Sunday, 30 August 2020

The River Nene - My River Walks

I've always loved the water but favoured the sea to anything else.  The sound of the waves has always made me happy.  Now Northampton is just about as far away from the sea as you can possibly get so during lockdown I turned my attention to the River.  The River Nene has miles and miles of paths to navigate.  I have only scratched the surface and covered 12-15 miles but will explore further over time.  Below are the walks we have done.  I'm by no means a walking expert & apart from once forget to track the miles! For professional walks I would recommend Northamptonshire Walks 

During lockdown I think many others started to enjoy the river more.  We saw kayakers, wild swimmers and paddle boarders.  I have tried paddle boarding & most say I'm hooked.

The Embankment (Wellingborough) to The Arches

We parked up at the Embankment and walked left past the splash park & all the swans.  Carry on until you reach the train arches.  You can walk further but with a moaning child that was enough. Apparently if you carry on going you end up behind Rushden Lakes.

Bedford Road to Midsummer Meadow

Start at Northampton Active and follow the path to Midsummer Meadow. There are cafe's & play areas here too. The Outpost & Ark.

Riverside to Bedford Road

From Riverside if you go right you see Northampton Washlands.  You can happily walk round here or keep going and you will reach the Bedford Road and Brackmills.

Riverside to Billing Mill

Behind Boost at Riverside is a small marina.  There is a metal gate and if you stick to the left you will reach the Billing Mill via Billing Aquadrome.

Cogenhoe to Whiston Lock

We could not find the footpath from Billing Mill so walked the long way round and started at Cogenhoe Mill Caravan Site via a field.

Whitemills Marina to Whiston Lock

This was our 1st River Walk and was perfect weather & just lovely. We actually walked from Station Road in Earls Barton but you can park in Whitemills Marina and then stroll along the river. There is a lovely cafĂ© here too (The Boathouse).

Station Road Car Park (around the bend from Whitemills Marina to The Old WaterMill (Hardwater Road)

The beginning of the walk is next to an aggregates quarry but once you are on the other side it opens up with wide footpaths & lovely views.

Stoke Bruerne

Technically not the River Nene as it is the Grand Union Canal (Northampton Arm) but is does join on. If you like locks this is the walk for you. We only covered a small section and I think we saw 7. 


Didn't walk but paddle boarded from Willy Watt Marina to the lock & back again.

Have you enjoyed some river walks in Northamptonshire? Where would you recommend?

Emma x

**Remember to sign the Northampton Lido petition if you are interested in the idea of getting an outdoor pool**


Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Northampton's Missing Lido

**Updated the petition is LIVE.  Please sign & Share**


If you follow me on Facebook you will have seen I'm currently a little obsessed with water.  I have been enjoying many River Nene walks with the kids, which are lovely, but the kids want to swim! Every summer I get frustrated by the lack of swimming/splash park venues in Northampton (Northamptonshire). For such a large shire (we have a population of 750,000) and being so far from the sea we have very little in the way of outdoor swimming establishments. I love the idea of resurrecting a lido and putting Northampton back on the outdoor swimming map!

I have googled like a demon and we have nothing! We have the lovely Wellingborough Embankment Splash park and that is it.  There are obviously some private outdoor pools such as Overstone but nothing available to the public.

I honestly believe a Northampton Lido would be a huge benefit to the town.  With careful placement could also entice people to other places and create jobs.  There are 130 lidos in Great Britain which are surviving and some are absolutely thriving. I know it would need a huge cash investment but it could then be a real gem for the town.  Community events could be held, swimming lessons for kids and health benefits for all. Am I selling it to you? Would you be a local customer? 

Northampton Lido should we have one?

In my hours of research I found that Midsummer Meadow had a Lido from 1908 to 1983 when it was emptied and demolished.  The old site is now a car park. It would be an amazing place to have a new Northampton Lido.  People could be encouraged to walk into town via the River Nene.  In my wildest thoughts what about the old bus station plot? It would be accessible to all (as obviously not everyone drives).  Wouldn't be the prettiest location but could boost town footfall and actually use the current dustbowl. Another possibility is out of Northampton itself and to Daventry which used to have a popular outdoor pool and was also turned into a car park! Maybe one of our existing venues such as Wicksteed Park or Billing Aquadrome would like to invest and open an outdoor pool.  Billing Aquadrome used to have one and Wicksteed used to have a paddle pool both have sadly been demolished.

A heated pool would secure the most revenue as would be used even on colder days but obviously has a higher running cost.  Most are open from March to October but many, especially in London, operate all year.

I checked the Northamptonshire County Council website and you can petition but you need to be very clear. A full council debate would happen if you get 2.5% of the population to sign (based on 2001 census).  I couldn't find the 2001 population figure and no idea why they base it on those records but based on the current population of 750,000 it would need 18,750 signatures. Do we think we could get that many people interested in a Northampton Lido?

For now with no outdoor swimming pools available I'll leave you with a list of our nearest.  Obviously in the current climate not all are open.

Eversholt Swimming Pool, MK17 9DS. Volunteer run, heated, seasonal, parking on site and snack kiosk.  Approx 29 miles

Woburn Lido, MK17 9QG.  Independent trust, heated, seasonal, parking opposite at village hall and snack kiosk. Approx 29 miles

Woburn Lido
Credit Woburn Lido

Woodgreen Leisure Centre, OX16 0HS.  Corporate run on behalf of council, heated, seasonal, parking on site and snack kiosk. Approx 33 miles

Hitchin Swimming Centre, SG5 1HA.  Corporate run on behalf of council, heated, seasonal, parking on site and cafe. Approx 43 miles

Chipping Norton Lido, OX7 5BZ.  Volunteer run, heated, seasonal, limited on site parking but several free public car parks in town and cafe. Approx 44 miles.

Peterborough Lido, PE1 1YY.  Corporate run on behalf of the council, heated, seasonal, parking on site and cafe. Approx 43 miles.