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Summer 2024: The site is now operating summer hours, and the carpark is locked at 7pm.

Please note our café closes at 3pm weekdays, term time.

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Walking at Stanwick Lakes

Stanwick Lakes has a network of over 7 miles of footpaths (wheelchair accessible). If you just fancy a gentle stroll to see some wildlife, there’s sure to be a route to suit you, and if you’re feeling energetic – you can event walk here from Thrapston (six miles away)!

Regular walking can give you more energy, keep your heart strong and help you manage your weight. Guided health Walks take place every Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Participants meet outside the Visitor Centre at 10am for a walk of approximately 45 minutes.

Dogs on leads are welcome for walks, as well as in the visitor centre and cafe.
(We are a nature reserve and encourage shorter leads and stay on paths during the bird nesting season).

Self-led Walking Trails:

Orienteering is an exciting, outdoor adventure sport which involves walking or running whilst navigating around a course using a map and a compass. We are pleased to say that this is now available at Stanwick Lakes. There are five different courses to suit all abilities and ages. Please enquire at reception in the visitor centre. It does not matter what age or how fit you are, orienteering is suitable for anyone wishing to improve their navigation skills or for anyone who loves the outdoors.

Find your way…

Choose from the recomended routes:

 

  • Solstice Lake Loop
  • Nature Ramble
  • Heritage Trail
  • Mindfulness Trail
  • Children’s Sculpture Trail

Orienteering for all

Orienteering is an exciting, outdoor adventure sport which involves walking or running whilst navigating around a course using a map and a compass. We are pleased to say that this is now available at Stanwick Lakes. There are five different courses to suit all abilities and ages. Please enquire at reception in the visitor centre. It does not matter what age or how fit you are, orienteering is suitable for anyone wishing to improve their navigation skills or for anyone who loves the outdoors.

Play - where adventure lasts all day!

Adventure Playground

Where the fun begins …

As you enter Stanwick Lakes you can’t help but notice the unique and extensive adventure playground situated in the central hub area. Despite its size, it blends into its surroundings being built of wood and surrounded by a moat. It includes water play, with small stream and water wheels, a large sand play area, a climbing tower with giant slide, tunnels, stepping stones, a sunken ship and much more. Children just never want to leave!

Grassy banks provide the ideal spot to set up base or to have a picnic on warm summer days. There are wooden sculptures and seats dotted throughout the adventure playground providing rest areas for supervising young children.

Due to  the watery elements of the playground, children have the potential to get wet and grubby, so old clothes, a towel and a change of clothes are highly recommended!

Please be aware that at peak times the waterplay will be closed for cleaning. Check the newsflash on our home page or our Facebook page for information.

Adventure Trail

Discover the Adventure Trail

The Adventure Trail is set around one of the loveliest parts of Stanwick Lakes. Different pieces of play equipment provide the incentive for youngsters to explore. There are two climbing rocks (the larger especially appeals to older children and teenagers), a traversing wall, a rope bridge over the water, hexagonal swings, climbable animal structures, balance beams and a double zip line are all waiting to be discovered.

Get Closer to Nature

As you make your way around the Adventure Trail, enjoy views of the lakes and river. If you are lucky you might catch a glimpse of a kingfisher or muntjac deer. Take some time out in one of the bird hides. Climb up into our Treehouse Hide for an elevated view of the site and use the interpretation panel in the hide to help you identify what you have seen.

There are picnic benches dotted along the route and green open spaces to run around in and burn off energy. The paths, as with all the paths on site, are surfaced and accessible by wheelchairs, bikes, buggies and scooters making it the ideal route to explore with all the family. So, when you visit Stanwick Lakes, make sure you explore the Adventure Trail and try out all it has to offer.

Assault Course

The full-size assault course, just a five minute walk from the visitor centre, is a challenge to children and adults alike – but also lots of fun!

There is a giant structure at the start of the course with tunnels, a Mission Impossible-style rope challenge and monkey bars to test strength and agility. Continue on with the course and tackle the tunnels, tyre stepping challenge, climb the cargo net, see if you can scale the climbing walls, swing across the ‘sinking sand’ on the rope swing then be the first to get to the end.

Picnic Area

Along with picnic benches and designated seating dotted throughout the site, there is a ample seating outside the visitor centre, and a covered area at The Walkers Rest.

Please do not use the main car park area or overflow to set up a picnic or any sun shelters or seating.

BBQs

You are welcome to BBQ at Stanwick Lakes, but strictly within the designated area, adjacent to the play area. As a site with significant reedbed and grassland areas, it is imperative that care is taken to prevent fire risk at all times.

Cycling at Stanwick Lakes

Stanwick Lakes has a network of over 7 miles of cycle paths. In addition to circular routes around the lakes there is a four mile linear route running from Irthlingborough towards Thrapston, along the former railway line, providing safe off-road cycling – and a means of ‘green’ travel for local visitors.

Please note that cycling is only permitted on the designated cycle paths. Walkers have priority and cyclists must take care when approaching pedestrians.

Cycle Hire 

Cycle hire is available directly from AJ Cycles (on-site), which is open weekends, bank holidays and school holidays from the first weekend in March until the end of November, weather permitting.

As well as adult and child bikes, it is possible to hire a tandem, buggies, trailers and child seats.

Disability Scooter for Hire

A disability scooter is available to hire from AJ Cycles during opening hours – £5 per hour.

Cycle Hire Charges
 

1 Hour

2 Hours

3 Hours

4 Hours

All Day

Adult Bikes

£8.00

£12.00

£14.00

£16.00

£20.00

Child Bikes (up to 11yrs)

£4.00

£6.00

£7.00

£8.00

£9.00

Child Bikes (12 – 16yrs

£6.00

£8.00

£10.00

£12.00

£14.00

Tandem Bikes

£15.00

£22.00

£24.00

£28.00

£30.00

Buggies*

£4.00

£5.00

£6.00

£7.00

£8.00

Trailer*

£4.00

£5.00

£6.00

£7.00

£8.00

Child Seats*

£2.00

£2.00

£2.00

£2.00

£2.00

Electric

£16.00

£20.00

£22.00

£26.00

£30.00

*Buggies, trailers and car seats must only be attached to cycles rented from AJ Cycles

Advance group bookings are available at a discount.

Group bookings are available outside of standard hire times.

Helmets are not compulsory but are recommended and issued free.

The hire charge for the type of bike to be hired will be charged in advance to the hirer’s credit/debit card. We reserve the right to refuse to hire equipment to individuals and groups. All major credit/debit cards are accepted. Terms and conditions apply.

Horse Riding at Stanwick Lakes

Horse riders are welcome at Stanwick Lakes. You can access the site from both the Thrapston and Irthlingborough ends of the site. The former railway line provides a linear route running from Irthlingborough towards Thrapston (approximately six miles) which can be used by horse riders. Alternatively you are welcome to park in the main visitor hub and access the riding routes from there. You must book your parking space in advance with Rockingham Forest Trust’s Ranger team and follow their advice about where and how to park/access the riding routes.

Failure to book in advance may mean you are asked to leave the site, especially at busy times. Please call 01933 625522 to book your space.

Stanwick Lakes is a nature reserve and special site for its wildlife and particularly for its breeding and over-wintering birds. It is also a mixed-use site which attracts a variety of visitors including many families with young children. With this in mind we have put together a code of conduct for horse-riders. If you follow the code, you will enjoy yourself, protect the wildlife and allow other people to enjoy their activities too.

Stanwick Lakes Horse Riding Code
  • Please pass pedestrians and cyclists slowly and take extra care when passing walkers with dogs or children.
  • Within the main Stanwick Lakes site, please keep your horse to a walk at all times.
  • Follow the marked horse routes and keep to the grass to the side of the path where possible.
  • Be sure to close all gates behind you.
  • Wear a British Standard Approved riding hat at all times
  • Riders use the routes at their own risk – Rockingham Forest Trust takes no responsibility for injury to riders, horses or any third party involved in an accident with horses.
  • Book parking in advance with the Ranger Team and only park in designated trailer spaces.
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