Walk 71: Great Doddington Circular: Pubs & birds

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 3 miles (4.83km)

Time to walk: Roughly a couple of hours as you’ll want to visit the bird hides in Summer Leys & it’s quite hilly towards the end

Difficulty: On road at the start in Great Doddington, but then all across fields & gravel paths

Parking: We parked on road near The Stags Head in Great Doddington

Public toilets: The Stags Head Great Doddington

Map of the route: @ Pub Strolls in Northamptonshire

map

Now…we love Summer Leys Nature Reserve so have been thinking how can we extend a walk around it with a pint & Sunday Lunch & have come up with the perfect solution courtesy of ‘Pub Strolls in Northamptonshire’

Bring your cameras & binoculars as there’s lots to see so…

Let’s Walk!

1. We’ve parked outside one of our favourite pubs – The Stags Head in Great Doddington…

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Great Doddington sits high on a limescale ridge with fine views over the valley below. The name ‘Dodda’s Tun’ probably refers to an Anglo-Saxon leader ‘Dodda’ establishing a stronghold in the strategic position overlooking the Nene Valley

2. Facing the pub turn right & follow the main road through the village. It’s clear the residents really do take pride in their village…

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Ignore the footpath sign on the left…

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3. Continue along the road until it splits at the village sign…

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There’s also a great place to have a sit down, but it’s a bit early!

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4. Turn off the main road now down Lower Street…

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There’s some great views over the Nene Valley towards Wollaston along here & you can see Summer Leys where we’re heading…

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5. If you’re not feeling too good there’s help on the right…

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Soon the lane becomes narrow & one-way so be careful…

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6. Eventually Lower Street meets the main road again & we’re looking for a footpath sign into a field on the left…

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Hello!

Hello!

7. We struggled to get the gate open to exit the paddock so had to resort to climbing the fence into the meadow. Now there are magnificent views…

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Follow the fence on the left down to the corner…

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There’s some very inquisitive neighbours…

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8. Exit the meadow through the gate below & head diagonally left down the hill…

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There’s some very inquisitive neighbours…

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Not going to argue with you

Not going to argue with you

9. The route’s signposted left through the next gate…

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There were lots of other walkers along here, mainly teachers & pupils from Wellingborough School & they all said “hi”…

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10. We’re virtually at the bottom of the hill now so pass through the gate on the left & across the bridge over the Nene…

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The Nene’s always pretty & this stretch doesn’t fail to impress…

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11. On the other side of the river there’s 2 fields to head straight across before reaching the old railway track…

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It was a hot day today

It was a hot day today

12. The bridge on to the railway line’s straight ahead…

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Cross it &…welcome to the beautiful Summer Leys Nature Reserve

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13. We won’t go into depth about Summer Leys on this walk as we already done that on Walk 22 below – click on the link below

https://northamptonshirewalks.wordpress.com/about/walk-22-summer-leys-what-a-beautiful-little-nature-reserve/

Summer Leys is one of 126 reserves looked after by the excellent Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Northamptonshire The Trust works with local communities & business supporters to protect local wildlife across the three counties. Click on this link to access their website at www.wildlifebcn.org

To go straight to their Summer Leys page click on this link http://www.wildlifebcn.org/reserves/summer-leys

So let’s have a look…all we need to do is follow the circular path to the right…

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Keep alert as there’s wildlife everywhere here…

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14. Keep going & the path crosses one of the car parks…

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…& now enters one of our favourite areas of the Reserve where all the hides are…

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15. Here’s the first one so head up the steps & have a look…

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This is a ‘twitchers’ paradise – lift up the window & enjoy…

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16. There’s something ‘interesting’ in the above photo so let’s pop on the wildlife lens & have a look…

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A fabulous Great White Egret. The Great Egret is also known as the Common Egret, Large Egret or the Great White Heron

17. Carry on round the reserve – there’s a couple more hides to visit en route. The views across towards Great Doddington on the ridge are pretty spectacular…

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You can make out the Cormorants from the next hide…

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18. The final hide is purpose built for close-up bird spotting with food being left out on tables. It’s well worth spending a few moments sitting quietly here to see what turns up…

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19. It’s time to leave Summer Leys & head back to Great Doddington, so continue along the path & through the gate into the meadow…

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It was along here we spotted some Arctic Terns looking for food & diving to get it. We were lucky to grab this fab snap…

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20. Walk through the meadow & there’s great views across the lakes to the left…

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…& exit the meadow through the gate onto the disused railway line again…

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21. Turn right & follow the path to the lane…

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…where we need to turn left cross the river…

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22. Head for the old mill…

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Snapped a nice butterfly here…

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23. Even though the sign says ‘Private’ ignore it & walk past the building…

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…& the exit’s though the gate into the meadow

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24. Ready for a climb? Then the route back to Great Doddington is towards the top left of the field so ‘rope on’

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Sorry to disturb you ladies

Sorry to disturb you ladies

25. Don’t forget to look back across the valley where there’s some fantastic views…

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26. Pass through the gate & into the next field & the path’s straight ahead…

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27. One more field & we’ll be back in Great Doddington, but our whole attention’s now focused on the amazing house on the left which from the road just looked like a one storey property…

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28. Follow the path up the hill & we’re back in Great Doddington

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Are they waiting for us? No it's just a speed trap

Are they waiting for us? No it’s just a speed trap

So…there we go. What a little cracker & it’s achieved what we wanted it to which was a walk round Summer Leys with a bit of lunch & a stroll to walk it off. Perfect!

Go Walk!

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