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Nene Valley Festival celebrates 5000 years of life along the river

As the tide of Covid 19 begins to turn and life returns to normal across the area, residents of Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire and beyond are invited to celebrate this year’s Nene Valley Festival from September 11 – 19.

With more than 70 events planned, the collaboration between North Northamptonshire Council, Destination Nene Valley, Nenescape Landscape Partnership and the National Lottery Heritage Fund will flood the area with a celebration of the heritage, culture and natural landscape that weaves through the rich countryside connecting Northampton and Peterborough.

Events range from farmers markets in the stunning market town of Oundle, to live music, exhibitions, family fun and heritage fairs, so residents and visitors to the Nene will find something for everyone throughout the festival.

Events will begin at Stanwick Lakes on September 11 with a celebration of the Settlers of the Nene project, which over the last few years has uncovered and interpreted the stories of the valley dating back 5,000 years. On Sunday September 19 expect a medieval encampment and family fun heritage activities such as archery, leather and coin stamping to build a picture of what life was really like when the Nene was first settled.

The highlight of the festival this year will be the premiere of “The Resilience of the Nene” during the festival; a short film by One to One Development Trust that gives insight into what destinations along the River Nene contribute to the wellbeing of communities, how they are improving the natural environment, and celebrating local heritage during the covid pandemic and for future generations.

The film features Northampton Marina, ecology work in Wellingborough, the Chester House Estate, Barnwell Country Park, Nene Park and the Nene Valley Railway. 

Opening day of the 2018 Nene Valley Festival

Cllr Helen Howell, Deputy Leader and Executive Member and North Northamptonshire Council for Sport, Leisure, Culture and Tourism, said: “We are delighted to be delivering the Nene Valley Festival once again this year. The event will offer a diverse range of activities, which will inspire people to connect with the wildlife and heritage of the Nene Valley. The festival is spread over nine days with a variety of events throughout our region, there is something out there for everyone. We hope that our residents and visitors have a fantastic time celebrating everything that the local area has to offer.”

Amanda Johnson, Project Manager for Nenescape said: “It has been a really tough 18-months on our projects but I am so proud of the work we have achieved in that time; from creating floating islands on the river at Wellingborough with the River Nene Regional Park and The Environment Agency to installing a new mooring at Chester House, the River Nene and its destinations are coming into their own and will only attract more and more people to celebrate our wonderful and unique landscape.”

The festival will culminate in the Heritage Family Fun Day at Rushden Lakes on September 19.

Community groups and attractions in the area that are interested in running an event during the festival can still apply for grants of up to £500 via the Nene Valley website and a decision will be made within three days of your application. Applications are limited to one per event.

For more information on events throughout the festival, visit the Destination Nene Valley website www.nenevalley.net

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