You can’t go wrong with an outting at one of the many country parks in Northamptonshire. We spend most of our time in them – hello, free day out and the chance to tire the kids so they sleep well!
It’s pretty easy to get into a little habit of just going to the closest one to your home, but it’s worth trying some of the other Northampton country parks. They’re all unique in their own ways.
So which are the best country parks in Northamptonshire?
1. Irchester Country Park
Website | Gipsy Lane, Little Irchester, Irchester, Wellingborough, NN29 7DL | Payable parking
Go here for a great playground and walk combo
This is one of my absolute favourites. There is a choice of three routes and I prefer the longer walk that follows the outer edges of the park. Part follows a wide, smooth path that’s perfect for buggies, bikes and scooters and the other half follows a dirt track.
We tend to turn right from the top car park, which means you’ll finish at the playground. If we start at the playground I have no chance of getting them to leave for the walk!
The play area is great, offering sandpits, swings, slides and more, all with different bits for various ages. It’s gated too, so you don’t have to worry they’ll run off. You’ll find a café next to the playground, so grab a drink and snack to enjoy while they play.
The walk is lovely, passing tall trees throughout. Near the start you’ll pass a Megalosaurus skeleton in the woods and the chance to venture out on the viewpoint. There are a few small hills, so new riders should enjoy whizzing about. It’s one of those walks where the kids can nip in and out of the woods, whilst you walk alongside them on the track. All in all, a perfect country park.
Recommended Reading: 30+ Things to Do in Northampton
2. Brixworth Country Park
Website | Northampton Road, Brixworth, Northampton, NN6 9DG | Payable parking
Go here for a long walk and water views
This country park has a small playground, but the reason we love it is the 7.5 mile surfaced track round Pitsford Reservoir. It’s a decent walk with young ones, so if you have a bike trailer or seat it’s an ideal one to cycle round. You can even hire a bike from Rutland Cycling (onsite).
If your kids aren’t keen on walking, try picking up a scavenger hunt sheet from the office and encouraging them to tick off the things they see. There’s also the brass rubbing trail to try, as well as four gnomes to find.
The views are lovely, especially if you take the red route up to Hill Meadow, which looks down to the reservoir.
Recommended Reading: 9+ Lovely Walks in Northamptonshire
3. Foxfield’s Country Park
Website (none) | Foxfield Way, Northampton, NN4 5BE | Free parking
Go here for the space
This is a new discovery for me, but what a cute little gem. Follow the signs for Foxfield Pavillion and you’ll find it.
A pathway loops through the open space, pass pretty flowers and long grass. The kids loved it!
It’s buggy and bike-friendly, but due to the loose gravel I wouldn’t particularly recommend young ones on scooters. We ended up putting ours back in the boot. And there are a few small hills, so it might take some getting used to for new riders.
There are a couple of little tree and bush nooks where curious ones will likely enjoy exploring. And a few bridges too.
Overall, a cute country park that’s ideal for a few hours.
Recommended Reading: Emberton Country Park (in nearby Milton Keynes)
4. Upton Country Park
Website (none) | Upton Way, Upton, Northampton NN5 4EQ | Free Parking
Go here for a bike ride
Thanks to the mainly flat, surfaced track this Northampton country park is perfect for new cyclists. They can whizz about fairly confidently here. And as it isn’t too big either, it’s ideal for little legs to wander about too.
There are sheep in the fields and lots of cute dogs on their walks, so be prepared to stop a lot. My two love cooing over them.
If you fancy extending your walk, follow the signs past the sheep fields or along the lake. The Council are currently working to develop further tracks.
Parking has been quite busy during lockdown, so visit early if you want to nab a space.
Recommended Reading: Rushmere Country Park (in nearby Bedford)
5. Sywell Country Park
Website | Washbrook Lane, Ecton, Northampton, NN6 0QX | Payable Parking
Go here for a bit of everything
You’ll find a small, but nice all the same, playground right by the car park. There’s a sand pit, so you’ve been warned!
There’s also a small café at this country park, so again, you can grab something to enjoy while they play. Or if yours are like mine, spend a small fortune on more snacks that they *need* because they’re starving.
Next, head up the hill or the killer mountain of steps, to reach the water. You’ll usually find lots of ducks and geese around here, which in the eyes of a kid is always a plus in my experience.
From here go left or right to follow the loop walk round the water. It’s fairly flat, but not the smoothest, though you’d be fine with a buggy.
Recommended Reading: The Best Northamptonshire Gardens
6. Brampton Valley Way
Website | Brampton Way, Brixworth, Northampton, NN6 9BD | Free parking
Go here for a ‘contained’ walk
This one is more of a space in my opinion, but the Council class it as a country park. It spans 14 miles of walking and cycling trails. We love it because it’s a straight path that’s fenced in. You can see the kids if they race ahead, without worrying if they’ve gone round a corner.
The train tracks and vintage trains by Brampton Station also provide a bit of extra entertainment, as do the local horses in the fields.
7. Brackmills Woods
Website (none) | Salthouse Road, Northampton, NN4 7UF | Free parking
Technically Brackmills Woods isn’t a country park, but this Northampton space is often called Brackmills Country Park. It’s right by an industrial estate, but is actually like a little oasis.
Popular with dog walkers, this loop track offers enough wide space to distance from others. It offers an easy chance to see pretty flowers and local wildlife.
8. Hunsbury Hill Country Park
Website | Northampton NN4 9XG | Free parking
This spot sits upon, you guessed it, a hill. It’s not just any old hill though, it’s an Iron Age Hillfort.
Here you’ll find a circular walk linking the Country Park with the two Ladybridge Drive parks, so it’s almost like a 3 for 1 kinda deal!
What’s your favourite country park?
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