A short woodland walk at The Vyne
Written by Clarissa, our Woodland Walks Writer, this 0.68 mile route will give you a healthy dose of the outdoors while keeping things quick and simple.
From the ticket office follow the path alongside the lake on your left, pass under weeping willow trees. You will then come to the Liquidambar tree whose leaves turn from fiery deep red in autumn before turning to a brilliant orange/yellow colour. Here also is The Swamp Cypress Taxiodium Distichum. This is a deciduous Conifer tree whose leaves turn a deep russet brown in autumn. It grows profusely in the Mangrove swamps of the Everglades in America and can live for up to 600 years. It was introduced into Britain in 1640. Note the brilliant contrast here of autumn colours with the verdant green grass of the field on the right.
As you carry on the path you will then see the remains of a bridge in the lake, this was originally one of the entrance routes to the house though these have changed at several places over the years. At this point you will come to a metal gate, continue through and bear to the left at the National Trust sign. These woods are very ancient and you can still make out the medieval boundary which comprises a raised area to your right that was used to enclose the woodland and park.
After about 10 minutes or so you will come to a zigzag broad walk path on your left, this leads to the bird hide, well worth a view over the wetlands. For this route, (the yellow one) you continue on the path ahead. The evergreen holly grows in clumps around the beech trees which shed a matt of coppery leaves. Continue on under the avenue of beech trees. With the autumn leaf fall do watch out for the tree roots spread out underfoot.
Carry on, passing Wey Brook on the left. This marks the end of the moated boundary on the right. Here you will find another bench to pause and take in the serenity of these ancient woods with the sound of birdsong and water trickling by just as it has for hundreds of years.
Carry on the path until you find a wooden pointer for the green route leading off to the right. This path goes uphill and on your left, you’ll see a clearing in the wood. A grassy, sunny area, important for the biodiversity of the woods, this clearing allows ground flora and invertebrates to thrive.
Eventually, you’ll come to a cross roads with a barn on the left which is used as a wood store. The area here is tarmacked having been used by the army in the Second World War. This too was the time when boys from Tormore School in Deal, Kent were evacuated to The Vyne from 1940 to 1945.
At the cross roads, turn right. Eventually, you’ll see a cattle field ahead and towards the end of the path you’ll find a bench. At the end of this path, turn right and head down the slope. You’ll end up back by the lake, next to the remains of the old bridge you saw earlier.
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