What it's like
Northamptonshire – once the very best place in the UK to make shoes. Now one of the best in which to use them.
Pull on your boots, and set out to explore a fascinating landscape. Nothing is very steep, nowhere is particularly high. But there is an incredible number of interesting things to see along the way.
There are long distance paths a plenty - the Jurassic, Macmillan, Midshires and Nene Ways pass through. There are short strolls to historic buildings - big houses, small houses, unfinished houses and even a triangular house.
Historical figures with stories to tell have long been at home in Northamptonshire, and there is good walking around and between the numerous locations with historic significance. One village, Fotheringhay was both the birthplace of Richard III and place of execution for Mary Queen of Scots.
Or you could join the Tresham Trail; discovering four buildings commissioned by Sir Thomas Tresham, father of a Gunpowder Plotter. Sir Thomas expressed his suppressed Catholic faith through his architecture, notably at the unfinished cross-shaped house at Lyveden and the Holy Trinity homage Triangular Lodge near Rushton.
We’ve got woods galore across what were once the Royal hunting grounds of Rockingham. The castle at Rockingham is just one of the many grand homes to visit. There are dozens more including the Spencer family home, Althorp. There’s industrial heritage too to discover: try the Harringworth railway viaduct with its 82 arches; or scamper about the wildlife riches of the former Collyweston quarries. Rock and stroll!
- Go with the flow on the Nene Way A 110 mile meander following the River Nene, from a source at Badby in the south of the county to Wansford in the north and beyond. www.ramblers.org.uk/INFO/paths/nene.html
- Irchester Country Park Explore geology in this truly Jurassic park while strolling in and out of the woods. www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/Leisure/Countryside/irchester.htm
- Look! Lyveden Walk from Fermyn Woods Country Park to the National Trust treasure of Lyveden New Bield www.gnn.gov.uk/imagelibrary/detail.asp?MediaDetailsID=127354
Must see and do
- Take the tree-top walk The 300 metre long tree-top walk at Salcey Forest is some 20 metres high amid the trees. www.forestry.gov.uk/salceyforest
- Let’s go spy a kite Look up while walking in Rockingham Forest and you will see one of the now thriving population of graceful Red Kites, a stunning bird of prey. www.english-nature.org.uk/redkite
- Have a tunnel vision Hire a narrowboat for the day and point it into the 203-year-old Blisworth Tunnel on the Grand Union Canal; it’s almost two miles long but luckily wide enough for two boats to pass. www.blisworthtunnel.co.uk/m2_1.htm
Destination County : Northamptonshire