If your family is the outdoors type then don your walking boots and explore the woods of Wakerley.
Rockingham Forest is a thriving area of countryside covering 208 square miles of Northamptonshire and Wakerley Great Wood forms part of this historic ancient woodland.
I brought my youngest daughter, Ruby, here for a mini-outdoor adventure as I’d seen from the Forestry Commission’s website that there was a 0.5 mile trail here – which I thought was perfect for us to try as Ruby is only three and isn’t used to walking too far.
When we arrived it was about 11am on a Thursday and it was pretty quiet.
There is plenty of space to park and the car park itself is set among larch trees.
The 0.5 mile trail is called Lodge Walk, so off we set!
Straight away Ruby was impressed with the surroundings as the trees are so tall here.
Although, despite their height, Ruby stated that she thought Daddy was taller than the trees because he is big and strong!
The trail starts from the car park and straight away we could see the toilets here were out of action.
Having checked the Forestry Commission’s website later, it appears that there is just not enough funding available to maintain these to a satisfactory standard.
However, on we continued. Wakerley also attracts dog walkers from all around – and unfortunately it shows.
Within a few minutes of walking we could see plenty of dog mess scattered along the sides of the trail which meant I didn’t feel comfortable letting Ruby run off ahead of me – just in case she tripped and fell into it!
Personally I feel there is no excuse in not picking up dog mess but I’m sure the small sign I found here informing walkers to ‘flick it with a stick’ rather than pick it up doesn’t help to encourage owners to clean up after their dogs.
On we persevered, following the signs for the Lodge Walk trail.
It was pretty quiet and very serene.
But after five or 10 minutes’ walking, the trail went cold!
The route split into two and although we could see signs for the longer Deer Park Trail, we couldn’t see any for the Lodge Walk.
It was pretty frustrating and after walking a little more to try to find the right way, we gave up and headed back the way we came.
If I had been here with my eldest two, then I would have carried on regardless as the scenery is beautiful.
But I felt it would be a bit too much for Ruby.
It is worth noting there is also a bike trail here, so if that’s more your thing, then you can ride the ‘moderate’ blue grade trail which is on mainly surfaced single-track, which starts and finishes in the car park.
Also, if the weather permits, you can also opt to bring a picnic as there is a large grassed area for picnics and games.
Trails you’ll find here
Lodge Walk – half a mile
Deer Park – 1.75 miles
Scar Tree – 3 miles: mainly built for cyclists
You’ll find Wakerley Great Wood just off the A43 towards Stamford.
The turning is opposite the entrance for Top Lodge, Fineshade Wood, which is a great destination and has more activities suited for families – including cycle hire, outside play areas and cafe.
For more information on Wakerley click here.
There are no toilets here as they were shut several years ago which the Forestry Commission says is due to a lack of funding to help maintain it to an adequate standard.