Bike RidesChild Friendly Walks

Kelmarsh Tunnels

It was raining yet again and we’d had enough. Sod it I said lets go to Kelmarsh tunnels. Its a huge tunnel how wet can we get.

Kelmarsh Tunnels

Kelmarsh Tunnels

Luckily as we pulled away from Bicester we left the shitty weather behind. Not going to lie the journey was a bit of a bitch. The sat nav took us a really odd way and made the hour journey seem like two. Thankfully Elliot fell asleep though so at least the kids weren’t arguing. 

Took us a few U turns to find the actual car park but once we got there it was nice and quiet. We asked a couple getting in their car if we were in the right place just in case. By this point it looked like the crappy weather had followed us. We could see the rain clouds rolling in. Shoved the coats in the bag to be on the safe side.

Kelmarsh tunnel route Brampton valley way

At the car park if you walk towards the signs you’ll see steps to the left. Head up those you’ll need a hand with the pram at this point but after that its plain sailing. Once you get to the top turn left. Signpost right in front if you don’t know your left from right. 

Once you’re on this track you can’t possibly go the wrong. It’s a straight line. There are some cracking views along the way especially the windmills (Wind turbines). We didn’t come across a single soul while we were walking along this path either. 

Discovering Kelmarsh Tunnels 

As we walked along inevitably the rain caught up with us. Elliot tried to brave it out but even he couldn’t last too long without his coat as the rain got heavier. Luckily he wanted to wear his wellies today too as there were plenty or puddles to splash. 

Thankfully as we headed into the wooded area we could start to make out the opening of Kelmarsh tunnels. Quick bit of information the Kelmarsh Tunnels are disused railway tunnels. It is a permitted route and is part of the Brampton Valley way which is a 17 mile cycle network. So if you wanted to take bikes then crack on. Just make sure they have lights you’ll need them.

Walks with kids Northants

The closer we got the heavier the rain became. The closer we got the creepier the tunnel mouth became too. Its bloody huge. You can see the huge gates which have been opened to allow us to go in. Don’t be a dick like my husband and joke when we’re halfway that someone might close the gates either end. 

You can just about make out the pin prick of sunlight aka the light at the end of the tunnel. In between i shit you not its pitch black. This whole setting is like something straight out of a horror movie. Don’t forget your torches you will need them and the kids will love them. If you don’t want to walk through there is a route round but its a lot lot longer. Basically its like the part in Lord of the rings where Frodo chooses to go into the mines of Moria and the shit hits the fan. 

Creepy Ass Tunnels 

In we went, on came the brightest torch we’ve ever seen in our lives. We borrowed this one off our friend and while it did light up the tunnel really well. When Elliot had a hold of it, it also did a good job of burning out our retinas. Why do kids insist on shining torches in eyes?

Me and the kids loved the tunnel it was wet, drippy, dark, creepy, fun but most of all. Something completely different to what we’ve done before. You can see (If you shine a torch) The old doorways along the side that have been bricked up and the old reflectors on either side. Clark loved the fact that he was in a tunnel where trains used to be. He still loves trains to this day. 

Old railway tunnel walk Scary walks with kids Kelmarsh tunnels

Once you get around halfway you’ll come to an old ventilation shaft. It lets in a little bit of light and while we were there some rain too. I think on a sunny day visibility in the tunnel might be marginally better. However being me I pick a day when there’s a storm outside. Oh yes the rain had started to get heavier. 

We finally got out the other end (About 480mts) and it was pissing it down. Clark and Elliot had headed up the verge in an attempt to slide down on their butts. Then they realised it was too wet. I’d buggered up off up the other side to see if I could get on top of the tunnel but it was too wet and my trainers were too slippy. 

Man Down Call A Medic 

Just as we were about the regroup and head on old Mr clumsy stacked it. I swear to god this child falls and grazes his knee on every single walk we go on. I’m going to start packing knee pads for him from now on. Unfortunately he was wearing shorts and it was muddy as fuck. He was screaming the place down and we had no wipes with us or anything to clean him up. 

I had a mooch through the back pack and found it. A tampon haha genius I dipped that bad boy in water and cleaned all the mud off the screaming child. Anyone would think he’d nearly suffered a decapitation the way he was screaming. So imagine our faces when we discovered the teeniest single scratch. He soon perked up as I shoved the soggy tampon back in the bag. I really must find that first aid kit for future. 

Kelmarsh tunnels

It was at this point we heard the first clap of thunder and then not long after we saw some lightning too. We decided it would be best to head back in the tunnel and make our way back. There were a few cyclist in the tunnel this time but its plenty wide enough to avoid them and everyone was really polite. 

The walk back was wet and funny. The thunder and the lightning was really cool and kept the kids running. I don’t think the husbeast was too Impressed with the whole walk. Me and the kids were glad we went though we thought it was really cool. There is so much more potential to explore the area but with the weather and Elliot’s teeney cut we just headed home. 

Kelmarsh Tunnels Stats:

Distance from Bicester: 1hr 
Sat nav: Parking for Brampton Valley way, Northants LE16 8JU Click to load sat nav 
Wheelchair friendly: Yes if you can get access up to the path which avoids the steps 
Equipment upkeep: N/A
Cleanliness: 7/10 (tunnel has a fair bit of litter)
Facilities: small car parks, no toilets 
Age range: All ages 
Safety: 8/10
Fun factor: 10/10 
Dog friendly: Yes but pick up their shit pleaseeeeeeeee 
Pushchair Friendly: Yes with a bit of help up the steps  
Bikes and Scooters:Perfect for bikes too gravely for scooters 
Kite Flying: No


Me and the boys loved Kelmarsh tunnels. It creepy, cool and different. If you can get bikes there then I think it would be a cracking bike ride too. I’m not sure if we would rush back now but thats because of the distance. However once the both boys are comfortably riding their bikes then we will love to head back. 

Its a place that is so different that its a must see. However you need to bear in mind lack of facilities. For us it was fine and only needed a jungle wee for Elliot. I would say again that you really would need a torch not just for light but for fun for the kids. 

Northamptonshire walks Finding Kelmarsh tunnels

There were a few picnic benches along the way too and its a perfect spot for one on a sunny day. Cracking place for a dog walk too especially if they have one of those flashing collars haha. 

Yes the tunnel was a bit littered but it seems like everywhere we visit no days is. Such a shame that some people ruin it for the many. I just don’t get the mentality of lazy, selfish arseholes. We’ve decided to shove a litter picker in the car from now on to try and combat this. I know its not our job but someone’s got to keep these places cleaner. 


For more information on Kelmarsh Tunnels have a look at this website HERE

For more walks we’ve discovered since the lockdown then have a look HERE

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