nene local | helen dawson


Category: Walk Thrapston

East Northamptonshire Council Helps with Woodford Path Work

Work to improve access to a popular footpath in Northamptonshire is now complete.

woodford path

An all-weather, fully accessible route to the East Northamptonshire Greenway (the Greenway) from Woodford is now ready to be enjoyed by all.


The Greenway makes attractive and safer walking and cycling routes available in the heart of the Nene Valley, currently from Rushden to Woodford Lock.


In 2016 East Northamptonshire Council (ENC) awarded Woodford Parish Council (WPC) £21,000 from their Communities Facilities Fund (CFF) to improve the link to the Greenway from the village. The Parish Council also received funding from Woodford Temperance Charities.


The existing footways did not allow or encourage use by families with pushchairs or disabled users, especially in the winter months.


The improvements, including new kissing gates and stone path, have been made from Church Street to Woodford Mill, giving easy access for all to access Ringstead, Stanwick Lakes and beyond.


Councillors and officers from ENC joined supporters of the project including Peter Bird, Chair of WPC, landowners Stan and Maureen Chalker, and David Stevens who worked closely with the Parish Council as one of the Rights of Way helpers on the Community Plan group, to officially open the new access.


ENC Chairman, Councillor Colin Wright, who officially opened the upgraded footpath said: “I was delighted to be asked to open the Greenway footpath. This project shows how communities working together can bring rewards and I would like to congratulate all those who worked hard to obtain the funding and those who assisted in bringing it to fruition. A great example of community spirit and togetherness.”


Leader of ENC, Councillor Steven North, added: “We set up this fund five years ago using money we receive from central government as new homes are created in the district. It’s ploughed straight back into local communities that want to improve where they live, work and play and projects such as this benefit so many people.”


See to find out more about the East Northamptonshire Greenway.


For more information about the CFF, please visit


My Walk Around Thrapston Lakes

Here in Thrapston we are lucky enough to live by some wonderful scenery.  Thrapston Lake as it is now called was once a huge gravel pit, many people still refer to it as ‘the Pits’ and birdwatchers on Twitter use Thrapston GP to save characters in their tweet.  If you have not yet been to the lakes, follow this little guide and have a great walk!  The walk is not pushchair or disabled friendly.


I love where I live and hope to make a small series of walks around the area for you to share.  I shall keep an eye and share areas where you are allowed to exercise your dog and also look for some disabled friendly paths too.


Of course, we recommend a hat and a bottle of water if it’s hot and sunny.  Dogs should be kept on a lead, as per the land owner’s signs, and any poop should be cleared away.  We live by the adage “Leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but photographs”

There is a huge amount of wildlife to be seen, some very common and other plants and animals quite rare, for those you will need to be fairly quiet and not have a mad spaniel with you as I did.

My walk was about 3-4 miles long I really should have measured, so I will on the next one! I began on Oundle Road at the top ad walked down Springfield Avenue.  Turning second right into Washington Court, then right at the bottom and along to the bottom corner of Roman Way.  You will find the start of a footpath leading downhill, towards the trees.


Keep walking down this path, with the horses on your left and often sheep in the field to your right.  You will go through a gap in the trees and find a lovely wooded area which goes all around the lake.


We turned right to go around the lake in a clockwise direction.  Our first sighting was a Green Woodpecker, who was far too quick for our camera, as was the Muntjack Deer we saw later on!

Walking along this part of the path, you are nearer to the field than the lake, but the path will gradually turn in towards the lake so most of the way you are lakeside, and experiencing some fantastic views.

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Germander Speedwell and Cuckoo Pint were two of our flowery finds, as well as Red Campion and also new shoots on all the nettles which made me start thinking about some nettle soup… It’s yummy and I promise it does not sting!



There are various little ‘inlets’ of grass in toward the water’s edge that the fishermen use. My dog does like to check out each and every one of them…so I get to see all of the lake.


Part way around the lake, near where you can turn right, walk through the farmers field and up to the A605, there is a fallen tree you need to walk under, I found that Mrs Queen Bee was making her home there, and although I am really nervous of bees and wasps was able to walk underneath all the buzzing to get past.  Very brave of me!!


Carrying on around the lake you will get to a fork in the path, if you go to the left you will end up on a spur that sticks out into the lake, then goes no further, so in order to carry on around the lake take the right hand path.  When it’s been raining and the lake is full you will come across a stream with a tiny bridge over it, at the moment this is very dry though.IMG_1345

As you carry on, you will see the River Nene on your right, keep the lake on your left and you’ll spot many birds on either river or lake and flying between the two.  We spotted Swans, Canada Geese, a Bullfinch, Chaffinch and heard many sparrows.IMG_1349

About half way around the walk you get to ‘Bob’s Bench’ which is a lovely place for a rest.



Keep walking, and either follow the lake edge or the tarmacked road at this point, both will lead to the 48 hour moorings on the River Nene.


Here is the Islip Pipe Bridge, soon to be consigned to the history books.  We are getting a new bridge, hopefully pushchair and wheelchair friendly, and boat friendly too! It’s been the bane of many boater as when level is high they just can’t get under!  A few narrowboaters have lost or damaged their chimney! We were stuck in our cruiser for nearly a week unable to progress on our holiday a few years ago, so a new bridge will be lovely.



Islip lock is just along from here.


I often see a Heron here and sometimes a Kingfisher too

I often see a Heron here and sometimes a Kingfisher too

If you wanted to leave your car to pick up at this point, the car park is down Chancery Lane past the sports field and Skate Park.


I carried on walking, gong past the car park, and then turning in to the left opposite the Skate Park where you see this sign…


Walking all the way around until you see the gap in the trees you popped out of a couple of hours ago.


It’s a fabulous walk, the dog loves it and often paddles in the lake.  I see lots of wildlife and hope to take more animal photos if I can sneak up on a few subjects, I need to come out without the dog though I think!


Let us know what your favourite Thrapston walk is…



May Day – Have a Wonderful Beltane!

Happy May Day!  This festival is also known as Beltane, the Celtic May Day. It officially begins at moonrise on May Day Eve, and marks the beginning of the third quarter or second half of the ancient Celtic year. It is celebrated as an early pastoral festival accompanying the first turning of the herds out to wild pasture. The rituals were held to promote fertility. The cattle were driven between the Belfires to protect them from ills. Contact with the fire was interpreted as symbolic contact with the sun.


In early Celtic times, the druids kindled the Beltane fires with specific incantations. Later the Christian church took over the Beltane observances, a service was held in the church, followed by a procession to the fields or hills, where the priest kindled the fire. The Rowan branch is hung over the house fire on May Day to preserve the fire itself from bewitchment (the house fire being symbolic of the luck of the house).


The image depicts Hawthorn Blossom – also known as ‘May’.  It’s long thought that bringing May into the house brings bad luck, but good fortune on May 1st….  Just remember to take it out before May 2nd!

‘I can remember as a child being forbidden to take hawthorn blooms (or May as we called it) into the house as it would bring bad luck.’


May Day

May Day has long been marked with feasts and rituals. May poles, supremely phallic symbols, were the focal point of old English village rituals. Many people arose at dawn to gather flowers and green branches from the fields and gardens, using them to decorate the village Maypoles.

The May Queen (and often King) is chosen from among the young people, and they go singing from door to door throughout the town carrying flowers or the May tree, soliciting donations for merrymaking in return for the “blessing of May”. This is symbolic of bestowing and sharing of the new creative power that is stirring in the world. As the kids go from door to door, the May Bride often sings to the effect that those who give will get of nature’s bounty through the year.

In parts of France, some jilted youth will lie in a field on May Day and pretend to sleep. If any village girl is willing to marry him, she goes and wakes him with a kiss; the pair then goes to the village inn together and lead the dance which announces their engagement. The boy is called “the betrothed of May.”


More information is at The White Goddess 

The River Nene… viewed from Barnwell/Polebrook area