Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Looking for Hanging Houghton

"I've been driving this route for eight months," said the bus driver, "and you're only the second person to have got off there."

Hanging Houghton is a great name for a hamlet. It stands just off the Market Harborough to Northampton road between Lamport and Brixworth, above the Brampton Valley. I once suggested Brixworth's men in black had been dealing with the downing of a flying saucer here.

When you get there you find a surprising amount of housing - old and recent. But that is all you find.

The tableau above - a pillar box, a telephone box that now houses a defibrillator and a noticeboard for Lamport and Hanging Houghton parish council in front of the former school - are all the amenities it offers now.

Hanging Houghton has not had a church for centuries, and the manor house that was built with its stone is long gone too. There is, of course, no shop, though it may have had a sub post office until recently.

This is a landscape that will surprise some: dry stone walls are a common feature on Northamptonshire's uplands.

And until the 1960s it was an industrial landscape, with an aerial ropeway and broad-gauge and narrow-gauge tramways all connected with the local ironstone quarrying industry.

At the bottom of the hill you meet the Brampton Valley Way, a footpath and cycle path that occupies the trackbed of the old Market Harborough to Northampton railway. More of that another day.

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