Walk 114: Rushden Lakes Circular (2): Beautiful frosty mornings…

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 4.2 miles (6.8km)

Time to walk: We stopped to take lots of photos on this walk, so it took us a couple of hours

Difficulty: Flat & no stiles. The first part of the walk is on hard paths, but the return journey along the river could be quite muddy in places after rain

Parking: Five hours free parking at Rushden Lakes Shopping Centre

Public toilets: Rushden Lakes Shopping Centre at the start & end of the walk

Map of the route:

Have a look at our ‘Rushden Walk 1’ for details about Rushden Lakes Shopping Centre where this walk also starts. We don’t propose to going into those details again, apart from saying that this walk begins in exactly the same place on ‘The Boardwalk’ outside the building of the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Northamptonshire

It’s minus 5 degrees in on 1st February 2019, but we’re well wrapped up & ready to go, so…

Let’s Walk!

1. It’s 8.30am & we’ve dropped the car off for a service nearby & have wandered into Rushden Lakes onto ‘The Boardwalk’ – doesn’t it look gorgeous…

Behind us is the local office of the Wildlife Trust…

2. Our previous walk took us around Skew Bridge Lake, but today we’re walking back towards the entrance of the shopping centre past the House of Fraser

3. At the end of the above shops, turn left & walk around the back of the cycle shop along the ‘Greenway’. The Greenway helps connect East Northamptonshire’s communities to a central route that runs from Wellingborough Railway Station in the south, to Peterborough railway station in the north & vice-versa

It links open spaces together with opportunities for informal recreation & alternative means of transport to services & facilities. The project also provides safe routes for young people who walk & cycle to school. Only parts of it have been completed so far

4. Around the back of the cycle shop begins a formal path…

…& at the end there’s a somewhat chilly post telling us which way to head through the gate. You can already see that this was an an amazing winter’s morning!

Just look at the frost on top of the sign!

5. Walk through the gate onto the well-made path…

We love things that are a bit different, so on the left’s a very different kind of bird hide…it’s just a wooden board with some viewing holes in it for people of different sizes. Isn’t it fab!

The view today through our slot was amazing as the lake was frozen…

…as was the teasel!

6. Continue to the bridge across the River Nene. We recognised this stretch from our walk along the Nene Way

It doesn’t matter what season you walk in, it’s worth spending some time looking at each side of the bridge as the Nene looks quite beautiful…

7. Across the bridge carry straight on – we’ll pick up the other path on the way, back along the river

8. Walk across another small bridge, & a sign tells us that we’re now entering Irthlingborough Lakes & Meadows Nature Reserve

Irthlingborough Lakes & Meadows lies at the heart of the Nene Valley, & is the Wildlife Trust’s newest reserve in Northamptonshire. The next stretch of this walk’s more “woodland” although you eventually realise you’re actually walking between a series of lakes

9. The views to the left are towards Irthlingborough

There’s always plenty of wildlife here, but today some of them were wondering where their swimming pool had gone!

10. What we’re walking along is an old railway track that will take you straight into Stanwick Lakes. Many people think it’s the Nene Way, but it’s not as that wanders off into Higham Ferrers & then crosses the Nene back into Irthlingborough

There were quite a few very friendly dog walkers enjoying this stretch on such a beautiful winter’s morning…

We were being “chased” by a Robin at this point so swiftly changed lenses & he obliged with a perfect, fluffed-up pose!

11. Eventually we come to another sign post & need to turn right…

The next part of this walk will take us alongside the Nene, so walk down the hill & turn right through the gate…

12. After 15 yards you realise you’re beside the Nene once more, & this is a slow, meandering, navigable stretch…

The path’s now really easy to follow as it’s going to take us back to the bridge we crossed earlier, but a word of warning. It was frozen when we walked it in January 2019, but you could see it could be extremely muddy, so maybe wellies are required in wet times!

13. Sometimes it’s the little things in our countryside that matter &, the photo below shows a thawed area, but the reeds were still frozen – sometimes you just have to be there to appreciate it

14. Continue to follow the path beneath the footbridge…

We have to say this is a beautiful walking stretch at any time of the year…

15. Eventually we arrive back at the bridge we took the photos from earlier when there was a lot more frost on the ground

16. Walk through the gate, cross the bridge, turn left & follow the path back to the Shopping Centre & the start of this walk. Keep yours eyes open though as you never know what you’ll see. Today we saw roosting Cormorants

So…that’s our second walk at Rushden Lakes. It’s a great place to walk from & we really look forward to visiting it in the summer & sitting with a beer on The Boardwalk

Today, though also proves that you can walk from here & have a great experience at any time of the year. It’s great so…

Go Walk!