Northamptonshire is a mainly rural county of gentle beauty, with farmland, forest and great country estates. Rivers, canals and meadows are all part of the tranquil scene, providing a haven for wildlife.
This is a great area for walking, touring and exploring villages of stone and thatch. There are also some impressive Saxon churches at Brixworth and Earls Barton. Northampton is the county town, and along with Kettering, has long been associated with the production of footwear. Kettering was the second largest town until it was overtaken by the rapid development of Corby as a major centre of the steel industry.
Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park is set in Northamptonshire, although it seems that Austen never actually visited the county. Other famous connections include the poet John Dryden (1631-1700) who was born in the tiny village of Aldwincle; King Richard III (1452-1485) born at Fotheringhay Castle; and American revolutionaries George Washington (1732-1799), whose family came from Sulgrave Manor, and Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) whose father was born in another tiny Northamptonshire village called Ecton.