Fancy travelling to Narnia? OK, OK it’s not Narnia, but it sure does look like what I imagine their woods to be.
Where is this magical land of which I write? None other than Heaven’s Gate in the county of Wiltshire.
There is quite a famous attraction, Longleat Safari Park, just down then road from this woodsy beauty, but as most folk never go farther than Longleat, this lovely walk is rarely found or enjoyed other than by locals.
But found it must be; for it offers a wonderful opportunity to lose yourself in an enchanting landscape of an afternoon. Not to mention your being able to see stunning views of Longleat House & Estate.
How to get there? Drive to the Nockatt Coppice Car Park in Warminster (more information below). From here, you will cross the road to the Heaven’s Gate entrance where you will be greeted by beautiful rows of beech trees, rhododendrons and azaleas (their flowering season is at their best mid-April to early May).
Keep following this path, and if you have children with you, let them loose to enjoy some of the best trees and woodland for climbing and exploring! After a wee wander, you will come to a double gate that leads to a field. And no, you haven’t come to a mini Stonehenge, but granite sculptures by artist Paul Norris. Keep walking and within a minute or two, you will be greeted by the impressive views. Here is where I recommend pulling out the flask of tea and picnic blanket and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Fun fact, the viewpoint at Heaven’s Gate was designed by Capability Brown, a man who brought life to so much of England’s landscape. Some of his most famous designs are Blenheim Palace and Highclere Castle.
After your picnic, now the Narnian adventure can begin! Facing the Longleat House and views, you will want to veer to your left and head towards a gate at the entrance of the forest. Wander through this majestic woodland to your heart’s content. Step into the side paths to surround yourself with peace and tranquility.
Rewind a wee bit to the viewpoint of Longleat Estate. You may want a shorter or more pram friendly walk, then I would suggest you choose to amble towards your right. It is a different feel than the deep woods (as seen in photo directly above), but definitely lovely. Bear in mind your walk will end when you come to the barrier to the Longleat Estate.
Keep reading to find all you need to discover and enjoy this magical place!
Driving directions: Use postcode BA12 7LA to Nockatt Coppice Car Park
Parking is free.
Dog friendly? Yes indeed! Although they must be kept on a lead once in the field and view area.
Pram friendly? Definitely so on the route from the car park to the open views. However, if you are going to ramble the woods, I would bring a baby carrier to give you more options in going off the beaten paths.
If you are coming in the warmer months there is often an ice cream truck in the car park, so you may want to bring some cash with you.
Don’t forget to bring that picnic!
Happy walking! Happy trails!