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Enjoying Nature: Guide to Wiltshire’s Parks

Posted on 25th June 2016

With warmer weather, sunny days and a perfect country cottage as your home away from home, there are plenty of amazing parks to enjoy whilst staying in Wiltshire.

City Park in Salisbury, Wiltshire

The area is famous for its stately homes, historic market towns and well-manicured gardens. It also has some great places to enjoy the natural beauty of western England. If you are planning on taking a cottage holiday in Wiltshire, here are some great county parks you should consider visiting:

Image Credit: Jeff Djevdet

John Coles Park – Chippenham

Located in the northern part of the county, John Coles Park is a great place in Chippenham. It offers wide open spaces for picnics, ball games and relaxing in the sun. It also boasts a circular walk through towering park trees. The park is open from 8am to dusk through the spring and summer months. It is open from 8am to 4pm from early November to mid-January.

John Coles Park in Wiltshire

For the little ones, there is a water feature on site to entertain them. The SplashPad provides summer fun and a chance to cool down for children up to the age of 12. The park’s bandstand is an iconic symbol of Chippenham. It hosts regular summer concerts and can be hired for private picnics. John Coles Park also has a children’s play area, a multi-use games area and tennis courts to enjoy

Food and drink is available in the summer from a kiosk. For more information, visit the park website.

Image Credit: Betty Longbottom

Shear Water Lake – Crockerton

Shear Water Lake provides visitors with a splendid chance to fish and sail the beautiful lake. It is located on the well-known Longleat Estate. There are nature walks, connections to woodland trails and meadows full of wild flowers, birds and butterflies. The park is also full of old-growth beech trees and conifers. One special part of the park is the unique Heaven’s Gate. This stone sculpture was installed to mark the millennium in 2000.

Shearwater Lake in Wiltshire

In addition to Shear Water Lake, there are a number of other fishing areas nearby and connected to entice visitors. Find more information here. And what’s even better, after enjoying some time lakeside, the adjacent Longleat House and the highly popular Longleat Safari Park can help you enjoy a great time in Wiltshire.

Image Credit: Maigheach-gheal

Savernake Forest – Marlborough

With an ancient history, the old forest around Savernake extends nearly 4,500 acres. It has been classified as a Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) by the UK Government. It is full with some of the area’s oldest trees, including the Big Bellied Oak near the A346 road, just south of Cadley. Mostly between Marlborough and Hungerford, the land is owned by the Earl of Cardigan.  Savernake Forest also contains the Ailesbury Column.

Savernake Forest in Marlborough, Wiltshire

Savernake is famous for named ancient trees. In the middle of the forest, there is also “Grand Avenue” – a line of beech trees designed by the well-known Capability Brown. The avenue is over four miles long and included in the Guinness Book of World Records.  Although privately held land, since the start of World War II, the majority of the woodlands are managed by the Forestry Commission.

Image Credit: Jim Champion

Stourhead – Warminster

Managed by the National Trust, Stourhead does include a stately home but it is so much more than that. It offers visitors rolling hills, lakes and streams – all part of the idyllic Wiltshire countryside. You can enjoy a number of paths and walks through the woods. There are temples and classical structures to be found throughout the park.

Stourhead Park, Wiltshire

The perfect place for picnics and relaxing walks, the site also welcomes your dog to the grounds. During the warmer months, dogs are welcome on the property’s wooded and lakeside areas after 4pm. The National Trust asks that dogs are kept on a lead whilst visiting.

Image Credit: Stewart Black

Jubilee Lake – Royal Wootton Bassett

When the nearby Thunder Brook was dammed during the times of World War I, the Jubilee Lake was formed near Royal Wooten Bassett. For visitors, the area is full of birds and wetlands. There are woodlands to explore as well as meadows and grasslands. For wildlife enthusiasts, the entire park is full of signs and placards that describe the local species.

Jubilee Lake in Wiltshire

For a perfect end to your visit to the lake, the Jubilee Lake Tea Room is open until October. It is the perfect spot for a drink and snack. It features teas, coffees and hot chocolates. The town of Royal Wootton Bassett is a great destination as well. It blends old and new with a mixture of historic buildings and modern shopping. The village is halfway between Bath and Swindon.

Image Credit: Penny Mayes