nene local | helen dawson


Category: Walks & Wildlife

Covid Constitutional – A Walk for Photographers from the A605 Lay-by

When I posted the cover photo on the Welcome to Thrapston Facebook page of this stream and bridge it caused quite a stir, people asking where it was.  Read on to see how you can walk to this little stream to take a look.

Photo courtesy of Kris Newman

Photo courtesy of Kris Newman, taken earlier in the year in flood.

the little stream thrapston lakes

April sunshine

The length of the walk is just under two miles, a bit muddy today but fairly flat ground and OK for small children.  Take your camera along, as this is a stunning little walk to grab some great nature and wildlife photos.

Most of my walks have been circular, but this one is a ‘there and back again’ walk, starting at the lay-by on the A605 just as you leave Thrapston going toward Oundle.

todays map

There is a dog poop bin on the edge of the lay-by, denoting where the gate is, walk through the gateway and go down-hill, towards the sailing lake which you can clearly see through the trees at this time of year.todays map

This is pretty much a straight path through the farmers field, it is a public right of way but please respect any crops or livestock by keeping to the path and not leaving any litter or dog poop.the farmers field thrapston the farmers field thrapston

Through the next gateway and carry straight down into the wooded path.

the farmers field thrapston

After a while, you will see one footpath carry straight on, into what appears to be quite heavily shrubbed and wooded area, we will come back to this, you need to veer off to the right (keeping the lake on your left) to see the stream with mini bridge over it, very picturesque and good for a paddle.

Once you have enjoyed the stream turn back on yourself, walking now with the lake on your right-hand side, and once you come to the path I told you to ignore, turn right along that path.   This path does not go anywhere – but there are ample photography spots along its length.  It is a spur of land that juts out into the lake, fabulous for birdwatching.

Walk to the end and then return.  You will walk back the way you came, across the famers field to the A605.  This is a really simple walk, for fresh air and some breath-taking views, don’t forget your camera!

Come on Mum! Hurry up.

Come on Mum! Hurry up.

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!

thrapston lakes

All our walks can be found here

Please always follow the current government guidelines for Corona Virus

A Covid Constitutional – A Walk from the Woolpack Inn

The second walk in our series of Thrapston walks to try during your daily exercise time.

The terrain of this walk is ‘challenging’ with some small hill scrambles/climbs.  It is NOT suitable for pushchairs and small children.nene local | second walk

The walk is 1.35 miles long.

My walk today begins at The Woolpack Inn, just over the bridge in Islip.

The Woolpack Inn

The Woolpack Inn


Cross over the road and past a five-bar gate taking you to the River Nene, where you can sit by the EA moorings in summer weather.  If you carry on walking in the same direction as when you crossed the road, you will see an archway in the hedgerow to walk through.

Looking back towards Nine Arches Bridge

Looking back towards Nine Arches Bridge


You will appear at the top of a bund, put there to protect local houses from flooding. In 2012 the water from the rains saw the River Nene burst its banks, filling these fishing lakes with excess water, and see the water reach the very top of the bunds.

Continuing on, with the fishing lakes on your left.  Follow the shorter grass ‘path’.  Ahead of you, you will see many cut trees and also some newly planted ones.  We’re not sure on what’s going on, whether the trees are being cut for wood or are diseased and need to come down. Great to see lots being planted though.

The large black/grey bridge ahead is the old railway bridge.  Another walk on another day will take you under the bridge and further round, but for today, don’t go through the bridge… the railway bridge

Look upwards and you will see a way to scramble up the side of the old railway and onto where the railway line would be – we are going to go over the black bridge.  The scramble up the bank is short but quite steep, you need to be sure on your feet and wear trainers or similar.

After you’ve scrambled to the top, turn left along the old railway track.

Along the old railway track

Along the old railway track

You are now walking quite high up and if you can see over the walls of the bridge, the views are lovely.  Look over the right-hand side and see the A14 snaking its way across the river and flood plains.

flood plains and A14

Continue to walk along this path – but what goes up must come down…. Another scramble back down and onto Midland Road.  You are now opposite The Sidings Estate entrance.

The Sidings

The Sidings

Turn left and walk down Midland Road until you get to the roundabout with The Plaza Centre on it, take the first exit, walking past The Bridge Hotel, over Nine Arches Bridge and back to the Woolpack.

A fairly short walk but with some exciting scrambling for older kids.

nene local walks

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!

Our first walk can be found here – A Covid Constitutional – An April Walk to the Sailing Club

A Covid Constitutional – An April Walk to the Sailing Club

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 my walk

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.the bridge hotel thrapston

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.

the bridge hotel thrapston

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.scotts of thrapston

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.nine arches way

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

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

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.river nene | nene local Magazine

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. river nene | nene local Magazine


Obviously, the sailing club is currently closed but once lockdown is lifted then do check out their website and open days.

river nene | nene local Magazine

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.chancery lane





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…




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