Swallowfield Stroll

A lovely village, butterfly nature reserve, farms and riverside.

This lovely walk starts in the village at the free car park at the Parish Hall. The village has House Martins, Swifts and Swallows nesting there.

Cross the road to the war memorial and turn right past the Wisteria covered cottage into The Street. Take the first left into Curly's Way and follow this keeping right until you find, across the grass, the sign for Swallowfield Nature Reserve. This tiny patch of land with ditches and seasonal ponds has been known to hold Water Vole but is managed mainly for butterflies in summer and is worth an investigation for flowers and insects also.

Exit the reserve Into The Naylor's and Foxborough and turn left into Trowe's Lane. Follow this for a few hundred yards past a nice patch of young woodland with many birds and open fields. 

Just after the junction with Charlton Lane follow the footpath sign on the left and then right at the sign. This wooded path has a field on the right growing crops and on my last walk it had the delightful smell of chives growing there. You pass a remarkable tree on the left that grown around two wires of the fence so it looks like they were fed through it! Soon the path changes and has sloes and wildflowers in summer and an impressive plot of allotments on the left.

Emerging onto Part Lane cross the stile opposite into the field. Usual with arable crops, this field will often have swallows, swifts and house martins feeding over it. Later in the year the Crow family takeover and Jackdaws can be heard and seen in noisy groups. As you near the hedge watch out for Yellowhammers. This bird is not common in the Blackwater Valley but they can be found here. Cuckoos are heard in spring and Red Kites and Buzzards are usually in the sky somewhere.

Climb the stile and follow the obvious path across the next field, looking left there is an old willow tree that has housed Little Owl in the past and looking right often geese will be seen, particularly in winter months. Another stile gives you a lovely view of the river Blackwater on both sides. Along the box hedged path you soon get another view of a diverted section of the river where you might see a flash of, or a perched Kingfisher. 

Next cross the road carefully to the left and pass the house into the car park (closed in July 2020) for All Saints Church. This area has had Spotted Flycatcher and Tawny Owl in the past. Enjoy the church and it's old graveyard before continuing the path from the other end of the car park. This is a permissive path courtesy of Swallowfield Park.

On the left soon after you can see the weir and Grey Wagtails like this place. Continuing along the fenced path you'll see a Barn Owl box on the right and the parkland where often cattle graze. Soon you will see the lovely old bridge that you cross turning to the left.

Follow the road and then the path across the grass to the right of the gatehouse. Turn right at the road and you are back to the start.