nene local | helen dawson


Archive for: September 2017

Nene Valley Cyclists Moved up a Gear for Festival Challenge

Nene Valley Cyclists Moved up a Gear for Festival Challenge

We challenged you to pedal 5000 miles as part of the Nene Valley Festival, and you didn’t disappoint!

Cyclists logged a wheel-spinning 5012 miles during the festival period (16 – 24 September).

East Northamptonshire Councillor and Board Member for the Destination Nene Valley project, Sarah Peacock, said:

Get on your Bike | nene local

“In just nine days, families, individuals and cycle groups alike, all worked as a team to ride over 5000 miles along the Valley. That’s brilliant! It was great to work with Freedom Leisure, Cycle Northants and Rockingham Forest Trust on this and we’d like to thank everyone who took on the challenge. We hope it has inspired you to set the wheels in motion to explore even more of the Nene Valley this Autumn.”

Visit the Valley!

Visit for cycle routes around the Valley, including along East Northamptonshire Council’s Greenway which runs from Thrapston to Rushden.


Don’t forget to follow @_NeneValley on Twitter for cycle events and much, much more.

The Old Barn at Wadenhoe – Delightful Cream Teas

The Old Barn at Wadenhoe – Delightful Cream Teas

The Old Barn at Wadenhoe was our tea-time choice yesterday afternoon.  Nestled next to the River Nene in Wadenhoe, between Thrapston and Oundle, The Old Barn at Wadenhoe is such a tranquil setting.

They have their own car park where you can walk through the delightful garden to access The Old Barn.

Inside we were actually wowed by the selection of teas and coffees on offer, and oh my goodness the cakes sitting on the counter……old barn wadenhoe | nene local

We were taken to our reserved table and served our tea, Rooibos for me and Earl Grey for Susan.  Once our tea was poured then finger sandwiches arrived; ham, beef, egg mayo and salmon & cream cheese, with a few crisps in a gorgeous bowl – I must add, all the crockery and cutlery was really lovely!

old barn tearooms | nene local

Once our waitress had found we had had our fill of sandwiches – then our cakes arrived.  Oh my goodness! The Old Barn at Wadenhoe has a whole team of bakers and cake makers that work for them locally.

old barn tearooms | nene local

old barn tearooms | nene local

We had an amazing afternoon at The Old Barn at Wadenhoe.

Goodness me we were full at the end. At £18 per person this Ritz Style Afternoon Tea was excellent value.  We ran out of space in our tummies…and we both took a box like this home with us!

old barn tearooms | nene local

We shall certainly use the tearoom again.

Other things on offer

On speaking with the owner, we found out about what else the Barn offers…  I shall be returning to the Barn with husband at some point as the sound of the full English Breakfast peeked my interest…

They do a large selection of lunches including panini, jacket potato, sandwiches and Ploughman’s.

Theme Nights

The Old Barn’s theme nights sound fab, they’ve had Greek, Spanish and a Medieval Night complete with serving wenches.

old barn tearooms | nene local

Forthcoming Events at the Old Barn in 2017

Greek Night

Saturday, 7th October – 7:30pm. £25/person

4 courses of our famous Greek food – bring your own alcohol

Medieval Night

Saturday, 11th November – 7:30pm. £30/person

Henry 8th style fun, with our wenches serving you!  Bring your own alcohol

Hollywood Glitz Night

Saturday, 9th December – 7:30pm. £30/person

3 amazing food courses and entertainment

old barn at wadenhoe tearooms | nene local

Gifts on offer to buy at Wadenhoe Tearooms too!


Where is The Old Barn?

Situated on the River Nene, the tea rooms are ideal for walkers, boaters, and cyclists, plus they have a regular open water swimming group come in for a warming cuppa after their dip in the river!

Also in the area is Wadenhoe House – perfect for a walk round, or the house makes an ideal venue for weddings or business meetings.  An ideal place if you are a keen photographer.


Monday to Sunday, 9:30am to 5:00pm


Mill Lane


Nr Oundle



To book for a theme night – contact 01832 721129

See them on Trip Advisor


Love Your Skin at Homefield Grange in Rushton

Love Your Skin at Homefield Grange..

Love your skin could be the mantra of the ladies at Homefield Grange in Rushton.  This retreat in an idyllic setting is the ideal place for a pamper.  Not only that, they do such a varied range of treatments one can go for facials, inch loss, as well as every day stuff like hair removal and personal training.  Homefield Grange is a bit of a haunt for the rich and famous, I didn’t spot anyone I knew though.

nene local | homefield grange

I was early for my appointment, I always am!  I got shwon into the lounge where I relaxed with a Ginger & Lemon Tea and a clean eating recipe book, it was bliss just to sit and chill for once.

nene local | homefield grange

nene local | homefield grange

I had booked in for a free skin care analysis – yes free, they care about the wellbeing of your skin and so offer this service.  I had to put my face into a light box type gadget where various photos were taken of my face.  The one I was most interested in was the Sun damage and I was glad to say I only had a patch on my forehead, so I’ve been very good with the factor 50!!

Love your skin | nene local | homefield grange

Sarah explained each photo once the gadget had completed its task. She told me what each one mean.  She also said how you can Love your Skin even more by trying one of their treatments.

nene local | homefield grange

nene local | homefield grange

Hydra Facial

The unique HydraFacial philosophy is not just about improving the appearance of the skin, but truly restoring youthful, healthy skin. It uses advanced, patented vortex technology to deliver botanical ingredients with the most desirable nutrients such as hyaluronic acid, horse chestnut seed extract, red algae extract, copper zinc and magnesium peptides.

It is also packed full of the most powerful antioxidants which work to counteract the damage of free radicals – caused by pollution, sun and stress – which can damage the skin, accelerating the aging process.


The main treatments consist of a six stage process which helps to detoxify the skin, remove dead skin cells, extract any debris and provide long lasting hydration and essential nutrient support that protects and rebuilds collagen levels.


The great news is that because it restores and rebuilds the health of the skin it will give everybody an immediate visible improvement and what’s more the treatment can be tailored to treat any specific skin concerns you may have.


There are different Hydra Facial treatments to choose from;



HydraFacial Anti-Ageing treatment uses the DermaBuilder multi-peptide anti-ageing serum to help diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while also enhancing the skin’s elasticity, for visibly noticeable plumping and tightening of the skin.




Skin brightening treatment which features the Britenol Vortex-Booster is clinically proven to minimise the appearance of brown spots! Specially formulated to awaken dull skin, the treatment targets dark spots and sun damaged areas, leaving skin glowing with a more even complexion.


Acne/Acne Scarring:


Acne and Acne Scarring treatment helps to improve active acne by reducing the build-up of excess oils and also improve scarring by deeper exfoliation using natural salicylic acid and application of different strengths of GlySal peel. Improvements can be seen from your first treatment.


Successive Treatments recommended one every 7- 14 days.

nene local | homefield grange

Find Out More

Homefield Grange
Manor Road, Rushton,
NN14 1RH.

01536 712219

nene local | homefield grange


Join Forest for Peterborough as it Plants its 100,000th Tree in the City!

The environmental charity PECT is leading the way nationally with its innovative, locally-focused tree-planting project: Forest for Peterborough.


PECT launched Forest for Peterborough in 2010, with the aim of planting over 180,000 trees in and around the city and surrounding countryside by 2030 – one tree for every person living in the city.

Tree Planting

This October, the project is reaching a massive milestone. Its 100,000th tree will be planted within the city’s Central Park on Saturday 7th October 2017. Now the project is encouraging local residents, volunteers and groups to come together to celebrate this milestone at the family-friendly event.
“This event will primarily be a chance to thank everyone, past and present, who have been involved with the project,” explains PECT’s CEO Carly Leonard. “We are so grateful for the support of all the volunteers, individuals and organisations who have dedicated time and enthusiasm towards making this project possible.”


“Together we are working to transform the city’s landscape and forming a vital network of wildlife corridors and green spaces. Trees also play a vital role in mitigating climate change and adapting to extreme weather conditions by providing shade on hot days and absorbing water during periods of heavy rain. To plant the 100,000th tree in the city is a truly fantastic achievement, and one we’re incredibly proud to be leading on.”


In particular, the charity would like to extend an invitation to the event to any children who are seven years old in 2017, because these children were born in the year the project was first launched – the charity would love for them to be involved.


The event will run from 10am-12noon, with the official tree planting at 11am. Family activities will be available throughout the day and there will be free face painting for all children, as well as a tree giveaway for people to take home and plant trees in their own gardens too. There will also be a display of the winning photographs from a recent tree photo competition.


For more information about the charity PECT, email, visit or call 01733 568408.



Northamptonshire Optometrist supports National Eye Health Week

Half of all sight loss is “avoidable”, according to a Northamptonshire optometrist, who is encouraging people to take better care of their eye health.


Davis Optometrists, which has branches in Kettering, Rothwell and Thrapston, hopes to encourage people to take their eye health more seriously during National Eye Health Week (18 – 24 September) with the launch of a guide to healthy vision.

Kim Durden, Director Optometrist

Kim Durden, Director Optometrist

Director Optometrist Kim Durden said: “Research shows half of all sight loss is avoidable so we want to inspire local residents to make some small lifestyle changes that could make a big difference to their vision and eye health.”


Davis Optometrists top tips for better eye care:


  1. Eat right for good sight. Most of us have no idea that what we eat can affect how well we see, however, eye-friendly nutrients found in many fruit and vegetables and fatty acids derived from fish, nuts and oils can all help protect your sight.


Vitamins B and E can help protect against cataracts whilst omega-3 fish oils help maintain healthy blood vessels inside the eye – research has shown that eating just one portion of fish a week can reduce your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – the UK’s leading cause of sight loss by up to 40 per cent.


  1. Quit smoking. Smokers have a significantly greater risk of sight loss than non-smokers.


Toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage the delicate surface and the internal structure of the eye. This can lead to an increased risk of many eye conditions including age-related macular degeneration (AMD); nuclear cataracts; thyroid eye disease; dry eye and poor colour vision.


  1. Watch your weight. More than half of all British adults are overweight however maintaining a healthy weight helps preserve macula pigment density, which in turn, helps protect the retina against the breakdown of cells and the onset of AMD.


Damage to blood vessels in the eye caused by excess body weight has also been linked to glaucoma.


  1. Get fit. Aerobic exercise can help increase oxygen supplies to the optic nerve and lower any pressure that builds up in the eye.


Reducing intraocular ‘eye’ pressure can help control conditions such as glaucoma and ocular hypertension.


  1. Cover up. Exposure to UV light increases your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration.


According to the World Health Organisation UV damage is the biggest modifiable risk factor of cataract development.


Always wear sunglasses when the UV index rises above three and check your sunglasses filter AT LEAST 99 per cent of UVA and UVB light. Look out for a CE or British Standard or UV 400 mark when choosing your sunglasses as this indicates they provide adequate UV protection.


  1. Be screen smart. On average we spend a staggering 35 hours a week staring at a computer screen so it’s no surprise that 90 per cent of us say we experience screen fatigue – tired or irritated eyes, blurred vision, headaches and poor colour perception.


Avoid eye strain by using the 20-20-20 rule, especially if you’re using a computer for long periods of time. Look 20 feet in front of you every 20 minutes for 20 seconds.


And, don’t forget to book an eye test during National Eye Health Week if you haven’t had one in the last two years.

Take the Nene Valley Festival Challenge and Explore the Nene Valley on Two Wheels this Festival Week

Cyclists are encouraged to ride their bike to work, to the shops, to school and along the Nene Valley for the Nene Valley Festival 2017. By logging the miles they cycle on twitter @NeneValleyFestival they will be part of the 5,000 mile challenge.


It’s all part of the 4th annual festival which celebrates the unique heritage, wildlife and culture of the Nene Valley. The festival opened on Saturday, 16 September at Delapre Abbey with a family fun day followed by CycleFest on Sunday at Stanwick Lakes.


East Northamptonshire Councillor and Board Member for the Destination Nene Valley project, Sarah Peacock, said: “What a great launch weekend! The Nene Valley has so much to offer walkers, cyclists, adventurers and wildlife enthusiasts and this festival week is a great opportunity to try it all.

Get on your Bike

“Cycling along the Nene Valley is a very popular pursuit for those who wish to enjoy the countryside as well as those who just need to get to work or school.  We’re asking cyclists to tell us how far they have cycled this week so that together we can hit the 5,000 mile target. That would be a great team effort.


“Whilst you’re out on your bike, you can also enjoy some of the wonderful events taking place as part of the 2017 Nene Valley Festival. Check out the programme of events for the week at and tweet us your miles cycled @NeneFestival or email Happy cycling everyone!”


Christmas Nave Banquet ‘Blessed’ by Star Speaker

Peterborough Cathedral has confirmed that the legendary actor and raconteur, Brian Blessed OBE, will be the after-dinner speaker at a Christmas Banquet held in the Cathedral nave on Thursday 7th December.


The black tie, candlelit dinner will be a glittering occasion at which guests can enjoy a four course dinner surrounded by the stunning 12th century architecture of the Cathedral. The evening will start with a Prosecco reception under the tower and members of the Cathedral Choir will sing carols and festive music.

Brian Blessed OBE

Brian Blessed OBE


Mr Blessed will speak at the end of the evening, sharing larger-than-life stories from his hugely eventful career. He is not only an actor on stage, film and TV, but has also climbed Mount Everest three times, survived a plane crash in the Venezuelan jungle and written six books. The latest of these is his autobiography, Absolute Pandemonium, published by Pan Macmillan in 2015.cathedral-banquet


In 2016 Brian Blessed received an OBE from the Queen in recognition of his services to the arts and charity. He is most famous for his instantly recognisable deep, booming voice. As well as being a distinguished Shakespearean actor, he has played numerous roles in TV and film, including Richard IV in Black Adder, and Vultan in the film Flash Gordon.


“The dinner is a perfect opportunity to gather with friends, colleagues and business associates for a truly memorable pre-Christmas celebration. We are delighted that Brian is able to join us and are looking forward to the wit and presence that he will bring to the evening,” said Stuart Orme, Head of Operations at the Cathedral. All the proceeds from the event go to support the upkeep of the Cathedral.


There is a special 10% off early-bird ticket offer, for bookings received by 15th October. For full details visit the Cathedral website at

Ten Ways to Treat your Mind, Body and Soul this Silver Sunday

Over 65s living in East Northamptonshire are being invited to spoil themselves and try something new on 1 October 2017 as the district celebrates Silver Sunday.


The aim of the nationwide scheme is to increase the health and well-being of the older generation by reducing social isolation, introducing new activities, meeting new people and staying active and involved in their communities.


East Northamptonshire is blessed with many beautiful places and fun activities for all ages and abilities. So here are just a few examples of what you can do this Silver Sunday:


For the mind:



  • Visit the past at Oundle Museum or Rushden Museum, both of which tell the history of the towns and have special themed exhibitions


  • Discover the story of an unfinished Elizabethan Lodge at Lyveden New Bield, followed by a well deserved cup of tea and slice of cake in the tea room


For the body:


  • Head to the Nene Centre in Thrapston, 1-4pm and try the new climbing wall or a session in the gym. There’s also a Silver Sunday exercise class 2-3pm


  • For those a little bit older, over 75s can take advantage of unlimited swimming for a year for just £10 at the Splash Pool, Rushden or the Nene Centre, Thrapston – see the website for details



For the soul:


  • Leave the dry land behind and jump into a canoe or swan pedalo at Rushden Lakes


  • Experience the unique combination of shopping alongside wildlife spotting at Rushden Lakes. You could always visit the champagne bar in House of Fraser and look out over the beautiful surroundings




Steve North, Leader of East Northamptonshire Council adds:


“With nearly a quarter of residents in the district being 65 or over, Silver Sunday is a great scheme to break down barriers and get people, who are sometimes over looked in society, to experience everything East Northamptonshire has to offer.

silver sunday | nene local

“East Northamptonshire Council has invested a lot of time and money in helping build greater communities, through such projects as the Community Facilities Fund and, with Freedom Leisure, through the outreach programme where we are focusing on encouraging our residents to embrace a healthier lifestyle and achieve greater well-being.”


Chris Tye, Freedom Leisure Area Manager says: “We are delighted to be part of the Silver Sunday activities. At Freedom Leisure we do all we can to enable active communities, especially looking to encourage older people to remain active. We are especially looking forward to welcoming the over 65s to try the new climbing wall at The Nene Centre, perhaps not an obvious choice of activity for older people but we hope to prove that this shouldn’t be the case!”


Check out other activities at the:


Find out what else is happening around the country for Silver Sunday at


Business Fined for Illegal Advertising

A local estate agent and its director have been ordered to pay more than £2,500 in fines and costs for illegally advertising its business in Raunds.


Simpson and Partners Ltd were found guilty of illegal advertising on lampposts along Andrews Way in Raunds when they appeared at Northampton Magistrates on Tuesday, 19 September.

nene local | simpsons

Despite previous warnings about displaying unauthorised signs, Andrew Simpson, director of Simpsons and Partners Ltd, pleaded guilty to flyposting on behalf of the firm. They were fined £1,500 and were ordered to pay costs of £1,080 and a victim surcharge of £120 meaning that the prosecution was achieved at no cost to the taxpayer of East Northamptonshire.


Paul Bland, Head of Planning Services, says: “An investigation, following a complaint from a member of the public, confirmed that this company had broken the law by illegally advertising its business. Enforcement officers had spoken with representatives of the business on a previous occasion to explain the laws and consequences of flyposting but these warnings had been ignored and so we pursued a prosecution.”


Leader of East Northamptonshire Council, Steven North, adds: “The guilty verdict and the decisive fine of £2,500 should send a very clear message to anyone considering displaying an advertisement in East Northants without consent – we will not hesitate to act against fly posters, whose activities cause such a blight to the district.”


Unlawful advertising is an offence under S.224 Town and Country Planning Act 1990.



Happy Hounds Bound Around in a Safe, Enclosed Field

Happy Hounds an update.

Three years ago, a chance conversation at a breakfast networking group led to me and my dog making some good friends and having a secure place to play courtesy of Rachel’s Happy Hounds.  Read the article about how businesses worked together here – Millie’s new Favourite Place

Happy hounds | nene local

It’s been a pleasure to get to know Rachel, of Rachel’s Happy Hounds, and see her business flourish.  The next stage in her business development is her new field – over near Fotheringhay.

Partnering with Spinnakeu gundogs, Rachel’s Happy Hounds can host specialist  gun dog training in the new field or just standard dog training, walking off lead, recall etc. in either field.

Millie’s Thoughts

Today we’d like to share our dog’s thoughts on both fields and the services that Rachel’s Happy Hounds provide.

Millie and I go to the field near Clopton almost every week.  The field is mainly short grass and enclosed with a six-foot fence.  We drive to the field and access through the security gate, taking the car into the field.  Park the car, shut the gate and allow Millie off the lead.

nene local | frosty dog

A frosty day at the field

The field is more or less one mile in circumference so plenty of running room for an exuberant spaniel.   In the field is a small shed with toys, yes she knows where they are!!  Every week, get out of the car, have a wee and go and stand by the shed for her toys.

Nene Local | Toy Cupboard

Millie always knows where the toys are…

I had to get used to ball throwers as I’d never used one until I went to the field, and she adores the big run it gives her but it took me a while to throw properly with one!

Happy hounds | nene local

We’ve had some tracking training with Matt Ager at the Clopton Field and she loved that. We know Matt does a lot of recall and walk to heel training here – and the now famous Labrador slalom …

nene local | blackberry

Millie loves to potter around the field – and pinch the blackberries

Another field

When Rachel’s Happy Hounds announced they had a second field, we were keen to have a look.  This field is much larger, it’s near to Fotheringhay and Elton.  This field has just three-foot-high fencing around it, so quite secure for Millie but it may not be as suitable more bouncy dogs.

nene local | bridge

As you can see from the video and photos, this field has long grass, bushes, training fences to jump and lots to sniff!  My daft dog stayed close by, following the mown grass paths.  When I encouraged her to venture off without me, she didn’t go far – preferring to stay close by.  I even tried throwing sticks into the undergrowth but nope she likes to stay neatly on the footpath.


nene local | elton field

Millie exploring but not too far from me

nene local | elton field

Getting braver

As part of the larger field there is a fenced off short grassed, training area – Millie liked this immensely, I did wonder if she just enjoyed a more closed in area and felt secure knowing where the edges were?  Know knows what goes on in that doggy brain of hers!

 nene local | elton field

Although its fenced off, this field edges onto the river and would make a lovely venue for an afternoon picnic in the summer. 

More details

Both fields can be hired for £10 per hour.

Dog Training is £30 an hour

More information can be found at Rachel’s Happy Hounds Facebook page