Discover Walk Wood at Sheffield Park and Garden
Tucked away on the north side of Sheffield Park is Walk Wood, a peaceful area of woodland steeped in history with abundance of wildlife and natural art sculptures. This quiet corner of the garden has significant historical importance that was only recently discovered and whilst much restoration work has taken place, more is still being undertaken.
Where to find Walk Wood
Access to Walk Wood is from Flint Road and Big Tree Walk. Dogs are welcome on short leads.
When is the best time to visit Walk Wood?
From March to October, a stroll through Walk Wood is an opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of flora and fauna whatever the season. From carpets of bluebells in spring, to wildflowers in summer and the spectacular colours of autumn, whether you take in the wider landscape or go looking under fallen branches for bugs and fungi, each change in season brings its own rewards. To allow us to continue to restore and protect this woodland paradise for our visitors, Walk Wood is closed from November to March for essential wildlife conservation and path maintenance.
Art in Walk Wood
Local artist Keith Pettit was commissioned to produce a series of sculptures in the woods. His use of natural materials and forms add some surprising interventions and help tell the story of the woodland.
The history of Walk Wood
In 1982, an area of woodland adjacent to the garden was purchased by the National Trust with the intention that it would provide a windbreak for the garden. At that time, it consisted of mixed coniferous and broadleaf with forestry planting. This area of the garden was largely left to its own devices until in 2002 Sheffield Park began a woodland management plan to create better light levels to increase the quality and diversity of fauna and flora, not least the stunning collection of bluebells. It was during this work that the historical significance of Walk Wood was unearthed, with remains of planting and paths going back to the original 18th century design for the garden.
Thanks to funding from a legacy left to the National Trust and the Woodland Grant Scheme, the project to protect Walk Wood and create visitor access routes through the woodland began. Volunteer groups, contractors and staff erected deer fences, improved access routes, undertook planting (mainly English Oak) and started controlling invasive species such as Himalayan Balsam. Advice was taken from Nature Conservation officers, forestry officers and historic curators as to the best way to improve and conserve this important habitat. Boardwalks were built, path networks were re-instated and historical access points from the garden were added.
As light levels increased and pathways and rides opened up, so wildlife began to thrive and a diverse habitat of plants, fungi, insects, birds and mammals can be found in abundance. Careful conservation work has continued each year and just as the team put the final finishing touches to restoration work ready for March 2022 re-opening, Storm Eunice hit. For the first time in many years, the woodland provided an effective windbreak for the garden and took the brunt of the storm’s force. The significant treefall and storm damage is still evident, but we are delighted to have been able to make safe so quickly this much-loved area of the garden and open Walk Wood to visitors in time for spring 2022.