There are some exciting features around the site for you to discover.
If this is your first visit, pop into the welcome barn and have a look round. It’s only a short walk from the car park along a surfaced track. You will find a range of interesting information relating to the site which will help you decide where you want to start first, which route to take and what to look out for. It’s also an intersection for a number of major routes leading off into the wood, including the three way-marked trails.
You don’t have to be a birder or a twitcher to appreciate this great new bird hide, funded by the Arts Council. It’s just to the south of the lake a short walk downhill from the welcome barn, and contains a willow sculpture enclosed within the ceiling. The hide overlooks the lake and two tern rafts (floating islands for birds) as well as a wildlife conservation area.
If you forget your watch or phone, don’t despair! You will be able to tell the time with a bespoke artist-designed sundial which is located to the north-west of the site, off School Lane. It stands in the centre at a marked point and its shadow marks the time, depending on the position of the sun. The individual hour markers are carved blocks of stone indicating the distance to far off countries such as Estonia and Russia. If the sun’s not out though, you may need a map and a back-up time piece!
Now and Then art feature
Funded by the Arts Council, this landscape-scale art piece designed by artist Rosie Leventon is located on the hill above the lake. Looking from the outside like an ancient earthwork, the centre is an amphitheatre-like hollow bowl, the inner edge of which spirals down to the bottom and can be followed like a pathway. See how fast you can get to the bottom and back up again and have a bit of a race against your own results or those of your family.
Look out for our stunning wicker sculptures dotted around the site. They’re the work of artist Spencer Jenkins and portray some of the bird and animal species you might spot here.
The photographic plinth
Designed by the artist Patricia Swannell, ‘Legacy’ is a print and photography project conceived and designed by Patricia and part-funded by the Arts Council England. It will record the growth of the emerging wood by photographing one family in the same place each year for the next 60 years against the background of the growing woodland. You can also take photos at the plinth to mimic the artistic concept. Find it a short distance down the slope from the welcome barn adjacent to the surfaced track.
This purpose-built platform is located near to the bird hide on the western edge of the lake. Bring a net and see what mini-beasts you can capture on top of and under the water. But don’t forget to put them back!
Go back in time by following the coin trail. There are 12 ‘coins’ in all, ranging from the Iron Age to up to the present day. Set along a surfaced track, each coin is laid on a brass disc embedded in a sandstone block. This surfaced trail is great fun for all the family to follow with a few surprises along the way. You can take rubbings of each of the individual coins, the aim being to find and collect them all as you follow the route. Don’t forget to bring your own paper and pencils though! Download the Family Trail booklet to bring with you - see side navigation.
Moments in time
‘Moments in time’ is a theme for interpreting the changes in landscape at the site, of which the woodland creation plays a major part. See what has been done so far to change what was once mainly arable land into a fantastic new woodland, and keep coming back to see how what’s changed since your last visit.
The jubilee groves and jubilee groves walk
A pleasant surfaced walk takes you from the car park through the grove areas up to the lake. Sixty-one groves of trees have been planted in this section of the site – one for each year of the Queen’s reign up to 2012, including the coronation year (hence 61 rather than 60). Each grove is marked by an oak post and two plaques, one denoting the sponsor and the year and the other a native wild animal or tree.
There are a number of bespoke artist-designed benches around the site, located to give you a great view of the woodland. So stop a while at each bench, take a seat, and enjoy the view.