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Things to see and do at Boarstall Duck Decoy

Children building a den at Boarstall Duck Decoy, Buckinghamshire
Children building a den at Boarstall Duck Decoy | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

Wander through the woodland, gain an insight into rural life in times gone by, and celebrate the great outdoors. You'll find plenty to explore on a day out at Boarstall Duck Decoy and you’ll find the perfect opportunity to connect with nature.

Walking in the woodland

The circular walk at Boarstall Duck Decoy is surrounded by old woodland, which was once part of the ancient royal hunting forest of Bernwood. Many of the oak trees date back to the last days of this hunting forest. The walking route takes approximately an hour, and stout footwear is recommended.

The bluebells are a sight to behold in spring as they carpet the woodland. In summer, enjoy warming breezes and bird chatter, and feel the leaves crunch in autumn as trees turn gold and orange.

Home pipe

The home pipe is one of three pipes that can be seen at the Duck Decoy. These netted channels are a 17th-century invention for catching wildfowl.

Family fun

The surrounding woodland makes a great outdoor playground. Follow the trail to find stepping logs, fallen trees to climb, and a den building area where you can create your own adventure.

The carved wooden mushrooms show you where you can head on the circular walk and find some natural play areas for younger explorers.

Activities for children

Throughout the year, there are plenty of outdoor activities for kids to get stuck into at the Decoy. They can explore, build their confidence, and enjoy learning new skills. Best of all, they'll certainly be ready for bed in the evening.

A family walking along the home pipe at Boarstall Duck Decoy, Buckinghamshire
A family walking along the home pipe at Boarstall Duck Decoy | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

Wildlife spotting

Plenty of care is taken to conserve and care for the habitat at Boarstall Duck Decoy and encourage wildlife to drop by.

If you are quiet enough as you walk through the wood, you might catch a glimpse of a beautiful roe deer. Small teal ducks frequent the decoy pond all year round. The males are more easily spotted because of their bright plumage. During late spring and summer, you may see wildfowl young in the decoy pond.

Red kites are often seen soaring over the woodland walk and blue tits call the area home throughout the year. Their beautiful song can be frequently heard under the woodland canopy. You might also hear a woodpecker drilling into trees looking for insects to eat.

Lucky walkers may spot a grass snake, but don't worry – they will slither off before you get near to them. They can also be spotted swimming in the decoy pond.

Enjoy the wildflowers

The season begins with carpets of bluebells providing a stunning display of colour and a wonderful, sweet smell in spring. Then the woodland erupts into colour as the rest of the wildflowers bloom.

There are lots of different species of fungi that grow on the trees and fallen timber throughout the wood. Remember not to touch, as some can be poisonous.

Two children kneeling by the side of the water at Boarstall Duck Decoy in Buckinghamshire

Discover more at Boarstall Duck Decoy

Find out when Boarstall Duck Decoy is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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