Walk 19: Sywell Country Park Circular

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 2.5 miles (4 km) perimeter walk of the reservoir

Time to walk: This is another walk that can take you 1 hour or 3 hours dependent on the season. If you’re a bit of a ‘twitcher’ then there’s always something going on here as birds pass through on the way to other countries

Difficulty: A flat easy to follow track, but a bit uneven at times. Some parts on are on grass, but it’s never too muddy.

Parking: Pay & Display in the car park

Public toilets: In the lower car park

Map of the route:map3

So what can we tell you about this real Northamptonshire gem? Well it will normally takes about an hour to walk round but, as with all seasonal walks around water, there’s always something different to see as the wildlife moves in & out

Here’s the link to Sywell Country Park. It really is a gem in this beautiful county & well worth walking at different times of the year. We did this walk mid November 2013 when the trees were still showing off their stunning shades

The reservoir was created in 1903, but became redundant in the 1970s until it was taken over by Northamptonshire County Council & converted into a new Country Park with a butterfly garden, amphibian pond, play areas, an arboretum & a nature reserve

There’s also plenty of benches & tables to have your picnic on

So apologies, but as the path’s so easy to follow, most of the the pictures are to do with the scenes or birds that were there at the time walked it….

Ready then…

Let’s Walk!

1. Park up in the lower car park if you can & don’t forget to buy a ticket

There’s an information centre that’s worth a quick look at, a chalk board on the wall telling you about what you could see…

2. Head left out of the car park past the play area on the right & up the filterbed area…

At the top turn left across the bridge & follow the path round the loop to the top…

3. Keep following the path. Depending on when you walk the trees will always look different & today they were displaying their autumn splendour

4. At the top of the slope you get your first view of the reservoir – today was such a beautiful early winter’s day.

There’s an amusing sign on the gate here as a reminder what to do if you have a dog with you…

5. Turn left & walk along the stretch of the path known as Arnott Hill Meadow. The best thing about this area is that the grass goes right down to the water’s edge & is a great area for picnicking in warmer weather

There’s also plenty of tables & benches, many of which are named after people who obviously treasured the peace, tranquility & views

6. Right in the middle of the reservoir is a platform…today there were a couple of cormorants sunning themselves

The reservoir also has a large population of swan families…

Fab bulrush beds

Fab bulrush beds

Look at the colours of the trees on the other side

Look at the colours of the trees on the other side

7. The path turns slightly away from the reservoir at this point. Follow it towards Hayes Wood, which is the nature reserve also known as Thorn Bay Wildlife Refuge

Through the gate into the nature reserve. Dogs on leads now please

Through the gate into the nature reserve. Dogs on leads now please

8. Our recommendation is try to walk through this area when there’s not many people about & also quietly walk a few steps, stop, look & listen. You could see a variety of wildlife

9. If you fancy a bit of volunteering work, Sywell will welcome you with open arms. There’s been a lot thinning done recently. Have a peek through the bird hide on the right

10. There’s some more early winter sights along here….

11. At the end of the reserve turn right & head through the trees

…& at the gate turn right…

12. This is an area known as Hayes Meadow. The reservoir is now on our right…

13. Keep following the track & you come to an area known as ‘The Holmes’ where there is a group of beeches that, when we walked, were displaying their best colours

Suddenly out to the right about 150 geese were suddenly coming in…

14. Pass through the beeches….just look at the colours…

15. The reservoir now bends left into a bay initially called Spindle End Meadow & this is where many of the water birds gather

A Grebe

A Grebe

A Wigeon

A Wigeon

16. At the end of the reservoir turn right & cross Spindle End

….& then right again

17. The next area we come to is known as ‘Silver Meadow” where we encountered several dog walkers

18. Slightly further along pass into ‘Long Meadow’, which leads to a gate where you turn right across the dam

19. The walk across the dam is quite spectacular as you get to look straight down the reservoir

Along the dam wall there’s also loads of birds that are looking for a feed…

Hey...don't leave me out....

Hey…don’t leave me out….

…and look who’s sitting on top of the tower…

20. Further along the dam wall there’s some more chances to see some wildlife

21. So at the end of the dam, turn left & walk back down the hill back to the car park.

So….our thoughts on Sywell Country Park. We’ve done this walk in all seasons & it’s easy to follow & much more compact than its Pitsford Reservoir neighbour

We love & can highly recommend it so…

Go Walk!

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