With 500 acres of beautiful gardens, woodland, lakeside walks, and bird hides, there’s plenty to explore at Coombe Abbey Park.
The park was designed and landscaped by Capability Brown and really does offer something for everyone.
There are some designated trails in the park that take in the different areas from the deer park to the woodland and lakeside.
The paths are accessible for all and great for little boots to explore.
This trail takes you around the Old Deer Park that was landscaped by Capability Brown. This is a 2.5 mile walk that takes you on a loop around the park. Dogs are welcome although care should be taken if livestock are grazing in the field (in which case dogs should be kept on a lead). The walk starts near the visitor centre.
The kissing gate at the entrance to the Old Deer Park can be opened fully using a RADAR key, making it fully accessible for wheelchairs – however, depending on the weather conditions, the terrain may become unsuitable – certainly for standard wheelchairs.
First we come to the wildflower meadow. Planted in 2002 it provides a snapshot of Coombe’s historical parkland pasture habitat and it is now home to a myriad of plants and animals such as Butterflies, Voles, Barn Owls and Little Owls all of which love these open grasslands.
During the summer this meadow is buzzing with butterflies, bees and insects. Take time to pause, close your eyes and just listen. In the summer months you can expect to see hundreds of Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Common Blue butterflies. If you look closely you may also see the diminutive Small Copper and in spring the distinctive Orange Tip.
As you follow the trail, you’ll be forgiven for not realising that the landscape here is all man made. It was all part of the grand plan that Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown drew up in 1771. He had developed a reputation for himself amongst the upper classes of the country for creating picture perfect landscapes. Upon surveying an estate he was renowned for claiming that there were great “capabilities” for improvement (hence his nickname!). Prior to Coombe, Brown had been responsible for the remodelling of Chatsworth House grounds in Derbyshire and Stowe Gardens in Buckinghamshire.
Continuing around on the trail we walk across what was a mediaeval lane, Coombe Lane. It was once the main route into Coventry city centre. This had long gone though before Brown got here and worked his magic on the land.
You’ll get glimpses of the lake from the far end of this walk – you can explore more of that in the Herons Way trail.
As you come back around you’ll see the impressive West Lodge behind you. Designed by Brown and Holland it is based around a magnificent Roman archway to really impress visitors as they approached by horse and carriage from Coventry. This entrance was used by the estate for over a hundred years before it was replaced by the one you use today. The driveway curved in an arch right up to the front door ensuring that visitors viewed the best aspect of the house as they arrived. Brown cleverly planted trees along the way so people caught glimpses of the house as they approached over the horizon making it look even more impressive.
Years before he arrived at the estate it used to have beautiful avenues lined with trees that guided people across the estate. Brown liked the idea of some of these and so replanted them with beautiful trees. Sadly, many of these trees were lost over the years – especially in the years following the second world war when this whole area was farmed for potatoes. The team at Coombe though have replanted some of the avenues of trees to bring Brown’s vision for the park back to life. You can follow some as we head back towards the visitor centre where we started.
Nearest Train (or tube) Station(s):
Coventry (5.8 mile)