8.17 ha (20.19 acres)

Grid reference:


Map reference:

Explorer 234
OS Landranger 141

This lovely mix of woodland and open grassland is on the outskirts of the traditional market town of Oakham. The site offers stunning views over the surrounding countryside and Rutland Water, one of the largest artificial lakes in Europe.


  • Parking at site
  • Public access
  • Autumn colour
  • Grassland
  • Broadleaved woodland

How to get to Gorse Field, Harris Grove & Ball's Meadow

This 13.6-hectare (33.6-acre) L-shaped site comprises Gorse Field and Harris Grove & Ball's Meadow. It is on the outskirts of Oakham, a traditional market town to the west of Rutland Water in the Vale of Catmose. The woodland is designated a Site of Local Nature Conservation Importance, and is adjacent to Brooke Hill Wood, another Woodland Trust site.

From the A1, turn onto the B668 towards Oakham. Follow the B668 through Greetham and Cottesmore, turning left onto Hall Close (B668) in Cottesmore.

Follow the B668 onto Cottesmore Road, through Burley and onto Oakham Road then Burley Road (all B668).

When you reach the outskirts of Oakham, continue on the B668 through the town centre and over two roundabouts until the end of the high street where you will continue straight onto Brooke Road.

Turn left onto Brooke Road just after you have crossed the train tracks and continue on the road, passing the Brooke Hill Academy, on your right. There is a car park directly next to the school.

The nearest train station is Oakham Railway Station, around 1.7km (1 mile) from the site.

Visit National Rail for more information.

The nearest bus stop is on Spey Drive, 0.8km (0.5 miles) from the wood.

Visit Traveline for more information.

Facilities and access

The site is best accessed by entering Brooke Hill Wood car park. Gorse Field and Harris Grove & Balls Meadow sit on the higher ground to the west, which can be accessed by any number of paths.

A public bridleway crosses the southern section of the site and joins Braunstone Lane to the west and Brooke Road to the east. The southern, high end of Gorse Field can be accessed from this bridleway. All paths are of mown grass. Those on the lower slopes are easily negotiable but those on the upper slopes are steep in places and are accessed by stiles.

A car park for public use with spaces for up to 20 cars is located at the main entrance to the Brooke Hill Wood, the site adjacent to Gorse Field. The car park is used and managed by the school/council to alleviate roadside parking issues at peak times, but is otherwise free and open for visitors to the wood to use.

There is also roadside parking available on Brooke Road, but be aware that it becomes very crowded at school dropping-off and picking-up times.

The nearest public toilets are in Church Street, Oakham. They have disabled facilities which are 24-hour accessible to RADAR key holders (closed Christmas Day and most public holidays).

Wildlife and habitats


Look out for some familiar woodland favourites on your walk.

Look out for:

Trees, plants and fungi

This relatively new woodland has a wonderful variety of tree species. The oak, ash, silver birch and hazel have matured to form a shady canopy, perfect for summer strolls. As autumn approaches, clumps of bright red berries appear on the guelder rose, and you can help yourself to the windfall apples.

Look out for:


The diverse habitats at this site help wildlife thrive.


About Gorse Field, Harris Grove & Ball’s Meadow

On your walk, see if you can spot remnants of medieval ridge and furrow field management, which show that the land was once open grassland, as ploughing would have flattened the feature.

We bought Gorse Field in 1994, and Harris Grove & Ball's Meadow in December 2004, with the help of generous individual donations as well as fundraising by local people and Trust members. Both sites were acquired from John Ball, a local farmer who was anxious to safeguard the land for community use.

Early purple orchid with blurred background

A lasting legacy

This wood is just one of many to have been protected by gifts in wills, securing it for generations to come. Your legacy gift could also make a real difference to woods, trees and wildlife.

Learn what your gift could mean

Things to do at Gorse Field, Harris Grove & Ball's Meadow


There is a permanent orienteering course on the site, starting at the car park.

Visit British Orienteering for more information.