Wonders of the woodlands at Cliveden

A woodland path at Cliveden in Buckinghamshire

Over the years, the families that fell in love with this spot formalised the landscape with tree-lined rides and viewpoints and added some more unusual features to the woodland terrain.

The Duke’s Seat

Perched high to the cliff top overlooking the House and Parterre, you’ll find a larger-than-life marble statue of the Duke of Sutherland.  It was moved here from the Grand Avenue in 1896 to make way for Lord Astor’s new acquisition, the Fountain of Love. It is an apt choice of location as nowhere else on the estate can you enjoy such a fine view of the House, built by the Sutherlands after a devastating fire in 1849.

The Duke of Sutherland, Cliveden
Marble statue of the Duke of Sutherland at Cliveden, Buckinghamshire

An eccentric addition

Another of Lord Astor’s additions to the woodlands that can be found a few steps down the cliff is a 16ft 6 inch (5.03m) wide slice of Californian redwood (Sequoia gigantea). Exactly why this section was imported in 1897 remains unclear but rumours at the time claimed Lord Astor had made a drunken bet that trees in America were so large that he could find one that would seat 50 people around it for dinner. Lord Astor took legal action and even wrote to the Times to deny the suggestion.

" The section referred to has been placed on the ground as an object of interest, but it has never been intended to use it as a dining table"
- William Waldorf Astor, 1899

It is still the widest section of Californian redwood in the United Kingdom and is now the preserve of cave spiders and bats

Flint House

Sheltered by a bank to the western side of Green Drive (not far from our entry kiosk) you’ll find the grotto-like Flint House. Thought to date from the late eighteentth or early nineteenth century, this small open sided structure has its walls, roof and floor all faced in flint. Today, as many years ago, this garden pleasure building forms an atmospheric spot to take a rest.

Seasonal glories

Spring

Spring brings swathes of bluebells dotted around the estate. Whilst delicate blossom fills the Round Garden where nearly 400 fruit trees are trained in an historic circular design.

Summer

The shaded glades of bsutling trees offer an escape from the heat of the summer.

Autumn

A canopy of gold and bronze emerge in autumn. The beech trees that cling to the cliffs glow in the dimmed sunshine before dropping their leaves to reveal even greater views over the surrounding countryside.  

Good to know

If you want to break your walk, head to our woodland lounge in the centre of the woods where you’ll find essentials such as picnic tables and toilets.

The ground can be slippery under foot in winter and early spring months so wellies or sturdy footwear are highly recommended.