South Marston’s Green Spaces

South Marston village is privileged and proud to have a variety of open spaces for residents of all ages to enjoy the great outdoors in differing ways.  Many of these open spaces are managed and looked after by either Parish Council contractors or volunteers.

The Open Spaces Working Group (OSWG), which oversees local activity, is supported financially by the Parish Council and other bodies, and is always happy to welcome new volunteers to join our dedicated band of residents.  Look out for updates via the bi-monthly Community News, on village notice boards and village website or simply contact any member of the working group.

The map highlights the locations of all current open spaces within the village.

Nightingale Wood

The largest of the woods in the parish, the wood is owned and managed by the Forestry Commission.  It can be reached by walking from Old Vicarage Lane to the east up Nightingale Lane.  The lane is narrow and is used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders.  So if you chose to drive there, please take care and keep to a safe speed.  A good-sized car park is available.

The wood covers an area of 52 hectares and contains fully accessible paths surfaced to a high standard.  There is a feast of wildlife to be seen amongst the thousands of trees ranging from native oak to ash, hazel, beech and sycamore amongst other lesser known species.

There is a fitness trail to test your stamina and a bird hide to sit and watch the many bird varieties enjoying the ponds, known as scrapes, formed by South Marston

Brook as it flows through the water meadow.  A bridleway runs along the west and south of the site, joining up with Rowborough Lane.  Along the three main trails you can also find an access path leading to Roves Farm. Walk there and enjoy the family facilities available.

The Solar Farm Permissive Path

Take a walk along Nightingale Lane and you will find the path on the left-hand side, just before Mitchy Motors.

This path was created by the owners of the solar farm and opened to the public, and it is now managed by the Parish Council.  The path runs north behind the village alongside the solar farm arrays and onto longer public rights of way, one of which leads back onto Chapel Lane.  Along the path are glimpses through the tree bank of village landmarks, such as the Church, as well as various wood carvings commissioned by the solar farm owners, together with information boards about the local area.

Oxleaze Wood

Almost a hidden gem of a woodland to the southwest of the village, the Wood can be reached from Old Vicarage Lane on foot or bicycle by using the Leaze bridleway through Manor Farm.  The other approach is from Thornhill Road,  taking  the  bridleway alongside the Keypoint and crossing the road to access the single lane road to South Marston Farm.

Owned by Swindon Borough Council and managed by the Open Spaces Group, the wood is an area of young mixed trees with a circular footpath for pedestrians and dog walkers only.  The area is mainly prized for its wildlife but has a few benches to sit on to enjoy this peaceful woodland.

Oxleaze Wood

The Village Green

This is a compact area, owned by the Parish Council, which is located opposite the village school and adjacent to St Mary Magdalene church.

The village war memorial to fallen service personnel can be found here. The gardens are for all to enjoy in quiet contemplation and are looked after by the Open Spaces Group.

St Julian’s Wood / Orchard Meadow

The Wood is owned by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and managed jointly with the Open Spaces Group, whilst  the adjoining  Orchard Meadow is owned by the Parish Council.  Both were created as a result of housing development in the village.

The access is via St Julian’s Close off Thornhill Road and there is a small car park for the use of visitors.

A perimeter path circles the wood taking you past an information board, brass rubbing area and the Gazebo.  The Gazebo burned down in recent years but is being replaced.  Part of the path runs alongside South Marston Brook and past two wildlife ponds.

Look out for the wildlife mosaic and the unique bench and table created by a local blacksmith.

A kissing gate marks the boundary between the Wood and Orchard Meadow. It can also be reached on foot via the Orchard road off Thornhill Road.

This provides a safe link for children from the school to gain access to St. Julian’s Wood.  The Meadow has been planted with wild flowers and a small selection of fruit trees.

St Julian’s Wood and Orchard Meadow have been the focus for several community events such as Halloween, Easter celebrations, summer BBQs, a teddy bear’s picnic in the woodland glade and even Christmas carol singing.

The Recreation Ground

The ‘Rec’ is owned by the Parish Council, but managed, on their behalf, by South Marston Recreation Association, a separate charity that also owns and manages the Village Hall.  Situated in the centre of the village adjacent to the school, it has access on foot via Thornhill Road or from Old Vicarage Lane.

On the recreation field you will find a well- equipped outside gym area together with play areas for toddlers and younger children.

Dogs are allowed only when on a lead.

There are football pitches of varying sizes used by both the school and external football teams. The changing rooms and toilets are open when the pitches are hired or for community events.  The Rec hosts the annual South Marston Fete, the major event in the South Marston social calendar when all groups have the opportunity to fund-raise to support their activities.

The Allotments

Located the north along Highworth Road, there are 60 plots occupied by a wide variety of residents from many parishes in the Borough of Swindon.

Primarily for villagers of South Marston but open to all to ensure a vibrant and active community spirit. Help and advice is always freely given and new tenants are always welcome.

Tenants benefit from free horse manure, wood chippings, car parking and hopefully, in the future, a water supply.   Dogs are not allowed on the site.

Visitors are welcomed to come along and look around.  The site is managed by the Parish Council, and is largely self-funded through allotment rents.

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