“ Wellington Country Park / Odiham Road / Riseley / Near Reading / Berkshire / RG7 1SP / Tel: 0118 932 6444 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / „
It is a shame as this park has had a few really bad reviews. My family never had any money whilst i was growing up and so holidays abroad were a huge no. My parents didn't want to stop us having a holiday and so we went to Wellington country park every year. For us this place was brilliant. It is basically a huge park land (from on old manor house I think) it has acres of forest, a huge lake and a huge open perk land area. You can go there for a day trip or camp there. There is so much to do that a day trip really does not do it justice. We used to stay fir the week and rarely leave the park!
The forests have nature trails denoted in different colours for different lengths. The amount of wildlife in these forests were amazing and we used to spend hours there enjoying the forests and the animals we saw.
We would walk around the lake in the evening which was huge and had even more wildlife in it from fish to swans and geese.
In addition to all these nature trails there is a farm where you can stroke rabbits, ginea pigs, goats sheep. There is a dinosaur trail where there are fibreglass dinosaurs to look at. Then there is a brilliant assault course we used to compete on!
One of the best things was walking through the deer park. The park had a huge family of red and roe deer and, even though they were still wild you could watch them at close quarters and marvel at their beauty!
Camping was great there in the woods and the pitches were really huge so you wouldn't be bothered by other people! Dogs are allowed and all our dogs have loved running around the park and swimming in the lake.
This is a great park to learn about wildlife and nature and I would go back time and time again.
Me and my girlfriend visited this park today and came out feeling like we had been robbed. We turned up, and paid our 6.75 each which I think is over priced. After paying they tell us that the animal farm is closed, and so is the Deer park, two of the things we came to see, why they do not advertise this before you pay I do not know, you would think this would be the moral thing to do, but they get your money then tell you. The girl at the reception seemed very unenthusiast6ic and as if she did not want to be there, and said "sorry not much is open but you could go on the train ride", which you also have to pay extra for. So we ended up walking around the lake, which you could do for free anywhere. No refreshment stalls were open, no staff walking around to ask, and to top it off we got given a map that was not understandable due to bad photocopying. Nice scenery, but I could get this in many places for free.
We visited the park in early September on a dry but cool Sunday when the park wasn't too busy so we were able to park close to the entrance and we were able to enjoy the facilities to the full.
If the park were free I would be wholeheartedly recommending it but having paid £21.50 for 1 adult and 3 children I'm not sure it offers good value especially when you think about the wealth of countryside around this area that is free to enjoy.
The park is accessed through a visitor centre/cafe building which also houses the only toilets for the venue. Visitors are given a sticker which will allow readmittance to the park so you can come in and use the facilities as required. There are 350 acres of woodland, nature trails, a lake and various play areas to enjoy and we were given a simple map which highlighted the attractions around the park.
There are 4 nature trails to follow which take between 25 minutes and an hour; they are probably accessible with a pushchair but a bit bumpy I think for a wheelchair. Some of these take you past an area containing red deer roaming freely and the only downside was the presence of filled poop scoop bags discarded by selfish dog owners - why bother to bag your dog's mess if you are going to leave it behind?
There are a number of play areas for children around the park, suitable for all ages and of a better quality than you could find in a municipal play area and they were all in good condition on the day we visited. There is a large sandpit which was clean at the time of our visit and the signed water play area was good fun although only about 5 or 6 children could comfortably play here at the same time. There was also a farm animals area with a couple of pigs, donkeys and a few goats and sheep to look at - but this area looks like its not yet finished. There were a couple of talks on the animals scheduled but we didn't stay to hear them.
The walk around the park would probably take less than an hour if you weren't stopping to use the play areas and it is an easy and pleasant walk and has been beautifully landscaped. Dogs are allowed in the park but we didn't see many and only bicycles with stabilisers are permitted. At some point we came across a dinosaur sculpture - just the one - which seems extremely bizarre, I assume they got it cheap! There was also a miniature electric train ride that can take about 10 people a time, this is an additional £1.00 per person and would say only fun for under 10s.
We had lunch in the cafe, the kids meals were £3.95 and the hot adult meals about £6.50, jacket potatoes £5.50. The food was reasonable quality - the burgers appeared home made as did the sausage roll but overall I wasn't very impressed with the food or the service - it wasn't a very busy day but the staff had left a lot of the tables uncleared.
There is a gift shop selling toys and odds and ends for people camping at the park and there is also a paint your own pottery section.
We spent a good four hours at the park as the children enjoyed the play areas and if it was half the price I wouldn't hesitate to return but next time I would probably take a picnic as had many families. There are plenty of areas suitable for eating and benches and seating provided.
It is half term (Feb 2009), and I have just come back from a trip to Wellington Country Park. Due to a low boredom threshold (me not the kids), I do tend to go on days out as much as I can, always armed with a picnic and ready to make the most of wherever I go.
The park was set up in 1974 apparently "by the Eighth Duke and Duchess of Wellington, who wished to provide a destination where the growing population of the Thames Valley could enjoy outdoor pursuits, discover natural history and develop an interest in the countryside." I am not sure that for me it quite fulfilled this role.
To be fair to the Park, my visit was at the start of the season, and it was a colder than forecast day, however I wasn't overly impressed but what was on offer. I have been before in high Summer where the strange sight of a Husky rally kept us all entertained, but nonetheless today's visit had an air of out of season seaside about it and I am not sure that I enjoyed it more than I would have enjoyed a trip to any free park or a woodland walk, certainly it didn't live up to the "come join in the fun" that features prominently on the front of the 2009 guide.
Children under 3 are free, but adults pay £6.50 and children 3-15 pay £5.50. I managed to get 20 percent off this price by using a voucher from www.discountbritain.net. A family ticket is £21.50.
What is there to do?
I can see that on a sunny day you could while away a day at the park. There is a large lake and 350 acres of grounds and nature trails. I am sorry to say that the rest of the attractions look a bit tired. I can see that they have tried to spruce things up but some of the areas were disappointing.
There was a sand pit full of dirty sand and a couple of broken toys which perhaps will be cleaned for more summery weather, the playgrounds were alright, but not as good as some municipal parks I have been to in all honesty. I think local authorities have probably invested a lot of money in park equipment in recent years, I could see that they had tried to make distinct play areas for toddlers and adventure areas but they weren't really that good.
There is a little train, which is lovely, but involved another £1 each for me and my daughters to have a ride. There was a crazy golf but it was water logged at the time of my visit, there was a water play area which was so-so and a digger area which had 3 play diggers, hardly very many and I would imagine at peak times there is probably all out kid war over these, likewise the one lonely old tractor that there was to sit on.
There was a giant dinosaur randomly placed on our walk round the lake which appeared to be pink - I think as it had worn down to the undercoat, in any case very strange. I think that more investment is probably needed in the play equipment, also the "animal corner" is billed as opening in 2009 but was nowhere near opening, when you look at the website it isn't very clear that it is closed.
The park probably is a good place for walks and seeing nature, however it is pretty expensive for this when there are other places nearby that are absolutely free to visit and arguably better, like Windsor great park or California country park. Nearby Beale park (near Reading) is actually a similar price and has far far more to see and do with up to date play facilities and lots of animals.
the park boasts a number of special events such as concerts in the summer and family fun days. You can see what is on at www.wellington-country-park.co.uk Whilst we were there there was a clown who was performing at 11 and 1, apparently he was quite good but we arrived at 11.05 and by 12.40 we had had enough, which says a lot.
The food at the cafe looked good and was reasonably priced with a hot meal being about £6. There was also a range of jacket potatoes and sandwiches which looked tasty.
Overall as you have probably guessed I wouldn't rush back. My children had an ok time, but in these current times I expect a bit more for my money. If you are local to the park or have 2 or more under 3's then it is probably better value, they are introducing a new season ticket which may be worthwhile if it is on your doorstep. The park should be on your "filling the Summer holidays" list, but I think could be a lot better than it actually is which is a great pity.
Wellington Country Park, Odiham Road, Riseley, Near Reading,
Berkshire, RG7 1SP
Last week I was privileged to be a parent helper on my daughters pre-school trip. The destination was not far from our home address yet I had never heard of this place before. Not only was I able to spend the day with a lovely group of pre-schoolers but I was able to take in some breathtaking scenery and fresh air.
What a thoroughly enjoyable day lay ahead for us all and this park deserves a review to encourage (hopefully) more visitors. Situated within easy reach of both the M4 and M3, the park is open daily and is well signposted from the A33.
*** PARK DETAILS***
Wellington Country Park
Berkshire RG7 1SP
Tel: 0118 932 6444
**Opening times as of 2007: **
The Park is open daily from February half term to early November. The times during 2007 are:
10th - 25th February 10.00am 4.30pm
15th - 31st March 10.00am 4.30pm
1st April - 30th September 10.00am 5.30pm
1st October - 4th November 10.00am 4.30pm
Last admissions are one hour before closing. Entrance gates will be locked one hour after closing. The campsite is open daily from 15th March to 4th November.
**** Prices as of 2007****
Adults - £6.00
Children (3 -15years) - £5.00
Senior Citizens - £5.00
Family (2 adults, 2 children) - £19.50
Under 3 years of age free
Cash, cheques or credit/debit cards are welcome. Groups of 20 or more receive a 20% discount, therefore ideal for school trips.
*** A Little History*****
Wellington Country Park was established in 1974 by the Eighth Duke and Duchess of Wellington. Their kind intentions were to provide a large area where the population of the Thames Valley could enjoy outdoor activities, educate and discover natural history and more importantly develop an interest in the countryside itself. I think they succeeded in their quest with what I witnessed at this park.
** What to Expect ***
As you approach the park, you will notice that it is very well sign posted. Follow the woodland trail into the vast car park amongst the Conifer trees. It is a very shady area and ideal for leaving your vehicle. You will need a car as I saw no bus route into the place. It is free to park your vehicle.
However as with most places in todays world, do not leave your car unlocked and remove or hide all valuables, such as a Sat Nav.
The reception area is where you pay for your entrance to the park. It is a large pine building with heavy double doors. As well as paying for your entrance, there is a cafeteria, very small and expensive shop and toilets.
Once you have paid your ticket, you continue through the automatic security gates into 350 acres of beautiful Hampshire countryside. There is so much for the family to explore, with lakes, parkland, and open spaces, woodland areas all connected by nature trails, comfortable and somewhat clean picnic sites and vast play areas for the children. You will be confused to know where to begin.
The areas for children are: Play Trail, Snakes and Ladders, Enchanted Forest, Water Play, Sand Pit, Mini Railway (costs £1 per person), Adventure Playground (older childen only), Crazy Golf and next to the reception the Toddlers Play Area. All of these are scattered around the park but you are given a map to show exactly where to go.
When we got there, my daughter and her friend ran straight towards the wet play and sand area on the left hand side. The wet play is separate from the over sized sand pit. In the wet area, the children are able to pump water up and down the wooden channels and then see it flow over the edges back into the tray underneath. Lots of splashing with hands and wet arms, but thats all they can get damp.
The pump is suspended above a long wooden channel and it is too narrow for the little ones to actually climb in.
They all seem to have great delight in seeing the endless water pump through the tray and back again to the bottom trough. Behind them is a beautiful view of the lakes. With lots of seating around this section, just sit down and relax whilst they get their cuffs soaking wet. The sand pit next door has a selection of mechanical machinery for the little ones to dig with. Play in the sand and let them build a stream for the water to flow along and then disappear under the sand again. Just this area alone will provide endless entertainment.
However I would imagine on a hot weekend, this would become packed and heaving with youngsters fighting to get to the pump first. We were lucky being able to visit during the week when most people were at work and children were at school.
Further along is yet another small area where children can run through large concrete pipes, climb on an immobilised and ancient blue tractor, jump aboard a small wooden train and encourage pretend play or just sit on a mini size bench and watch their friends enjoy themselves. Around this section are more picnic benches and seats for mum and dad too so you can keep a watchful eye.
Another favourite area was the Snakes and Ladders. Walk past the large dinosaur T Rex hiding in the undergrowth and you will see an area situated on a hill of just slides and ladders. In the middle is a massive slide which is unsuitable for under 5s as they need to climb a large wooden ladder to gain access to the top. Once at the top, the slide curls its way down through an enclosed tunnel and out onto the floor. The remaining slides are a bit tamer.
Unfortunately as this area is adjacent to the lakes, the wildlife seems to enjoy resting here and the grass is full of bird excrement. I am not talking pea size here, these are large piles of green pooh and its everywhere. Its like walking in a minefield. I never saw any ducks, swans or geese as the children played but I expect in the evening when the visitors have left, they probably nest under the benches and eat the remains of the picnics that are dropped on the grass.
Next to the slides is the Crazy Golf. Pick up your childs club by the door in the reception and grab a ball inside the basket and let the children try to work their way over small slopes and hurdles. When I was there midweek, there were several small marquees erected around the crazy golf section but I had no idea what they were for.
Many species of birds have become residents since the lake was opened. These include Canada Geese, Coots, Egyptian Geese and Great Crested Grebes. As the park is surrounded by lakes, you will easily spot some of these and the remains of last nights food.
Remember you are not just here to let the kids let off steam. Take time to enjoy the nature trails that are all signposted, these are called:
The Woodland Trail Blue
One of the shorter walks. This trail leads you through a grove of mature conifers and some large mature oaks.
Water Fowl Green
A level path runs along the lakes and embankment, making this ideal for wheel chair users. Many more picnic areas in this tranquil trail as are the Canada Geese and their droppings so be warned. Fishing is allowed here so please respect the anglers around the waters edge.
This takes about an hour to stroll around but this is where the deer are situated. Unfortunately when we were there they didnt want to come out of hiding and we only spotted a handful before they darted inside the tall dark pine trees.
Bird Spotter Yellow
Meander through coppiced birch, beech trees and conifers and breathe in the pungent smells of the forest. This is where a beautiful
Red Admiral (butterfly) rested on my toe whilst I was standing still admiring the size of the conifers. I had never seen one so close and it didnt appear to want to leave my foot.
You wont be able to get yourself lost as the trails all have a pathway to follow and an entrance and an exit. As long as you stick to the rules, youll be fine.
Dogs are allowed inside the park and should be kept on a lead if possible, especially on the Antler Trail. All responsible dog owners should pick up their dogs pooh and this park is no exception. There are pooh bins situated around the park but only by the reception area is where you can obtain your free pooh bag. You can buy a season ticket allowing you and your pooch unlimited access to the park for that season.
**** The Café*****
Situated inside the reception area, you would have noticed it coming in. I took a picnic and only purchased a tea, an ice cream and two cold drinks from here so cannot comment on the food quality. From what I saw the prices ranged from £1.00 upwards depending on what you had. Ribena juice cartons were £0.99, an ice cream was £1.80 and a tea in a polystyrene cup (yuk) was £1. The pine seating area inside was clean and comfortable.
To be honest, take your own picnic. Its more enjoyable eating in the great outdoors and its cheaper too. Unlike Moors Valley Country Park which I also reviewed, this place has litter bins all over the place for your rubbish so you dont have to take it home with you.
Only one set as far as I could see and these were in the entrance by the café. The Ladies loo is hidden in the left hand side of the café, took us a while to find it. The Gents is right in the middle of the building with a massive great arrow pointing towards it.
The toilets were cleanish, nothing beyond the call of cleanliness, just bearable. Very dark and subdued lighting inside but has adequate washing facilities and hand driers.
*** Forthcoming Events *****
n July the following will be happening:
Queen, U2 and Earth Wind and fire perform a concert on the 7th. Not the originals of course but one of many copy bands that tour the UK.
A family fun dog show on 8th
Bootleg Beatles on 14th ( I have seen these and they are excellent, well worth the ticket price), The Secret Police and Motown Show.
Firework Spectacular on Saturday 3rd November.
As far as I know, the tickets are bought at the same place where you bought your park entrance tickets or direct online via http://www.marvellousfestivals.com. Please check the website or call the customer info line prior to the day.
Camping is permitted here but in a separate section to where the public walk around. As you approach the park, instead of turning left into the car park, take a sharp right where you will see a large green gate that is always shut but not locked. This is the campers section.
Facilities are for touring and motor caravans, up to 26 and tents. Electricity is supplied on pitches, but is not supplied to the tents. Ladies and Gents washing facilities comprise toilets, showers, hot and cold water, shaving points and the essential hair dryers.
I have never used this part of the park so cannot comment. Fees vary depending on the season so please call 0118 9326 444 for more detailed information and booking conditions.
Apparently there used to be a small holding with various animals here, but for the time being it remains closed to the public.
From what we saw and did here, I would say this place is good value. There is something for all ages and because most of the woodland has been landscaped, it provides easy access for disabled visitors and those in buggies.
I cannot comment on the staff as they were few and far between, it seems everything and everyone is centred around the entrtance. I saw no Park Rangers that day but then it was quiet and perhaps no need for them to patrol the grounds.
The one disadvantage was the amount of bird pooh and secondly, the lack of toilets further down the park. If you need the loo whilst in the red zone, its a long way back to the entrance.
Unlike Moors Valley Country Park, this place does not allow bikes inside. Only childrens bikes are permitted and they must be small or have stabilisers. Skate boards and wheelies are also banned.
Dont let that put you off though; its a great place to spend an afternoon.
Set in 350 acres of Parkland, Wellington Country Park is an ideal destination for all the family, with safe play areas, beautiful nature trails and lakeside walks. Dogs are welcome.