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Lydiard Park Circular

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Lydiard Park Circular
Author: Claire, Published: 02 Jan 2015 Walk rating : Rating:star1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
Wiltshire, Swindon
Walk Type: Garden or park
Lydiard Park Circular
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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A 3 mile circular walk around Lydiard Park, near Swindon in Wiltshire. Lydiard Park lies right at the edge of Swindon, providing a delightful peaceful spot to escape the hustle and bustle. Popular with dog walkers and families, the walk takes you on a tour of the grounds taking in the mansion, lakes, gardens and parkland.

Lydiard Park is open every day (except Christmas Day) from 7.30am until dusk. Entrance to the park is free, but fees apply for parking or if you want to go inside the house and/or walled garden. The walk is almost entirely flat with just a couple of gentle slopes. The route follows surfaced paths the whole way round making it suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs. There are just a few single gates to negotiate, with no steps, stiles or kissing gates on route. There are public toilets and a cafe by the car park at the start of the walk. Approximate time 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Lydiard Park is located just to the west of Swindon in Wiltshire, just north of Junction 16 of the M4. There are brown signs (Lydiard Park) to direct you from the motorway junction. The walk starts and finishes from the pay and display Lydiard Park car park, alongside the cafe, which is accessed from Hook Street. (Note: there is a second car park accessed from Hay Lane, with brown signs for House and Church, so make sure you don’t go to this car park by mistake). The fee for parking is £2 for 2 hours or £4 for more than 2 hours (correct Dec 2016). Approximate post code SN5 3PA.

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Walk Sections

Start to Footbridge
Start to Footbridge

Start point: 51.56 lat, -1.855 long
End point: 51.5575 lat, -1.8524 long

From the car park, head up the tarmac lane into the park to reach the cafe on the left and a large map/noticeboard on the right. Immediately BEFORE the noticeboard, turn right into the surfaced path with the car park to the right and a brick-lined ditch running to the left. At the first fork (just after a red dog waste bin), take the right-hand branch. Follow this path which swings right then leads you down to a footbridge over a pretty stream.

Footbridge to Dam Wall
Footbridge to Dam Wall

Start point: 51.5575 lat, -1.8524 long
End point: 51.5608 lat, -1.848 long

Cross the footbridge and then continue on the path until you reach a T-junction. Turn left and stay on this main path as it swings left and then right alongside a lake on the left. At the next junction, keep straight ahead along the path with the second, larger lake now visible through the trees on the left.

Soon the mansion will be visible across the lake to the left. Take a moment to enjoy this view. The Lydiard estate was owned by the Tregoze family from about 1190 and in 1259 Henry III granted a royal licence for Tregoze to create a deer park within the adjacent woodland. The medieval park was an impressive estate with church, deer park and manor house. In 1420 the park came into the St John family through marriage and they owned it for 500 years, until World War II.

At the top of the lake you will come to another T-junction. Turn left here and follow the path across the dam.

Dam Wall to Walled Garden
Dam Wall to Walled Garden

Start point: 51.5608 lat, -1.848 long
End point: 51.5621 lat, -1.8525 long

Follow the path heading towards the mansion and church. As you approach the stone wall in front of the church, the path swings right to reach a staggered crossroads. Turn sharp left here, to join the path which follows the church wall on the right and then passes the side wall of the mansion. Turn right to pass in front of the mansion.

St Mary's is one of England's finest small churches and dates back to the 1100s. It is packed with fascinating monuments to the St. John family including the Golden Cavalier, a full-size effigy of Edward St John, who died of injuries sustained in the Battle of Newbury in the English Civil War. Lydiard House, as it stands today, is a Palladian mansion which was redeveloped in the 1740s. In 1943 the house was requisitioned by the military and served as a hospital for allied troops and then for prisoners of war. The St John family sold the estate at this time.

Keep straight ahead and pass through the arch within an old stone wall (there is a ramp to the left if you need to avoid these two steps). Cross the courtyard and continue out via the two tall stone gate posts. A few paces later you will come to a signed T-junction. Turn right (signed Stables and Walled Garden) and, just a few yards later, turn left onto the narrower tarmac path which leads you past first the coach house (now a tea room) and then the walled garden on the right.

Walled Garden to Eastern Avenue
Walled Garden to Eastern Avenue

Start point: 51.5621 lat, -1.8525 long
End point: 51.5661 lat, -1.8612 long

Continue beyond the walled garden to reach a T-junction. Turn left and then, at the first crossroads, turn right. Follow this path through a gate (or open gateway) and then along an avenue of fenced young trees.

Lydiard House was open to the public from 1955. By the beginning of the 21st century, Lydiard Park was in need of substantial works to conserve its heritage value. A £3 million Heritage Lottery Grant was acquired and work took place between 2005 and 2007 to reinstate and restore the parkland including the lakes, dam, avenues, walled garden, coach house and ice house. In its restored state it is now easy to imagine the original grandeur of this historic park.

Some way along, the surfaced path leads you through another gateway then passes under power lines. A short distance later you will reach a signed T-junction. Turn left here to join an avenue heading east, signed as part of the West Park Circuit.

Eastern Avenue to Second Gate
Eastern Avenue to Second Gate

Start point: 51.5661 lat, -1.8612 long
End point: 51.5626 lat, -1.8689 long

This long straight path eventually leads you to the next T-junction, at the edge of Park Copse. Turn left, signed again as the West Park Circuit. The path leads you through two gates in quick succession. Immediately after the second gate, turn left onto the avenue heading west, back towards the centre of the park.

Second Gate to End
Second Gate to End

Start point: 51.5626 lat, -1.8689 long
End point: 51.5603 lat, -1.8547 long

Follow this long straight path. On a clear day you will be able to see the skyline of Swindon very clearly at about 11 o’clock. The path leads you through a gateway and, as you come up the gentle slope, the mansion will come into view again between the trees ahead.

As you enter the trees, take the first surfaced path on the right. This path leads you past the children’s play area on the right and then the public toilets and cafe on the left. At the corner of the cafe, turn right to return to the car park where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2015 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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2 gallery images for "Lydiard Park Circular"

3893_0Richard1420190781 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: RichardJ
Uploaded: 02 Jan 2015
This is the church that is situated next to the main house. Taken in December 2014.
3893_1Richard1420190781 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: RichardJ
Uploaded: 02 Jan 2015
Lydiard House - December 2014


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