This walk visits Rushden Lakes in the Nene Valley area of Northamptonshire. The area includes a series of pretty lakes, wetland nature reserves, nature trails and nice footpaths along the River Nene. It's an excellent area for birdwatchers with the Nene Valley now one of the most important wetlands in England gaining international recognition for its significance as a stop-over for thousands of wildfowl and waders that visit during the winter.
Start the walk at the entrance point at the eastern end of the lakes between Irthlingborough and Higham Ferrers. You can then follow the trails south west along the river to the lakes. The first section takes you through the Irthlingborough Lakes and Meadows Nature Reserve where you can look out for Golden Plover and Gadwall.
At the western end you'll pass the Wildlife Discovery Centre where you can find out all about the variety of wildlife which visits the area. You'll also pass Higham Ferrers Riverside Park and Ditchford Lakes Nature Reserve where there's a water skiing lake. This reserve also has lakes in old gravel pits which are used by otters and wintering and breeding birds such as Cetti's warblers, coots, oystercatchers and grey herons. There are also areas of grassland and willow scrub to explore.
To continue your walking in the area simply head east and visit the adjacent Stanwick Lakes where there's more nice waterside trails. Part of this walk uses a section of the Nene Way. The waymarked long distance trail runs through the Nene Valley for over 100 miles. You could follow the trail west and visit Irchester Country Park near Wellinborough.
Rushden Lakes Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Rushden Lakes Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Rushden Lakes OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Rushden Lakes Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
There's lots of good options for refreshments on the walk. Bill's Rushden Lakes has a splendid outdoor seating area overlooking the water. They have a great menu and the views are superb.
The lakes are dog friendly but please keep them on leads at all times. You may see dog bowls dotted around the complex as well.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
Head a few miles to the south west and you can visit the lovely Summer Leys Nature Reserve and the village of Great Doddington. There's some pretty lakes and lots of birds to see in this wildlife rich reserve.