Friday, 12 September 2014

Irchester Country Park


It was almost by accident that we happened upon Irchester Country Park on the way back from a fruitless trip to Wellingborough. It was a nice day so why not enjoy the Autumn sunshine and fresh air on offer? Unfortunately the place was rammed with families all thinking along the same lines. Finding somewhere 'off the beaten track' wasn't going to be quite so easy.

ICP is a former ironstone quarry and has 3 circular walks of easy walking through 83 hectares of mixed woodland. The park is home to the Irchester Narrow Gauge Railway museum. We opted for the 'Ironstone Trail' which was about 2 miles in total and 4,650 footsteps. I say this with some certainty as we had already been equipped with Pedometers as part of a drive by the Council to raise awareness of obesity.... The aim being that Northampton as a County complete 20 million steps over the weekend. With Northamptonshire currently occupying 5th place in the 'fattest county in the country league' it does seem a forlorn hope. The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum was very interesting actually and home to a collection of exhibits from steam and diesel locomotives. Lots of information and display models show just how the quarry would have looked back in the heyday of steam railway. But what is Narrow Gauge ? As you enquire so kindly I will explain ... The gauge of a railway is the distance measured between the heads of the two rails. Standard gauge, which is used on the Mainline, is 4 feet 8.5 inches. Railways which measure less than this are known as narrow gauge. At the museum the main railway is laid to Metre Gauge (3 feet 3 and a bit inches ),which was the gauge used by the old Wellingborough Iron Company to the north east of Wellingborough.

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