A new signposted walking route within Delapre Park will open on Sunday 29th August at 10am following months of research by The University of Northampton, Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust and Northamptonshire Sport.
Through public surveys and observing how walkers currently use Delapre Park, the project has been investigating if a signposted route with maps and arrows could increase walking there and improve the physical activity and wellbeing of people in the community.
The new route will be opened by Richard Clinton, Chief Executive of Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust, Dr Declan Ryan, Lecturer in Exercise Physiology, University of Northampton, and David Askew, Founder, Northamptonshire Walks with a ribbon cutting ceremony, short speeches, and a walk of the new route. The walk will end with light refreshments back at the Abbey. Everyone is invited to join and asked to meet outside Delapré Abbey’s deli, Common Ground, at 9:45am before walking to the start of the new route for the ceremony at 10am.
The 3km route will take walkers past the historic battlefield – site of the 1460 Battle of Northampton, Delapré Abbey, Delapre Woods, the lake, and the golf course.
Dr Declan Ryan, Lecturer in Exercise Physiology, University of Northampton said: “The University of Northampton are really grateful for the collaboration with Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust and Northamptonshire Sport that has allowed us to research the impact that walking route signage can have on the public’s participation in physical activity and engagement with green spaces, which are both valuable for improving wellbeing.
“Although signposted walking routes are becoming more common, they are under researched and thus, our project at Delapre Park will be providing valuable evidence of how the public engage with such wayfinding information. This project will now run for a couple of years and during that time we will be monitoring footfall along the route to compare with the data we collected between March and August 2021, as well as with footfall within two other parks in the town. Users of the route will be able to feedback their experiences by completing an online questionnaire that can be accessed by scanning the QR code or entering the website address displayed on the new signs within the park.”
David Askew, Founder, Northamptonshire Walks, said “Northamptonshire Walks is really excited to be part of this project with Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust and Northamptonshire Sport.
“Little did we know at that time the impact Covid would have on the world and, throughout the various lockdowns, walking was one of the few things that people could do – even from their doorstep. I have received many personal messages about what walking has done for peoples’ physical and mental health in these difficult times.
“I look forward to getting the new route on northamptonshirewalks.co.uk as soon as possible so more people can explore this wonderful place.”
To read the summary of outcomes from the public survey into views of observational signage, click here.