Stanwick Lakes is a nature reserve and countryside attraction which has been dramatically transformed from a sand and gravel quarry. Prior to extraction on site, archaeological excavations were carried out that uncovered thousands of years of heritage.
It revealed evidence of life from the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods, through to the Iron Age and Romans and, finally, on to the Saxon, Norman and Medieval periods.
The site was then mainly meadowland and farmland in the 1900s and in 1845 the railway track connecting the stations at Irthlingborough and Ringstead ran through the middle of the site. This line closed in 1964 and Hanson began quarrying for gravel in 1985 until 2004, when East Northamptonshire Council purchased the site. Restoration work was carried out by Hanson which included tree planting and the creation of the lakes that now make Stanwick Lakes such an important wildlife habitat within the Nene Valley.
Some of the items discovered during the excavation work are on display on the mezzanine in the visitor centre along with additional historic information.
A Heritage Trail has been developed at Stanwick Lakes to help make visitors more aware of the history of the site. Large ‘Marker Stones’ (with images on plaques) have been positioned around the site at the locations of earlier settlements that were excavated before quarrying took place. A reconstruction of a Saxon roundhouse has also been built as part of the trail and a leaflet has been produced to provide additional information. Heritage Trail Leaflet.
For more detailed heritage information please visit the Stanwick Lakes website.