Daventry Country Park – Daventry – Northamptonshire
Having moved to Daventry from Northampton thirty-seven years ago I have always considered the Country Park to be one of the districts true gems. When my two children were growing up I often took them to the adventure play area for them to let off some steam and explore. As they got older I regularly took them for walks around the park pointing out the birds on the lake, in the trees and around the bird tables.
My kids got very excited when we spotted Blackcaps, Nuthatch, Swallows, Treecreepers and even a Buzzard amongst the abundant species of ducks and geese. As a school teacher in the town I also started to bring the young people down from the Southbrook for nature talks from the Park Rangers and I even managed to get them to complete some conservation work as part of a community based learning scheme.
The students loved coming down to the park whether it was for science projects, environmental studies or just `getting out of school for a walk in the fresh air down by the water`. I have recently moved much closer to the park and walk almost every day looking and listening to the changing of the seasons.
I always opt to complete the circular walk which is 2.3 miles (3.7km) long but there are numerous marked and hard-surfaced trails throughout the woodlands and meadows. The walks go close to the reservoir so that walkers are encouraged to stop and view the wildlife. There is also a very pleasant walk across the two meadows linked by a couple of small wooden boardwalks. Apart from the seating areas around the very popular children`s adventure playground there are several picnic spots situated around the park.
There is also a wonderful café where you can stop and have anything from a cup of tea to a full English breakfast, if desired. There are also toilets available in this area and a visitor centre displaying information about the wildlife you will see around the park. The children can also get close to the wildlife feeding the ducks on the wooden platform.
This year marks the 40th anniversary since the park first opened to the public in 1978. Although the country park is now forty years old, the reservoir is considerably older, having been built as a feeder for the Grand Union Canal & Oxford Canal in 1804. Many land holdings including part of the hamlet of Thrupp were flooded to create the reservoir.
When Daventry began to grow quickly in the 1970’s, the District Council agreed with British Waterways (now the Canal & River Trust) to manage the site for recreational and conservation purposes. In 1983 a new visitor Centre and cafe opened in the old reservoir keepers cottage, adapted for the purpose and the park was expanded in 1994 with the construction of the Northern Way road introducing the new Wild Acres and Community Orchard.
I have taken to walking twice around the park every day and I have seen how well the park is used by walkers, cyclists, runners and sometimes horse riders.
If like me you hate the gym but want to stay fit and healthy there is also an outdoor gym in the park. The fitness equipment is located in Northern Field beyond the car park near the entrance. The cardiovascular equipment includes a rowing machine, leg press, cross-rider, air walker, skier, cycle, body twist and rider. With its wealth of wildlife, nature trails and the great expanse of water across the large reservoir the park really is a fantastic facility to have on our doorstep.
Daventry Country park also hosts a Park Run every Saturday morning starting at 9.00am with hundreds of runners of all ages competing against the clock in a 5km timed run. Runners run at their own pace and participate for their own fitness and enjoyment. The Daventry Park Run recently celebrated its 100th park run and is organised and managed entirely by volunteers and new runners are always welcome.
Daventry Country Park is ideally situated on the urban fringe of Daventry within one mile of the town centre and is easily accessible by car, bicycle or on foot with the benefit of cycle ways and footpaths from the surrounding areas. The Country Park has been awarded the Country Parks Accreditation and has received 17 Green Flag Award`s which recognises it`s importance as one of the best green spaces in the country.
I appreciate that people need places to live and future homes need to be built but I do worry about the impact that the current housing developments may have on this wonderful `oasis of nature’. As a haven for wildlife and a place where people and children can escape from the pressures of daily life I do hope that the new developments do not damage one of the places that has made it such a great town in which to live in and raise your children.
This year the park is set to see some major improvements to the circular paths, the building of new walkways, jetties and improving the café area and toilets. New equipment will be installed in the play area, including a castle-themed fort with lots of different activities, new swings and some smaller items for toddlers plus a refurbished zip wire!
The pathways within the Community Sensory Garden and along the western side of the reservoir will be resurfaced and two timber footbridges near the southern entrance will be replaced. A new pier with improved access for all will be constructed opposite the Visitor Centre. A new jetty will also be built on the opposite side of Lovell’s Bay, providing a safer spot from which to view wildlife and as a staging point for new planned water sports.
The timber marsh walkway on the western side of the reservoir will also be replaced together with the resurfacing of paths on the eastern side. The toilets next to the Visitor Centre will be fully refurbished and signage throughout the park improved. The Reservoir Café will be completely revamped with extensions to both the kitchen and outside refreshment area. The courtyard will be repaved, and a new canopy installed over the covered seating area.
If you visit the country park either to walk, run, visit the children`s play area, bird watching, photography, cycling or any other activity and would like to become a friend of the park as a volunteer you can join The Friends of Daventry Country Park.
The Friends of Daventry Country Park are a group of volunteers committed to supporting the work of Daventry District Council and the Country Park Rangers in protecting, preserving and promoting our precious Daventry Country Park. The Friends offer a variety of activities to raise awareness to the benefits of Daventry Country Park, attract more visitors and more volunteers.
Daventry Country Park
Telephone: 01327 871100
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