Thinking of moving to Northamptonshire? Here is some information on the county
Northamptonshire (/nɔːrˈθæmptənʃər/ or /nɔːrθˈhæmptənʃɪər/; abbreviated Northants.) is a county in the East Midlands ofEngland. In 2011, it had a population of 629,000. The county is administered by Northamptonshire County Council and sevennon-metropolitan district councils.
Covering an area of 2,364 square kilometres (913 sq mi), Northamptonshire is landlocked between eight other counties:Warwickshire to the west, Leicestershire and Rutland to the north, Cambridgeshire to the east, Bedfordshire to the south-east,Buckinghamshire to the south, Oxfordshire to the south-west and Lincolnshire to the north-east – England’s shortest county boundary at 19 metres (62 ft). Northamptonshire is the southernmost county in the East Midlands region.
Northamptonshire is a landlocked county located in the southern part of the East Midlands region which is sometimes known as the South Midlands. The county contains the watershed between the River Severn and The Wash while several important rivers have their sources in the north-west of the county, including the River Nene, which flows north-eastwards to The Wash, and the “Warwickshire Avon“, which flows south-west to the Severn. In 1830 it was boasted that “not a single brook, however insignificant, flows into it from any other district”. The highest point in the county is Arbury Hill at 225 metres (738 ft).
There are several towns in the county with Northampton being the largest and most populous. At the time of the 2011 census, a population of 691,952 lived in the county with 212,069 living in Northampton. The table below shows all towns with over 10,000 inhabitants.
|1||Northampton||212,100 (2011)||Northampton Borough Council|
|2||Kettering||67,635 (2011)||Kettering Borough Council|
|3||Corby||56,514 (2011)||Corby Borough Council|
|4||Wellingborough||49,087 (2011)||Borough Council of Wellingborough|
|5||Rushden||29,265 (2011)||East Northamptonshire District Council|
|6||Daventry||25,026 (2011)||Daventry District Council|
|7||Brackley||13,018 (2011)||South Northamptonshire District Council|
|8||Desborough||10,697 (2011)||Kettering Borough Council|
As of 2010 there are 16 settlements in Northamptonshire with a town charter:
- Brackley, Burton Latimer, Corby, Daventry, Desborough, Higham Ferrers, Irthlingborough, Kettering, Northampton, Oundle, Raunds,Rothwell, Rushden, Towcester, Thrapston and Wellingborough.
Northamptonshire County Council operates a complete comprehensive system with 42 state secondary schools. The county’s music and performing arts trust provides peripatetic music teaching to schools. It also supports 15 local Saturday morning music and performing arts centres around the county and provides a range of county-level music groups.
There are seven colleges across the county, with the Tresham College of Further and Higher Education having four campuses in three towns: Corby, Kettering andWellingborough. Tresham provides further education and offers vocational courses, GCSEs and A Levels. It also offers Higher Education options in conjunction with several universities. Other colleges in the county are: Fletton House, Knuston Hall, Moulton College, Northampton College, Northampton New College and The East Northamptonshire College.
Northamptonshire has one university, the University of Northampton. It has two campuses 2.5 miles (4.0 km) apart and 10,000 students. It offers courses for needs and interests from foundation and undergraduate level to postgraduate, professional and doctoral qualifications. Subjects include traditional arts, humanities and sciences subjects, as well as entrepreneurship, product design and advertising.
The gap in the hills at Watford Gap meant that many south-east to north-west routes passed through Northamptonshire. The Roman Road Watling Street (now part of the A5) passes through here, as did later canals, railways and major roads.
Major national roads including the M1 motorway (London to Leeds) and the A14 (Rugby to Ipswich), provide Northamptonshire with transport links, both north–south and east–west. The A43 joins the M1 to the M40 motorway, passing through the south of the county to the junction west of Brackley, and the A45 links Northampton with Wellingborough and Peterborough.
The county road network, managed by Northamptonshire County Council includes the A45 west of the M1 motorway, the A43 betweenNorthampton and the county boundary near Stamford, the A361 between Kilsby and Banbury (Oxon) and all B, C and Unclassified Roads. Since 2009 these highways have been managed on behalf of the county council by MGWSP, a joint venture between May Gurney and WSP.
Rivers and canals
Two major canals – the Oxford and the Grand Union – join in the county at Braunston. Notable features include a flight of 17 locks on the Grand Union at Rothersthorpe, the canal museum at Stoke Bruerne, and a tunnel at Blisworth which, at 2,813 metres (3,076 yd), is the third-longest navigable canal tunnel on the UK canal network.
A branch of the Grand Union Canal connects to the River Nene in Northampton and has been upgraded to a “wide canal” in places and is known as the Nene Navigation. It is famous for its guillotine locks.
Two trunk railway routes, the Midland Main Line and the West Coast Main Line, cross the county. At its peak, Northamptonshire had 75 railway stations. It now has only six, at Northampton and Long Buckby on the West Coast Main Line, Kettering, Wellingborough and Corbyon the Midland Main Line, along with King’s Sutton, only a few yards from the boundary with Oxfordshire on the Chiltern Main Line.
Before nationalisation of the railways in 1948 and the creation of British Railways, three of the “Big Four” railway companies operated in Northamptonshire: the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, London and North Eastern Railway and Great Western Railway. Only theSouthern Railway was not represented. As of 2010 it is served by Virgin Trains, London Midland, Chiltern Railways and East Midlands Trains.
- Corby rail history
Corby was described as the largest town in Britain without a railway station. The railway running through the town from Kettering toOakham in Rutland was previously used only by freight traffic and occasional diverted passenger trains that did not stop at the station. The line through Corby was once part of a main line to Nottingham through Melton Mowbray, but the stretch between Melton and Nottingham was closed in 1968. In the 1980s, an experimental passenger shuttle service ran between Corby and Kettering but was withdrawn a few years later. On 23 February 2009, a new railway station opened, providing direct hourly access to London St Pancras. Following the opening of Corby Station, Rushden then became the largest town in the United Kingdom without a direct railway station.
- Closed lines and stations
Railway services in Northamptonshire were reduced by the Beeching Axe in the 1960s. Closure of the line connecting Northampton to Peterborough by way of Wellingborough,Thrapston, and Oundle left eastern Northamptonshire devoid of railways. Part of this route was reopened in 1977 as the Nene Valley Railway. A section of one of the closed lines, the Northampton to Market Harborough line, is now the Northampton & Lamport heritage railway, while the route as a whole forms a part of the National Cycle Network, as theBrampton Valley Way.
As early as 1897 Northamptonshire would have had its own Channel Tunnel rail link with the creation of the Great Central Railway, which was intended to connect to a tunnel under the English Channel. Although the complete project never came to fruition, the rail link through Northamptonshire was constructed, and had stations at Charwelton,Woodford Halse, Helmdon and Brackley. It became part of the London and North Eastern Railway in 1923 (and of British Railways in 1948) before its closure in 1966.
In June 2009 the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) recommended opening a new station on the former Irchester railway station site for Rushden, Higham Ferrers and Irchester, called Rushden Parkway. Network Rail is looking at electrifying the Midland Main Line north of Bedford. A open access company has approached Network Rail for services to Oakham in Rutland to London via the county.
The Rushden, Higham and Wellingborough Railway would like to see the railway fully reopen between Wellingborough and Higham Ferrers. As part of the government-proposedHigh Speed 2 railway line (between London and Birmingham), the high-speed railway line will go through the southern part of the county but with no station built.
Most buses are operated by Stagecoach in Northants. Some town area routes have been named the Corby Star, Connect Kettering, Connect Wellingborough and Daventry Dart; the last three of these routes have route designations that include a letter (such as A, D1, W1, W2, etc.
Sywell Aerodrome, on the edge of Sywell village, has three grass runways and one concrete all-weather runway. It is, however, only 1000 metres long and therefore cannot be served by passenger jets.[78