14 Arch Bridge

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

Footpath at Rushden Lakes
You can now also pick up the route from Rushden Lakes Shopping Centre. Take the track northward from the East end next to Wren Kitchens to cross the river and join the bankside path there.

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.

The route in detail (PDF) »

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.

Pond on the Nature Reserves at Higham Ferrers
Drag the map and click the roses for more detail

More walks »

Get & print OS 1:25 000 map »

Memorial at Higham Ferrers
Green Pool, Higham Ferrers Nature Reserves
Higham Ferrers Nature Reserves
River Nene near Higham Ferrers
Horses at a Gate near Ditchford
Ditchford Bridge
Fourteen Arch Railway Viaduct
Train Passing Horses Grazing
Wellingborough Lock on the River Nene
Narrowboat near Victoria Mills
The Blue Bridge
Swans Approaching Wellingborough
Wellingborough Embankment
Feeding the Swans
St. Mary's Higham Ferrers
St. Mary's Wellingborough

Click on any photo to see it enlarged