Free day out in Rugby: Play and history in Houlton

If you’re living near Rugby, you’ll be more than aware of the new major developments popping up. Houlton is one of those; a brand new…

If you’re living near Rugby, you’ll be more than aware of the new major developments popping up.

Houlton is one of those; a brand new community being built from scratch on the southern side of town. It is set to be 6,200 homes, primary schools, and a new secondary school too.

It’s a great opportunity for families who are starting a new part of their journey in the area.

To some parts of the country, this is a mini town in itself! Before you switch off, thinking that this is ‘yet another big housing estate’ though, read the rest of what we’ve got to say…

There’s loads going for this area.

Epic play park

If your child has ever been to this park, you’ll find it hard to find another play park to beat it. Ever.

Commonly regarded as “the bestest park ever”, Houlton’s adventure playground is incredible. Built from mostly wooden equipment, with a tower, bridge loop, sandpit area, swings, slides and climbing equipment, this park has something for all ages.

It’s also got an area for team games, and built in a sort of ‘bowl’, there is loads of space for picnics where you can still see the kids.

Up near the pub, you can find a visitor centre too, which offers future builders some indoor activities. Grown ups can read about the area, what’s to come and have a sit down in comfort!

Radio Station Rugby

The new town is being build on 1,200 acres of open space. Covering this space back in the day were 62 radio masts and Rugby Radio Station, transmitting across the Atlantic and far beyond.

Radio Station Rugby was a large radio transmission facility at Hillmorton near the town, just west of the A5 trunk road.

The old radio is actually being incorporated into the new school, forming an eye-catching atrium as a centre-piece.

Normandy Hill

A short walk from the community centre and park, you’ll find a piece of history that you can get up close and personal with.

From the park, follow the footpath away from the show homes, towards what looks like a field. Go up a short slope, and through a metal gate and you’ll find the open space of Normandy Hill with its rolling ridge and furrow land to explore.

Kids can play, picnic and ride bikes, but also find one of the original masts from the history of the Radio Station Rugby.

Walking and cycling routes

Being created around the housing development is a whole network of cycleways and walkways around Houlton. There are already over a mile that have been created at Houlton weaving through the land, play park and homes.

These walkways contain 40 acres of natural habitat for our wildlife and are rich in ecological features including ponds, wildflowers and hibernacular. The walkways are all interlinked into our nature trail, taking you out up to Normandy Hill.

There are also horses and Belted Galloway cows grazing on nearby land for animal lovers.

Download the full nature trail map.

Awesome food and drink

This area doesn’t have any public toilets, but it does have one of the best places to eat in the area.

The Tuning Fork serves up amazing food with locally sourced ingredients. It’s got a really cool vibe of mid-century modern mixed with a warehouse style, and we love it there! The Sunday roasts are so good you could eat them twice, and the cakes are bigger than your head. Seriously!

Grab a coffee to take away, or eat out on the courtyard to keep you going on your play at the park.

Community centre and events

Dollman Farm is a brand new barn is a community space for residents and visitors to attend groups or events.

The Barn usually has lots of classes running from yoga, pilates, sewing and singing groups, and children’s events.

At a glance

  • Park for all ages
  • Nature trails and cycleways (with more planned)
  • Takeaway and eat-in drinks and meals available at The Tuning Fork
  • Historical monuments to explore
  • Animals and diggers to look at
  • Community centre with events
  • Picnic areas

The Visitor Centre, Dollman Farm, Dollman Road, Houlton, CV23 1AL.