Explore the acres of parkland at Wimpole, abundant with wildlife, flora and fauna; wander through the trees, head across the Chinese bridge and visit the Gothic folly.
Lying at the centre of the Estate is the 300 acre ancient parkland once home to a herd of fallow deer. Now it has many rare breed cattle and sheep grazing among the veteran trees that cloak the park.
Wimpole parkland has changed many times throughout its history, different owners employed different landscape designers and gardeners, who each left their mark on the landscape.
Closure of the Woodland Belts
Our woodland belts benefit from national and European protection, thanks to their population of rare Barbastelle bats. In fact, we have one of the very few Barbastelle maternity roosts in the UK, in a block of woodland within the Parkland.
To help look after these rare and elusive creatures, tree management needs to be limited in the future, so that holes and cracks in older trees can provide roosting sites. There are at least 80 trees that are classed as dangerous within our Tree Safety Management Policy. While we cannot work on these trees we have reduced public access to this sensitive area, re-routing a section of path to minimise disturbance and help these roosting sites establish. We’re working closely with our partners to establish our next steps. Natural England continue to advise us on the management of our woodland belts, which are a designated Special Area of Conservation.
Our multi-use trail is an all-weather, accessible alternative to explore the wider parkland here at Wimpole. The trail takes in an 8 km (5.5 mile) circular route around the estate, and is suitable for walkers, runners, cyclists, and adapted wheelchair users.
We’re passionate about providing opportunities for people to get outdoors and closer to nature. Our aim is to make access to the parkland as easy as possible and help people feel comfortable about heading off into the countryside. However, it’s a careful balancing act of enabling access and safeguarding nature. We’re continuing to review the closure of the woodland belts, and whilst this important work takes place, we encourage visitors to explore the wider estate, of which there are 26km of alternative paths and walking trails to choose from.
Geology & Soils
The geology sets the scene with its origins from beneath the sea when dinosaurs roamed the earth, many small fossils like devils toenails and devils fingers can be found from this period on the ploughed land.
Heavy gault clay lies at the bottom of the hills, prone to water logging with its predominant Evesham soil series perfect for sweet pastures and ponds.
The chalky slopes of the Landwade and Abington soil series lead to the higher ground where ancient woodlands can be found on the poorly drained Hanslope soil series.
Of the 2500 acres on the Estate the vast majority is farmland and almost all of this is organically farmed by the National Trust.
The Estate also has rivers, lakes, ponds, pastures and meadows all forming a wide range of habitats for wildlife flora and fauna.