When visiting a wildlife park you expect to see animals but not wonderful planting and gardens as well. When visiting a garden with interesting prairie planting, containers burgeoning with summer plants and pretty gardens, you don’t also expect to see rhinos, lions, meerkats and lemurs. The Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens is a rare, surprising and beautiful mixture of both.
I was flattered to be invited to a social media event for the promotion of the book about the Park on Saturday. Not only was it an excellent opportunity to visit Burford in the Cotswolds, it meant meeting, face to face, garden bloggers and tweeters who I have made ‘ether friends’ with over the past eight years. I felt we already knew each other and it was one big reunion with a lot of hugs.
Above is a small part of the many grass beds used to ‘…blur the lines between visitors, animals and the wider landscape“. Stipa and Calamagrostis are just some of the various grasses used interspersed with kniphofia, achillea and magnificent alliums. Rhinos are in the paddock beyond but too far from me to capture in the photo.
There is a walled garden, Mediterranean courtyard, a woodland walk and the arid beds which have a striking display of aeoniums, tree aloes, yuccas and tall cactus. Opposite you will find meerkats and next to them, you will find…
As you walk around the park, visit the Tropical House, the amphibian house and over 130 species of birds, creating a wealth of flora and fauna. Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ and ‘Christophii’ are in abundance around the park and this bed also had palms and towering echiums.
While I wax lyrical about the gardens, I mustn’t forget the all important wildlife. The almost human-like lemurs in the Madagascar enclosure were fascinating, meditating in the warmth of the sun.
There is so much to see I made the mistake of putting my camera away with the promise I would come back after lunch to take more photos. I did go back around the garden but failed to take more photos, so missed the lions, the giraffes and the giant tortoise to name a few. This gives me a good reason, not that I need one, to return.
The winding paths are full of surprises around each corner, with plenty to see for children and adults. It is wheelchair friendly and you can take the dog as long as it is on a short lead, although understandably there are restrictions as to where you can take dogs. Check out the website for further details. A number of the social media cohort can also vouch for delicious ice cream.
We came away with a most beautiful book, giving the history of the park and gardens and packed full of photographs. You can obtain the book through the online shop on the park’s website if you click HERE.
Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens near Burford in Oxfordshire, are open every day throughout the year, except Christmas Day, with plenty of FREE car parking.
April to October – 10.00am to 6.00pm. (Last admission 4.00pm)
November to March – 10.00am to DUSK or 5.00pm (Last admission 3.00pm)