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Enjoy Scenic Family Fun at Parke Near Bovey Tracey

Nestled on Dartmoor’s rolling eastern edge, Parke is a beautiful country estate managed by the National Trust near Bovey Tracey in Devon. Spread across 1,400 acres of woodland, grassy meadows and farmland, it offers wonderful days out immersed in nature and heritage.

With waymarked walking trails, scenic play areas, and its historic house and gardens, Parke has something for the whole family. Here’s everything you need to know for the perfect family day out exploring Parke.

parke eatate sign

Getting There

Parke is just over 1 mile outside Bovey Tracey, with the main entrance gates north of the town. It’s well signposted from the A382 road.

There is a car and coach park on site, making Parke very accessible.

If you are travelling by bus Stagecoach runs a regular bus service from Exeter bus station to Newton Abbot via Bovey Tracey town centre. From here it is a fifteen minute walk along level ground to the estate.

Opening Times

The full estate is open daily from 9am until 6pm in summer and 9am – 5pm in winter. The on-site facilities like the cafe have more limited hours.

As a natural estate, visitors are free to wander and explore the outdoor areas at their leisure during daylight hours all year round.

Ticket Prices

Entry to the general estate grounds is free.

The parking is free for National Trust members. It is £2 for up to 3 hours and£4 all day for non members.

parke

Top Things To Do

Some of Parke’s top attractions include:

  • The Interactive Nature Trail with fun quizzes and forest school activities for kids to try.
  • The scenic walking trails threading through woodland, farmland and wildflower meadows.
  • The pretty Formal Gardens surrounding the 18th century house, with ponds, lawns and colourful blooms.
  • The On-Site Cafe serving hot lunches, cream teas with homemade cakes, and snacks. Outdoor seating available.
  • The large children’s Play Zone with timber fort, slides, swings and climbing frames. Great for energetic kids.
  • The Discovery Zone with hands-on exhibits and activities themed around nature and heritage, like minibeast hunting.
  • The Natural Play Area where kids can build dens, dig and explore the woodland environment.
parke map

Seasonal Highlights

As well as the permanent attractions, Parke runs fun seasonal activities like:

  • Easter Egg Hunts around the grounds.
  • Apple Days in autumn where you can press the orchard’s apples into juice.
  • Foraging activities through the woods and farmland.
  • Colourful firework displays on Bonfire Night.
  • Christmas wreath-making workshops using foliage from the estate.

Plan Your Visit

Some tips for a smooth family day out:

  • Stop at the visitor centre to pick up a map of Parke’s trails and facilities.
  • Pack a picnic, outdoor toys and sturdy shoes for exploring the trails.
  • Visit the Discovery Zone before lunch to work up kids’ appetites!
  • Book ahead for popular events like the Easter Egg Hunt.
  • Combine with other nearby attractions like Becky Falls and Castle Drogo.

With panoramic Dartmoor views, family-friendly trails and a blend of natural play and heritage, Parke promises the perfect ingredients for a scenic Devon day out.

parke

The History of Parke

Parke has a rich history dating back to the 18th century when it was originally established as a sprawling country estate. It evolved from a modest residence into a grand estate with expansive gardens and architectural splendor.

In the 19th century, the Parke Estate played a role in local industry, with its grounds adapted for agricultural and industrial purposes. The estate’s architecture reflects the prevailing styles of different eras, showcasing the tastes and trends of each period.

parke

Frequently Asked Questions

Are dogs allowed at Parke? – Yes, dogs are welcome, but must be kept on leads in nesting season (March to July) as well as in the walled garden.

How accessible is Parke for wheelchair users? – There is a reasonably steep hill down to the café and river. There is natural and uneven terrain through the woodland.

Can I visit Parke House? – The house is not open to visitors, but you can feel free to stroll around the gardens at the front. It is the HQ for the Dartmoor National Park Authority.

Other places to visit nearby

There are some great attractions and things to no near Parke, including:

  • Fingle Bridge – Charming 17th century bridge crossing the River Teign in Dartmoor National Park. Picturesque countryside spot surrounded by woodland.
  • Stover Country Park – Scenic nature reserve with woodlands, lakes and trails to explore. Spot local wildlife and enjoy the cafe.
  • Haldon Forest Park – Large woodland park with cycling, walking trails, Go Ape adventures and excellent views from the treetop canopy walkway.
  • Powderham Castle – 600 year old castle near Exeter, home to the Earl of Devon. Guided tours offer a glimpse into stately living.
  • Buckfast Abbey – Working Benedictine monastery with medieval church, monk’s herb garden and grounds. Shop sells homemade produce.
  • Canonteign Falls – England’s highest waterfall in a lush wooded gorge. Viewing platforms offer scenic vantage points. Tea room on site.
  • Exeter Cathedral – Impressive medieval cathedral boasting England’s longest uninterrupted ceiling. Guided tours share the history.
  • World of Country Life – Indoor recreation of a 19th century rural village including crafts, shops and animals.

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