Walk 185: Stanwick Lakes: Hidden Gems Sculpture Trail

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 1 mile (1.63km)

Time to walk: Roughly 30 minutes

Difficulty: Flat & all on hard surfaces. This is good for all ages & also disability / accessibility friendly

Parking: Plenty of public parking. Charges appear to vary, but when we visited in March 2022, it was £3.80 flat charge

Public toilets: Near the car park

Map of the route:

Stanwick Lakes is located on the outskirts of the village of Stanwick & was opened in 2006. It comprises 750 acres of former gravel pits & is part of the larger River Nene Regional Park

Prior to the construction of a bypass & mass excavation of gravel, a Roman villa was excavated in 1984–1992 & several mosaics were found, one of which was returned in 2013 after study & is now on display in the Visitor Centre

A medieval village was excavated in 1985-1989 near to the village of Ringstead. The earthworks & buried archaeological remains of the medieval village of West Cotton, including a mid-late Anglo-Saxon & medieval settlement abandoned before 1450. The settlement overlies the north end of an extensive prehistoric ceremonial complex

Stanwick Lakes is really a place to just wander & explore yourself. However there are several trails & the first of these we’re looking at is the short, family friendly, Sculpture Trail, based around Solstice Lake

Shall we go & explore…

Let’s Walk!

1. This short walk starts outside the Visitor Centre…

Walk to the right side & follow the path around the corner

2. I’ve already mentioned that this area’s renowned for the different archaeological finds & there’s quickly a stone indicating one of these on the right 

The different imprints on each of the stones are examples are what was found at each site . The grassy mound behind the stone is a round barrow burial mound.

The centre leaflet tells you that this was one of several barrows that were found on the site. Some were excavated & a skeleton of a man with his possessions were uncovered, giving an idea of living conditions in those days. Ox & cattle skeletons were also found

3. Continue along the path with the lake on your left. Ahead near the lifebelt looms the next structure…

This is a large wooden totem pole into which are carved all the elements

4. Even on this short walk there’s so many benches to rest & take in the views, something that we found all over the site…

Look across to the right to see the large sculpture resembling a railway track. This is because the old railway line runs straight through the site

The former Northampton & Peterborough railway opened in 1845, running through the middle of what’s now Stanwick Lakes

5. The next bench has a great view back up the lake towards the Visitor Centre…

Note the rather excellent owl statue, which is one of a number of giant sculptures you’ll come across on this short walk. A sign tells you they were originally painted by local children & represent a sample of the wildlife you might see here

6. A few yards further on is the ‘Wet Woodland’, another area where the raised boardwalk is excellent for accessibility

This area’s very much like being in a mango swamp. Look out for all the different sculptures

7. Come out of the ‘Wet Woodland’ & continue of the path around the narrow end of the lake…

8. We’ve now started the journey back towards the Visitor Centre, passing another one of the sculptures…

Next up’s the Outdoor Theatre…

Have a walk inside & have a look at the stage, the tiered seated area & the backdrop of the lake

9. As you make your way round towards the Visitor Centre again, there’s more benches. This one’s really good as there’s a platform on the lake where you can normally see the cormorants stretching their wings…

Just past it’s another of the animal sculptures

At the end of the path turn left & retrace you steps to the Visitor Centre where this walk started.

So that’s our look at this short trail. Well managed, suitable for all ages & with excellent disability / accessibility, this is a lovely little stroll with plenty for children to explore & see

Go Walk!