Explore The Welland Valley & Rockingham Forest
The Welland Valley & Rockingham Forest is a haven for hikers, nature lovers and history buffs. It is the perfect mini adventure for those of you itching to get your wanderlust on, and explore fun things along the way. Enjoy Alix's photos and routes!
This impressive staircase of 10 locks in Foxton are a popular tourist and local attraction along the Grand Union Canal. This 4.5 mile circular walk includes long canalside stretches, a woodland trail, lovely rural views and a visit to the village of Foxton. Start at the Foxton Locks car park and head West towards Gurnley Wood. Follow the public footpath which winds around the magical wood and going past Debdale Grange to reach the canal again. Head towards the Wharf and return to the locks. Foxton village is super close by and you can visit the gorgeous 13th century St Andrew’s Church, as well as the Manor House. You can extend the walk by visiting Market Harborough, but we’d recommend hitting the pub.
THREE WORDS: pretty canal boats.
duration: 2.5 hours.
SNACK STOP: foxton locks inn for good ol’ british pub grub.
I SPY: the different typography and colours on the canal boats.
parking: LE16 7RA. £1.50 all day parking.
Rockingham Castle to East Carlton
The Castle stands on the edge of an escarpment giving dramatic views over the Welland Valley and five counties. It also makes for the perfect starting point for an adventure and picnic to a wonderful country park. Head through the rose garden and into the picture-perfect villages of Cottingham and Middleton. There’s plenty to enjoy whilst walking through the conservation area which protects the iron stone cottages dating back to the 13th century. At the south side of the village, just behind St Mary Magdalene Church, is The Dale – a peaceful, secluded natural meadow which is home to a wide variety of native plants and trees.
THREE WORDS: home of history.
duration: 1.5 hours.
SNACK STOP: sondes arms has everything you’ll need.
I SPY: loads of good doggos!
Fineshdae Woods & Wakerley Woods
This one is a must for every family and is actually part of Rockingham’s ancient woodlands (above). With the help of Gruffalo Orienteering, you’ll be having fun reading maps and frolicking in fields. There’s plenty of play parks on the way. The route itself is pretty simple you can just follow the Bronze Deer trail or signs towards Wakerley Woods. There’s a contemporary art gallery and cafe to reset, get inspired and make your way back home.
P.s you can do this one by foot or hire bikes! Follow the green cycle route if you’d like an easier ride.
THREE WORDS: fun, interactive & friendly
duration: 1 hour.
SNACK STOP: the royal oak is exceptional.
I SPY: red kite, nightingale, nightjar, grasshopper warbler, marsh and willow tits.
parking: Free parking at Wakerley woods or £2-£5 at fine shade.
Lyveden to Wadenhoe
National Trust lovers gather round. Lyveden has everything from a full blown moat to orchards. It’s a magical place to start your exploration. The Lyveden Way is a true taste of Northamptonshire, including sheltered woodland, open fields, attractive wildlife and pretty villages. Follow Fermyn Woods and you’ll come out to vast open countryside, keep following the woodlands which is now called Lady Wood Head and turn towards Lyveden. You’ll approache the cute village of Wadenhoe through Lilford Wood. Passing through the village, it turns into pasture fields before re-entering woodland and is completed by rejoining the outward route after Lady Wood Head. Enjoy!
THREE WORDS: intriguing elizabethan architecture.
duration: 1.5 hours.
SNACK STOP: the old barn tea room for cake after the kings head lunch.
I SPY: flora. there’s lots of it.
parking: PE8 5AT. Free.
Photo credit: national trust
Oundle Heritage Trail
The river Nene meanders around the ancient market town of Oundle. It’s one of my favourite places to explore independent shops, teashops and admire the 17th century architecture. Start by the Market Place (head inside the Market House if it’s open!) and turn right past St Peters Saxon church until you get to Latham’s Hospital & School (founded in 1611). Head back down and explore West Street all the way to Oundle Museum. You’ll enjoy the sights along the way!
THREE WORDS: interesting architectural stories.
duration: half an hour.
SNACK STOP: our fave tap and kitchen. It’s along the nene river but well worth it.
I SPY: Old School house which was built for £336 in 1763. Bargain!
parking: Park on St Osyths lane for the start, or on West street and do the walk backwards.
If you or anyone you know are looking to move to this beautiful part of the world then get in touch with Alix, our Partner in Northamptonshire.