Festival celebrating Nene Valley communities & heritage

Festival celebrating Nene Valley communities past and present to take place

A summer festival showcasing the history, archaeology and heritage of the Nene Valley will launch at the Chester House Estate on Saturday 25 June and at Stanwick Lakes on Sunday 26 June.

The Chester House Estate, Stanwick Lakes and the School of Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Leicester, with support from Rushden Lakes, are running the month-long festival.

At the Chester House Estate, the launch will be Roman themed with fun for all the family, including Roman re-enactments, find out about everyday life as a Roman solider, with the University of Leicester on hand to answers questions.

Whilst on the Sunday at Stanwick Lakes, the theme will be ‘Traditional Crafts past and present’ and activities will include an exciting ‘Travel through Time’ trail and demonstrations of traditional crafts, including blacksmithing, jewellery making and chainsaw carving.

Cllr Helen Howell, Deputy Leader of North Northamptonshire Council and Executive Member for Sport, Leisure, Culture and Tourism, said: “I am delighted that a festival celebrating the history, archaeology and heritage is coming to the Nene Valley. There is going to be something for the whole family, from activities for children and those interested in a career in a history through to exciting re-enactments and workshops. I hope that you will be able to join us across the Festival and don’t forget – entrance to the Chester House Estate is free.

Cllr Jason Smithers, Leader of the council, added: “Despite still being in its first year, The Chester House Estate is going from strength to strength and I am so pleased that the team have joined forces with partners along the Nene Valley and further afield to bring you what is surely going to be a fantastic festival.”

The month-long festival also includes a day of activities for children and young people at Chester House on Saturday 2 July, with archaeology taster activities and drop-in sessions for those thinking about careers, apprenticeships and university study in archaeology, history, heritage, conservation, sustainable tourism and related fields. Experts from the University of Leicester, together with archaeology and heritage professionals, will be on hand to answer questions and provide guidance.

Further activities will continue through the month including, at Chester House Estate on Saturday 9 and Saturday 16 July opportunities to find out how people of all ages can get involved with archaeology, history and heritage in the Nene Valley and beyond. On the final weekend of the Festival, The Lace Wars, an 18th Century re-enactment group will be onsite with activities including leather craft workshops with experts from the Leather Conservation Centre at both Chester House and Stanwick, including iron-age shoe making. Bookable talks and tours will be on offer throughout the month at both Chester House and Stanwick, with information available online.

Events on Saturday 16 July will be linked to the launch of the Council for British Archaeology Festival of Archaeology 2022, a national festival promoting involvement in archaeology and incorporating hundreds of in-person and virtual events delivered by community groups, heritage organisations, universities, commercial archaeology units, and others across the UK (https://www.archaeologyuk.org/festival.html).

Community engagement is at the forefront of the strategic vision for partnership working between the Chester House Estate and the School of Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Leicester. The team is working with Stanwick Lakes, Rushden Lakes and many other stakeholders and community groups in the region to offer a wealth of exciting learning, research and community engagement opportunities focused on archaeology, history and heritage. These activities are showing the potential for collaboration between researchers, heritage professionals, local interest groups, and the public in making archaeological and historical research locally relevant, accessible, and engaging.

For more information about the Festival, visit: