Northamptonshire is a landlocked county that lies in the heart of England. It is a rural idyll with undulating hills, farmlands, lake loops, and quaint villages that is so beautiful that it is known as “The Rose of the Shires”.
Most of the forests and wetlands across the county are nature reserves filled with birds, butterflies, and exquisite plants. The landscape in Northamptonshire is ideal for hiking all year round. The canal trails, woodlands, and beautiful county parks are perfect for exploring and enjoying nature all year round, although you’ll obviously need to watch your footing in the rainy season.
There are also historic country houses and hill forts to be discovered, along with many other memorable sights, as you meander along the trails.
Here are 5 of the best nature walks in Northamptonshire.
1. Summer Leys Nature Reserve
Summer Leys is on the outskirts of Wellingborough. This nature reserve consists of hard-standing paths around flooded gravel pits which are a haven for wildlife. You can escape to a bird hide and watch a myriad of birds feeding or follow the Nene Way path to Irchester Country Park. Several events are hosted here through the year aimed at inspiring children to learn about and enjoy, nature and wildlife.
Harlestone Firs is close to Northampton and is perfect for grabbing a few minutes of peace and quiet. It can get busy as it is popular with walkers, runners, mountain bikers, dog walkers, and horse riders but is big enough for you to find a peaceful spot. Harlestone is open all year round but is particularly beautiful in Autumn.
3. Badby Woods
Badby Woods is the start of Nene Way and is not only filled with ancient woodlands, it also has quaint towns and villages to wander through. Badby has been forested for the last 700 years and hiking through it is a magical experience. The bluebells in Badby Woods are a sight to behold in the Spring.
4. Everdon Stubbs
Everdon Stubbs is a fantastic woodland walk, particularly in the Spring when it is covered with bluebells. The villages of Everdon, Little Everdon, and the hamlet of Snorscombe are in this area and definitely worth exploring. There are a prehistoric Saxon burial site and a host of other archaeologically interesting features for the adventurous hikers.
5. Stanwick Lakes
Stanwick Lakes has a large visitor centre and loads of outdoor activities the whole family will enjoy. There is even an adventure playground! Stanwick is excellent to visit in the winter. There are also 7 miles of wheelchair paths that make this area accessible to everyone. Stanwick is also a popular orienteering site.
Each of these sites offers a range of nature walks that are suitable for the fit and the not-so-fit and will not disappoint nature lovers. Gather the family, pack a picnic, put on your walking shoes, and head for the hills. Northamptonshire has some of the best walks in England. Enjoy your walks!