Tufted Ducks and Viaducts - Higham Ferrers to Wellingborough
8 Km = 5 miles = 2 hours walking + stops
Higham Ferrers to the Nature Reserves (1 Km)
Take the X46 or X47 bus from Wellingborough through Rushden to Higham Ferrers (about 30 minutes). Follow Warf Road down the long bridge over the A45 and into the old gravel pits which are now a series of nature reserves. Watch out for the flash of a Kingfisher along the river and for Geese, Cormorants and Eagrets on more open lakes.
Option: Start from Rushden Lakes
Higham Ferrers Pits to Ditchford (2.5 Km)
The "Nene Way" Long Distance Path now runs most of the way to Wellingborough. Where it crosses Ditchford Road, there was once a Northampton to Peterborough railway station. All trace is now gone. A few metres to the south stood Ditchford Mill which was demolished in the 20th century and replaced with a plant that processed abattoir waste. It stank! The site is now a depot for a haulage company.
Ditchford to Chester Farm (1.5 Km)
The impressive, 14 arch viaduct that carries the Midland Main Line across the river was first built for the London Midland Scottish Railway in the 1850s. A subsequent addition alongside doubled the capacity of the line. A little further on is a footbridge over the River to Chester Farm, a very important Historical and Archaeological site which is being restored and redeveloped following a terrible fire in 2010. Chester Farm Website »
Chester Farm to Wellingborough Embankment (2 Km)
The Nene Way bridge to Chester Farm is closed for repair so the route now sticks to the north of the river, passing Wellingborough Lock. A new footbridge marks where a spur line ran from London Road Station on the Northampton to Peterborough Railway to the LMS line at Midland Road, now the only station in Wellingborough. Sidings also served Little Irchester ironstone mines (Irchester Country Park) and Victoria Mills (Whitworths). The Embankment is well known for summer floral bedding and the large number of swans that live there all year round.
Conclusion (1 Km)
Continue west to the roundabout on the London Road then turn right. Opposite the "Dog and Duck" is a bus top where the X46 or X47 runs into town and on to Northampton. Those who still have energy can stroll the tree-lined "Walks" alongside the London Road and Wellingborough School playing fields to the town centre.
Stagecoach Bus Route X46/X47 »
Thrapston - Raunds - Rushden - Wellingborough - Earls Barton - Northampton
Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs are always allowed on busses. Most drivers are happy for other well-behaved dogs to travel too. Please keep dogs on leads in the Reserves.