If you are in the Banbury area and looking for a beautiful space to walk, enjoy shady trees and woodland flora, then Evenley Wood Garden is the destination for you. With 60 acres to explore there is much to discover and year round interest for everyone.
We visited on a bright February day, looking forward to discovering snowdrops and early blossom and were not disappointed; in fact looking at the map of the garden I wonder if there are areas that we missed completely!
The garden was founded by owner Timothy Whiteley MBE in 1980. Having farmed the area for a number of years, he purchased the woodland in the full knowledge that the alkaline soil would be ideal for rhododendrons. Not wanting to limit the planting, he added snowdrops and lillies in addition to a number of new trees.
Today, a February visit revealed not only carpets of snowdrops (of which there are about six to eight varieties) but also crocus, daffodils and tiny cyclamen as well as a beautiful collection of helebores. Paths wind here and there and a stream flows through part of the wood with little bridges to cross. Everywhere are opportunities to sit and enjoy the tranquility or adventure through the undergrowth – whichever takes your fancy. It was super to see children enjoying outdoor freedom; leaping across the muddy stream, exploring little paths and delighting in their opportunity to roam and discover.
If you choose to visit in the spring, you can expect over 100 magnolias in bloom, followed a little later by rhododendrons and azaleas. In the summer, over 300 roses and 150 lilies fill the garden with magnificent scent and colour and then of course Autumn would be a magical time to visit as the leaves turn all shades of russet and yellow.
Entrance is £7.50 and children £1 making this a family day out that’s fairly easy on the pocket. Picnickers are welcomed but there is also a tea-room/cafe if you wish to purchase your refreshments.