A walk that ticks all the little people entertainment boxes and is beautiful for the adults too.
Whether you’re looking for: woodland or water, to feed the ducks or to watch the squirrels, to be low under the leaves or high like the birds on an aerial walkway (suitable for buggies and wheelchairs), to be immersed in Ted Hughes’ children’s poetry about nature or to just ‘be’, a walk that’s long or short, a marked path or a forest adventure & explore, buggy or sling or toddle – friendly, Stover Country park has it all, just inches away from the car park.
With 114 acres of coniferous woodland, grassland, heathland, marshland, lakes & ponds, and deciduous woodland, you can take your little one on a real-life bear hunt – omitting the actual bear though! It is all centred around Stover Lake (where ducks and swans love being fed) which gives a circular walk of 0.9 mile /1.4km – very doable for little legs.
There are many things to enjoy in the woods along the way too, such as in the Arboretum, the outdoor classroom with its fantastic ‘story telling chair’ and giant dragon flies to sit on as well as streams to paddle in. Further round, there are bird hides, a waterfall and the accessible Aerial Walkway as well as a majestic almost hidden and neglected 19th century Stover gatehouse (which you might have seen from the A38!). The Country park is dappled with picnic table opportunities, some brass-style rubbings, and, in the Autumn, real fairy toadstools to spot!
In short, Stover is more than just a loop walk round the lake – it’s a place sure to keep kids interested for hours no matter their age.
Fabulous activity sheets for the preschoolers to enjoy while you are there are available to download here and print before you go – a clip board might be helpful!
For older kids there are lots of very informative leaflets to print off about animals and species that are found in the park: animals, birds, butterflies, dragonflies, flowers, trees over on Stover’s website (Devon County Council’s). As a site of special scientific interest, it is protected to conserve its wildlife and geology.
The information centre (Nature Interpretation Centre), which is at the entrance of the park, is definitely worth popping into too – and consists of a visitor centre, classroom, rangers’ office and toilets.
Walk type: flat, round a lake, woodland
Length: If walking from the Visitor Centre and completing a circuit of the lake – the distance is 0.9 mile /1.4km
If you add on the outlet channel the distance is 1.3 miles / 2.1km
If exploring the woods there are 114 acres!
The Ted Hughes Poetry Trail (2 miles) and Children’s Trail takes in specially designed Poetry Posts each displaying a poem by Ted Hughes on a theme relating to wildlife of the natural world. Click here for Ted Hughes Poetry Trail leaflets.
Little Ones’ mode of transport: Buggy, Sling or feet.
Footwear: The path is flat so any suitable shoes for walking. In the winter months or for the woodland, wellies for getting muddy and wet!
Dog friendly: Yes. Devon County Council who manage Stover Country Park say “We ask dog owners to keep dogs on leads on the path directly round the lake and outlet channel, please watch out for ducks and other wildlife which have been enjoying resting on the paths during this quiet period. Dogs are allowed off lead in the rest of the park, but we ask you keep them under close control as birds may be nesting on the ground during this time.”
Need to know
Opening times: All day every day (sunrise to sunset)
How to get there: Stover Country Park, Newton Abbot, Devon, TQ12 6QG Tel: 01626 835236
What3words address: ///give.instructs.suitable View on w3w
Prices: In 2020 prices are £1.70 for 2 hours or £3.50 all day (Please ensure you bring the correct change with you) or if paying by phone we recommend you download the RingGo App by clicking here before travelling as our mobile internet signal can be intermittent.
Loos & Baby Changing: Yes.
Refreshments: In the summer months, there may be a van offering refreshments. Lots of picnic benches.