The Smelters' walk at Fineshade Wood

Visitor Information
Visitor Information: Fineshade Wood
  • Opening Hours
  • How to find us
  • Parking and Prices
  • Facilities and access
  • Contact Details

Opening Hours

Opening Hours

Open every day except Christmas Day.  

Weekdays

Monday
Visitor Centre and Cafe 09.30-16.00
Tuesday
Visitor Centre and Cafe 09.30-16.00
Wednesday
Visitor Centre and Cafe 09.30-16.00
Thursday
Visitor Centre and Cafe 09.30-16.00
Friday
Visitor Centre and Cafe 09.30-16.00

Weekends

Saturday
Visitor Centre and Cafe 09.00-17.00
Sunday
Visitor Centre and Cafe 09.00-17.00
How to find us

How to find us

How to find us
Top Lodge, Fineshade, Near Corby, Northamptonshire
Sat Nav Postcode: NN17 3BB
By Car

Fineshade Wood is located just off the A43 halfway between Stamford and Corby. There are brown tourist signs leading up to the site from both directions.

OS Grid Ref
SP980983

52.5736775, -0.5563541

Parking and Prices

Parking and Prices

Please note our car park machines are cash only and we are unable to provide change.  

Parking Charges

Charges for cars, horseboxes, minibuses and motorbikes
Up to 1 hour £1.50
All day £4.00
After 17.00 £1.50

Coaches/Minibuses charges

Coaches - £10 (must book in advance)

Additional Information

Regular visitors can save money with a Discovery Pass - Find out more about the discovery pass
Number of disabled parking spaces: 5
Facilities and access

Facilities and access

For more information on planning your visit, take a look at our accessibility information:

Assistant dogs welcome
Baby changing facilities
Bird hide
Cafe
Cycle hire
Disabled toilet
Dogs allowed
Easy access trail
Picnic area
Play Area
Toilets
Visitor Centre

The Smelters' walk - short, circular family friendly walk

If you are a first time visitor to Fineshade Woods, this trail is a great place to start your exploration. 

If you are interested in history, you will pass through an area where iron was once smelted in the forest. Starting at the top of the car park, The Smelters' Walk is a route suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs, on level or gently sloping surfaced paths. Two miles long, it is our shortest walk, all on surfaced paths and mainly level, with some very mild slopes in one or two areas.

Archaeological evidence shows iron ore has been smelted on this site for over 3,000 years. This industry was attracted here because of Fineshade’s ample wood-fuel reserves – every 1kg of iron needed a massive one tonne of wood to smelt it. The sheer number of Fineshade’s slag heaps testify to there being large-scale production involving thousands of smeltings over hundreds of years. Bloomery smelting finally ceased on this site in the late 1500s. With the Victorians came the age of steam and with it a shift away from wood as the preferred building material, or as fuel. In its place came coal, bricks, iron and steel. So whilst woodlands’ importance declined, the iron ore under its roots was again brought to prominence.

These days, Fineshade is a managed woodland (woodlands have been managed for over 6,000 years in Britain). It is managed for the benefits that a woodland area brings to people, wildlife and the production of timber. You may see or hear woodpecker drumming as you walk through the woods, and the shy jay is often see bobbing ahead of you, flying from bush to bush as you approach. On the wider tracks the grass verges will show a whole range of plants, from the useful St John’s Wort with its yellow flowers catching the sun, to pink foxgloves, pale pink dog rose, blue speedwell and lemon yellow primrose. Later you may come across woolly thistle, with its wonderfully downy heads and prickly stems, and also the seed heads of teasels which goldfinches love to eat. There is always so much to see, whatever the time of year.

 

Trail information

Follow the yellow markers. On level or gently sloping surfaced paths. Suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

Grade - Easy
Is this trail for you?
Follow the yellow markers. On level or gently sloping surfaced paths. Suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
Trail Length
2 miles (3.2 km)