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Please be aware of government guidelines before setting off.Government Guidelines
Close to the village of Farnham Common in Burnham Buckinghamshire, is a unique and beautiful Site of Special Scientific Interest. With its stunning trees, ponds and rare species of plants and wildlife, a trip to Burnham Beeches is much more than a day out at the park. There is over 500 acres of wetlands, woodland, and park to explore here, with lots of picnic spots and walkways to enjoy.
The site of Burnham Beeches dates all the way back to the Ice Age. There has been woodland in this area for over 2 million years, and has been used by people since the Iron Age. The nearby hillfort at Seven Ways Plain is another example of human settlement in the area. With a mention in the Domesday Book of 1086, the Burnham area is recorded to have been abundant with woodland and animals for farming. In 1878, the site was bought by the City of London, and is now open to the public. To this day, there are animals grazing on the pastures in the park, and there is lots of flora and fauna, some rare and on the brink of extinction. This rare wildlife is one of the things that makes Burnham Beeches so unique. The other famous element of Burnham Beeches, is the presence of several ancient Beech and Oak pollarded trees, which have been on the site for hundreds of years. The largest, and most likely oldest tree is known as 'Druid's Oak', and is over 800 years old. As you wander the ancient woodland, make sure to check out these fantastic relics, which are especially impressive in autumn when the leaves change to magnificent golds, coppers and oranges. As well as being a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Burnham Beeches is also a National Nature Reserve and Special Area of Conservation, meaning it is a significant place for the conservation of local wildlife.
While leisurely Burnham Beeches walks are a family favourite, you can also head along one of the pre-planned trails, where you can see even more of this fantastic site. The 8km Burnham Beeches Historical Trail will take you on a circular route, and takes about two hours. Beginning and ending at the visitor centre, this trail has stops to check out the Iron Age Hill Fort and the ancient Hartley Court Moat, as well as the ponds that have inspired many an artist. Alternatively, if you have kids in tow, are short on time or are keen to learn about the local landscape, the 3km long Burnham Beeches Geology Trail might be more up your street. This route will take you to see all the fascinating features of the area, with lots of geological sites to find on your way. More details about both routes can be found on the City of London website.
There are lots of brilliant things to do at Burnham Beeches with the kids. As well as exploring the historic sites and spotting local wildlife, there are often lots of family activities and events to get involved with. There's also a sensory trail, which is greater for younger kids or those who are developing their sensory development. Just 1km long, this trail includes five statues to find, which are specifically built to be touched and climbed on. The path is accessible for wheelchairs and buggies, and as you walk around you'll see wooden sculptures and much more to encourage engagement and interaction. In the summer holidays kids can also get involved with the Summer Woodland Wonders trail, with a printable activity sheet on the City of London website where they can tick off everything they discover!
If all that exploring works up an appetite, you'll find plenty of places to eat in Burnham Beeches and the surrounding areas, or you can bring a picnic to enjoy. In the park itself, The Beeches Eco Cafe is a popular spot for lunch, coffee and cakes (and dogs are welcome too!). The Burnham Beeches Hotel and its 2AA Rosette awarded Oak Restaurant is another option if you fancy something a little more upscale. The Burnham Beeches Hotel afternoon tea is also a fantastic treat for all the family, and can be booked at The Tea Room inside the hotel. Alternatively, there a few pubs in Burnham Beeches that welcome families, including The Blackwood Arms at the north end of the park, a great place for pub grub, or The Emperor to the south, which is the perfect spot for fish 'n' chips.
If you're ready to continue the family adventure after your top day at Burnham Beeches, there are plenty of top options on offer in the area. From Legoland Windsor, the perfect place for all lovers of LEGO toys and television shows, to Beale Park in Berkshire, where you can check out more amazing wildlife, there's no shortage of brilliant days out to choose from.
Please follow the latest government guidelines if travelling by public transport.Government Guidelines