WITH 10 miles of footpaths through woodland, heath and open space, Black Park Country Park near Slough really does have something to suit everyone.
It’s the perfect escape for families needing some fresh air, with a big adventure play area for youngsters wanting to let off steam and an extensive network of surfaced tracks to walk, cycle or run.
The surfacing is subtle and non-intrusive, so it still feels as if you are at one with nature, but it does make the park a little less muddy in winter than most footpaths.
And since the park is spread over 530 acres, it allows older teenagers and more ambitious walkers to lose themselves for a little on the less well-trodden paths.
Although the 14-acre lake and popular San Remo cafe tend to be packed with families and dog walkers at weekends, it’s still possible to get away from the crowds – especially during the week or early in the morning, when many of the pathways through the towering trees can be virtually deserted.
As part of the historic Langley Estate, Black Park was first mentioned in 1202 and has been in the ownership of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, although it is now one of three country parks in the area managed by Buckinghamshire County Council.
While the lake is a haven for waterfowl – ranging from grebes, coots and moorhens to the pretty mandarin ducks – under the water bream, pike, roach and perch swim. The other habitats provide a home for an intriguing cross-section of wildlife, from grass snakes to lizards, although you may have to be sharp-eyed to spot them.
A number of information boards provide a “habitat trail” with information about some of the less familiar flora and fauna which visitors can look out for.
A year-round attraction with accessible toilets and baby-changing facilities, the park hosts a range of special events and activities from night walks to Easter Egg hunts.
There’s seasonal fishing on the lake, off-road cycling and Go Ape adventures for more ambitious souls wanting to take to the treetops.
One-off events are publicised on the park’s website and Facebook page, with April highlights including a den-building day and outdoor activities for toddlers. Picnics are encouraged but fires and barbecues are not permitted.
The park is open daily from 8am and closing times are seasonal and displayed in the car parks and on the main website.
For more information use the links above or call 01753 511060.