Located on the edge of Oxford, Shotover Country Park offers a great trip out with the family. It’s open all year round and it’s free too. On a dry day, it’s great to explore the wooded area or bring a picnic and spread out down by the natural sandpit.
Shotover Country Park Trails
There are a number of trails through the park which leave from the main car park. If your kids are like mine and not that keen on just going for a walk, following the coloured markers is a great way to keep them motivated.
For younger kids, the red route is the shortest and leads to the natural sandpit. It’s a circular route which takes about half an hour in total but you can easily spin it out for a whole morning or afternoon if you’re stopping for a picnic and play along the way.
During late April and early May, you’ll find bluebells along the route. The path winds down through the woods, with plenty of sticks to pick up and bugs to explore under rocks. The natural sandpit is the half way point and then you’re back up hill to return to your car.
Shotover Country Park Natural Sandpit
There is a tiny stream and sandy area at the natural sandpit. It’s tiny enough that you don’t have to worry about kids falling in but enough for them to splash their hands in. During dry periods, it can dry up to almost nothing so don’t expect too much. Last time I visited, it was also quite muddy around this area so I’d recommend a change of clothes and some baby wipes to clean up hands.
After your wander through the woods, it opens out around the natural sandpit area with a lovely grassy space, perfect for picnics. There’s plenty of space, so you can find your own quiet spot to relax or kick a ball around.
Shotover Country Park Wildlife
Shotover is bursting with wonderful wildlife and natural beauty. Depending on the season, you’ll find different wildflowers carpeting the woodland floor. Last time I visited, we saw hardly anyone else but were treated to lots of birdsong. Willow Warblers, Wrens and Song Thrush all make an appearance here.