- Go butterfly-spotting in the lush Country Park around the reservoir.
- Head in for a dip at one of the open water swimming sessions.
- Try your hand at fishing, and see who can get the biggest catch!
- Kids can run, climb and swing to their heart's content at one of the play areas.
- Follow one of the Sywell Country Park trails and take in the local wildlife.
The idyllic Sywell Country Park is located near the village of Sywell in Ecton, Northampton, and is the perfect spot for a family day out in nature. Centred around the site of a former reservoir, the abundant wildlife and outdoor activities on offer are enough to keep the whole family entertained whatever the time of year.
If you're a family with kids, Sywell is one of the best country parks Northamptonshire has to offer. From fishing and swimming to taking a tumble in the play areas, there's something to do for everyone. To take in the whole park and make a morning or afternoon of it, a walk around Sywell Country Park is a great way to get active and explore the area. The walk around Sywell reservoir itself (known as the Reservoir Trail) is approximately 2.5 miles, with a flat track, so it's great for walking around. We recommend putting aside a couple of hours if you plan to do the circular walk around the whole park, as there is lots of wildlife to check out on your way around. You can also follow the Waterworks Trail, which will take you around the whole site of the old waterworks, with a downloadable leaflet available on the visitor website to give you all the facts and tips about the area. Check out the Pump House, that used to pump drinking water directly to people's homes, and the Bywash Channel, a waterfall-like structure where water overflow cascades down into the stream.
If you visit in the summer, Sywell open water swimming is available in booked sessions every Saturday. This is a great way for adults and kids to practise their strokes, or splash around with the peace of mind that there are trained lifeguards, session leaders and spotters on site to make sure everybody is staying safe. Another great activity is Sywell Country Park fishing, which is available at the reservoir, which was once an Edwardian lake. Here you can fish for Rudd, Perch, Tench, Pike and Roach. The lake is now one of the top Tench fisheries in the UK, with the average catch around 10lb.
There are lots of great things to do with kids as you enjoy Sywell. As one of the top locations for spotting butterflies Northampton has to offer, kids can keep on the lookout for lots of different species, who like to spend time in the Butterfly Garden. The garden is a great place to help kids engage with nature and aid their sensory development, with lots of herbs growing that they can smell and touch, and of course, lots of beautiful wildlife to see. There are also plenty of play areas on offer, with both indoor and outdoor options. The indoor soft play area is perfect if you have younger kids and toddlers, and is located just inside the Pump House Café. Here, you'll also find colouring-in sheets and spotter sheets where kids can tick off what they've seen in the park. This is a great place to come if the weather isn't on your side, or to enjoy a coffee and some fun! There is also a great outdoor sand and water play area, for kids to like to get a little messy. Built on an old water filtration bed from the reservoir's past, kids can splash and play for hours in this fun-filled play area. Lastly, make sure to check out the Brockwood badger tunnel play area, where kids can discover what life is like for the local badgers! There are also lots of great events on at Sywell Park for kids, including Nature Tots for two-four year olds, which is a ranger-led walk and craft session where kids can learn all about nature.
There are lots of great places in the park to set up a picnic, or if you fancy a coffee or some hot food, head to the Sywell Country Park Café, also known as the Pump House Café, where you can find lots of tasty snacks, drinks, toasties and more. Or, the village of Sywell is just a five-minute drive away, where you can enjoy some pub grub at The Horseshoe or a carvery at Overstone Manor.
If you had a great time butterfly spotting at Sywell Country Park, make sure to check out the fantastic Bugtopia in Kettering, where you can meet mini-beasts and even hold them! Or, check out the lush gardens at Castle Ashby for another great outdoor adventure.
What to know before you go
- Sywell Country Park opening times are 24 hours. The café is open daily, and the toilets are open from 7am-7pm.
- Dogs are welcome but are not permitted in the play areas.
- Sywell Country Park is accessible for both wheelchair users and buggies. There are no baby changing facilities on site, but there are accessible toilets.
- If you are planning to swim at the lake, this must be at a pre-planned supervised session.
- For fishing, you must purchase a ticket before you start. Tickets are available at the Ranger's Office.
- Sywell Country Park is located in Ecton, Northampton and is easy to get to by car via the A4500.
- There is a pay and display car park on site.
- If travelling by bus, there is a bus stop in Ecton, which is one mile away from Sywell Country Park entrance.
- The nearest train station is five miles east, at Wellingborough.
- If cycling, Sywell Country Park is just half a mile off the A4500 cycle route.