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Corncrakes along the Barrack Road, Northampton

A recent episode of the BBC’s Springwatch made mention of the demise and conservation of the Corncrake a ground-nesting bird with an unmistakable loud, repetitive, grating krek krek call. The bird is on the Red list of birds of high conservation concern.

Photo credit: Rachel Davies – Flickr: CORNCRAKE!!!, CC BY 2.0,

In 1831 an anonymous writer in Hone’s Yearbook described the route out of Northampton towards Kingsthorpe:

“Beyond the Barracks again there another interval of hedge and field before you came to Leicester Terrace. On the east side there were a few houses, and only a few, with like intervals of hedgerow and garden ground. On that side the last house northward was the pretty was “Belle Alliance Cottage”1 at the corner of the Racecourse, scarcely a cottage ornée, and conspicuous chiefly by its row of noble Poplars. Just beyond the last house in Leicester Terrace there was a gate opening into a field, where the corncrake might be heard on a summer’s evening.”2

Law’s 1847 map of Northampton, showing the gate and path to Semilong and the ‘Corncrake’ field

  1. Now the site of the Co-operative Funeral Service
  2. Hone, William. The Year Book of Daily Recreation and Information : Concerning Remarkable Men and Manners, Times and Seasons, Solemnities and Merry-Makings, Antiquties and Novelties, on the Plan of the Everyday Book and Table Book … / by William Hone., 1831.

© Copyright : Graham Ward. All rights reserved.