See how the multi-million pound Rushden Lakes scheme is taking shape
This drone footage shows the progress being made on the multi-million pound Rushden Lakes development.
The major retail and leisure scheme is taking shape on the former Skew Bridge site just off the A45, with phase one of the scheme set to open to the public next year.
Construction work to improve the footpath network at Rushden Lakes will start soon as part of the investment in the natural environment funded by the scheme.
The project will link up four existing nature reserves to create the Nene Wetlands, a one mile square, 260 hectare natural space for visitors and wildlife to enjoy.
Rushden Lakes is also funding a major new lakeside visitor centre operated by the Wildlife Trust that will be a gateway to the Nene wetlands.
When construction starts this week, there will be no public access to the footpaths around Skew Bridge Ski Lake and Delta Pit Lake until the opening of the first phase of the scheme next Spring.
This temporary closure will enable construction of the footpaths and tracks to be carried out safely and efficiently, with public access restored to the area on their completion.
As part of this work, the existing unofficial paths in the more sensitive areas including the wet woodland south of Delta Pit Lake, Delta Pit Lake itself and around the lakes in Higham Ferrers Gravel Pits will be permanently closed to minimise disturbance and enable more sensitive birds and other animals to live in harmony with the people visiting this nature reserve.
There will be a new circular walkway around Skew Bridge Ski Lake that will be accessible to everyone.
There will also be a track to the east of Delta Pit Lake from Rushden Lakes over the River Nene, via the newly restored bailey bridge, improving access to the footpaths and cycleways north of the river.
Rushden Lakes is also funding further improvements to the footpaths north of the River Nene in Higham Ferrers Gravel Pits.
The footpaths will be complemented by several viewpoints allowing people to experience the views over Skew Bridge Ski Lake, Delta Pit Lake and Higham Ferrers Gravel Pits without disturbing the wildlife there.
The section of the River Nene close to Rushden Lakes, and its connected gravel pits, is essential for the journeys of more than 20,000 migratory birds each year.
Once construction work has finished, the Wildlife Trust will be taking on the long-term management of the land on behalf of the landowner, the Crown Estate.
Oliver Burke, director of Living Landscapes at the Wildlife Trust Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, said: “We are really excited that work is starting on the path around Skew Bridge Lake.
“For many visitors to the Rushden Lakes retail centre a walk around Skew Bridge Lake will be their first introduction to the stunning landscapes and wildlife of the Nene Valley and we hope that many of them will go on to explore other parts of the Nene wetlands reserve.”
For more information about Rushden Lakes, click here