Around the Dassetts




7.25 miles (11.7kms)

656ft (200m)
3hrs 15min

About the walk

This lovely walk takes you from the very top of the Dassett Hills in the Burton Dassett Hills Country Park, and through the nearby hamlets and villages of Northend, Fenny Compton, Farnborough, Avon Dassett and Burton Dassett. It's the nearest you will get in Warwickshire to wild country, with its bare hills reminiscent of the Peak District. The 100-acre (40ha) country park was opened in 1971, and is set high above the noisy M40 motorway, which didn't arrive until a couple of decades later. The park comprises a dramatic mix of rugged, grassy humps and hills with a quaint, small beacon perched on the highest point – actually the tower of a former windmill. There are a number of quarries around the side of the hills which may date back as far as the Iron Age. Today they are covered in grass and offer welcome shelter for picnicking visitors. The view from the top of the hills is outstanding.

A watering hole or two

Initially the walk descends into Northend hamlet, before field paths lead you into the village of Fenny Compton. Fenny is an unusual, but not infrequent, prefix in the Midlands and indicates the presence of wetland. The village lies below the Dassett Hills, which give rise to at least seven springs. It was to harness these, to supply around 40 consumers in the village, that one of England's smallest water supply companies was established in 1866.

You pass by several very attractive cottages to reach the impressive Church of St Peter and St Clare – only two churches in England carry this unusual dedication. The walk continues over Windmill Hill, offering fine views over the surrounding countryside. You then descend into the village of Farnborough and find more old stone cottages and The Inn (see Where to Eat and Drink). After the village of Avon Dassett, the walk then ascends into Burton Dassett, passing by the tiny 12th-century All Saints Church.

The hills of the Burton Dassett Hills Country Park have been a constant theme throughout this walk and you finish with a flourish on the last of them, Magpie Hill, to enjoy the extensive views.

Walk directions

From the car park in the Burton Dassett Hills Country Park descend the footpath – the Centenary Way – to the right of Bonfire Hill with its conical-roofed stone tower (once a windmill, converted to a beacon), and go through a kissing gate onto a track into the village of Northend.

Go right along Malthouse Lane, soon becoming Top Street, in the village for 300yds (274m), then right again just past Pype Hayes house onto a track between gardens. Then, through a kissing gate, follow the footpath with its waymark arrows, heading generally eastwards towards Fenny Compton, crossing a mixture of pasture and cultivated fields via two kissing gates, three stiles and a footbridge.

Enter Fenny Compton through a gate ahead. Follow a hedged path to Grant's Close and go left into Avon Dassett road. Turn right into Church Street and right onto Dog Lane. Go past Ducketts Cottage and through the gate to the right of the village church. Now bear right and cross over pastureland to a gate in the hedge, onto a road known as The Slade. Go left along this past a large farm barn at the brow of the hill, then right over a footbridge and through a kissing gate into a large cultivated field. Go half left and follow the footpath signs, crossing this field to a second footbridge. Here go left, walk along the field edge, and at the stream bear right alongside to a hedge gap. Cross the field corner and continue beside the hedge. Over a footbridge bear half left to another. At a stile continue ahead to the crest of Windmill Hill, from views of the windmill at Chesterton and the BT Communication tower near Daventry. Descend over farm fields and a hedged footpath into the village of Farnborough, emerging via a hedged path on the main street near The Inn.

Head right along the main street, and bear right past the public entrance gates to Farnborough Hall. Continue up the road to the left, then along the permissive footpath beside the lake, inside the trees. At the end of the woodland continue on a field edge permissive path, to emerge back on the lane via a stile. Continue along the road for 400yds (365m), then go right over a stile and across a couple of cultivated fields into pastureland. Descend to the left of a large barn which brings you to Avon Dassett.

Go left past the Roman Catholic church, and in 75yds (69m) go right up Park Close, passing to the right of The Avon pub and into open countryside. Up to the right is the Bitham Hall. The waymarked footpath, the Centenary Way, hugs the top of fields, crossing a large cultivated field, to arrive in Burton Dassett. Pass the church, go through the kissing gate from the churchyard, and continue up the road to the car park near the Beacon.

Additional information

Field paths and farm tracks, many stiles

Hilly countryside

Under control at all times

OS Explorer 206 Edge Hill & Fenny Compton

Burton Dassett Hills Country Park car park

Near car park

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About the area

Discover Warwickshire

The sparkle of sunlight on a gentle river as it meanders through beautiful countryside; the reflections of sailing boats on a lake; relaxing with a pint in the garden of an old English pub in a picturesque village; brightly coloured narrow boats making their way through a flight of lock gates; the imposing silhouette of an historic castle. These are the scenes that make Warwickshire a delight. 

There may be few seriously high hills in this fertile plain, but it is an area full of attractive walking in rolling countryside, blessed with a fascinating history and wonderful places and buildings to visit. This is Shakespeare’s county, and the footprint of the famous Bard appears almost everywhere. He was born and brought up around the beautiful Warwickshire town of Stratford-upon-Avon, and many of his plays draw upon his own experiences in the area.

Warwickshire has a history that embraces the Civil War, castles and large country houses are scattered over the county. Warwick Castle is the home of the Earl of Warwick, Kenilworth Castle was a stronghold for lords and kings of England in the 11th and 12th centuries, and so the list goes on.