- Learn about the incredible history behind this scenic area as well as the man who created these incredible views.
- Take the scenic route with the Champion Trees Trail at Winkworth Arboretum.
- For some amazing views of the valley, have a walk through the Winkworth Wetlands.
Get a breath of fresh air with a visit to the Winkworth Arboretum. This National Trust garden spans over 95 acres and is the perfect place to bring the kids for a fun day out in nature. With lots of trails of varying difficulty, a rich history and absolutely stunning views there is no better way to spend an afternoon in the hills.
Established in 1937 by Doctor Wilfrid Fox, the Winkworth Arboretum began as a passion project. With a mission to enhance the valley’s natural landscape, Dr Fox decided to plant a number of different species of trees across the land. He was somewhat of a horticultural artist in the manner that he planted trees around the valley. He explains his methods, saying, “It all depends on whether you look upon yourself as an artist using trees and shrubs to paint a picture, in which case it is easy to be bold, or whether you are a gardener and love growing all these beautiful things for their own sakes”. It is clear he had great respect for the land and all creatures that lived in it. This legacy is something the National Trust Surrey has upholded since they inherited the Arboretum in 1988, a few years after Dr Fox’s passing.
The arboretum park has grown over the years to inhabit over 1,000 species of trees as well as many different kinds of flowers and other flora. It is a stunning place to visit at any time of year, however autumn is when the landscape truly bursts into colour. Following through on Dr Fox’s original vision, the hillside is painted with many different shades of autumnal hues from around mid-September well into late November. This truly makes the visitors feel like they’re stepping into a work of art. The Hickory and Tulip trees glow with bright golden leaves as the Japanese Maples turn a deep crimson, these contrasting colours work so well together to create a feast for the eyes.
The Champion Tree Trail is a highlight for all visitors to the Winkworth Arboretum. A champion tree is the tallest and/or widest specimen of their species of tree. There are at least 50 champion trees across this trail, and visitors will easily be able to see 12 of them as they are marked with blue labels. Children will love the challenge of finding them all; it’s the perfect natural treasure hunt. There is also a natural play area that younger visitors to the arboretum will love exploring and letting out some energy. There truly is something at this location for everyone in the family to appreciate and find enjoyable.
Winkworth’s wetland is also a must-see for visitors. A serene trail through the landscaped lake with stunning views of the valley in every season, what more could you ask for! Keep your eyes out for some of the native wildlife that call this stunning area their home. Everything from bats to newts can be found here if you know where to look. This area is a wonderful peaceful trek that will give the whole family a lovely break from the hustle and bustle of city life. In fact, there are tons of great outdoor spaces in Surrey, including Bushy Park and the British Wildlife Centre.
What to know before you go
- Winkworth Arboretum is open every day from 10am - 5pm.
- The tearoom is located on site and serves light refreshing meals to all visitors. There are also picnic areas for a scenic packed lunch.
- There is an online gift shop for those who would like to pick up some unique souvenirs and support the arboretum.
- Toys and vehicles like footballs, bikes and scooters are strictly forbidden in order to preserve the pristine natural landscape of Winkworth Arboretum.
- There are toilets, including wheelchair accessible toilets, and baby-changing facilities available on site.
- Winkworth Arboretum is partially wheelchair accessible. Some paths are quite steep, especially on the 'challenging trail', and would be unsuitable for wheelchair users. Please keep in mind that when it is raining or wet outside the paths will be increasingly muddy.
- Dogs are welcome to the arboretum however they must be kept on a leash for the duration of your visit.
How to get there
- Winkworth Arboretum is located in Godalming, Surrey.
- It's about an hour’s drive (49 miles) from central London, depending on traffic.
- There is a car park available for visitors on site with spaces reserved for blue badge holders.
- Bus route 42 has a stop right outside the entrance of the arboretum.