Details of the district's wide range of green spaces available for public access are below. Play areas can be found at the Recreation Ground and Shottery Fields.

Bancroft Gardens

The Bancroft Gardens, located on the bank of the River Avon and in front of the world famous Royal Shakespeare Theatre, attract over a million visitors every year.

The Bancroft was originally an area of land where the townspeople grazed their animals, and the canal basin formed the terminus of the Stratford-to-Birmingham canal, completed in 1816. The Gardens also occupy the site of former canal wharfs, warehouses, and a second canal basin, which was built in 1826 and refilled in 1902.

The statue of Shakespeare is the work of Lord Ronald Sutherland Gower, and was presented to the town in 1888. The smaller figures of Shakespearean characters are Hamlet, Lady Macbeth, Falstaff and Prince Hal, symbolising philosophy, tragedy, comedy and history.

The Country Artists Fountain was made for the 800th anniversary celebration of the granting of the Charter for Market Rights by King Richard I (the Lionheart) in 1196. The fountain was sculpted by Christine Lee and is made of stainless steel and brass. It was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II in 1996.

Bridgetown Community Woodland and Meadows

Newly planted woodlands to the south of Stratford-upon-Avon town centre. The area consists of large open fields, sparse hedgerows, mature trees and a community orchard.

Rushbrook, the dismantled railway track, the calcareous mound (back-filled gravel pit) and ponds provide the important ecological and landscape features on an otherwise flat and open landscape.

Firs Garden

This delightfully tranquil corner of Stratford was refurbished in 1990, a joint project between Town and District Councils.

'The Firs', a nearby house no longer in existence, lends its name to the garden.

When it was sold in 1910, Marie Corelli, the famous novelist, bought the garden to preserve the open space for the benefit of the town.

The garden is now home to a Peony Pavilion, a gift to Stratford-on-Avon District Council from the People's Government of Fuzhou Municipality in China. The pavilion is named after the great work of Tang Xianzu, who lived at the same time and died in the same year as William Shakespeare, 1616.

Recreation Ground

The Recreation Ground (or 'Rec' as local people know it) on Swans Nest Lane in Stratford-upon-Avon is a large expanse of public open space and is home to many important activities including the Shakespeare Marathon and the Stratford River Festival.

The space offers a range of facilities and makes available a large grass area for informal sports activities and general recreational use. The old chain ferry was built in 1937 and was the last of its type to be made and used in Britain.

The facilities that can be found on the Rec include:

  • one 9v9 youth football pitch
  • pavilion (four changing rooms)
  • playground
  • paddling pool
  • outdoor gym
  • public toilets
  • bandstand
  • Avon Bowling Club
  • Stratford Minigolf

River Arrow Nature Reserve

The River Arrow Nature Reserve is comprised of three fields adjoining the River Arrow close to the centre of the historic market town of Alcester. It forms a pleasant landscape containing a mosaic of habitats typical in lowland Britain, which are becoming increasingly rare. Among the fauna and flora present are kingfishers and the locally important small teasel.

More information, including a map of the site, can be found on the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust website.

Riverside Walk

Parking facilities are available at the Fisherman's Car Park and the picnic area offers great access to the river. There are walks along the river to the north and south.

To the north the path passes through an overgrown scrub environment ideal for viewing the riverside wildlife. To the south the riverside path passes through a large conservation area of long grasses, scrub and sparse woodland, which eventually leads into Stratford-upon-Avon town centre.

Shottery Fields

Shottery Fields, also known as King George V playing fields, were given to the town in 1937 by Sir Archie Flower and are found less than one mile west of Stratford-upon-Avon town centre.

Facilities include one full size adult football pitch and a playground.

Welcombe Hills and Clopton Park

The Welcombe Hills and Clopton Park combined create a 60 hectare Local Nature Reserve within walking distance north of Stratford-upon-Avon town centre. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful grassland or woodland walk and have a picnic. Woolly thistle, quaking-grass and the diminutive adder's-tongue grow in the grasslands, where ant hills created by yellow meadow ants are a distinctive feature. The woodland contains oak, horse chestnut and beech with English elm. Birds are plentiful, with great spotted woodpeckers, sparrowhawks, little owls, treecreepers and finches enjoying the woodland where ravens breed in spring. Brimstone butterflies are numerous in the spring sunshine.

The reserve may have got its name from a historic well found here, with its inscription 'SJC 1686'. Margaret, daughter of William Clopton (who died in 1592) supposedly drowned here. It was around this time that Shakespeare was writing Hamlet, and it is believed that this tragic event provided the inspiration for the character of Ophelia and her lonely death.

Other features include:

  • Victorian obelisk
  • audio walking trail
  • car park (entrance to Clopton Park - access via Clopton Road)

Sports Pitches

Information on sports pitches and how to book them is available from the council's Leisure Services team:

Further Information

For more information on our green spaces, please contact the Streetscene team:

Contact: The Streetscene team

Last updated on 02/05/2023