Spent a few days staying in Northampton at the end of March. It may sound an unlikely place for a short break but the hotel was convenient for us and our friends and the all inclusive deal was good.
The excellent weather helped us to enjoy our days out but I think we were all surprised by the countryside.
We started off with a bicycle ride around Pitsford Water. Like a lot of other reservoirs it is suffering from the lack of rain but the cycle ride was good and easy – a more or less level surface all the way around
We did two walks in our couple of days stay. The first was around Castle Ashby. The castle is not open to the public but there is access to the gardens and plant house.
The Plant House
Harrold-Odell Country Park is just over the county border in Bedfordshire. It is an area of lakes, scrub and woodland and our walk included part of the park and Odell Great Wood.
The warm weather brought out a few early butterflies – peacock, brimstone and orange tip.
Two carvings in the country park
Until visiting here I had not seen an inland breeding colony of cormorants. They seemed to be doing well but also make a mess of the trees. It was also the first time I had seen a heron holding its wings in an odd way, though I have since read it is not uncommon.
My wife's closer view of the heron
We ended our few days away with a short walk in Salcey Forest. We found this twisted tree.
There are photos of it on the 'net but I can't find an explanation for its shape.
The forest also has a elevated walk to above tree top level and a pond with lots of toads.