views, a beautiful church and even the remains of an ancient castle to keep the whole family entertained. There’s also a couple of pubs along the route if you need a little refreshment.

As a family of keen walkers and photographers, it can be a little tricky to plan outings that keep everyone happy these days. Me and Luke enjoy beautiful scenery, quirky buildings and places with a story, but having a two year old tagging along brings it own challenges. We can’t quite manage the mileage (or the hills!) we used to do pre-parenthood, but that doesn’t mean we settle for boring walks!  This easy route is a great example, it starts in the pretty village of Elton, between Peterborough and Oundle, continues to Fotheringhay, and back across the fields to the starting point.

Here’s the route from OS Maps

We parked up in Chapel Lane, Elton and followed it away from the village. As you reach the end of the tarmacked lane, it becomes a bridleway. We followed this across the parkland of Elton Hall for about a kilometre. The path is clearly marked and there are lovely views across to the stately hall.

As we left the village, there were great views across the parkland to Elton Hall

Setting off along the bridleway

The bridleway then bears slightly left and follows a line of trees on the right, and a fence on the left. (Next comes the least photogenic part of the walk-but it’s only a short section). The path then turns right and runs alongside the busy A605 for about 500m (the road should be on your left).

At the end of the track head right following the Nene Way. This is a footpath I know well as it runs through my home county of Northamptonshire following the River Nene and I have walked several stretches of it. We walked past Warmington Mill and stopped for a while so that Finn could look at the boats on the Marina. We then headed across the fields, crossing over the river at a couple of points. Although it was dry when we walked here, the ground is low and surrounded by water so I imagine that it gets very muddy in the winter.

We crossed the River Nene a few times on this walk

We then went through a gate and headed along a track towards Fotheringhay. At this point we let Finn walk for a while. Luke had carried him for the first bit, but we’re trying to get him used to walking for a bit longer now. He managed the 1.5km to the village easily, we’ll soon be dragging him up mountains! It helped that we could see the church spire, which Finn thought was a castle, so this kept him motivated and walking forwards.

Seeing Fotheringhay Church in the distance gave Finn something to aim for!

Finn managed to walk the whole way along this track towards Fotheringhay

We arrived at Fotheringhay and went to have a look at the castle site. If the name rings a bell, it’s probably because Fotheringhay Castle was where Mary Queen of Scots was executed in 1587. Today there is just a mound of earth and an information board, but you are allowed to access the site if you want a closer look. We also snuck into the church for a quick look around.

Nothing much remains of the castle, but it’s an interesting site for history geeks like me

Fotheringhay Church is an impressive building and open for visits

The route then heads out of the village along Fotheringhay Road (right opposite the church) for 500m, before taking the footpath on the right hand side. The route then crosses fields, skirting around the derelict Middle Lodge, before bearing right back to the River Nene. After crossing the river, you arrive back at the village of Elton, with Chapel Lane on your right.

My well deserved ploughman’s lunch in The Black Horse at Elton

This is just the right length and difficulty of walk for us, and I’m sure that many families would also enjoy it.

Get the OS Map here:



  • Emma Hip2trek Emma Hip2trek October 03, at 10:06

    This sounds like a lovely family walk with all the right things needed to keep it interesting with some history and a few pubs thrown in! the ploughman’s looks good.

  • Gareth Gareth October 03, at 10:41

    Great pics and looks a super walk too! Felt like I was part of it! Never really been to this part of the UK, but you’ve made it very appealing. #adventurecalling

  • Jenny - TraveLynn Family Jenny - TraveLynn Family October 03, at 10:44

    We love a good cricular walk and this has some lovely points of interest along the way. A well deserved lunch afterwards – looks delicious! #adventurecalling

  • Tracy Tracy October 03, at 15:05

    What a great hike with lots to see. Wish I lived closer. Always looking for family friendly hikes. #adventurecalling

  • Nicky @Go Live Young Nicky @Go Live Young October 04, at 14:08

    We love a circular walk as don’t have to retrace your steps. Always in favour of a lunch or tea stop at the end of any hike!

  • Nicky @Go Live Young Nicky @Go Live Young October 04, at 14:13

    Oops, forgot the #adventurecalling

  • Grand Adventure Story Grand Adventure Story October 04, at 14:14

    A lovely family walk – giving me inspiration to plan our own #adventurecalling

  • Annabel Annabel October 05, at 10:20

    This sounds great. And you’ve reminded me that I really need to start researching a few more routes for my kids as we tend to keep doing the same one. My 7 yr old is doing a 5 mile Beaver night hike tomorrow in pouring rain..! #adventurecalling

  • Alice V Alice V October 07, at 14:35

    That looks like such a beautiful walk and I love the river! I think your lunch was perfect for a meal after a day outdoors. I love eating fresh foods like that when I go walking. #Adventurecalling

  • Lauren Lauren October 09, at 14:03

    What a fab walk. I love visiting sites of old castles and things like that. Even if there’s not that much to see, it’s great imagining what might have been happening there all those years ago.

    Rowan also thinks a lot of churches are castles.


  • Kids of the Wild Kids of the Wild October 11, at 20:38

    Fotheringhay is all about Mary Queen of Scots for me, I’d love this walk. Great way to incentivise your toddler clocking up 1.5km walking towards a church spire/tower. It’s amazing what will keep kids interest alive. Great post! #AdventureCalling

  • This looks like a very nice walk, and that ploughman’s!! I’m suddenly hungry… x #AdventureCalling

  • Helena Helena October 16, at 16:02

    We love a circular walk in our family and a good hearty meal afterwards #adventurecalling

  • David - Potty Adventures David - Potty Adventures October 16, at 18:32

    What a lovely little walk. I love how, despite the castle not being there, the signage gives you information and re created images. Your lunch looks like a great way to end the day too. #adventurecalling

  • Great family walk, Lauren! It won’t be long before Finn can walk longer distances and steeper trails, and the castles and other historic buildings will fire up his imagination like nothing else.

  • Nikki S Nikki S August 05, at 22:45

    We did this walk today but started and finished in Fotheringhay. A fab walk with a lunch stop at the Black Horse in Elton and a nap under a tree just before Fotheringhay Castle!!! Called in at The Falcon in Fotheringhay for a cold cider at the end. A great day!


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