As I was on my once-daily allowed dog walk last week, it occurred to me that Thrapston has many new residents now living in the newly built houses and that they may not know about our beautiful walks on offer in our area. More important now than ever.
I’m going to compose a series of walks around the area for you to try. This is the first. I’ll give a map, directions and points of interest along the way to look out for. Please follow all the present Covid 19 rules that are in place regarding social distancing and driving, and most of all stay safe.
The terrain of this walk is ‘easy’ and suitable for pushchairs and small children.
The walk is 1.15 miles long.
My walk today begins at The Bridge Hotel, whilst we are in lockdown the hotel is happy for you to use their carpark to leave your car if you have driven (a short distance to get to the walk start). Please walk to the start point if you can.
From The Bridge Hotel walk away from the town and towards the River Nene. As you go past the end of the hotel, if you look over the bridge on your right, you will see a very overgrown tributary to the river. Today I saw an Egret but you could spot a Kingfisher or maybe a Heron.
Can you spot the Egret too?
Carry on past Scotts of Thrapston, celebrating their centenary year. 100 years being a large employer in Thrapston. I love to gaze at the summer houses and wish I had room for one.
Continue past Nine Arches Way and just before Nine Arches Bridge you will see a footpath on your right that you need to walk down.
The bridge over the Nene is mentioned in 1224, when Bishop Hugh of Welles granted an indulgence to travellers contributing to its repair and in 1313 Bishop Dalderby granted an indulgence for the fabric of the chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr next the Bridge of Thrapston. In the later 14th and early 15th centuries, the bailiffs and men of Thrapston obtained several grants of pontage for the repair of the bridge. Leland about 1543 mentions a stone bridge with eight arches, but in a brief for its repair of 1664 it is said to have twenty-four arches. The arrival of the railways in the 1840s led to an embankment being cut into this floodplain crossing. The bridge was then reduced to its present day “nine arches”. Courtesy of www.british-history.ac.uk
As you continue round on the path you will have the River Nene on your left and Nine Arches Estate on your right. Beautiful Willow Trees line the banks of the river and you may see boaters enjoying the river (when not on lockdown, the river is currently closed to all traffic).
As the path turns to the right it goes past the weir, today there was a Heron wading around in its frothy waters trying to catch his lunch. I have often spotted a Kingfisher along the quieter stretch as you continue the path. There is a useful dog poop bin here if needed.
The heron on the weir
As you come to the end of this path you can see the Nine Arches Estate, but you will need to go left. This path will eventually open out by the sailing lake. You will have Islip Lock on the River Nene on your left and the sailing lake on your right.
This low-lying grassed area will regularly flood during the winter joining the river and the lake together. It’s meant to happen as part of flood control, to help protect dwellings when the weather is bad. It’s quite a sight though, I would recommend a winter walk to here in your wellies. In a normal summer this is an excellent picnic area where the kids can have a run around or a paddle.
The Middle Nene Sailing Club has been active since 1948 and is a well-established, popular sailing venue for dinghy and keelboat racing. Main racing days are Sunday and Thursday evenings from March to December. Saturday sailing is from June to August. Details can be found in the racing calendar on the MNSC website. http://www.middlenenesc.co.uk/
Obviously, the sailing club is currently closed but once lockdown is lifted then do check out their website and open days.
You need now to turn right towards the bridge over the tributary and towards the sailing club car entrance. Going across the bridge you will come to a carpark, which is free to use.
There is a Skatepark and BMX Park on your right, currently closed for now. Walking back towards the town centre now, with the cricket club on your right and MUGA (Multi Use Games Arena) – all currently closed off due to the virus but worth noting to come back to at some point.
Turn right down Chancery Lane, walking past some of the oldest houses in Thrapston. Turn right onto the High Street, can you spot the mosaic? It was a year in the making and planning and still looks fabulous now, have a read here of all work that went into it.
You’ll now go past Thrapston Fire Station and Police Station and the Plaza Centre, where later in the year we hope once again to be able to visit craft fayres, quizzes, dances, amateur dramatics and more.
Finding your way back to the Bridge Hotel. We hope you enjoyed the walk and have maybe seen parts of Thrapston you are unfamiliar with? Pop a note in the comments below and tell us if you enjoyed it and if you saw any wildlife along the way. Post your walk photos to Welcome to Thrapston too!
Look out for the next Nene Local walk soon…