In Oxfordshire we’re a bit short of Country Parks, but luckily we’re near enough the border of several counties so can easily get to them elsewhere. This half term I found Irchester Country Park, just outside Wellingborough, and suggested a trip there to N. He was keen because any chance he gets to ride his bike he’s happy.
Being the other side of Northampton it did mean a bit of a journey, but is definitely worth it. We didn’t even explore much as we didn’t have much time, but Irchester Country Park is definitely somewhere we want to return another time, preferably in warmer weather.
N decided not to take his bike out in the end. The playground was calling, and any time I mention a walk around the tails he’ll try and get out of it. There are 3 trails at Irchaster, from one great for smaller children, to the largest for more hardcore walkers. The map of the trails is clear on the sign, and it looked like you could pick up a map at the ranger’s hut. There were also meant to be Halloween walks. There was a sign saying pick them up at the nature shed, but given we had no idea where that was, we didn’t find them until we went for a hot drink before we left and spotted them at the takeaway café stand.
There’s a couple of car parks at Irchester Country Park. The lower one is small, with space for about 8-9 cars (if they park well), and overflow car parks in fields. It obviously gets busy in summer.
There’s a café and a takeaway stall café, selling ice creams, burgers, pastries, hot drinks and more. The burgers looked really good, but it was a bit early for lunch for us, so we just had a hot chocolate each – definitely needed in the cold weather.
The playground is really good and N enjoyed a good hour on it. Catering for all ages from tots to older primary there’s the usual wooden playhouses, climbing frames and slides. Along with an obstacle/balancing course that was a bit tired – N amusingly took the lazy way walking on the chains hanging on the ground!
One of my favourites, and N’s, was the find of a wooden outdoor xylophone that was actually tuned (except for a dubious flat A). We spent some time with a twig bashing out ‘tunes’ with N testing me on the notes. It was a shame the beaters had either been taken by someone or removed for safety reasons. There weren’t many options for sticks to use, although going for a walk further than the playground might have netted us some options.
Alongside the playground there’s a woodland wires course. One for children and another for older children and adults. There are clear height markers so it’s easy to see which your children are tall enough for. N really wanted to give it a go, but unfortunately the next slot was booked by a party (who then didn’t turn up when we were still there), so we weren’t going to be hanging around for long enough. It just means we’ll have to return another time for him to have a go.
It was only a fairly fleeting visit, but it’s another country park on our list of places to return to – especially once the spring comes and it’s warmer to stay for longer.
Are your children fans of high ropes or wires courses?
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