Nature reserves and parks

Get a glimpse of our fantastic wildlife and enjoy the fresh air at one of the many nature reserves and country parks. Please ensure you help to safeguard our wildlife by keeping dogs on leads and staying on official paths.

Twywell Hills and Dales

There are a number of different waymarked trails within the site. Free car parking, picnic meadow, wheelchair access to picnic area and viewpoint, permanent orienteering course and countryside walks to local villages

Wilson's Pits Nature Reserve

Wilson’s Pits are three disused gravel pits with areas of scrub, grassland and the newly created ‘scrape’ areas. The older pit has developed into a sheltered area surrounded by maturing willows and reedbeds that are very important for invertebrates.

Barnes Meadow

The three meadows along the Nene include a wide range of grassland and wetland, recently created to broaden the range of habitats. There are many species of birds such as snipe, herons, kingfishers, great crested grebes and terns.

Barnwell Country Park

Barnwell has much to offer the visitor which includes nature trails, waterside walks, bird hides, visitor centre, ice cream parlour and picnic and barbecue areas. The large woodland play area is a favourite with children of all ages while the fishing lakes attract anglers from all over the country.

Titchmarsh Nature Reserve

The 73 hectares of lakes, woodland, river bank, grass and scrub are a result of gravel extraction and an ideal venue for bird watching. A walk round the reserve will take about 2 hours. In winter there are large numbers of wildfowl including goosander, wigeon and gadwall.

Old Sulehay Nature Reserve

Old Sulehay is a picturesque mosaic of limestone quarries, grassland, woodland and wetland providing a home for many different invertebrates, such as green tiger beetle. Many of the wild flowers are rare in Northamptonshire and attract a wide range of butterflies. In May look out for the grizzled skipper butterfly in Stonepit Close.

Ditchford Lakes and Meadows Nature Reserve

Part of the upper Nene valley floodplain, this complex of gravel pits, grassland and scrub is important for breeding and wintering birds. In spring and summer the meadows have a rich collection of wet meadow plants.

Fermyn Woods Country Park

Fermyn Woods Country Park is a gateway to the ancient Rockingham Forest. The Skylark cafe and visitor centre (open 10:00am to 4:00pm) is the ideal place to have a bite to eat and enjoy a delicious cup of coffee. The play area is also a fantastic place to let the children run off some steam!

Higham Ferrers Pits

Higham Ferrers Pits is a narrow strip of grassland fringed with areas of maturing willow, reedbed and open water. At A45/A6 junction exit to Higham Ferrers. At Market Square turn into Wharf Road. Cross large footbridge over A45 to entrance.

Irchester Country Park

A former ironstone quarry that has a children's play area as well as a network of long and short trails through 83 hectares of mixed woodland. The park is home to the Quarryman's Rest Cafe, Jungle Parc UK and the Irchester Narrow Gauge Railway Museum.

Irthlingborough Lakes and Meadows

A wonderful stretch of rare grazing marsh and flooded gravel pits, now a hugely valuable wetland for birds and other wildlife. The site is home to wintering golden plover, wigeon and gadwall. In summer a huge variety of birds come here to breed, including many declining species such as grasshopper warblers and cuckoos.

Lings Nature Reserve

Discover woodland, scrub, ponds and acid grassland. Woodland areas range from plantations of mature sweet chestnut, douglas fir and larch to areas which are returning to more native woodland with naturally regenerating birch, rowan, oak and holly. Dragonflies, damselflies, frogs and newts all breed in the ponds on the reserve.

Pocket Parks

Enjoy natural areas of countryside which are owned, looked after and cherished by the local community.

Stanground Wash

Cut off from the rest of the washes by a busy railway line and enclosed by parallel floodbanks, this reserve has its own distinct habitat. This area of washland is flooded each winter providing a winter refuge for waterfowl and nesting space for waders. In the summer, it is grazed.

Stanwick Lakes

Stanwick Lakes has an abundance of species within its 750 acres, and is particularly known for wintering waterfowl. It has one of the largest reedbeds in Northamptonshire which is home to a variety of birds and invertebrates. Wildflower meadows support a wealth of butterflies and bees whilst Kingfishers are regularly spotted along the river banks.

Summer Leys Nature Reserve

This wetland is made up of flooded gravel pits, flood meadows, species-rich neutral grassland and mature hedges. Oystercatcher, ringed plover and redshank stay to breed, whilst whimbrel, turnstone and common sandpiper pass through during migration. Discover a wide variety of ducks, including teal, wigeon, shoveler, pochard and golden plover.

Sywell Country Park

Sywell Country Park offers meadowland and lakeside walks, with a small arboretum of exotic trees and Edwardian buildings still surviving from its past role as a water supply reservoir with a water works heritage trail to guide you round.