Non-essential shops and the hospitality sector are closed for the duration of the second lockdown, but at a time when it’s vitally important to stay upbeat and healthy, Swindon’s many green spaces are still open for everybody to enjoy.
And wow what green spaces! Swindon has a range of beautiful outdoor spaces to rival any town in the UK, from stately home gardens and wildlife reserves to areas of outstanding natural beauty and play areas to entertain the most energetic child.
Lydiard Park is a beautiful historic estate on the western edge of Swindon. A Palladian House, church and walled garden are set in 260 acres of parkland which surrounds a wonderful lake. Broadcaster and gardener Alan Titchmarsh is on the record as one of its celebrity fans.
Coate Water Country Park is a fantastic community resource providing a perfect setting and with a children’s playground, all year café and space to run around, it makes for an enjoyable family day out. A Nature Reserve and a Site of Specific Scientific Interest means that the park is bursting with interesting bird and wildlife species and offers both fishing and birdwatching.
Stanton Country Park is a hidden gem and the holder of a Green Flag award. It has 36 hectares of parkland that includes the lake, woodland and grassland. Home to an exceptionally wide range of habitats, such as hedgerows, wildflower meadows, wetlands, and over 900 species of fungi. The park is also home to a large variety of life including: birds of prey, wildfowl, amphibians, invertebrates and even bats.
Barbury Castle is an Iron Age hill fort, one of several such forts found along the ancient Ridgeway route. The Ridgeway has been in use since prehistoric times and its 87-mile long route passes through ancient landscapes, secluded valleys and woodland and is reputed to be Europe’s oldest road.
Old Town Gardens is one of Swindon’s most popular green spaces. These beautiful Victorian gardens with a café, aviary and rose garden, even has its own Grade II listed bandstand and an Art Deco Concert Bowl, both hosting events from brass bands and local art to festivals and live music.
Close to the centre of town, Queen’s Park features a lake of around 2 acres. It is home to many species of wildfowl and contains a diverse range of ornamental trees and shrubs. The park has a Garden of Remembrance, officially opened by Princess Elizabeth on 15 November 1950 and commemorates those who died in WWII. It also has the Mesothelioma Memorial Garden opened in 2003, designed as a place for quiet contemplation.
GWR/Faringdon Park is a simple large expanse of green close to the centre of the town, with ornamental gardens and a children's play park. The park dates from the 1840s when it was a popular venue for the railway workers' community and sporting events and later, holding fetes and rallies.
The Lawns is an expanse of parkland with woods, meadows and lakes and features the remains of an Italian sunken garden and the site of Swindon’s original parish church – Holy Rood. This was once the estate of the Goddards, a prominent Swindon family. The beautiful walks offer fantastic views across the town and the park also hosts many events including the Old Town Festival.
Follow Visit Swindon on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for your daily dose of inspiration @Visit_Swindon