Noah’s Ark and Priors Wood

Sneaky views of the animals at Noah’s Ark Zoo, playing in the woodland stream and nosing at The Downs School.

Length – we did a huge 6.4km, but there are shorter routes

Dogs – Yes, but there are sections where they must be on a lead, due to the school and livestock.

Pushchairs – Nope

This was a brilliant walk with suprise peeks at camels, elephants and giraffes. If you have binoculars bring them, we wished we had.

We parked at Oakham Treasures Museum, Portbury Lane, BS20 7SP. It was closed when we went, but you should definitely visit the museum if parking here.

We crossed the road and followed the footpath sign up the hill, keep going forward, pass the first house and when you reach the second there is a footpath on your left going into the woods. There are lovely views of the Bristol Channel from here.

As soon as you are in the woods turn right on a footpath up a hill. Keep following this to a stile at the very top. It’s a beautiful woodland.

Over the stile and slightly right to the kissing gate on the other side, then straight across to the next stile. You are now at The Downs private school, marvel at how the other half live!

Unfortunately there’s some very tempting play equipment which your kids won’t be able to use so younger ones might find this upsetting. Walk down the edge of this field towards the road.

Go right and straight on at the road, past the grand looking school building on the left. Then turn right towards Charlton Farm Children’s Hospice. Follow the road straight until you’re in Priors Wood.

Turn left here and head down hill, at the bottom of the hill there’s a lovely bridge over a stream which was great for pooh sticks. There are no hand rails though so little ones are in danger of falling in.

Head up the hill through the woods until you get to a bench. Just before the bench there are steps to the right up a hill.

At the top of the steps turn right and head along the edge of the woods. Alternatively just carry on past the bench and you’ll end up in the same place.

Either way you go, when you reach a pond you’ll be really close to Noah’s Ark Zoo on your right. Follow the path right following the tall wire fence round and up another hill. You can see some huge piles of dung on the right, my kids loved seeing the steaming elephant poo!

At the top of the hill is a helpfully placed picnic bench and from here you can see the camels, elephants and giraffes. They are very far away, but you can see them! My kids were well pleased.

Keep following the path, you’ll need to step over a low electric fence, but it is very low. Go straight to the bottom of the field, through the gate and you’ll see a useful cage on your left for trapping kids in. Pop them in there and go to the pub.

When they get out, follow the field edge. There were signs warning about livestock, there was not any when we went, but it might be worth bearing in mind later in the year.

Through another couple of gates and past a house with an interesting taxidermy squirrel on the gate post!

Onto the (very quiet) road turn left back towards the school. We walked all the way along this road back to the school, there is another footpath on the right which also goes that way, but we were getting a bit tired of all the mud! From the school we headed back the way we came.

Map –

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