In line with Government advice, the Great Park currently remains open for you to take essential exercise, if you live locally. (You shouldn’t travel outside of your village, town or area of the city you live in).
To help keep everybody safe, when in the Park you must follow Government national lockdown rules.
Your safety, the safety of our staff and other Park visitors is our utmost priority. We will not hesitate to impose tighter restrictions if safety is compromised.
Before you leave home
Please note - there may be occasions where our team will ask you to move on if an area is becoming too crowded. Please respect their request.
If you are taking your daily exercise and are parking at The Savill Garden, please be aware of roadworks on Wick Road scheduled for the 25 January. Diversion signs will be in place.
Please can horse riders use the road from Timber Lodge crossroads to the cross-over point to the horse track leading to Ox Pond. This is due to the ground conditions of the adjacent horse track..
Timber harvesting in Swinley Forest
The Deer Park will be closed on Tuesday 26 January for operational reasons.
Planning a visit to the Great Park? Here are some tips to help you get the most from your visit.
In the summer of 2017 a large poplar limb fell to the ground in The Savill Garden. There was no obvious reason and the cause was registered as what is known Summer Branch Drop (more common in Oaks). It was then decided that our team would remove this poplar and also some other examples that were very close to a major path running up through the Alpine Meadow, on the way to Summer Wood.
Over the next 18 months the team treated the invasive suckers and eventually removing stumps. During the winter of 2018 the team started to cut back and prune the ever advancing Rhododendron ponticum which divides the Alpine Meadow and The Orchard. The ponticum had engulfed several trees, including the Nyssa sylvatica (Tupelo Trees), and over 10 metres of the ponticum had crept almost unnoticed across the meadow.
Work continued last summer (2019) with the team digging out the remaining roots of the poplar. We took this opportunity to make some drainage improvements at the same time. A mini digger was deployed to start inserting a new drainage system whilst we removed the stumps. Pipe work was installed into the site which will help to remove the excess water on the surface. When we approached spring 2020, the area was mulched in preparation for new planting this autumn/winter.
The plan will be to develop the area for trees and shrubs that will give excellent autumn colour. One example of the improvements will be the addition of Nyssa sylvatica (Tupelo Trees) which were grafted by the propagation team from the best cultivars from the National Collection at Exbury Gardens in Hampshire. New selected plants will also include Neoshirakia japonica which has brilliant red leaves, Disanthus cercidifolius with red heart shaped leaves and small red flowers in late autumn. Fothegilla monticola from N. America which has powdery white flowers in spring, followed by orange/yellow autumn colour and a host of other interesting plants will be added to complement the new plantings.
The final stage in the design will be opening a new vista from the viewing platform. In the spring of 2016, whilst giving a guided tour, I noticed that the gardens lacked a vista from the viewing platform, or should I say it had a vista but it was hidden behind a wall of Alder trees (Alnus glutinosa). It was an easy solution. One Alder tree was removed to open the new vista to the pond and Casson Bridge beyond, thus revealing a glimpse of the Alpine Meadow in the distance. There was a problem however as a very large bulky clump of Rhododendron ponticum was blocking the view. Over the decades this clump just kept creeping outwards and over the original border, stealthily engulfing the plants below until it became the centre of attention. Its time had come and we took the decision to take back this part of the Garden – so one cold January day, the Gardens team took the ponticum out, roots and all, and reseeded the area to reveal a great vista from the viewing platform to the Alpine Meadow. Once the final planting is done this winter the vista will be complete.