The Garden is a national reference collection of 7,000 different types of plant, making it the most compact yet diverse collection of plants in the World – there is even more biological diversity here than there is in tropical rain forests and other biodiversity hotspots.
Six miles south of Oxford on the A4074 is the Harcourt Arboretum. Harcourt Arboretum has been part of the University of Oxford since 1963. The site comprises 130 acres containing the best collection of trees in Oxfordshire with some of the oldest redwoods in the UK.
There are no walls, glasshouses or straight lines at the Arboretum - it is almost as if it were designed to be the antidote to the formality of the Botanic Garden in central Oxford.
Withymead Nature Reserve is situated between Goring-on-Thames and South Stoke in Oxfordshire and is a hidden gem that appeals to naturalists, walkers, artists and families. Bordered by the river Thames on one side and the Ridgeway Path on the other the grounds extend to 22-acres consisting of woodland, marshland and the relics of Saunders' Boatyard, much of which has remained untouched for many years. With the changing seasons come changes in the birdlife, flora and fauna.
At Waterperry Gardens there are beautiful trees, shrubs and flowers, classical borders, modern planting, secret corners and long vistas. Home to the renowned horticultural college between 1932 and 1971, the emphasis was on food production rather than spectacular ornamental gardens.
Rousham House is a Jacobean country house at Rousham in West Oxfordshire on the River Cherwell.
Chimney Meadows lies along the banks of the River Thames, near Bampton in west Oxfordshire. The site totals 250 hectares of floodplain flower rich meadows, wet woodland, 16km of hedgerows and interlaced with 18km of waterways.
Butterflies found at the site include gatekeepers, meadow browns, ringlets and common blues. The best times to visit the site are between May and July, for meadow flowers; and December and February, for wintering birds. Please note that access to the site is restricted to public rights of way, access to other parts of the reserve are by permit only.
The Folly Farm Centre is at the heart of Folly Farm, a stunning 250-acre nature reserve close to Bath and Bristol which is owned and managed by Avon Wildlife Trust. It is a very special place - a place to learn and explore, a place for inspiration, a place to lie in the grass and discover a new world.
It's a place for everyone. Whether you're seeking a conference venue, arranging a team-building event, going on a course or planning a wedding, The Folly Farm Centre offers you a unique experience.
A rare survival of a 17th-century duck decoy in working order. One of only a few left in the country.
Boarstall Tower is a 14th-century moated gatehouse, built by John de Haudlo and once part of a fortified manor house, set in gardens. Note: property is tenanted
Croome was 'Capability' Brown's first complete landscape, making his reputation and establishing a new style of garden design which became universally adopted over the next 50 years. The outer eye-catchers, acquired in 2009, and the elegant park buildings were designed by Brown, Robert Adam and James Wyatt. Croome Court, sold by the Coventry family in 1948, is at last reunited with the parkland, allowing visitors to appreciate the 6th Earl's vision for the estate as a whole.
Castle Gardens is a nice park for the kids to play in, or to picnic. Itis located in the old grounds of Wallingford Castle and admission is free.
Also of interest are the Kine Croft and Bull Croft as large recreational areas of grassland. There are also Saxon walls which are free to explore.
Brill Windmill represents one of the most ancient and valuable post mills in the country. The mill retains much of the original machinery, although it is not in working order. It is open to the public on Sundays during the summer. Set at the edge of Brill common, the windmill affords magnificent views of the surrounding countryside.
The windmill is open to the public with the support of Brill Society Volunteers from 2pm to 5pm every Sunday from Easter Bank Holiday Sunday (or 1st April whichever is earliest) until the last Sunday in September.
The Oxford Canal Walk links Oxford to Coventry, passing through the quiet rural landscape of the south Midlands. It passes beside 43 locks, numerous wooden life bridges and cast iron bridges and through one tunnel, yet crosses only one road.
There are few hills to speak of - the canal summit is only 400 feet above the start on the Thames. The towpath is continuous throughout its length. The path is in good condition all the way along, and the route is waymarked throughout with 'Oxford Canal Walk' signs.
Warburg is the premier nature reserve of the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust and nestles in the Bix valley near Henley-on-Thames in Oxon.
The mixture of chalk grassland and ancient woodland makes it an ideal site for birds and butterflies. Over 2,000 species of plant, animal and fungus have been recorded here.
carpet of bluebells in spring
helleborines and orchids in summer
over 400 species of fungi and stunning colour in autumn
Uffington Castle is all that remains of an early Iron Age (with underlying Bronze Age) hill fort in Oxfordshire, England. It covers about 32,000 square metres and is surrounded by two earth banks separated by a ditch with an entrance in the eastern end.
Radcot Bridge is often claimed as the "oldest bridge on the Thames", having been built around 1200. The Cistercian monks of St Mary at Cîteaux in Normandy were granted land for the purpose by King John. Much of the structure was broken down during the famous battle which took place here in 1387, although it was apparently reconstructed six years later. The bridge was again severely damaged during the Wars of the Roses, and was largely rebuilt as we see it today with a flattened centre arch.
The Thames Path crosses the bridges.
Little Wittenham Nature Reserve, best known for the prominence of the Wittenham Clumps, has been designated a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The designation is a key measure to ensure the protection and enhancement of biodiversity, and together with all the UK sites, form a network across the European Union.
Deddington Castle was built on a Saxon site as a motte and bailey castle in the 11th century by Bishop Odo of Bayeux, the half brother of William the Conqueror. William de Chesney, Lord of Deddington, held the castle in the mid 12th century but in the late twelfth century it was seized by the Crown during the struggle between King Richard and his brother Prince John.
Wroxton Abbey is a Jacobean house, with a 1727 garden partly converted to the serpentine style between 1731 and 1751. It is 2.5 miles (4 km) west of Banbury, off the A422, in Wroxton St. Mary. It is now Fairleigh Dickinson University's English campus.
Only the gardens are open to the public which consist of 56 acres (23 ha) of lawns, lakes, and woodlands, and comprise a serpentine lake, a cascade, a rill and a number of follies: the Gothic Dovecote attributed to Sanderson Miller and his Temple-on-the-Mount; the Drayton Arch was built by David Hiorn in 1771.
Edgehill Country Park extends to some sixteen acres of mixed grass and primary Bluebell woodland, with extensive views over the rural South Warwickshire countryside.
Edgehill Country Park Ltd
Langdon Lane, Radway
Warwickshire CV35 0UQ
Burton Dassett Hills Country Park is run by Warwickshire County Council. Great views from the hills and good for walking or kite flying. The site comprises a series of hilltops with good views in all directions and Fox Covert, a small woodland with a surfaced footpath. Opened as a country park in 1971, the 100 acres contain a wealth of historical interest such as the prominent beacon, quarry remains and the nearby 12th Century All Saints Church.
Faringdon Folly is a tower nestling under the Scottish fir-capped summit of Faringdon Hill. The hill, half a mile east of Faringdon, offers impressive views over the Thames Valley and the Berkshire Downs. Restored and reopened in 1982, it is now a familiar local landmark and popular tourist attraction.
The old parks surrounding the village of Sherborne contain some ancient trees, including old veteran Oak, Ash, Beech and Lime. These provide important nesting and feeding sites for birds, bats (some 13 species, including the Lesser Horseshoe) and many insects. Barn owls and woodpeckers can sometimes be glimpsed or heard. There is an abundance of wildlife on the estate, from Fallow and Roe deer to badgers and foxes.
The two hills: Round Hill and Castle Hill are known as the Wittenham Clumps.
Wittenham Clumps is the common, local name for a set of small hills in the upper Thames Valley, in the civil parish of Little Wittenham in Oxfordshire. They are grassed, but are wooded at the top with ancient Beech trees (planted in the 1740s), giving them a distinctive and prominent appearance. However, many of these have died or are dying.
Castle Hill was once a Bronze Age hill fort and still has its curved ramparts and ditches from the later Iron Age.
Coopers Hill Local Nature Reserve is an area of ancient Beech woodland situated to the south-east of Gloucester on the Cotswold escarpment. The reserve is an internationally important wildlife area forming part of the larger Cotswold Commons and Beechwoods Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation. It is an outstanding example of Atlantic Beech woodland and has a wide diversity of woodland plants and animals. The site also forms part of the High Botheridge Camp Scheduled Ancient Monument.
In the 1690s, Stowe had a modest early-baroque parterre garden, owing more to Italy than to France, but it has not survived, and, within a relatively short time, Stowe became widely-renowned for its magnificent gardens created by Lord Cobham. The Landscape Garden was created in three main phases, showing the development of garden design in 18th-century England (this is the only garden where all three designers worked).