Marinas_ Moorings and Activity

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					                                                                                     Section	5:	A	More	Enjoyed	River	Nene

Marinas, Moorings and Activity
There	are	two	main	existing	marinas	along	the	River	          A	series	of	six	canoe/kayaking recreational circuit
Nene:	at	Billing,	near	Northampton	and	Barnwell	              routes	on	the	Nene	take	advantage	of	its	back	
(Oundle),	with	an	additional	small	marina	(Willy	Watt	        channels.	They	are	around	1.5-	miles	in	length	and	at	
Marina)	at	Ringstead	and	a	nearby	new	marina	on	              Northampton,	Irthlingborough,	Ringstead,	Thrapston-
Blackthorne	Lake,	which	is	also	at	Ringstead.	Other	          Denford,	Titchmarsh	and	Yarwell	(see	Figure		Nene	
locations	offer	substantial	moorings	such	as	at	Yarwell.	     Valley	Strategy	Plan).	Some	of	these	require	new	
The	locations	of	public	and	private	moorings,	and	            portages	to	support	existing	and	future	canoe	use.
those	moorings	under	development	along	the	river,	
are	show	on	the	Environment	Agency’s	detailed	
map	guide;	‘The	River	Nene:	A	guide	for	users’.	

Waterways	activity	is	spread	along	the	River	Nene.	The	
lower	Nene	(downstream	or	north	east	and	stretching	
from	Ringstead	to	Peterborough)	generally	has	more	
boating	clubs	and	facilities,	but	the	upper	Nene	(south	of	
Wellingborough	and	the	three	towns)	has	the	valley’s	two	
key	water-based	recreation	centres:	the	Nene	Whitewater	
Centre	(Northampton)	and	Grendon	Lakes,	both	of	
which	have	watersports	activities	(jet	skis,	wakeboarding,	
whitewater	rafting	etc).	Fishing	is	one	of	the	river’s	
most	important	recreational	activities	and	there	are	
substantial	fisheries	and	angling	events	along	the	river.	      Photograph:      Nene Whitewater Centre rafting

  Photograph:       Blackthorn marina near Ringstead

Section	5:	A	More	Enjoyed	River	Nene

                                                                                                waterside	activities	and	vice	versa,	together	providing	a	
Developing Provision
                                                                                                strong	package	of	related	recreation	and	visitor	experiences.	
Investment	in	facilities	and	infrastructure	supports	both	                                      New	waterside	facilities	in	the	Nene	Valley	e.g.	pubs,	cycle	
waterways	based	and	waterside	activity	e.g.	boating,	                                           paths,	visitor	accommodation,	will	have	strong	appeal	to	
angling	and	less	directly	associated,	trails,	campsites.	                                       passive	waterways	users	or	those	enjoying	the	waterway	
The	economic	and	social	benefits	of	both	are	substantial	                                       on	an	informal	basis	and	benefiting	from	waterways	
and	will	potentially	be	very	significant	for	the	Nene	Valley.	                                  views,	tranquillity	or	watching	waterways	activity.
Increased	boating	activity	on	the	River	Nene,	supported	
                                                                                                Specifically,	appropriate	investment	that	promotes	the	
by	improved	navigation	and	new	and	improved	waterside	
                                                                                                use	of	the	Nene	for	waterways	based	and	waterside	
facilities	provide	mutually	reinforcing	levels	of	investment,	
                                                                                                activity	will	be	encouraged	and	supported:	
activity	and	benefits:	water	based	activities	support	

 Waterways Facilities                                                                               Waterside Facilities

        Boat hire                                                                                     In appropriate locations, kiosks, small
        Better navigation facilities (locks, moorings, pump-                                           scale retail and food outlets
         outs, water points, sewerage disposal etc.)                                                   Pubs, restaurants, cafes and tea shops
        Moorings, berthings and marinas i.e. offline                                                  Picnic and barbeque areas, campsites, showers
         moorings (not on the river such as purpose built                                              Other visitor attractions or facilities in close proximity
         marinas) as well as online moorings (along the river)
                                                                                                       Visitor accommodation including hotels, B&Bs, self-
        Boating support services or chandlery                                                          catering accommodation (cottages, lodges), hostels
        Canoeing/ kayaking, sailing, rowing, angling

Key	considerations	for	the	above	include	the	following:	                                           Any	new	facilities/infrastructure	should	be	
                                                                                                    sympathetically	designed,	sensitive	to	their	
        Preferred	locations	will	generally	be	those	close	                                         surroundings	and	follow	sustainable	development	
         to	towns	and	villages,	centres	of	economic,	                                               principles.	New	facilities	should	be	as	intrinsic	to	their	
         cultural	and	social	activity	and	the	strategic	                                            surroundings	as	possible,	whether	this	is	heritage,	
         transport	network,	in	accordance	with	local	                                               landscape,	access,	connection	with	towns	and	
         planning	policy.	They	should	strengthen	economic	                                          villages,	environmental	or	cultural.	Facilities	should	
         and	community	links	with	(and	therefore	bring	                                             capture	the	‘essence’	of	the	Nene	Valley.	There	will	
         benefits	for)	the	towns	and	villages	concerned                                             be	particular	opportunities	to	develop	facilities	which	
        Many	locations	may	also	be	those	prone	                                                    use	cleaner	and	more	energy	efficient	technologies .		
         to	flood	risk	and	therefore	subject	to	                                                   Access,	signage	and	promotion	will	all	
         flood	risk	planning	and	assessment                                                         need	to	form	part	of	the	above

Potential	locations	for	investment	are	identified	in	Box	1.

                    By	way	of	example,	low	impact,	non-polluting	vessels,	electric	                      powered	or	solar	assisted	electric	shuttle	boats	are	commonly	
                     charge	points	and	use	of	hydrogen	cells	for	boating	(the	technology	                used	e.g.	The	Broads	and	on	The	Serpentine	see	www.broads-
                     for	which	is	still	underdevelopment)	all	represent	potential	future	      	www.solarshuttle.
                     opportunities	for	cleaner	more	energy	efficient	boating	activity.	Solar	            org	and	

                                                                                Section	5:	A	More	Enjoyed	River	Nene

Box 1: Locations for Waterways and Waterside Facilities
along the River Nene
The	following	are	highlighted	as	possible	locations	           Thrapston	Mill	Marina	-	consent	to	rebuild	
for	enhanced	or	new	facilities.	There	will	be	additional	       the	restaurant	and	locate	a	chandlery
locations	for	small	scale	investment	(campsites,	              Thrapston	‘Nine	Arches	Bridge’	site	–	adjacent	
online	moorings,	kiosks)	elsewhere	along	the	river,	            to	bridge,	between	town	centre	and	river
particular	where	these	can	be	linked	to	local	villages.
                                                               Lilford	proposals	at	Lilford	Lodge	Farm	
                                                                including	low	density	berthing,	fishing	and	
     Northampton	riverside	–	proposals	for	a	new	
                                                                ‘ecotourism’	style	lodge	accommodation	
      marina	at	Beckets	Park	and	opportunities	
      for	new	development	at	Nunn	Mills                        Oundle	Marina	at	Barnwell	

     Billing	–	at	or	near	Billing	Aquadrome                   Oundle	riverside	pub	site	-	site	on	NE	edge	of	town,	
                                                                near	bridge	and	A605.	Includes	a	disused	building
     Cogenhoe	Mill	–	Cogenhoe	Mill	Holiday	Park
                                                               Yarwell	–	at	Yarwell	Mill	Caravan	and	Camping	Park
     Grendon	Lakes	–	proposals	for	potential	
      expansion	of	lake-based	recreation	activity
     Wellingborough
     Higham	Ferrers,	Rushden	and	Irthlingborough	
      –	possible	sites	given	these	centres	of	
      population	and	their	proximity	to	the	Nene
     Ditchford	Lakes,	near	Rushden	
     Rushden	-	as	part	of	‘Rushden	Lakes’	proposals	
     Stanwick	Lakes	–	as	part	of	the	Stanwick	
      Lakes	recreational	and	nature	reserve                    Yarwell	–	at	Yarwell	Mill	Caravan	and	Camping	Park
     Ringstead	–	potential	additional	facilities		
      (Woodford	Mill/	Willy	Watt	Marina)	alongside	
      new	Blackthorne	Lake	Marina

Section	5:	A	More	Enjoyed	River	Nene

Prioritisation	of	locations	and	types	of	investment	will	need	       In	addition	to	the	above	sites,	the	following	are	
to	be	considered	under	a	boating	development	plan.	                  supported	as	part	of	expanded	waterways	provision:	
Planning	permissions	already	exist	at	some	sites	e.g.	
Grendon Lakes	watersports	centre	(for	holiday	lodges).	                   Waterways	gateways,	which	may	be	the	same	
Stanwick Lakes has	medium-long	terms	proposals	for	                        as	visitor	gateways	to	the	Nene	Valley	(see	
continued	enhancement	and	development	of	the	site	                         Section	8).	These	gateways	involve	provision	of	
(outdoor	recreation	and	conservation	proposals).	Both	                     visitor	infrastructure	e.g.	an	information	centre	
sites	would	benefit	from	direct	links	with	the	nearby	Nene	                to	inform	and	orientate	visitors.	In	some	cases	
which	would	be	an	attraction	for	boaters	and	provide	                      these	could	be	expansion	of	existing	visitor	
commercial	opportunities.	Oundle Marina	at	Barnwell	                       centre	provision	such	as	at	Billing	Aquadrome
is	one	of	the	largest	existing	marina	facilities	on	the	river	            Waterways	events	including	potential	waterways	
and	investment	in	links	with	the	town,	supported	by	                       festival(s)	such	as	those	operated	by	the	IWA
orientation,	information	and	interpretation	facilities,	would	            Waterways	branding	and	marketing	to	
bring	mutual	benefits.	Billing Aquadrome	is	a	very	                        support	new	facilities	and	activities
significant	tourism	and	waterways	facility	for	the	Nene	
                                                                          Potential	riverbus/	passenger	boat	service	
Valley	and	there	would	again	be	benefits	in	integrating	
                                                                           development	on	the	Nene	which	might	be	
the	facility	within	the	wider	area/Nene	valley	tourism	
                                                                           possible	during	peak	season	visiting	times.	
and	waterways	product.	Proposals	at	Northampton
Waterside,	including	potential	new	marina	investment,	                    A	potential	Angling	Centre	of	Excellence	and	
can	potentially	bring	very	significant	regeneration	                       support	for	ongoing	fishing	events	(Proposed	
benefits	for	the	town,	encourage	much	greater	waterways	                   increases	in	the	number	of	boats	on	the	river	do	
enjoyment	and	allow	greatly	improved	access	to	the	                        not	impact	affect	the	fishing	ability	of	the	Nene)
town	and	its	facilities	for	waterways	users.	Northampton	            Many	of	the	above	concur	directly	with	proposals	in	the	
is	also	a	pivotal	location	given	its	proximity	to	the	River	         recent	assessment	of	Northamptonshire’s	waterways .	
Nene’s	link	with	the	Grand	Union	Canal	and	the	extensive	
connections	of	this	with	large	parts	of	the	central	and	             The	scale	of	the	economic	and	community	benefits	
southern	England	waterways	network.	Its	potential	                   associated	with	the	above	investment	are	very	
role	as	a	gateway	location	is	of	central	importance	for	             significant.	There	are	strong	synergistic	benefits	
the	Nene	Valley	as	well	providing	opportunities	for	the	             and	catalytic	effects	associated	with	waterways	and	
waterways	network	in	central	and	southern	England.                   waterside	investment	where	this	is	linked	to	the	local	
                                                                     communities.	New	employment,	tourism,	cultural,	
                                                                     heritage,	health	and	well-being	benefits	can	all	accrue	
                                                                     from	investment	in	such	facilities.	Good	access,	
                                                                     promotion,	branding	and	signposting	of	the	facilities	are	
                                                                     all	critical	to	ensure	their	use	and	maximise	benefits.	

               ‘Northamptonshire	Waterways	Feasibility	Analysis’,	
               008,	Northamptonshire	Enterprise	Ltd	

                                                        Section	5:	A	More	Enjoyed	River	Nene

Summary Priorities
The	following	priorities	are	identified	to	ensure	
investments and improvements in the
use and appreciation of waterways:

            Support investment in waterways and
            waterside facilities in appropriate
            locations	focusing	on	those	listed	
            in	Box	1	and	in	accordance	with	
            local	planning	policy	and	other	
            considerations	listed	above

            Develop a boating development
            plan	to	provide	a	co-ordinated	and	
   .       prioritised	approach	to	the	provision	of	
            boating	infrastructure,	particularly	new	
            or	expanded	marinas	and	moorings

            Identify and develop ‘waterways
            gateways’	which	provide	information,	
            orientate	visitors	and	provide	a	‘sense	
            of	arrival’	in	the	Nene	Valley

            Support waterways events, branding,
            marketing, potential passenger
            boat services as well as waterways
   4.       recreational activities particularly
            boating, canoeing/kayaking,
            angling, sailing and watersports
            in appropriate locations

            Improve access and links between
            the villages, towns and the waterways	
            also	with	other	nearby	attractions,	
            points	of	interest	and	facilities	with	a	
            particular	emphasis	on	cycling	and	
            walking	provision	(see	Section	8)	

Details	on	proposals	and	projects	to	take	forward	
the	above	priorities	are	provided	in	Section	10.	

 Section	6:	 Reinvigorated	Nene	Towns
 Ensuring	the	towns	recognise,	are	better	integrated	with	and	
 benefit	from	the	Nene	Valley	hinterland

                                                                                   Photograph:       Northampton Beckets Park

                                                                  The	Nene	Valley	towns	include	Northampton;	the	‘growth	town’	
Delivery of Strategic Objectives                                  of	Wellingborough;	the	three	towns	of	Rushden,	Higham	Ferrers	
                                                                  and	Irthlingborough;	Raunds;	Thrapston;	Oundle;	and	the	city	of	
1.	Integration	Between	Urban	and	Rural                           Peterborough.	In	general	these	towns	do	not	have	good	connectivity	with	
.	Protecting	and	Enhancing	the	Natural	Environment               or	relate	particularly	with	the	Nene	Valley,	despite	being	located	in	close	
                                                                  proximity	to	or	adjacent	to	the	river	itself.	These	links	can	be	improved	to	
.	Improving	Access
                                                                  support	the	economies	of	the	towns	and	benefit	residents	and	visitors.	
4.	Investing	in	Facilities	and	Attractions

5.	Investing	in	Waterways

6.	Creating	Places                                        
                                                                  Existing Context
                                                                  Whilst	a	few	towns	and	villages	are	next	to	the	river	(including	
7.	Building	Recognition	of	the	Nene	Valley                       Northampton,	Wellingborough,	Thrapston,	Denford,	Wadenhoe,	
8.	Delivering	Sustainable	Development                            Wansford	and	Peterborough),	most	of	the	others	are	on	higher	
                                                                  ground	overlooking	the	Nene	Valley	and	above	the	typically	broad	
9.	Supporting	the	Rural	Economy                                  flood	plain.	Oundle	and	Thrapston	are	both	historic	market	charter	
     indicates Nene Towns theme                                  towns,	whilst	Wellingborough,	the	‘three	towns’	and	Raunds	owe	
      contributes to this objective
                                                                  much	of	their	heritage	to	turn	of	the	century	industrialisation.	

Key Facts
                                                                  The	valley	still	retains	much	of	its	industrial	heritage:	from	the	many	
•	 Both	Oundle	and	Thrapston	are	Market	Charter	towns             watermills	that	operated	on	the	river	to	heritage	associated	with	
                                                                  the	railway	that	also	ran	the	length	of	the	valley	from	Northampton	
•	 Wellingborough,	Higham	Ferrers,	Rushden,	Irthlingborough	
   and	Raunds	all	owe	some	of	their	industrial	heritage	to	the	   to	Peterborough.	The	River	Nene	was	linked	with	the	national	
   shoe	and	boot	industry                                         canal	system	in	1815	and	historically	cargo	was	transported	
•	 Historically	the	‘Nene	towns’	were	more	strongly	orientated	   both	upstream	onto	the	Grand	Union	Canal	and	downstream	
   to	the	valley,	as	the	River	Nene	and	the	railway,	which	ran	   to	the	port	of	Wisbech.	Some	of	this	industrial	heritage	is	within	
   the	length	of	the	valley,	were	vital	to	their	economies.		
                                                                  or	adjacent	to	towns,	and	elsewhere	in	villages	or	surrounding	

                                                                                         Section	6:	Reinvigorated	Nene	Towns

countryside.	Travel	by	boat	along	the	River	Nene	allows	an	
                                                                  Populations in Nene Towns, 2006:
appreciation	of	the	many	watermill	buildings	that	still	exist.	
                                                                  Northampton                         00,100
All	of	the	towns	have	seen	sporadic	extensions	and	
                                                                  Wellingborough                      75,500
development,	particularly	over	the	last	50	years.	
                                                                  Higham	Ferrers                      7,00
Wellingborough	experienced	significant	growth	in	
                                                                  Irthlingborough                     8,00
the	1960s	and	1970s	with	overspill	population	from	
                                                                  Rushden                             8,400
London.	In	economic	terms,	Oundle	is	prosperous	
                                                                  Raunds                              8,500
with	some	tourism,	based	primarily	on	itshistoric		town	
                                                                  Thrapston                           5,700
centre,	which	is	a	Conservation	Area.	Most	of	the	
                                                                  Oundle                              5,600
other	towns	are	in	need	of,	or	would	benefit	from,	
economic	revitalisation	to	varying	degrees.	                      Peterborough                        16,00

                                                                  Corby*                              54,800
The	towns	are	typically	at	four	to	eight	mile	intervals	
                                                                  Kettering*                          87,900
along	the	Nene	Valley,	providing	usefully	spaced	
stopping	points	for	those	travelling	along	the	valley	at	a	       	 Sources:	Mid	Year	Population	Estimates	for	006	provided	
leisurely	pace,	particularly	on	foot,	by	bike	or	by	boat.	          by	National	Statistics	and	East	Northamptonshire	Council

                                                                  *	in	North	Northamptonshire	but	north	of	the	Nene	Valley

  Photograph:        Victoria Mills, Wellingborough

Section	6:	Reinvigorated	Nene	Towns

                                                                        Providing	trails	with	good	direct	access	from	
Developing Provision                                                
                                                                        town	centres	and	public	transport	nodes

Stronger	linkage,	orientation	and	integration	of	the	                  Providing	signage	(directional	and	
towns	with	the	Nene	Valley,	or	directly	with	the	River	                 distance),	information	and	interpretation	
Nene,	involves	waterside	activity	/	regeneration	for	                   facilities	from	town	centres,	public	transport	
those	towns	and	villages	adjacent	to	the	river	and	                     nodes	and	along	access	routes
better	links	for	those	settlements	a	short	distance	              	
away.	Links	can	be	one	or	a	combination	of:	                      Specifically,	the	following	are	identified:	

        visual	-	creating	and	maximising	                             Northampton	–	very	significant	waterside	
         vistas	to	the	valley	/	water                                   regeneration	opportunities	and	associated	links	
        physical	–	ensuring	development,	public	realm	                 to	adjacent	town	centre.	As	identified	in	Section	5,	
         and	access	are	orientated	to	the	valley	/	water                these	can	allow	Northampton	to	re-embrace	the	
                                                                        river	as	an	integral	part	of	the	town	and	facilitate	
                                                                        the	particularly	important	gateway	role	which	
The	above	can	bring	multiple	benefits:	
                                                                        Northampton	can	have	for	the	Nene	Valley	and	
        facilitating	access	to	and	within	the	                         waterways	network	
         Nene	Valley	bringing	health/well-being,	
         recreational	and	community	benefits                           Wellingborough	–	waterside	regeneration	
        assist	the	economic	health	or	revitalisation	of	               opportunities	and	the	need	for	improved	links	
         the	towns	as	those	enjoying	the	Nene	Valley	                   between	town	centre	and	the	nearby	existing	
                                                                        waterfront	area.	Future	plans	should	consider	
        generate	the	market	to	support	cafes,	retail	
                                                                        the	visual	prominence	of	Victoria	Mills,	(which	
         and	other	visitor	facilities	including	heritage	
                                                                        still	operates	as	a	flour	mill),	as	a	particularly	
         or	cultural	attractions	within	the	towns	
                                                                        distinctive	piece	of	local	industrial	heritage	and	
        help	strengthen	the	identity	of	the	towns	in	the	              the	tourism	opportunities	associated	with	the	
         Nene	Valley	and	the	Nene	Valley	as	a	whole                                                                27
                                                                        potential	reconstruction	of	Turnells	Mill ,	the	
        help	strengthen	the	identity	of	the	towns	in	the	Nene	         former	watermill	the	remains	of	which	lie	nearby.	
         Valley	and	the	identify	of	the	Nene	Valley	as	a	whole          Wellingborough	also	has	an	important	gateway	role
The	linkage	improvements	should	ensure	the	towns	
better	recognise	their	settings,	green	infrastructure	and	
nearby	River	Nene	and	are	less	disconnected	from	
their	landscape	environment.	For	some	towns	this	is	
a	reconnection	with	their	history	given	the	previous	
industrial	or	agricultural	related	use	of	the	River	Nene	
or	the	former	railway	along	the	valley.	Aside	from	direct	
waterside	regeneration/	development,	the	linkage	and	
improved	connections	can	be	achieved	through:

        Public	realm	and	enhanced	street	design	
         to	orientate	users	and	provide	better	
         recognition	of	the	nearby	river	or	valley
        Enhancing	or	developing	vistas	to	achieve	the	above

                   htm	for	details	on	Turnells	Mill

                                                                              Photograph:       Northampton Beckets Park

   Thrapston	–	waterside	development/recreation	                      Raunds	–	high	quality,	easy	to	access	links	to	
    opportunities	associated	with	the	mill	marina	and	‘Nine	            Stanwick	Lakes	and	with	the	associated	network	
    Arches	Bridge’	sites	together	with	improved	functional	             of	footpaths	and	cycleways	to	the	three	towns.	
    and	visual	links	between	the	river	and	town	centre	to	        	
    support	town	centre	economic	functions	and	vitality.	         For	those	towns	adjacent	to	the	Nene,	mini town-river
    The	Nine	Arches	Bridge	site	is	particularly	suited	to	        plans	should	identify	details	of	how	each	town	relates	to	the	
    additional	recreational	boating	infrastructure.	The	town	     river/Nene	Valley	green	infrastructure	and	ways	in	which	this	
    has	strong	opportunities	to	reorientate	itself	towards	       should	be	enhanced	focusing	on	specific	site	opportunities,	
    the	river	and	develop	better	connectivity	with	Thrapston	
                                                                  Summary of Priorities
                                                                  The	following	priorities	are	identified	to	ensure the
                                                                  towns recognise, are better integrated with
                                                                  and maximise the opportunities associated
                                                                  with their Nene Valley hinterland:

                                                                              Support investment in sites and
                                                                              projects which improve links between
                                                                              the Nene towns and the Nene Valley.
                                                                              These	projects	should	be	designed	
   Oundle	–	improved	links	to	Oundle	Marina	at	Barnwell	
                                                                              to	maximise	access,	orientation	and	
    and	Barnwell	Country	Park,	both	having	strong	water	
                                                                              vistas	to	the	river	and	Nene	Valley.
    based	or	water	side	activity	and	adjacent	to	the	Nene.	
    The	historic	Barnwell	Mill	is	located	between	the	two.	
    Potential	future	links	to	a	site	on	the	north	east	edge	of	               Develop mini town-river plans	which	
    the	town	near	the	A605.		                                                 specify	site	opportunities	and	proposals	
                                                                              to	improve	linkages	and	orientation	
   Three towns – Higham Ferrers, Rushden,                                    to	the	River	Nene	and	Nene	Valley
    Irthlingborough.	All	three	towns	are	very	close	
    to	though	not	adjacent	to	the	River	Nene.	A	
    network	of	local	footpaths,	plus	new	cycle	routes	                        Support the development of trails and
    (see	Section	8)	can	ensure	enhanced	links	                                associated signage and promotion	to	
    with	the	Nene	Valley	including	the	nearby	local	                          improve	connectivity	between	the	towns	
    nature	reserves	of	Wilsons	Pits,	Ditchford	Lakes	                         and	their	valley	hinterland	(see	Section	8)
    connecting	with	Stanwick	Lakes	to	the	north	east)
                                                                              Support the development of facilities in
                                                                     4.       towns to support the above	and	at	the	
                                                                              same	time	contribute	to	town	revitalisation.		

 Section	7:	 A	Living	Countryside

 A	countryside	that	ensures	environmental	assets	and	biodiversity	
 are	enhanced	and	enjoyed	and,	associated	with	this,	supports	
 sustainable	livelihoods,	tourism	and	recreation.	

                                                                                         Photograph:      Oundle School Rowing Club

                                                                     Sustainable	rural	development	covers	a	multitude	of	areas:	land	stewardship,	
Delivery of Strategic Objectives
                                                                     agriculture,	environmental	protection,	employment,	housing	and	community	
1.	Integration	Between	Urban	and	Rural                              development	amongst	others.	This	Living	Countryside	theme	is	focused	
                                                                     on	the	issues	and	opportunities	most	relevant	to	its	green	infrastructure	
.	Protecting	and	Enhancing	the	Natural	Environment                 (GI),	plus	economic	activity	and	business	opportunities	related	to	land	
.	Improving	Access                                                  stewardship	and	GI,	including	ecotourism	and	food	based	tourism.

4.	Investing	in	Facilities	and	Attractions                  
5.	Investing	in	Waterways                                            Existing Context
6.	Creating	Places                                                  Environmentally Protected Areas
7.	Building	Recognition	of	the	Nene	Valley                          The	Nene	Valley	has	a	swathe	of	environmentally	protected	areas,	as	
8.	Delivering	Sustainable	Development                               shown	on	Figure	4	(‘Nene	Valley,	Environmentally	Protected	Areas’),	each	
                                                                     with	varying	levels	of	access,	interpretation	and	other	facilities.	The	EU	
9.	Supporting	the	Rural	Economy                                     designated	potential	Special	Protection	Area	(pSPA)	of	the	Upper	Nene	
     indicates Living Countryside theme                             Gravel	Pits,	which	is	also	an	SSSI,	is	the	most	prominent	of	these,	see	Box	
      contributes to this objective
                                                                     	and	also	Appendix	D.	The	principal	environmentally	protected	areas	are:
    Key Facts
                                                                          Potential	Special	Protection	Area	(pSPA)	and	
•	 Special	Protection	Area	designation	for	the	Nene	Valley	                Sites	of	Special	Scientific	Interest	(SSSI)	
   former	gravel	pits	recognises	their	international	significance	
   for	over-wintering	birds.	                                             National	Nature	Reserves

•	 The	Nene	Valley	has	a	wealth	of	environmentally	protected	
                                                                          Local	Nature	Reserves
   areas	including	Local	Wildlife		Sites	and	Country	Parks.               County	Wildlife	Sites
•	 The	Nene	Valley	has	a	small	but	growing	number	of	eco-                 Country	Parks
   tourism	and	countryside	businesses.
                                                                          Rockingham	Forest	(which	comprises	dispersed	areas	of	woodland	
                                                                           in	North	Northamptonshire)	and	other	publicly	accessible	woodland	
                                                                          Sites	managed	by	the	Wildlife	Trust	

          	                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Section	7:	A	Living	Countryside


                                                                                                                                                                                    Eastern on the Hill

                                                                                                                                                                                                 COLLYWESTERN QUARRIES
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              SOUTHEY WOOD
                                                                                                                                                                                                               SOUTHORPE MEADOW                                                          Marholm
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     AND PADDOCK                                                 CASTOR HANGLANDS NNR
                                                                                                                                   COLLYWESTON GREAT WOOD
                                                                                                                                   & EASTON HORNSTOCKS NNR                                        BEDFORD
                                                                                                                                                                                                  PURLIEUS NNR
                                                                                                                                                                                                       Wansford STIBBINGTON                                                      PETERBOROUGH
                                                                         Uppingham                                                                                                    WANSFORD PASTURE
                                                                                                                                                                      FINESHADE WOOD
                                                                                                                                                                                  YARWELL DINGLE AND POND
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sutton         Caster                                            THORPE WOOD
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 E VA
                                                                                                                                                                                       OLD SULEHAY     Yarwell
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Y RA
                                                                                                                                                  GREAT WOOD                                                                                       A                                       Y LI
                                                                                                                                                                                     King’s Cliffe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         YARWELL        Newton                             PONDS

                                                                                                                                                                                                Apethorpe                                                                  Chesterton


                                                                                                         Gretton                                                                                                                                             Elton

                                                                             Caldecott                                                                                                                                        Fotheringhay



                                                                                         Rockingham                                                                     SOUTHWICK WOOD
                                                                                                                                                                      M SHORT WOOD                                                                      Warmington
                                                                                                                                                            H     GLAPTHORN
                                                                                                                                                      G         COW PASTURES
                                                EAST                                                                                          N
                                          CARLTON CP
                                                                                         CORBY                               C

                                                                                                                       O                                                                                                                Ashton
                                                     KINGSWOOD LNR                                                                                                                   BARNWELL CP

                                          STOKE WOOD                                     GREAT OAKLEY                            FERMYN                    FERMYN
                                          END QUARTER                                    MEADOW LNR                             WOODS CP                    WOODS                                                                   Barnwell

                                               THE PLENS


                                     Desborough                                                                                                                                                               Achurch
                      TAILBY MEADOW LNR                                               BARFORD WOOD AND MEADOWS                                                                      Aldwinkle
                                               ROTHWELL GULLETT                                                                                                                                           Thorpe
                                                                                                                                                                                                 TITCHMARSH LNR

                                                                               KETTERING                                                                                               Thrapston

                                                                                                            TYWELL HILLS                                  Woodford
                                                                                                              AND DALES
                                                                                                      FARM MARSH                                                           Ringstead                                                              A14

                                                                                                        Burton                                       Great
                                                                                                                                                                          KINEWELL LAKE LNR
                                                                                                        Latimer                                    Addington

                                                                                                                                                                             5                                                                          River - navigation route


                                                                                                                   FINEDON                                                                                                                              Country Park
                                                                                                                   CALLY BANKS                                             Stanwick
                                PITSFORD RESERVOIR                                                                              Irthlingborough                                                                                                         Local Nature Reserve
     BRIXWORTH CP                                 A43

                              Pitsford Water                                                                                                                Higham               Chelveston
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        National Nature Reserve
                                                              GLARMS MEADOW                                                                HIGHAM FERRERS PITS
                                                              & WOODLAND LNR                                                                                                                                                                            Wildlife Trust
                                                                                                                                           AND WILSON’S PITS
                                                WELLINGBOROUGH                                                                     DITCHFORD LAKES
                                                                                                                                   AND MEADOWS               Yelden
                                                                                                                                                          Rushden                                                                                       pSPA/pRAMSAR
                                                                                                                           IRCHESTER CP
                                                                    SYWELL CP                                               Irchester                                                                                                                   Woodlands with public access /
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        recreation (over 20 hectares)
       HEATH                                                                               Doddington
                                                                       Earls Barton
                                               LINGS LNR
                                                                                                        SUMMER LEYS LNR                                          SHARNBROOK SUMMIT
                    KINGSTHORPE MEADOW                                                                                Wollaston           Podington              AND WYMINGTON MEADOW

          STORTON’S PITS                                Cogenhoe
          AND DUSTON              Little
          MILL                  Houghton
          MEADOW     BARNES MEADOW                                                                                Bozeat
                                                                                                                                                          GRAVEL PITS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0km                           5km

              Figure 4:                    Envrionmentally Protected Areas plan                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 41
  Photograph:        River Nene at Ringstead

  BOX 2: Upper Nene Valley Gravel Pits potential Special
  Protection Area (pSPA) see also Appendix D.
  See	also	Appendix	D.	                                         Many	of	the	lakes	within	the	Nene	Valley	pSPA	are	
                                                                already	subject	to	varying	levels	of	recreational	
  This	potential	Special	Protection	Area	(or	pSPA)	             disturbance	however	an	increase	in	disturbance,	either	
  is	largely	consistent	with	the	existing	SSSI	(Site	of	        by	an	increase	in	the	intensity	of	an	existing	activity	
  Special	Scientific	Interest)	but	with	a	higher	level	of	      or	the	introduction	of	a	new	activity	at	or	adjacent	to	
  statutory	protection	under	EU	legislation.	It	is	also	        a	particular	site,	may	have	an	adverse	impact.
  proposed	for	Ramsar	designation	in	recognition	of	
  being	a	wetland	area	of	international	significance.           Preliminary	assessment	to	understand	the	sensitivity	of	
                                                                individual	areas	of	the	pSPA	has	been	undertaken.		Simple	
  What are SPAs?                                                analysis	of	the	sensitivity	mapping	is	only	indicative;	
                                                                detailed	species	and	visitor	surveys	will	be	required	
  Special	Protection	Areas	(SPAs)	are	strictly	protected	       to	determine	the	precise	impact	of	a	proposal	on	the	
  sites	designated	under	the	EU	Directive	on	the	               pSPA.	Further	information	is	provided	at	Appendix	D	
  Conservation	of	Wild	Birds	(79/409/CEE)	also	known	as	        (to	be	inserted	on	completion	of	pSPA	Guidance).
  the	Birds	Directive	(1979).	They	are	classified	for	rare	
  and	vulnerable	birds,	listed	in	Annex	I	to	the	Directive,	    What does it mean for the Nene Valley?
  and	for	regularly	occurring	migratory	species.
                                                                Any	plan	or	which	is	likely	to	have	a	significant	effect	
  Upper Nene Valley Gravel Pits pSPA                            on	the	Upper	Nene	Valley	Gravel	Pits	pSPA	will	
                                                                require	an	assessment	of	its	impacts	on	the	pSPA	
  The	pSPA	has	been	designated	for	its	wintering	water	bird	    under	the	Habitats	Regulations.	In	terms	of	the	Nene	
  species;	including	golden	plover,	gadwall,	bittern	and	a	     Valley	Strategy	this	covers	any	project	or	proposal	
  non-breeding	assemblage	in	excess	of	0,000	waterbirds	       referred	to,	directly	or	indirectly,	in	Section	10.
  comprising	important	populations	of	great-crested	grebe,	
  mute	swan.	wigeon,	tufted	duck,	cormorant,	pochard,	          The	scale	of	the	impact	will	need	to	be	assessed	
  coot,	and	shoveler.	It	is	a	potential	SPA,	which	means	it	    and	where	necessary	or	appropriate	mitigated	
  has	been	approved	by	Government	and	is	in	the	process	        against.	Mitigation	can	be	spatial	and	/	or	temporal	
  of	being	formerly	classified	under	EU	legislation.            and	includes	e.g.	land	buffers,	screening,	habitat	
                                                                restoration	/	development;	seasonal	access	
  Within	the	Upper	Nene	Valley	Gravel	Pits	pSPA,	all	           restrictions.	If	it	is	not	possible	to	mitigate	these	
  areas	receive	the	same	level	of	protection;	however	          impacts	then	the	proposal	cannot	go	ahead.	
  some	areas	support	larger	numbers	of	birds	than	
  others	and	/	or	particularly	sensitive	species	and	are	       Guidance	on	the	Habitats	Regulations	process;	
  likely	to	be	more	sensitive	to	impacts	than	others.	          sensitivity	mapping;	survey	methodologies	and	
  This	may	have	ramifications	when	considering	the	             possible	mitigation	techniques	have	been	developed	
  location	of	proposals	set	out	in	Section	10.                  for	local	authorities,	developers,	land	and	environmental	
                                                                managers.	Details	are	provided	at	Appendix	D	(to	
   The	distribution	of	birds	throughout	the	area	is	            be	inserted	on	completion	of	pSPA	guidance).
   determined	mainly	by	the	availability	of	suitable	habitat	
   and	the	extent	to	which	the	habitat	and	associated	
   species	are	disturbed	by	human	activities.
	                                                                                                                              Section	7:	A	Living	Countryside

                                                                                    Strengthening	biodiversity	and	effective	land	stewardship	
Landscape, Heritage Character
                                                                                    are	essential	to	mitigating	against	and	adaptation	
and Biodiversity                                                                    to	climate	change.	Key	elements	include:

The	Environmental	Character	and	Green	Infrastructure	
                                                                                             ‘Living landscapes’ and ‘climate corridors’ for
suite 		provides	a	detailed	information	base	(biodiversity,	
                                                                                              wildlife, to strengthen biodiversity, which facilitates
landscape	and	heritage	character)	to	inform	proposals	
                                                                                              climate change adaptation. Living landscapes are
for	strengthening	Northamptonshire’s	GI.	The	county’s	
                                                                                              large areas of connected biodiversity rich habitat.
Biodiversity Action Plan 		(see	Section	)	also	
                                                                                              Wildlife will need to move along ‘climate corridors’
identifies	how	biodiversity	should	be	enhanced	as	
                                                                                              to different environments e.g. shadier slopes or
part	of	GI	provision.	Strengthening	biodiversity:	
                                                                                              cooler valleys without obstacles, such as features or
                                                                                              agricultural practices, which inhibit wildlife corridors.
       is	key	to	sustainable	development	
                                                                                             Strategic tree planting	both	mitigates	and	
       provides	climatic	stability	and	ecosystem	
                                                                                              assists	adaptation.	Planting	can	have	a	strong	
        services	(i.e.	a	functioning	life-support	system	
                                                                                              sequestration	function	(i.e.	CO	absorption),	
        providing	clean	air	and	water,	pollination	etc.)
                                                                                              helping	to	mitigate	climate	change.	Critically,	
       brings	economic	benefits	though	visitor	                                              strategic	planting	in	catchment	areas	can	assist	
        spend	at	wildlife	sites	and	associated	                                               flood management	by	reducing	the	rate	of	water	
        visitor	spend	(e.g.	in	towns,	at	cafes)	                                                                                           31
                                                                                              run	off	and	lessening	flood	risk	(see	below) .	
       provides	a	more	desirable	place	to	live	and	work                                     Sustainable drainage systems	which	
                                                                                              are	a	vital	part	of	green	infrastructure	
Land Stewardship, Climate Change                                                             Woodland	planting	and	sustainable	forest	
                                                                                              management	as	an	energy source i.e.	biomass	
Adaptation and Mitigation and
                                                                                              from	short	rotation	coppicing	and/or	provision	
Flood Risk Management                                                                         of	woodchip	and	woodland	products

The	Government’s	environmental	stewardship	schemes30		                                       Strengthening the photosynthetic capability
are	agri-environment	schemes,	which		provide	funding	                                         of the land	by	choosing	land	uses	and	crops	
to	farmers	and	other	land	managers	who	deliver	effective	                                     which	have	strong	CO	absorption	capabilities.
environmental	management.	The	schemes	are	intended	to:                              Flood	risk	management	can	also	support	green	
                                                                                    infrastructure	in	the	following	ways:	
       Conserve	wildlife	and	enhance	biodiversity	
       Maintain	and	enhance	landscape	quality	and	character,	                               Flood	storage	capacity	can	support	wetland	creation
        the	historic	environment	and	natural	resources	                                      Flood	defence	schemes	can	include	habitat	creation	
       Promote	public	access	and	                                                           Flood	defence	schemes	can	incorporate	
        understanding	of	the	countryside	                                                     recreational	provision	through	footpaths	and	
       Contribute	to	genetic	conservation	and	flood	                                         cycleways	along	water	courses,	public	art	in	flood	
        management	                                                                           defence	structures	and	interpretation	facilities	
                                                                                              to	inform	people	about	flood	protection

In	the	Nene	Valley,	the	Higher	Level	Stewardship	
scheme	potentially	covers	a		kilometre	riparian	
strip	either	side	of	the	River	Nene.	

             28                                                                               31
                                                     Biodiversity	enhancement	should	be	considered	in	conjunction	
                  Biodiversity	is	the	‘full	range	of	habitats	and	species	                         with	strategic	planting	as	the	latter	may	not	always	appropriate,	
                  and	the	systems	which	maintain	them’                                             depending	on	the	particular	habitat	and	catchment	location
                  Environmental	stewardship	schemes	are	administered	by	Natural	
                  default.htm	The	schemes	comprise	the	Higher	Level	Stewardship,	Entry	
                  Level	Stewardship	and	the	Organic	Entry	Level	Stewardship	schemes.	
Section	7:	A	Living	Countryside

The Rural Economy, Recreation
and Tourism                                                                     Box 3: Food, Craft and Eco-
In	addition	to	farming,	forestry	and	expenditure	related	to	
                                                                                tourism Related Businesses in
the	waterways	and	natural	reserves/	country	parks,	the	rural	                   the Nene Valley
economy	of	North	Northamptonshire	sees	other	economic	
activity	directly	related	to	its	environment.	These	other	‘land	                The	following	are	examples	of	rural	‘land	
based	businesses’,	such	as	niche	food,	craft	and	a	small	                       based’	businesses,	(aside	from	large	scale	
number	of	eco-tourism	related	businesses	also	contribute	                       farming	or	forestry)	which	can	or	do	form	part	
to	the	visitor	economy.	Examples	are	given	in	Box	.                            of	the	visitor	and	recreation	economy.

A	number	of	trends	suggest	there	is	                                                 Farrington	Oils,	Hargrave	–	rapeseed	
scope	to	expand	this	activity:                                                        oil	and	dressings
                                                                                     Fleur	Fields,	Brixworth		-	vineyard
        Market	trends	towards	more	locally	sourced,	
                                                                                     River	Nene	Organic	Vegetables	
         sometimes	organic	produce	and	increasing	use	
                                                                                      –	organic	vegetable	boxes
         of	sustainable	food	production	methods
                                                                                     Lilford	Lodge	Farm,	Barnwell	–	farm	
        Tourism	associated	with	the	above	and	
                                                                                      accommodation,	private	fishing	and	
         with	farmers’	markets	in	the	area
                                                                                      ecotourism	proposals
        Changes	to	energy	sourcing	and	production,	
                                                                                     Pear	Tree	Farm,	Aldwinkle	–	farmstay	
         particularly	microgeneration	and	renewable	
                                                                                      B&B	accommodation
         energy	which	can	have	tourism	components
                                                                                     Fermyn	Woods	Gallery,	Brigstock	
        ‘Relocalisation’	as	trends	towards	a	local	
                                                                                      –	contemporary	art	centre	with	plans	for	
         carbon	economy	and	more	sustainable	lifestyles	
                                                                                      a	artist	residency	and	education	centre	in	
         support	reconnection	with	local	economies,	
                                                                                      conjunction	with	the	Forestry	Commission
         particularly	for	energy	and	food	production	but	
         also	community-based	economic	activities	                                   Sue	Kirk	Willow	Baskets,	King’s	Cliffe	–	often	made	
                                                                                      using	local	willow	
        Domestic	tourism,	particularly	ecotourism	and	
         healthy	lifestyle	trends	as	outlined	in	Section			
                                                                                Northamptonshire	and	the	Nene	Valley	has	many	
                                                                                food	producers	and	outlets,	a	significant	proportion	
All	of	the	above	bring	tourism	and	employment	benefits	
                                                                                of	which	are	focused	on	the	local	economy	for	their	
and	can	provide	a	significant	boost	for	sustainable	
                                                                                business.	Together	with	events	such	as	Holdenby	
rural	communities.	The	food	economy	and	food	
                                                                                Food	Show	and	outlets	such	as	farmers’	markets	
tourism	has	previously	been	supported	under	the	
                                                                                and	farm	shops,	this	industry	is	an	important	part	of	
Northamptonshire	Food	Group32.	The	potential	for	
                                                                                the	local	visitor,	tourism	and	recreation	economy33.
nature-based	visitor	experiences	associated	with	locally	
sourced	food,	on-site	energy	production,	sustainable	
farming	and	environmental	stewardship	is	significant.	

         	provides	details	of	local	producers	and	
                   outlets.	For	more	information	on	examples	businesses:	
	                                                                                                 Section	7:	A	Living	Countryside

                                                                                Nevertheless,	the	area	will	attract	more	visitors	in	
Developing Provision                                                            the	future,	which	will	require	appropriate	mitigation	
                                                                                to	avoid	disturbance	to	the	birds	and	their	habitats.	
Developing	green	infrastructure	(GI)	provision	and	
maximising	the	role	of	the	productive	landscape	in	a	
sustainable	rural	economy	is	focused	on	the	following:	                  Co-ordinated Visitor Centre Provision	Provision	of	
                                                                          visitor	information	centres	and	interpretation	facilities	
       Investing	in	the	protection	and	enhancement	                      at	the	reserves	should	ensure	each	has	a	particular	
        of	biodiversity	and,	associated	with	this,	                       focus	and	appeal	as	far	as	possible,	complementing	
        promotion	of	land	stewardship	                                    one	another	and	avoiding	overprovision.	The	
       Maximising	appropriate	access	to	                                 marketing	and	promotion	of	such	sites	should	
        GI	corridors	and	attractions                                      ensure	there	is	clarity	amongst	visitors	about	the	
                                                                          appeal	and	potential	experience	of	different	sites.
       Promoting	commercial	opportunities	related	to	
        food,	craft,	ecotourism	and	further	developing	GI                Increasing Biodiversity and Delivering Land
                                                                          Stewardship	The	Biodiversity	Action	Plan	
                                                                          and	existing	environmental	land	stewardship	
The	above	seeks	to	maximise	the	benefits	of	GI	including:
                                                                          programmes,	ranging	from	land	acquisition	to	habitat	
                                                                          restoration,	form	part	of	the	overall	co-ordinated	
       High	levels	of	health,	well-being,	recreational	and	social	
                                                                          approach	to	enhancing	GI	in	the	Nene	Valley	
        benefits	for	both	the	local	community	and	visitors
                                                                         Enhanced and co-ordinated GI provision
       Strong	environmental	benefits	through	
                                                                          elsewhere in the Nene Valley	Several	stretches	
        increased	protection	for	GI	and	biodiversity
                                                                          of	the	Nene	Valley	and	North	Northamptonshire	
       Sustainable	economic	and	community	benefits	through	
                                                                          provide	a	focus	for	improvements:
        commercial	opportunities	in	rural	industries	related	to	GI
                                                                               The	stretch	between Thrapston and Wansford	
                                                                                is	particularly	scenic	offering	a	very	appealing	
Specific	proposals	to	achieve	the	above	are	listed	below.
                                                                                destination	which	can	be	promoted/packaged	
                                                                                as	such.	Rights	of	way	improvements	and	
       Co-ordinated approach to the enhancement
                                                                                trail	development	together	with	landscape	
        of environmentally protected areas for visitor
                                                                                changes	under	the	land	stewardship	
        access The	number	and	proximity	of	reserves	in	the	
                                                                                scheme	and	improved	public	access	to	
        Nene	Valley,	particularly	the	southern	end	between	
                                                                                water	meadows	can	facilitate	the	recreation/
        Thrapston	and	Northampton	(Summer	Leys,	Irchester	
                                                                                visitor	access	and	enjoyment	of	this	area
        Country	Park,	Ditchford	Meadows,	Wilsons	Pits,	
        Stanwick	Lakes,	Kinewell,	Titchmarsh),	requires	                       Nature reserves near Wansford and west of
        a	co-ordinated	approach.	The	sites	should:                              Yarwell,	largely	managed	by	the	Wildlife	Trust,	
                                                                                provide	the	potential	to	be	enhanced	and	linked	
             Complement	each	other	in	terms	of	their	‘offer’	to	
                                                                                with	a	recreational	trail	extending	to	the	Nene	
              visitors	and	ensure	avoidance	of	‘overprovision’	
                                                                                Valley	Railway	and	potentially	towards	Corby	
              of	access	to	too	many	sites	which	might	
              effectively	compete	for	the	same	visitor	market                  Twywell Hill and Dales,	SSSI	just	east	of	
                                                                                Kettering,	is	a	popular	visitor	countryside	site	
             Be	linked	with	one	another	to	effectively	
                                                                                and	will	benefit	from	recreational	trail	links	with	
              create	a	co-ordinated	package	of	reserves	
                                                                                the	nearby	Ise	meadows,	the	urban	extensions	
              with	managed	visitor	access.	The	linkage	
                                                                                proposed	for	Kettering,	and	also	with	nearby	Nene	
              should	comprise	a	network	of	cycling	and	
                                                                                Valley	trails	such	as	the	former	rail	trail	between	
              walking	trails	as	set	out	in	section	8.	
                                                                                Thrapston	and	Stanwick	Lakes	
             Recognise	the	SPA	designation.	The	wintering	
              bird	population	will	increase	the	sensitivity	of	the	
              SPA	but	winter	also	sees	lower	visitor	numbers.	

Section	7:	A	Living	Countryside

   Inclusion of Local Points of Interest	Ensure	the	                Summary of Priorities
    improvements	to	green	infrastructure	identified	above	
    include	the	promotion	and	interpretation	of	local	points	        The	following	priorities	are	identified	to	deliver	a
    of	interest,	including	heritage	and	culture	as	well	as	          countryside which ensures environmental assets
    landscape	and	biodiversity.	This	should	involve:	                and biodiversity are enhanced and enjoyed
         Identifying	local	points	of	interest	for	interpretation	   and, associated with this, supports sustainable
          such	as	archaeological	sites,	vistas	to	spires,	           livelihoods, tourism and recreation:
          industrial	heritage	such	as	watermills	
         Identifying	potential	sites	for	development	whether	
          new	visitor	facilities,	cycle	routes,	cafes	or	cultural	              Develop strong co-ordination and
          facilities	to	ensure	these	maximise	orientation	                      managed access to environmentally
          and	appreciation	of	the	above	(see	Section	9)                         protected sites, effective	linkage	(routes	
                                                                                and	trails)	between	sites	(see	also	
   Ensuring GI is considered in planning any                           1.
                                                                                Section	8)	and	a	co-ordinated	approach	
    development and using the Environmental
                                                                                to	visitor	provision.	Also	include	nearby	
    Character Assessment and GI suite This detailed
                                                                                local	points	of	interest	e.g.	heritage	and	
    information resource should be used to inform
                                                                                culture,	as	part	of	this	provision.	
    GI planning in any development from pubs
    to moorings, footpaths to new self-catering
    accommodation, in order to maximise the opportunity                         Support land acquisition, habitat
    to interpret and provide managed access to                                  restoration and environmental
    landscape, biodiversity and heritage features.                      .      stewardship to	enhance	environmentally	
   Support for land based industries. In addition                              protected	areas	and	the	wider	landscape	and	
    to agriculture, support for industries which                                to	mitigate	and	adapt	to	climate	change.
    are part of a sustainable productive local
    landscape will focus on the following:
                                                                                Maximise use of RNRP’s Environmental
         Food	and	food	related	industries
                                                                                Character Assessment and Green
         Arts	and	craft	industries                                             Infrastructure suite in planning any
         Ecotourism                                                            development to ensure managed
         Renewable	energy	production	                                          access to landscape, biodiversity
                                                                                and heritage features.

                                                                                Support sustainable rural
                                                                                development initiatives which draw
                                                                                on the environmental quality and
                                                                        4.      productive landscape of the Nene
                                                                                Valley	including	food,	craft,	recreation	
                                                                                and	tourism	and	potentially	small	scale	
                                                                                renewable	energy	production.

     Photograph:        Elton village

Photograph:   Summer Leys Local Nature Reserve

 Section	8:	 A	Connected	Nene	Valley

 Ensuring	improved	access	to	and	connectivity		
 within	the	Nene	Valley

                                                                                              Photograph:        Thrapston Middle Nene Sailing Club

                                                                       Improving	access	within	the	Nene	Valley	and	‘invitation’	into	the	area	
Delivery of Strategic Objectives
                                                                       are	essential	for	improving	enjoyment	of	the	Nene	Valley.	The	strategic	
1.	Integration	Between	Urban	and	Rural                                road	network	effectively	bypasses	the	Nene	Valley	without	allowing	a	
.	Protecting	and	Enhancing	the	Natural	Environment
                                                                       sense	of	the	area’s	character	and	appeal.	The	broad	flat	nature	of	the	
                                                                       valley	means	it	is	particularly	well	suited	to	recreational	trail	provision	
.	Improving	Access                                                   and	improving	this	will	directly	facilitate	access	and	enjoyment.	
4.	Investing	in	Facilities	and	Attractions

5.	Investing	in	Waterways

6.	Creating	Places
                                                                       Existing Context
7.	Building	Recognition	of	the	Nene	Valley                            The	most	effective	ways	to	enjoy	the	Nene	Valley	are	generally	
                                                                       through	‘slower’	modes	of	travel;	walking,	cycling,	horse	riding	
8.	Delivering	Sustainable	Development                                 and	water-based	activities	(boating,	canoeing	etc.),	which	allow	
9.	Supporting	the	Rural	Economy                                       a	closer	and	arguably	more	authentic	experience.	Provision	for	
     indicates Connectivity theme contributes
                                                                       these	slower	modes	(non-waterways	modes)	is	considered	first	
      to this objective                                                followed	by	access	on	the	road	network	and	public	transport.	

Key Facts
                                                                       Recreational Trails: the Nene Way. Other Footpaths and
•	 The	Nene	Valley	has	a	long	distance	footpath-	the	Nene	
                                                                       Cycling Provision
•	 The	broad	flat	nature	of	the	valley	and	its	range	of	natural	
                                                                       Existing	footpaths,	cycle	routes,	byways	and	bridleways	in	the	Nene	Valley	
   attractions	fairly	close	to	each	other	is	ideal	for	recreational	
   trail	development                                                   are	shown	at	Appendix	E.	The	Nene Way	is	the	most	prominent	route	
•	 Northampton,	Wellingborough	and	Peterborough	are	
                                                                       and	is	a	long	distance	footpath	running	the	length	of	the	Nene	Valley.	
   obvious	‘gateways’	                                                 It	extends	from	the	river’s	source	in	west	Northamptonshire,	almost	as	
                                                                       far	as	The	Wash	in	Lincolnshire.	It	weaves	across	the	banks	of	the	River	
                                                                       Nene	incorporating	a	large	number	of	Nene	Valley	towns	and	villages.	

                                                                                        Section	8:	A	Connected	Nene	Valley

Parts	of	Nene	Way	are	to	be	realigned	under	the	             The	Northamptonshire	Rights	of	Way	
Northamptonshire	Rights	of	Way	Improvement	Plan	             Improvement	Plan	outlines	proposals	for	
007-011 		to	provide	a	better,	more	appealing	             improving	footpaths,	bridleways	and	byways	in	
route	for	users.	There	is	scope	to	align	some	               Northamptonshire.	Details	are	given	in	Box	4.	
sections	of	the	route	closer	to	the	river,	via	more	
scenic	sections	of	the	valley/particular	viewpoints	
or	via	attractions/points	of	interest	(heritage,	
archaeological	or	cultural	sites/features	etc).	

                                                                          Photograph:      Footpaths

     Photograph:         The Nene Way from Doddington Lock

                                                                         Photograph:      Bridleways

     Photograph:        Walking provision for the planned growth of new communities

     Box 4: Northamptonshire Rights of Way Improvement Plan
     2007-2011: Opportunities for North Northamptonshire
     Key	considerations	for	the	Plan,	in	accordance	with	        It	also	identifies	the	need	to:	
     Defra	guidance,	include	development	of	the	following:
                                                                      Tackle	the	fragmented	footpath	network	
          Access	to	and	within	attractive	areas	                      including	dead	end/cul-de-sac	paths
           which	might	have	few	existing	rights	of	                   Improve	walking	and	cycling	links	on	the	urban	
           way	i.e.	waterside	or	particular	views                      fringe	and	increase	circular	route	provision
          Routes	to	support	tourism,	economic	                       Improve	links	to/from	recreation	and	leisure	sites
           regeneration	or	community	lead	initiatives
                                                                      Improve	inter-urban	and	inter-village	community	links	
          Walking,	cycling	and	horse	riding	                          and	routes	to	local	facilities	–	shops,	parks	and	pubs
           provision	which	avoid	road	use
          Routes	from	population	centres	to	the	countryside	    Specifically,	the	following	are	identified	
           linking	with	public	transport	                        which	relate	to	this	strategy:

     The	plan	identifies	10	Proposed	Actions:                         Proposed	cycle	route	along	a	disused	railway	
                                                                       between	Little	Irchester	and	Summer	Leys	
       1. Create	a	safe	joined-up	network                              Nature	Reserve	near	Great	Doddington.	
       . Improve	access	for	those	with	mobility	                      This	is	close	to	–	and	should	link	with	
           problems	and	visual	impairment                              -	the	recently	developed	recreational	trail	
                                                                       between	Thrapston	and	Irthlingborough	
       . Improve	people’s	health	and	enjoyment
                                                                       along	the	same	former	railway	alignment.	
       4. Improve	links	between	communities
                                                                      Increases	in	the	provision	of	circular	walks,	
       5. Improve	signage
                                                                       particularly	lasting	1-	hours	including	proposals	
       6. Increase	interpretation	and	publicity                        at	Ringstead,	Burton	Latimer,	and	multiple	
       7. Increase	maintenance                                         example	opportunities	across	rural	areas	between	
       8. Improve	travel	choices                                       Kettering,	Corby,	Thrapston	and	Oundle

       9. Use	opportunities	from	the	county’s	                        Walking	and	cycling	provision	for	the	
           growth	to	help	fund	improvements                            planned	growth	of	new	communities	
                                                                       including	developer	contributions	
                                                                      Provision	of	routes	as	part	of	sustainable	
                                                                       transport	network	for	commuters	and	to	
                                                                       facilitate	(non-car)	access	to	local	towns	and	
                                                                       therefore	not	simply	as	leisure	routes
                                                                                                           Section	8:	A	Connected	Nene	Valley

Sustrans,	the	national	cycle network	organisation	                                 significant	tracts	of	the	Nene	Valley	makes	it	very	suitable	
has	several	proposals	within	North	Northamptonshire	                               for	‘access	for	all’	recreational	trail	provision.	The	relatively	
which	are	partially	complete	or	underway.	They	are	                                proximity	of	many	of	the	towns	to	one	another,	particularly	
shown	on	the	plans	at	Appendix	E	and	include:                                      between	Wellingborough	and	Thrapston	(typically	towns	
                                                                                   are	-6	miles	apart),	the	wealth	of	natural	reserves	in	
     National	Route	5,	extending	from	Peterborough	                              between	the	towns,	the	growth	proposed	for	many	local	
      to	Birmingham	(complete	between		Peterborough	                               towns	and	the	current	disconnection	between	the	towns	
      and	Oundle,	but	proposed	west	of	Oundle	to	                                  and	communities	of	the	Nene	Valley	(which	are	typically	
      Kettering	and	onwards	via	Rugby	to	Birmingham)                               dissected	by	the	A45)	means	increased	trail	provision	to	
     National	Route	6,	a	north-south	route	extending	                             provides	an	obvious	and	ideal	way	to	allow	more	people	to	
      through	Northampton	(complete)                                               access	the	Nene	Valley,	River	Nene	and	nearby	local	towns.	
     Regional	Routes	71,	7	and	74.	Route	71	extends	
      between	Oundle,	Thrapston	and	Irthlingborough	                               Road, Rail and Public Transport
      (part	complete),	Route	7	extends	from	Corby	
      south	to	Kettering	and	(part	complete)	and	                                  The	Nene	Valley	is	well	connected	by	road	and	rail	services	
      Route	74	extends	from	Corby	south	eastwards	                                 but	these	need	to	provide	stronger	‘invitation’	into	the	Nene	
      towards	Thrapston	(part	complete).	                                          Valley.	The	lack	of	visual	connection	between	both	the	
                                                                                   road	and	rail	networks	and	the	Nene	Valley	highlights	the	
     ‘Connect	’	proposals	for	new	local	routes	between	
                                                                                   importance	of	tourism	signage	and	information	provision	
      Wellingborough,	Rushden,	Higham	Ferrers,	
                                                                                   regarding	Nene	Valley	attractions	and	facilities.	The	
      Irthlingborough	and	Raunds.	These	are	designed	
                                                                                   A45/A605	and	wider	strategic	road	network	(M1,	A1(M),	
      to	be	local	community	routes	and	therefore	to	
                                                                                   A509,	A6,	A6116,	A14,	A4)	provides	multiple	points	
      bring	significant	benefits	providing	access	to	
                                                                                   of	access	to	the	Nene	Valley.	There	are	rail	stations	at	
      town	centres,	schools,	local	facilities	etc.	
                                                                                   Northampton,	Wellingborough	and	Peterborough,	all	on	
Some	local	authorities	e.g.	Wellingborough	and	Kettering,	                         separate	radial	rail	routes	from	London	(Euston	and	King’s	
also	have	cycling	plans	for	their	areas	which	connect	with	                        Cross	St	Pancras),	but	each	potentially	providing	direct	
the	above	proposals.	The	Thrapston	to	Irthlingborough	                             access	to	the	Nene	Valley.	Each	of	these	towns	also	has	
recreational	trail	(shared	footpath	and	cycle	trail),	which	                       strategically	important	bus/coach	stations	and/or	services.		
connects	Stanwick	Lakes	and	runs	close	to	Denford	and	
Woodford	is	well	used,	particularly	between	Stanwick	                              In	promoting	sustainable	transport,	initiatives	need	
Lakes	and	Thrapston.	It	would	benefit	from	increased	                              to	maximise	access	by	public	transport	and	more	
signposting	the	promotion	in	the	towns	and	villages	it	                            sustainable	private	car	use	e.g.	car	sharing,	in	order	to	
serves.	The	Peterborough	Millennium	Green	Wheel35                                  avoid	increasing	traffic	congestion	and	placing	undue	
is	a	continuous	network	of	cycleways,	footpaths	and	                               pressure	on	the	road	network	particularly	in	rural	areas.	
bridleways	around	Peterborough	including	the	Nene	Valley.	                         Bus	services	in	the	area	are	generally	fairly	limited.	The	
It	connects	with	regional	Sustrans	routes	1	and	national	                         area	was	previously	served	by	a	saunter	bus	service	
Sustrans	routes	1	and	5	(see	maps	at	Appendix	E).	                               which	provided	weekend	summer	services	to	attractions	
                                                                                   along	the	Nene	Valley.	Given	the	growth	in	North	
In	general,	as	the	Rights	of	Way	Improvement	Plan	indicates,	                      Northamptonshire,	provision	of	a	visitor/community	
there	is	strong	scope	for	improving	footpath	provision.	                           hopper	style	bus	service	is	likely	to	be	appropriate.	
Recreational	trails	which	include	cycling	generally	prove	
to	be	a	popular	and	very	beneficial	local	resource	for	
which	there	is	high	demand .	The	lack	of	undulation	for	

                Peterborough	Millennium	Green	Wheel	
                The	Northamptonshire	Rights	of	Way	Improvement	Plan	
                indicates	that	‘there	is	great	demand	for	off-road	recreational	
                cycling	in	the	county	as	demonstrated	by	the	popularity	of	
                cycling	on	the	Brampton	Valley	Way	and	enjoying	the	circuit	
                around	Pitsford	Water	(Brixworth	Country	Park)’	pg	1                                                                              51
Section	8:	A	Connected	Nene	Valley

Developing Provision
Developing	accessibility	and	connectivity	in	the	Nene	                     To	generate	maximum	effectiveness	the	links,	access	routes	
Valley,	within	the	context	of	improved	access	and	                         and	gateways	must	focus	on	arrival	points,	attractors	and	
enjoyment	of	its	natural	environment,	focuses	particularly	                destinations	and	the	needs	of	both	local	communities	
on	sustainable	and	healthy	travel	modes,	both	within	                      and	visitors.	They	should	capture	vistas	and	create	visual	
the	area	and	to	the	area.	Specifically,	it	includes:                       connectivity,	link	the	reserves	(as	identified	in	Section	7)	
                                                                           and	provide	access	to	and	interpret	local	features	and	
        Improving	cycling	and	walking	                                    points	of	interest.	By	doing	so	they	can	become	attractions	
        More	sustainable	transport	access	to	the	area                     in	their	own	right	as	well	as	catalysts	for	enhancing	GI	
        Improving	public	transport                                        and	for	other	recreation	and	tourism	infrastructure.	

        Better	‘invitation’	into	the	area	through	‘gateways’
                                                                           Specific	proposals	to	achieve	the	above	
        Ensuring	the	above	maximise	opportunities	to	become	              are	provided	in	more	detail	below.	
         facilities	and	attractions	in	their	own	right	and,	of	critical	
         importance,	that	they	support	and	facilitate	other	               ‘Nene Valley Trail’ – north south recreational
         attractions	in	the	Nene	Valley	                                   route along the Nene Valley.	An	off-road	trail	
                                                                           for	cycling	and	walking	is	particularly	appropriate	
There	are	multiple,	interrelated	benefits	associated	                      for	the	Nene	Valley	for	a	number	of	reasons:
with	the	above.	This	provision	will	
                                                                                The	lack	of	undulation	in	the	largely	flat	bottomed	valley	
        directly	introduce	more	people	(residents	and	visitors)	to	             makes	the	Nene	Valley	particularly	suitable	for	off	road	
         the	Nene	Valley,	bringing	benefits	to	local	communities,	               recreational	cycling	provision	which	could	easily	be	
         both	the	growth	towns	and	existing	communities                          used	by	a	large	proportion	of	the	population.	It	can	
                                                                                 also	be	accessible	to	those	with	restricted	mobility.	
        lever	investment	in	other	recreation	and	tourism	
         infrastructure	and	support	existing	infrastructure,	                   Relatively	evenly	spaced	towns	along	the	valley,	
         from	cycle	hire	to	waterside	pubs,	craft	or	local	                      typically	at	4-8	mile	intervals,	together	with	nearby	
         food	based	retail	to	new	or	enhanced	visitor	                           villages	provide	an	ideal	infrastructural	base	for	
         attractions,	creating	significant	economic	benefits                     supporting	recreational	routes	(see	below).	

        directly	help	deliver	access	and	enjoyment	                            A	trail	(or	combination	of	trails)	provides	an	access	
         of	the	Nene	Valley	and	the	waterways	                                   route	between	local	towns	and	villages	as	well	
                                                                                 as	a	recreational	facility.	It	can	therefore	provide	
        support	healthy	lifestyle,	fitness	and	wellbeing	benefits	
                                                                                 better	access	to	local	services/town	centres	
         from	both	green	infrastructure	and	recreation
                                                                                 and	strengthen	the	links	between	the	towns	
        provide	sustainable,	low	carbon,	healthy	travel	to	the	
                                                                                 and	villages.	In	so	doing	it	can	help	strengthen	
         attractions,	facilities	and	local	centres	(employment,	
                                                                                 the	identity	of	the	Nene	Valley	overall.	
         shops,	schools	etc.)	in	the	Nene	Valley
                                                                                The	rail	stations	at	Northampton,	Peterborough	
        create	greater	connectivity	and	cohesion	
                                                                                 and	Wellingborough,	all	of	which	should	be	on	
         between	the	local	communities	
                                                                                 the	route	of	the	Nene	Valley	trail,	mean	this	route	
        help	strengthen	the	identity	and	raise	                                 could	be	a	regionally	significant	recreational	facility	
         awareness	of	the	Nene	Valley                                            accessible	by	public	transport	from	outside	the	
                                                                                 region	and	promoting	access	into	the	Nene	Valley
                                                                                The	existing	cycle/walking	trail	between	
                                                                                 Thrapston	and	Irthlingborough	along	the	former	
                                                                                 railway	alignment	provides	an	obvious	basis	
                                                                                 for	the	extension	of	a	trail	along	the	valley.

	                                                                                                            A	Living	Countryside

    Photograph:     Irchester Country Park

The	Nene	Way	long	distance	footpath	already	provides	           and	to	Earls	Barton.	It	should	include	provision	for	good	
walking	provision.	A	Nene	Valley	trail	route	could	             access	from/into	and	within	the	towns	(where	this	does	
complement	this	or	be	directly	aligned	i.e.	subsume	            not	already	exist)	in	order	to	ensure	strong	awareness	
sections	of	the	Nene	Way:	more	detailed	investigation	is	       and	easy	access	onto	the	extended	local	network.
required	to	establish	the	most	appropriate	option.	The	
existing	Nene	Way	route	would	not	be	appropriate	for	           Elsewhere,	trail	provision	should	focus	on	access	between	
cycle	use	along	some	sections.	It	might	be	that	a	Nene	         local	centres/attractions/reserves	and	the	Nene	Valley	
Valley	trail	complements	the	Nene	Way	but	provides	             Trail.	In	particular,	trail	development	should	focus	on:	
a	more	direct	route	and/or	one	which	is	closely	linked	
with	attractions	and	the	environmental	reserves	of	                    High	quality	links	to	rail	stations	(see	
the	valley.	Equestrian	access	on	the	Nene	Valley	trail	                 below)	and	town	centres
should	be	considered	as	part	of	the	feasibility	work	                  Consideration	of	use	of	former	railway	alignments	
                                                                        where	appropriate	and	retention	of	such	alignments	
Additional Trail Provision	The	stretch	of	the	Nene	                     for	potential	trail	use,	ensuring	they	are	not	lost	to	
Valley	just	south	of	Wellingborough,	near	Summer	Leys	                  development.	(Such	alignments	are	particularly	suitable	
local	nature	reserve,	to	the	area	north	of	Thrapston	at	                for	trails	given	their	even	terrain	and	directness)	
Titchmarsh	Lakes	encompasses	a	concentration	of	local	                 Ensuring	good	connectivity	from	the	urban	
towns	with	a	rich	natural	environment	in	between.	The	                  fringes	of	towns,	not	just	town	centres		
towns	of	Wellingborough,	the	three	towns	(Irthlingborough,	
                                                                       Providing	interpretation	and	potentially	themed	routes	
Rushden	and	Higham	Ferrers),	Raunds	and	Thrapston	
                                                                        e.g.	focusing	on	heritage,	archaeological,	arts/
have	a	combined	population	of	over	10,000	and	straddle	
                                                                        cultural	or	landscape/natural	environment	features.	
or	are	adjacent	to	at	least	seven	nature	reserves	or	country	
                                                                        (These	could	range	from	the	birds	of	the	pSPA,	local	
parks.	A	Northampton to Thrapston Area Connectivity
                                                                        Roman	archaeology,	the	American/Washington	
Plan	is	proposed	to	co-ordinate	and	expand	trail	
                                                                        connection	of	the	local	area,	vernacular	architecture,	
provision	in	this	area	building	on	the	Sustrans	Connect		
                                                                        the	guillotine	locks	along	the	Nene	or	watermills)
projects,	other	local	existing	or	emerging	cycle	networks,	
such	as	those	under	development	by	Wellingborough	                     Ensuring	trail	development	is	sympathetically	designed	
Borough	Council,	and	incorporating	the	Nene	Valley	                     to	its	environment,	includes	directional	and	distance	
Trail.	This	should	maximise	connectivity	between	the	                   signage,	other	supporting	infrastructure	(secure	bicycle	
local	reserves,	country	parks	and	population	centres	                   parking,	information	boards	etc.)	and	promotion
and	include	the	communities	of	Finedon,	nearby	villages	        	

  Section	8:	A	Connected	Nene	Valley

Other	important	trail	development	opportunities	include:	

     Links	between	the	Nene	Valley	Railway	westwards	
      to	Corby	which	could	link	Corby	town	centre/railway	
      station/Priors	Hall	development	with	Peterborough	and	
      include	Wildlife	Trust	sites	west	of	Yarwell	and	Fineshade	
      Wood.	Similarly	trail	development	opportunities	exist	
      between	Twywell	Hill	and	Dales,	the	Nene	Valley	
      and	Kettering	within	a	strategic	GI	corridor.	(Both	
      opportunities	are	also	referred	to	in	Section	7).		
     Circular walking routes	which	provide	a	popular	
      and	easy	to	access	form	of	recreation.	They	are	
      particular	important	when	combined	with	other	
      visitor	facilities,	such	as	tea	shops/pubs/cafes	and	
      small	tourism	attractions	and	features	on	route.	
Tackling	land	ownership	and	rights	of	way	issues	will	
be	important	in	all	the	above.	Land	ownership	can	
provide	significant	challenges	in	developing	trails	and	
in	creating	‘best	fit	routes’	from	a	user	perspective37	
This	strategic	plan	supports	the	creation	of	such	‘best	
routes’	and	completing	gaps	in	the	network.

Local Centres: Towns and Villages.	The	conveniently	
spaced	towns	and	villages	along	the	Nene	Valley	provide	
ideal	infrastructural	base	for	the	above	recreational	
routes:	facilities	in	theses	centres	including	cafes,	pubs,	
tourist	information	and	shops	can	support	cyclists,	
walkers	and	waterways	users	at	convenient	rest	stop	
intervals.	The	development	of	trails	would	support	
additional	investment	in	such	facilities	in	the	towns.	

‘Gateways’	Strengthening	invitation	to	Nene	Valley	involves	
promoting	the	valley	and	connection/access	points	at	
gateway	locations.	Principal	‘gateway’	locations	should	be	
Northampton,	Wellingborough	and	Peterborough.	One	of	
these	locations	might	be	a	larger	gateway	with	potentially	
a	Nene Valley Visitors Centre,	perhaps	combined	
with	another	visitor	attraction.	They	should	be	located	or	
well-connected	with	the	respective	rail	(and	bus/coach)	
stations	or	Nene	Valley	Trail.	Information	provision	and	
awareness	raising	signage	promoting	the	Nene	Valley	is	
key	for	such	gateways.	Similar	signage	should	also	be	
provided	at	strategic	road	access	to	the	Nene	Valley.	

                   i.e.	those	routes	which	are	the	most	appealing	for	users,	are	
                   aligned	to	ensure	enjoyment	of	attractive	landscapes	and	facilitate	
                   access	to	attractions,	facilities	and	heritage/cultural	features.

                                                                                             Section	8:	A	Connected	Nene	Valley

Sustainable Transport	Improving	sustainable	transport	
access	will	involve	improvements	and	promotion	of	public	         Summary of Priorities
transport	(rail	and	bus)	and	particularly	connections	from	
                                                                  The	following	priorities	are	identified	to	ensure improved
these	modes	into	the	Nene	Valley.	To	encourage	cycle	
                                                                  access to and connectivity within the Nene Valley:
access,	buses	should	be	able	to	carry	bicycles	and	relevant	
train	companies	should	promote	bicycle	carriage .	The	
potential	for	a	visitor/community	hopper	style	bus	service	
                                                                                  Development	of	a strong network of
serving	the	Nene	Valley,	potentially	at	weekends	and	
                                                                                  trails,	principally	for	cycling	and	walking.	
public	holidays	over	the	summer	months	with	bus	stops	at	
                                                                                  These	should,	provide	high	levels	of	
strategic	visitor/	recreational	locations	should	be	supported.	
                                                                                  connectivity	with	towns	and	villages,	
This	should	potentially	link	with	the	growth	communities	
                                                                                  including	the	growth	towns,	attractions	
of	Wellingborough,	Kettering	and	Corby.	There	may	also	
                                                                                  and	facilities,	provide	access	for	all	and	
be	opportunities	for	riverbus/	passenger	boat	service	                  1.
                                                                                  facilitate	enjoyment	of	the	most	scenic	parts	
development	on	the	Nene	e.g.	in	Northampton.	Travel	
                                                                                  of	the	Nene	Valley.	A	Wellingborough to
plans	for	visitor	attractions	should	promote	sustainable	
                                                                                  Thrapston Area Connectivity Plan	will	
transport	access	and	involve	operators	working	with	
                                                                                  focus	on	a	network	of	links	between	a	string	
transport	providers.	Parking	plans	could	potentially	involve	
                                                                                  of	Nene	Valley	towns	interspersed	with	a	
lower	rates/	free	parking	for	vehicles	carrying	6	or	more	
                                                                                  concentration	of	local	natural	reserves.
passengers	and	reduced/free	parking	during	off-peak	times.

                                                                                  Develop	a	strategic	recreational	trail
                                                                        .        along the length of the Nene Valley
                                                                                  from	Northampton	to	Peterborough

                                                                                  Develop	key	gateways	and	access	points	
                                                                                  which	‘invite’	people	into	the	Nene	Valley

                                                                                  Develop	sustainable transport access
                                                                                  to	and	within	the	Nene	Valley

                                                                        There	are	numerous	examples	of	buses	carrying	bikes	including	
                                                                        several	bus	companies	in	Wales	(see	for	example	www.
                                                              	Similarly	bicycle	
                                                                        carriage	by	train	is	common	to	destinations	popular	for	cycling	
                                                                        such	as	Brockenhurst,	Hampshire.	Bicycles	can	also	be	hired	
                                                                        at	the	train	station	here             55
 Section	9:	 Enhanced	Natural	
 Attractions	and	a	Natural	Playground
 Providing	facilities	and	places	which	people	are	drawn	to	enjoy.

                                                                                           Photograph:      Nene Valley Railway

                                                                       This	section	focuses	on	enhancing	nature	based	attractions	for	
Delivery of Strategic Objectives
                                                                       visitors	and	the	local	community	but	within	the	context	of	the	total	
1.	Integration	Between	Urban	and	Rural                                 visitor	‘offer’	i.e.	all	local	attractions.	North	Northamptonshire	has	an	
                                                                       appealing	mix	of	heritage,	rural	and	activity	based	attractions	and	
.	Protecting	and	Enhancing	the	Natural	Environment
                                                                       facilities.	Strengthening	the	Nene	Valley’s	nature	and	waterways	based	
.	Improving	Access                                                   offer	as	part	of	this	will	boost	the	overall	appeal	of	the	area	and	help	
                                                                       join	up	some	of	these	attractions,	creating	a	stronger	visitor	product	
4.	Investing	in	Facilities	and	Attractions                            as	well	as	an	enhanced	range	of	facilities	for	local	residents.	
5.	Investing	in	Waterways

6.	Creating	Places                                                    Existing Context
7.	Building	Recognition	of	the	Nene	Valley                 
                                                                       Northamptonshire’s	visitor	attractions	can	be	considered	in	terms	of	the	
8.	Delivering	Sustainable	Development                                 following	main	types:	heritage,	recreation	and	adventure,	waterways,	
                                                                       nature	based	and	places	e.g.	towns	and	villages.	Attractions	are	
9.	Supporting	the	Rural	Economy                                                                                             39
                                                                       principally	promoted	by	Explore	Northamptonshire ,	the	tourism	body	
        indicates Natural Attractions theme
        contributes to this objective                                  for	the	county.		Despite	the	strong	body	of	attractions	and	its	‘spires	
                                                                       and	squires’	tag,	reflecting	its	wealth	of	stately	home	and	ecclesiastical	
Key Facts
                                                                       heritage,	Northamptonshire	tends	to	be	one	of	several	English	counties	–	
•	 North	Northamptonshire	is	known	for	its	concentration	of	           similar	to	e.g.	Bedfordshire	and	Lincolnshire	-	that	are	relatively	unknown	
   stately	homes	and	the	prominence	of	its	church	spires	
                                                                       to	potential	visitors.	Once	the	area	is	explored,	this	is	a	perception	
   –	‘squires	and	spires’
                                                                       that	typically	changes	as	visitors	are	frequently	‘very	pleasantly	
•	 Stanwick	Lakes	has	quickly	become	an	important	nature	                                                   40
                                                                       surprised	at	the	beauty	of	the	area’ 	and	its	archetypal	Englishness.	
   based	attraction	for	the	Nene	Valley

                                                                       Tourism	development	in	Northamptonshire	has	an	emphasis	on	
                                                                       improving	the	visitor	offer	to	a	higher	spending	market .	Nature	based	
                                                                       visitor	attractions	can	assist	and	form	part	of	the	appeal	to	this	market.	
                     See	for	example	‘Explore	Northamptonshire:	Strategic	and	Operating	
                     Plan	007-10’,	June	007,	Northamptonshire	Enterprise
                     See	again	Explore	Northamptonshire’s	Strategic	and	Operating	Plan	
                                                                      Section	9:	Enhanced	Natural	Attractions	and	a	Natural	Playground

                                                                                 Other	heritage	attractions	include	the	Fotheringhay	
Heritage Attractions
                                                                                 castle	motte	(where	Mary	Queen	of	Scots	was	
North	Northamptonshire	has	a	notable	array	                                      executed),	the	Eleanor	Cross	at	Geddington	and	
of	historic	houses	and	gardens	including:                                        Chichele	College	(medieval	building)	in	Higham	Ferrers.	
                                                                                 Many	of	North	Northamptonshire’s	churches	are	
                                                                                 renowned	for	their	architecture	or	historic	features42.	
 Rockingham Castle               All	stately	homes	near	Corby
                                                                                 The	Nene	Valley	has	a	particular	concentration	of	
 Deene Park
                                                                                 medieval	churches	with	spires43.	It	also	has	numerous	
 Kirby Hall
                                                                                 archaeological	assets	such	as	Chester	Farm,	
 Boughton House                  Stately	home	near	Kettering                     near	Wellingborough,	the	site	of	a	walled	Roman	
 Elton Hall                      Stately	home	between	                           town	and	deserted	medieval	village,	and	the	sites	
                                 Oundle	and	Peterborough	                        uncovered	by	the	Raunds	area	prehistoric	project44.
                                 (and	in	Cambridgeshire)
 Prebendal Manor                 Historic	house	and	
                                                                                 Recreation, Adventure and Other
 Medieval Centre                 gardens	near	Oundle                             Visitor Attractions
 Castle Ashby                    Historic	gardens	near	                          Key	recreation,	adventure	and	other	visitor	attractions	
 Gardens                         Northampton                                     within	or	in	close	proximity	to	the	Nene	Valley	include:	
 Lyveden New Bield               Elizabethan	mansion	shell	
                                 (never	completed)	and	                            Wicksteed Park             Family	focused	amusement	
                                 garden,	near	Oundle                                                          and	entertainment	
                                                                                                              park	near	Kettering
                                                                                   Billing Aquadrome          Leisure	holiday	park	
                                                                                                              near	Northampton
                                                                                   Grendon Lakes              Both	are	watersports	venues	
                                                                                   Nene Whitewater            between	Wellingborough	
                                                                                   Centre                     and	Northampton

                                                                                   Rockingham Motor           Motor	sport	venue	near	Corby
                                                                                   Racing Circuit
                                                                                   Sacrewell Farm and         Near	Wansford
                                                                                   Country Centre
                                                                                   Fermyn Woods               Gallery	and	arts	educational	
                                                                                   Art Gallery                centre,	near	Kettering

  Photograph:           Rockingham Castle

              See	for	example	the	distinctive	Saxon	tower	on	the	church	at	
              Earls	Barton	dating	from	970AD,	St	Mary	and	All	Saints	Church	
              in	Fotheringhay	with	its	distinctive	tall	octagonal	tower
              As	identified	in	N	Pevsener	‘Northamptonshire	                        Photograph:       Stanwick Lakes
              (Pevsner	Buildings	of	England)’,	197
         44                                                                                                                                  57
     Photograph:           Nene Valley Railway                                                 Photograph:             Top Lodge, Fineshade Woods

Towns, Villages and ‘Places’
Part	of	the	charm	of	Nene	Valley	is	in	many	of	its	villages,	
the	character	of	which	has	been	compared	to	those	of	the	
Cotswolds.	Villages	such	as	Wadenhoe,	Aldwinkle,	Ashton,	
Weekley,	the	Houghtons,	with	their	distinctive	palette	of	
local	materials;	limestone	walls,	thatch,	Collyweston	stone	
slates	and	pantiles,	typically	fit	the	picturesque	English	
rural	idyll	image.	Oundle	is	the	historic	town	in	North	
Northamptonshire	with	the	strongest	tourism	appeal.	
Other	towns	have	the	potential	to	strengthen	provision	for	
visitors,	particularly	given	the	opportunities	associated	
with	the	waterways,	their	unspoilt	traditional	character	
and	nature	based	attractions.	There	are	a	relatively	
small	number	of	‘place’	destinations	in	the	Nene	Valley	
which	have	notable	appeal	i.e.	are	locations	which	local	
residents	and	visitors	are	drawn	to	spend	their	leisure	
time.	Examples	include	Stanwick	Lakes,	Oundle,	Billing,	
Irchester	Country	Park	and	on	a	smaller	scale	Wadenhoe45.	                                     Photograph:            River Nene at Fotheringhay

Provision	of	accommodation and eateries	in	the	Nene	
Valley	has	grown	but	requires	further	development	to	
increase	the	proportion	of	visitors	who	stay	overnight	and	to	
support	tourism	development	in	the	Nene	Valley	overall .	

            45                                                                                   46
                 Some	visitor	attractions	are	contained	destinations	providing	activities/            Accommodation	ranges	from	B&Bs,	self-catering,	boutique	hotels	
                 services	in	their	own	right	such	as	Billing	Aquadrome	or	Wicksteed	                  and	larger	hotels.	There	is	lack	of	accommodation	for	families.	
                 Park.	On	a	smaller	scale	Grendon	Lakes	and	Nene	Whitewater	centre	                   There	is	a	strong	country	pub	sector	but	a	lower	level	of	café/	
                 are	also	important	attractions.	In	this	context	‘places’	can	be	defined	as	          tea	shop	and	bar/restaurant	provision.	There	is	moderate	take-
                 locations	which	people	are	drawn	to	experience	either	for	their	natural	             up	of	quality	assurance	within	the	sector:	increased	adoption	of	
58               environment	or	without	being	managed	attractions	in	their	own	right..	               this	by	providers	would	improve	the	level	of	provision	overall.
                                                         Section	9:	Enhanced	Natural	Attractions	and	a	Natural	Playground

                                                                 In	keeping	with	the	focus	for	this	strategic	plan,	nature	
Developing Provision                                             based	visitor	attractions	have	been	included	in	the	above	
                                                                 but	existing	contained	or	isolated	visitor	attractions,	
The	above	complement	the	nature-based	and	
                                                                 including	some	stately	homes,	have	been	excluded.
waterways	assets	of	the	Nene	Valley.	Integrating	
green	infrastructure	provision	and	improved	use	of	the	          Other	sites,	either	existing	or	new,	and	with	potential	
waterways	and	waterside	with	the	above	will	support	             to	become	more	significant	‘places’,	include:	
the	creation	of	the	Nene	Valley	as	a	significantly	
enhanced	and	sought	after	destination	for	local	people	               Localities	within	the	Wellingborough	to	Thrapston	
and	visitors.	Achieving	this	integration	focuses	on:	                  area,	extending	slightly	north	and	south	of	both	
                                                                       towns,	as	identified	in	Section	8.	Public	transport,	
     Supporting	the	creation	of	‘places’	that	people	are	             accessibility	and	a	developed	trail	network	will	
      drawn	to	experience	during	their	leisure	time                    generate	scope	for	new/expanded	tourism	or	leisure	
     Linking	attractions,	waterways	and	green	infrastructure	         nodes	in	this	area,	which	could	include	Stanwick	
      provision,	both	physically	e.g.	through	activities	              Lakes,	especially	with	more	connectivity/	access	to	
      and	trails	and	in	terms	of	their	marketing                       and	from	the	river,	Higham	Ferrers	market	square,	
     Supporting	businesses	and	initiatives	to	achieve	the	            Wellingborough	waterfront	and	potentially	smaller	
      above	                                                           scale	localities	at	Ringstead	/	Great	Addington	
                                                                       including	the	waterside	activities,	and	at	Denford.
More	details	on	the	above	are	outlined	below.	                        Thrapston	itself,	particularly	sites	near	its	
                                                                       waterside	but	also	extending	to	the	town	
Creating ‘Places’ or new destinations                                  centre	(as	identified	in	Section	6)

in the Nene Valley                                                    Northampton	waterside	(see	Section	6)
                                                                      Barnwell	marina,	Barnwell	Country	Park	and	the	
The	concept	of	places	or	destinations	relates	to	relatively	           nearby	Oundle	Mill	(formerly	Barnwell	Mill),	Oundle
small	localities	or	specific	sites	which	people	are	drawn	to	
                                                                      Yarwell	and	Wansford	in	association	with	the	
visit:	they	are	leisure	or	tourism	nodes	ideally	connected	
                                                                       Nene	Valley	Railway	and	River	Nene	locations
to	(or	within)	a	town	or	village	centre	or	other	access	
                                                                      Billing,	where	currently	not	all	waterside	uses	are	
point	such	as	rail	stations	or	main	roads.	They	might	be	
                                                                       orientated	or	maximise	the	waterfront	location
visitors’	centres,	heritage	sites,	waterside	locations	or	
viewpoints.	Existing	‘places’	or	nodes	in	the	Nene	Valley	       	
or	North	Northamptonshire	can	be	considered	to	be:               The	above	shortlist	is	not	exhaustive	and	there	will	be	
                                                                 other	locations	that	provide	the	opportunity	to	become	
     The	Country	Parks	of	Barnwell,	Brigstock	and	Irchester     leisure	and	tourism	nodes	of	varying	scales.	Some	villages	
     Billing	waterside                                          or	rural	locations	such	as	mill	sites	may	be	appropriate,	
                                                                 but	the	sensitivity	of	any	rural	location	means	these	will	
     The	King’s	Head	at	Wadenhoe	and	the	
                                                                 only	be	appropriate	as	small	or	very	small-scale	nodes.	
      Queen’s	Head	at	Nassington
     Oundle	market	place	/	town	centre                          These	‘destinations’	or	‘places’	should	seek	to	encourage	
     Top	Lodge,	Fineshade	Woods	(RSPB	                          a	high	quality	leisure	experience,	which	might	itself	be	
      and	Forestry	Commission	site)                              linked	with	wider	experiences	involving	green	infrastructure,	
     Elton	Hall,	nearby	restaurant	and	garden	centre	           leisure	activities	or	visitor	attractions.	They	should	be	
                                                                 places	that	are	enjoyed	and	supported	by	local	residents	
     Stanwick	Lakes
                                                                 and	therefore	appropriate	to	both	their	surroundings	and	

A	Living	Countryside

     Photograph:    Hardwater Mill

the	local	communities.	They	may	still	be	iconic	in	their	        targeted	to	particular	markets.	Examples	included	guided	
own	way	or	to	the	Nene	Valley	and	a	small	number	could	          half	or	full	day	canoe	trips	with	pub	lunch	stops,	cycle	hire	
be	of	regional	or	possibly	even	national	significance.	          at	the	start	of	long	distance	trails	and	multi-day	cycle/canoe	
                                                                 trips	with	accommodation	and	luggage	transfer	between.	
Waterside	pubs,	cafes/restaurants,	heritage	attractions,	        Packaged	activities	can	be	particularly	important	in	ensuring	
marinas,	waterside	attractions/facilities,	visitors	centres,	    all	ages	and	sectors	are	attracted	to	participate.
accommodation	and	potentially	at	locations	with	particular	
views	e.g.	waterscapes,	across	the	valley	or	river,	spires,	     Recreational	activity	should	be	supported	with	investment	
historic	landscapes,	or	particularly	combinations	of	            in	facilities	such	as	campsites,	showers,	accommodation	
these,	all	provide	examples	of	the	type	of	investment	           (ranging	from	hostels	to	boutique	B&Bs,	farmstay	and	
which	could	assist	the	creation	of	such	destinations.	           self-catering	lodges)	and	eateries.	Ecotourism	offering	
                                                                 authentic	nature	based	experiences	is	particularly	relevant	
Some	of	the	proposals	for	particular	rural	industries	           and	likely	to	continue	to	be	a	growing	market.	New	operators	
(see	section	7)	including	food	and	food	related	                 in	the	above	facilities	and	attractions	will	support	existing	
industries,	arts	and	craft	industries,	ecotourism	               often	relatively	niche	operators	in	the	Nene	Valley.	
and	renewable	energy	could	also	have	outlets	or	
become	visitor	attractions	in	such	locations.                    Angling	is	already	a	very	significant	activity	in	the	Nene	
                                                                 Valley	and	proposals	to	develop	an	Angling	Centre	
                                                                 of	Excellence,	fishing	holidays	and	additional	fishing	
                                                                 events	are	proposed.	Packaged	holidays/	breaks	will	
Outdoor Leisure and Activities                                   need	to	link	with	local	accommodation	providers.

Increasing	recreational	activity	is	core	component	of	this	      Specific	initiatives,	which	might	be	delivered	in	
strategy,	both	water-based	activities	and	other	outdoor	         conjunction	with	the	health	sector	and	local	community	
activities.	Additional	waterways	and	waterside	activities	       groups,	should	support	active	healthy	lifestyles	
will	be	supported	in	appropriate	locations.	These	include	       amongst	all	sectors	of	the	local	population	through	
boating	provision,	sailing,	canoeing,	rowing	and	watersports.	   the	promotion	of	walking,	cycling	and	use	of	local	
There	are	particular	opportunities	for	developing	some	          trails	and	take	up	of	other	outdoor	activities	locally	
activities	as	packaged activities/ experiences	and	


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