Wychwood Wild Garden is a beautiful woodland and garden, close to the centre of Shipton-under-Wychwood, on the Cotswold border between Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. We also loved the playground in Shipton under Wychwood, which is well worth adding on to your visit if you are in the area.
We walked via the main entrance off station road through the beautiful avenue of trees forming an almost cathedral like vault. You will almost instantly fall in love with the place. As we came across to the T junction, we turned right to go through a woodland with many dens. Ay spent some time trying to complete one of the half made one (but as always, we couldn’t finish it).
From there, we moved over to the track again to come to a stream. The water to the stream was falling from a series of canals, cascading from the top to the next one via a mini waterfall, and on to the next one, to the next. The canals had huge stepping stones or sometimes a small bridge to move from one side to the other. The water was not very clean, even mucky at points, but Ay loved playing poo-sticks here.
We kept going in the direction of the canals to come to paradise, I kid you not! There is a medium sized pond/lake with lily pads and lots and lots of ducks (and ducklings), moor hens and coots, who quickly headed in our direction. Alas, they were disappointed as we did not have any food on us, but if you are reading this (and thinking of going), please do take some duck food with you. This pond is connected to a bigger pond, one level up from this one, via a very small stream/ canal and waterfall. The ducks were flying from one and landing in the other and vice versa. It was cute to watch!
There was a bench seat just next to the bigger pond where an elderly couple was sitting chatting to each other ( I love to see this as it makes me believe in love forever). There is a really tall tree by the banks of the bigger pond, which now I know is the majestic Cedar of Lebanon (and over 300 years old). We just sat quietly, admiring the scene, listening to the birds and water, watching the sunlight trickle through the cathedral of trees. There was another tree between the two ponds, which Ay pointed out as “elderberry”. I was not sure if I am completely honest, but thanks to his forest school adventures, he often is correct, so I trusted him. He picked up loads of them because they make “elderberry juice” at school with it. They are still in our fridge, so if you dont hear from me, please report us as a case of poisonous berry ingestion!
Overall, a great, serene and immersing walk, which is neither too long, nor too short and has enough to keep the little ones entertained. Some areas appear rather overgrown and in need of maintenance, but it does not take away anything from the “wild” beauty of this place and to learn that the place is actually maintained by volunteers from the local community, I am actually even more in awe!
Address: Station Rd, Shipton-under-Wychwood, Chipping Norton OX7 6BQ
Entry is FREE but we gave a donation in the box at the entrance as the gardens are maintained by volunteers from the local community.
The main entrance is on the A361 opposite Shipton Grange house, however, there is no parking here unless you are happy to park on the main road. Alternatively, park in Dog Kennel Lane, walk down the lane a short distance and use the rear gate to access the Garden.
No Toilets and baby facilities
No refreshments on site but good pubs near by
Dogs are welcome on a lead. You can let them run off the lead in the near by Diggers Wood.
Few sitting benches scattered around
Mostly Buggy accessible, though there are a few steps here and there