The parkland at Sheffield Park and Garden

Our historic parkland dates back several centuries and has had many uses including as a deer park and a Second World War camp. It is now grazed with livestock and is home to our wildlife haven, Skyglade and our natural woodland play trail in Ringwood Toll.

Please note: Due to the recent wet weather and flooding, the bridge over the River Ouse between Broad Mead and Irongates Mead is currently closed. Apologies for the inconvenience. We will get it fixed as soon as warmer weather dries up the ground. 

The Bridge over The River Ouse at Sheffield Park

Follow our River Ouse Restoration project

Follow our project to restore the section of the River Ouse that runs through the Sheffield Park estate. Supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Our Ranger's top autumn sights 

Amanita Muscaria mushroom

Fly agaric mushrooms

Fly agaric mushrooms are probably the most easy to identify in the UK, maybe due to its appearance in Disney’s Fantasia, being featured in the Super Mario Bros video game or perhaps because gnomes, fairies and even smurfs have been depicted using them as a stool to sit on. The bright red cap and white stem are easy to spot as you wander through East Park as they stand out from the woodland floor during autumn/winter.

Green acorns and oak leaves

Acorns aplenty

Over autumn our oak trees will be dropping acorns in their thousands. Only oaks over 40 years old produce acorns, fortunately we have lots of them including some fantastic veterans. When acorns drop to the ground they provide a huge bounty of food for a wide array of wildlife and helps them get through the winter ahead including small mammals, jays and badgers.

Sparrowhawk on a tree

Sparrowhawks

During the autumn and winter seasons it’s easier to see these specialist woodland hunters when the leaves have fallen from the trees. They spend their time hunting small birds that form flocks during a time where food is scarce and there’s safety in numbers.

A Kingfisher sitting on a branch over a river

Colourful sights

The garden is amazing for autumn colour but the kaleidoscopic sights don’t stop there. The oaks on the Parkland will fade to an ember-orange and if you take a stroll along the river you might be lucky enough to see a kingfisher fly by with their metallic blue and orange colours a contrast to disappearing colour in the meadows.

History

Explore over 250 acres of parkland where paths and resting spots dating back to the 18th century once existed for pausing to enjoy the views back towards the lakes and out towards Fletching village. Copses of trees are dotted around the hillside, attributed to 'Capability' Brown and creating the English landscape appearance he was so famous for.  Also dating back to the same time is Irongates Lock, built by the First Earl of Sheffield to allow navigation of the River Ouse.

While walking in the parkland you will often hear the sound of the steam trains approaching on the Bluebell Railway, and spot the tell-tale sign of clouds of steam through the trees.  At such moments, it is easy to imagine that this landscape has remained largely unchanged for the last 100 years.

A well-preserved pillbox from the Second World War can be found at the bottom of Spring Field, nestled in the hillside.

 

Space to play

Explore the parkland to discover the natural play trail in Ringwood Toll and stop by Skyglade where you can indulge in some cloud watching.  Climb trees, fly kites and play in streams in this landscape that is nature’s outdoor playground.

Take a walk

To fully explore the parkland, why not follow a 3 mile trail taking in all the views and landmarks across the parkland? This is a moderately hard walk that will take you about an hour and a half and dogs are welcome to join you on short leads. Afterwards, rest your weary legs in the tearoom and enjoy some refreshments. The link to the trail is at the bottom of this page.

2018 - the 10 year anniversary of opening the parkland to visitors

July 2018 marked the 10 year anniversary of opening the parkland to visitors. The land had previously been used by tenant farmers to grow arable crops, such as wheat and oats, and it's been a slow (and still ongoing) process to revert it back to grassland.

The parkland when it was used for arable farming.
Sheffield Park parkland as arable farmland
The parkland when it was used for arable farming.

By signing up to the Countryside Stewardship Agreement, a government scheme for farmers, woodland owners, foresters and land managers to make environmental improvements, we have been able to focus on lowering the nutrient levels in the soil. The most effective way to do this has been by having livestock grazing the land, keeping the grasses down and eating the thistles. This has enabled the land and grassland to recover and native species to return. 

The parkland, 10 years on from opening to visitors
Sheffield Park parkland 10th anniversary
The parkland, 10 years on from opening to visitors

Work is certainly not over yet though. Plans are in place to restore the ponds on the parkland, the River Ouse restoration work is still ongoing and more wildflowers are being encouraged to spread across the grassland. It's a great area to explore so if you're looking for some peace and tranquility, head down this way and discover what makes this area so special for yourself.