I have always considered the Country Park to be one of the districts true gems. When my own children were younger, I often took them to the adventure play area for them to let off some steam and explore.
As they got older, I took them for walks around the park pointing out birds on the lake, in the trees and around the bird tables. They got very excited when we spotted goldfinch, nuthatch, tufted duck, tree creepers and sometimes a buzzard complimenting the abundant species of ducks and geese.
As a school teacher I enjoyed escorting young people down to the park, for nature talks from the Park Rangers. The students loved the park whether it was for science projects, environmental studies or just `getting out of school for a walk in the fresh air down by the water`.
I walk the park almost every day looking and listening to the changing of the seasons. I have also seen how well the park is used by walkers, cyclists, runners, bird watchers, photographers, horse riders or families visiting the children’s play area. I usually choose to complete the circular walk which is 2.3 miles (3.7km) long but there are numerous marked and hard-surfaced trails throughout the woodlands and meadows.
The walks go close to the reservoir so walkers are encouraged to stop and view the wildlife. Apart from the seating areas around the very popular children`s adventure playground there are several other picnic benches situated around the park.
There is also a wonderful café where you can stop and have anything from a cup of tea to a full English breakfast, if desired. There are toilets and a visitor centre displaying information about the wildlife you could see around the park. The children can also get up close to the ducks on the wooden pier platform.
This year marks the 41st anniversary since the park first opened to the public in 1978, although the reservoir is considerably older, having been built as a feeder for the Grand Union Canal & Oxford Canal in 1804. Many land holdings including part of the hamlet of Thrupp were flooded to create the reservoir.
As the town grew during the 1970’s, the District Council agreed with British Waterways (now the Canal & River Trust) to manage the site for recreational and conservation purposes. In 1983 a new visitor centre and cafe opened in the old reservoir keeper’s cottage, adapted for the purpose and the park was expanded in 1994 with the construction of the Northern Way road introducing the new Wild Acres and Community Orchard.
If like me, you hate the gym but want to stay fit and healthy there is also an outdoor gym in the park! The fitness equipment is in Northern Field beyond the car park near the main entrance. The cardiovascular equipment includes a rowing machine, leg press, cross-rider, air walker, skier, cycle, body twist and rider.
Daventry Country Park also hosts a Park Run every Saturday morning with hundreds of runners of all ages in a 5km timed run. Participants run at their own pace and run for their own fitness, health and enjoyment. It is organised and managed entirely by volunteers and new runners are always welcome to join in.
This year the park is set to see some major improvements to the circular paths, the building of new walkways, jetties and improving the café area and toilets. New equipment will be installed in the play area, including a castle-themed fort with lots of different activities, new swings and some smaller items for toddlers plus a refurbished zip wire!
The Country Park is ideally situated on the urban fringe of Daventry within one mile of the town centre and is easily accessible by car, bicycle or on foot with the benefit of cycle ways and footpaths from the surrounding areas.
Recognised as one of the best green spaces in the country, with its wealth of wildlife, nature trails and great expanse of water, the park really is a fantastic place to visit for people of all ages and interests.
Daventry Country Park
Telephone: 01327 871100
The Travel Locker
Jim Davis is a retired Northamptonshire secondary school teacher. Having worked as a freelance journalist for many years, he now writes a travel blog.He is available to write blog reviews for attractions, hotels and restaurants across the Midlands. Please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org