National Herb Centre and nature walk
24 August 2023
I was very surprised when one of you recommended a walk around the National Herb Centre. I didn’t know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. The centre sells plants, garden ornaments and gifts, like any other garden centre, but visitors can enjoy a walk along one of the trails in the surrounding more than 125 acres of farmland and woods, which was the attraction for us.
Park in the car park and walk through the entrance to the Centre. You can follow the signs to the play area through the terraces of herbs and head downhill towards the walking paths. Alternatively, if you turn left from the shop, you’ll find the entrance to the display gardens, where you can begin your walk. Opting for the latter route, you’ll encounter the six specially designed demonstration herb gardens first. These gardens are aimed at demonstrating how to maximize the use of herbs in your own garden. They showcase ideas for attracting wildlife, cultivating edible herbs, and even a garden inspired by the ancient Roman use of herbs. If you continue downward, you’ll reach a bandstand with a picnic bench, leading you to the woodland trails. The vistas from here are breathtaking, stretching across the landscape, I believe, to encompass the three counties of Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, and Northamptonshire.
There are three trail options to choose from, each with completion times ranging between 25 minutes and approximately an hour. We opted for the shorter route. Even before we delved into the woods, we found ourselves spending nearly half an hour counting grasshoppers in the overgrown grass. We managed to tally up to 100 before we decided to halt our count. Ay, who had never seen a real grasshopper before, was absolutely delighted to witness so many of them hopping about. As we ventured into the woodland, we encountered rabbits, and I believe we caught a glimpse of a fox that disappeared before I could be entirely certain. A guide to the trails, complete with pointers on what to observe, is available in the shop.
The return journey is uphill and demands more energy, so it’s wise to ensure your kids don’t use up all their energy in the woodland. We saved the play area for last, which boasts a climbing frame, swings, a mini maze, and an obstacle course. After enjoying a picnic on the provided tables amid the soothing sounds of nature, we ventured into the on-site cafe for some delicious treats, including herb-infused snacks and refreshing beverages.
🗺 Address: Warmington, Banbury OX17 1DF, United Kingdom
🎟 FREE entry
🚘 Free parking
🚻 Toilets on site
🍕 Cafe on site
🧺 Picnic allowed (lots of benches around)
🦽 Most areas are buggy accessible in the centre itself. The nature trails are doable with a buggy but terrain will be bumpy and can be muddy after rain. Also the journey back is uphill, so I think baby carrier would be preferable.
🐕 Dogs on leads around the centre and cafe, off-lead once on the nature trails
For more playgrounds and things to do with kids in and around this area, check out our Banbury and around archives HERE
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