The village of Ewelme, Watercress Beds and local nature reserve is one of the most charming places I have come across AND we found a really lovely surprise at the far end, which made our day! Rope swings as a small obstacle course, immediately above the water stream, hidden under the trees.. just what I love!! Me and Ay squealed in delight as he swung from one end to the other. The stream has a perfect “beach” spot here- Ewelme Brook comes close to the edges here and the water is so clear (even though the pictures don’t show it)- it will be a gorgeous paddling spot in summers. We accidentally came across this place and were not equipped but take your wellies to not miss the fun of splashing around in it. There was a duck with seven ducklings braving their way up from one bed to the other, which was such a fascinating watch.
Although the site was once an active watercress farm selling produce nationwide until 1988, it is now a nature reserve allowing the local wildlife population to thrive. The Watercress beds flow through the whole length of the village from South East to North West and you will see them from the road as you cross the bridge, which is roughly half way between one side and the other.
The Centre is on one side of the bridge and the lower reserve on the other side. The centre, located alongside the stream about 100-200 yards from the Shepherds Hut Pub. It has limited opening times but we went close to 4 PM and the gates were open (though no one was around). We had a little nosey around and admired the houses on the banks of the watercress beds (and their outdoor seating). There was a bug hotel, with many thriving bugs visible and an insect palace buzzing with bees. Open Days/Guided Walks are arranged around the Ewelme Watercress Beds Local Nature Reserve on the first Sunday each month. Details HERE
The lower reserve (on the other side of the bridge) is open at all times and the entrance is off Benson Road. We parked in one of the very few spaces; You will see a site map at the entrance. Keep going until the very far end to find your surprise!
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The place is small but so so lovely and if you combine it with a trip to Benson play park (which is literally a few minutes drive away), Ewelme play park (which is just up the road) or a long walk around Cow Common, you will have a gorgeous FREE day out!
If you want to read more about the history of this site, you will find THIS interesting.
🗺 Address: High St, Ewelme, Wallingford OX10 6HH, United Kingdom
🚘 FREE Parking but very limited spaces on the lay-by on Benson road opposite the reserve (close to the pub). For the Watercress Beds Centre, you can park on the narrow residential streets (OX10 6HQ) – please park responsibly
🚻 No toilets or baby facilities but a nice looking pub just around the corner (which had its own parking spaces)
🍕 No refreshments on site but a nice looking pub just around the corner (which had its own parking spaces)
🧺 Picnic benches in the centre
🦽Not Buggy accessible (paths are narrow and terrain bumpy)
🐕 Dogs welcome but not in the play area