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Exploring the parkland at Hatchlands

Family of five walking along gravel path through parkland, with young boy holding two sticks leading the way
Family walking at Hatchlands Park, Surrey | © National Trust Images/Megan Taylor

Spanning 422 acres and open 363 days a year, the parkland at Hatchlands is a wonderful spot to enjoy the great outdoors. Discover wonderful walks, a natural play area for the kids, and say hello to the resident donkeys, or just stop by and enjoy a breath of fresh air.

Summer highlights at Hatchlands Park

For lazy summer days there’s no better place than Hatchlands park. Meander through the colourful wildflower meadow, relax by Sheepwash pond or take a stroll through the dappled shade in the ancient woodland.

The wildflower meadow

At its best in summer, this area of chalkland is brimming with life. Rich with native wildflowers, it attracts a wide variety of butterflies. Alongside the nodding blue harebell, and yellow rattle, look out for the delicate pyramidal and southern marsh orchids as you wind your way through the mown paths. You can find the meadow at the back of the house.

Sheepwash Pond

Surrounded by trees and reeds, this small, peaceful pond is a great picnic spot. A haven for wildlife, look out for damselflies and dragonflies darting across the water and you might spot the flash of a kingfisher. You can regularly see Canada geese, Egyptian geese, grey herons and terns.

The parterre

Step into the parterre garden and immerse yourself in the deep pinks, purples and soft lilacs of the peonies, salvia and poppies. Here, vegetables grow amongst the cheerful sunflowers, nasturtiums and gloriously scented sweet peas. There are plenty of seats for you to sit and relax whilst you listen to the bees and hoverflies busily gathering nectar. Or just pick a shady spot on the lawn, throw down a rug and while away a summer’s day.

Close-up of a common blue butterfly perched on a flower stalk at Coombe Hill
Look out for butterflies basking in the wildflower meadow | © National Trust Images/Hugh Mothersole

Walking at Hatchlands

Get your boots on, gather up the family and the dog, and head to Hatchlands for wonderful walking. You can pick up a map from reception and head off on one of the waymarked walks. Take in the whole park on a ramble round the Long Walk, enjoy a circular route passing the children’s play area on the Wix Wood Walk or stick to a short stroll on hard paths with Fanny Boscawen's Walk.

Visiting Hatchlands in wet weather

You can always access the cafés and courtyard via hard-surfaced paths, but if you’re planning on exploring a little further, it’s likely that you’ll encounter some mud. Please remember to dress for the weather, with wellies or walking boots strongly recommended, even if you’re not planning on walking very far.

If you're planning to push a buggy through the park you may want to consider your route; just ask the reception team for the best paths to take.

Children’s natural adventure play area

Head into Great Wix Wood to discover Wizard Wix's Willow Warren. Get to grips with hand-crafted willow tunnels, domes, balance beams, sculptures and a totem pole. There are even wood piles for den building and picnic benches for tired parents.

Picnic spots

You’ll find great picnic options all over the park. Throw a rug down on the lawn in front of the house or head further afield to one of the many picnic spots. Picnic areas are cow-free zones, so you can enjoy your food in peace. Pick up a map on arrival and look for the areas marked with a picnic table.

Donkeys at Hatchlands

Hatchlands is home to two fostered donkeys, Callum and Morris. Here they have a happy and safe home where they can spend their days roaming the fields and their nights tucked up in the stable. Morris is the more outgoing of the pair, but Callum is blessed with very attractive stripy legs.

If you’d like to visit the donkeys, you’ll find them in their grazing area at the bottom of the wildflower meadow. If it’s a bad weather day then you can find them well sheltered near the courtyard, close to their stable. You’re welcome to stroke their noses or provide a tickle behind the ears, but we would ask that you never feed them by hand. This encourages them to expect food from everyone and fingers can look deceptively like carrots to a donkey.

Two children standing on a fence watching resident donkeys, Callum and Morris, in their pen at Hatchlands Park, Surrey
Watching resident donkeys, Callum and Morris, at Hatchlands Park, Surrey | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

The temple and ice house

Discover two of Hatchlands’ best kept secrets. A short distance off the beaten track on your left heading towards visitor reception, you’ll find a classical stone temple installed by Hatchlands' last private owner, Hal Goodhart-Rendel, in memory of his mother Rose Ellen Cooper. Look out for the inscription that reads, ‘Placed here as a memory of Rose Ellen Cooper who long lived at and loved Hatchlands’.

As you leave the garden, passing the London plane tree, and proceeding along Fanny Boscawen’s Walk you'll notice the ice house on your left. It was built in the late 1750s by the Boscawen family, at about the same time as the house.

The ice house is surrounded by box hedging and sits on the edge of the dell. It has a shaft with straight sides and is cut into chalk which allows the water to filter through it. The walls are extremely thick for the purposes of insulation but the concrete base you see today was put in during restoration work in 1983.

Accessibility options

Should you need some assistance to access the countryside trails, you could try using a Tramper or an MT Push vehicle.


A Tramper is a single-seater, all-terrain, off-road Personal Mobility Vehicle (PMV). It operates in a very similar way to a normal PMV but features slightly chunkier wheels to cope with more testing terrain. If you’re comfortable with a normal PMV then you’ll find the Tramper just as user-friendly.

MT Push

MT Push is a buddy wheelchair, with the ability to push over a wide variety of terrain. An adjustable push handle, located behind the user, provides the steering and braking for use by the rider’s buddy. Developed and evolved following discussions with the National Trust, Hatchlands is one of a growing number of sites that provide these all-terrain wheelchairs for visitor use.

Availability for both vehicles is limited and so booking is essential. To book a morning (10.30am) or afternoon (1.30pm) session, or for more information about accessibility at Hatchlands, you can email us or call 01483 222482.

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