Stowe Parkland Walk
Monument Hunting in Stowe Parkland

Many visitors to Stowe spend time exploring the winding paths that meander between beautiful lakes, monuments, temples, statues, and trees that adorn Stowe’s landscape garden. It is a magical place and I’m sure that many people, like us, return time after time to see the gardens in different seasons and to bag a few more of the classical monuments. However, Stowe Garden is only a quarter of the land that belongs to Stowe and here we describe a Stowe Parkland walk that explores quieter areas and passes several monuments along the way.

Our Stowe Parland walk is based on a short National Trust walk that starts from the Stowe Parkland Car park (note this is not the main National Trust car park for the landscaped gardens), which is down a small bumpy lane that turns off the Stowe to Silverstone road in the village of Dadford and heads towards Stowe School. The lane ends at a small car park which can hold 6 to 7 cars and sits between a beautiful spring fed pond and Home Farm. The National Trust give the car park grid reference as SP670377 or you could use 52°02'03.6"N 1°01'28.1"W in Google Maps.

Spring Fed Pond at Start of Stowe Parkland Walk © essentially-england.comPond at Start of Stowe Parkland Walk ©

Stowe Parkland Walk Map

The circular National Trust Stowe Parkland Walk is 2.5 miles long and takes you through peaceful, rolling countryside (providing there’s no motor racing or practice at Silverstone circuit!). Our walk was 6.5 miles long as I wanted to fulfil a quest and find as many of the Stowe monuments as I could. We visited on a cloudy, windy day in early February and were pleasantly surprised to find the footpaths not too muddy despite a lot of recent rain. Another nice feature of this Stowe Parkland walk is that it is FREE as we do not enter Stowe Garden itself.

Both routes are included on our map. The solid blue line is the shorter route, and the dashed blue line shows the diversions we added. Use the “Discover more info about this tour” link to see the map in larger scale and to download the gpx file if needed. Naturally, if you're a user, you can follow our route on your mobile device.

The Parkland View from Home Farm © essentially-england.comThe Parkland View from Home Farm ©


Leave the car park and walk away from the pond, past Home Farm, which used to be the centre of the working Stowe estate and climb the rough track towards Stowe School.

At the T-junction, we took our first diversion off the main route to see the Boycott Pavilions, Oxford Water and bridge, Oxford Lodge entrance, and Upper Copper Bottom Lake.

Oxford Bridge and the Boycott Pavilions © essentially-england.comOxford Bridge and the Boycott Pavilions ©

To stay on the main route, turn left and walk along the tarmac road past the North Front of Stowe House. Did you know that Stowe House is so grand that it has two fronts, North and South!

Much of the estate land here is used to graze sheep and/or cows, and there is plenty of opportunity to spot wild deer. On the right lies Stowe Landscaped Gardens where you can find a good example of a Ha Ha used to prevent wild animals entering the gardens. On the way you’ll see one or two of the famous Stowe monuments.

Bourbon Tower on the Stowe Estate © essentially-england.comBourbon Tower
View Across the Golf Course To Stowe Castle © essentially-england.comView Across the Golf Course To Stowe Castle

As the road turns sharp right, continue straight on a gravel tack towards some trees.

This is where we diverted from the main route again. The diversion loop went off to see the memorial to Richard Plantagenet Temple Nugent Chandos Brydges Grenville, the 2nd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, the Bourbon Tower, and views of Stowe Castle. The Bourbon Tower stands at the highest point of the Stowe estate and was a gamekeeper’s house. Stowe Castle was a farm dressed up to look like a castle but is just another folly that was built into the landscape!

The Footpath to Wolfe's Obelisk in Stowe Parkland © essentially-england.comThe Footpath to Wolfe's Obelisk ©

Back on the main route, turn left in the small clump of trees and pass through a gate to climb up towards the Wolfe’s Obelisk on a well-worn track through the grassy fields. The Obelisk is over 100 feet high and is a memorial to Major-General James Wolfe who died whilst capturing Quebec from the French in 1759. There are great views across the parkland from this point, and a trig point close by.

Also, not far away is the Conduit House, which is built above a vaulted reservoir that used to supply the main house with fresh spring water. You may have seen this building on your left as you climbed to the Obelisk. Follow the clearly marked grass footpath if you want to explore.

The Conduit House in Stowe Parkland © essentially-england.comThe Conduit House ©

Pass to the right of Wolfe’s Obelisk and turn slightly right to head towards an avenue in the trees on the hillside in the distance. Pass through a gate and descend across another grassy field to a stream. Turn left and follow a stream to Haymanger Pond.

The Footpath Down to the Stream in Stowe Parkland © essentially-england.comThe Footpath Down to the Stream ©

The pond is in a beautiful location and is a haven for wildlife. Take a few minutes to absorb the peace and quiet. The only sound we could hear was the rustle of the reeds that grew around the pond. If you were planning to stop for a picnic or tea break, then this is the place to do it!

Haymanger Pond on the Stowe Estate © essentially-england.comHaymanger Pond on the Stowe Estate ©

Continue on the footpath beside the pond towards a metal gate and fencing. Turn left to climb the grassy field, keeping the field boundary on your right and follow the footpath way markers. Again, there are some fantastic views.

Pass through a gate in a dip and continue along the grassy track to the remains of an old garden wall. The grass track descends towards a footpath crossroads, where the route turns right back to Home Farm and the car park. Along this section of the walk there are great views towards Stowe House and school.

The Footpath Crossroads Where The Route Turns Right © essentially-england.comThe Footpath Crossroads Where The Route Turns Right ©

Stowe Parkland makes a wonderful walking area with its wide choice of footpaths and bridleways that help you explore the landscape or just get away from it all. There is also the chance of some good wildlife spotting and I’ve seen some very colourful sunset photos taken within the parkland. You can read about my adventures to discover all the Stowe monuments here and we really do recommend visiting Stowe Gardens. If you need to stay overnight or want to make a weekend of your visit, then give our search box a try to find your accommodation. Happy walking!


For more England days out return from our Stowe Parkland walk page to the Things to do in England page.