BBC Countryfile Live is delighted to be returning to the beautiful grounds of Oxfordshire’s historic Blenheim Palace.
Blenheim Palace is the home of the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. This National Treasure, houses some of the finest antique collections in Europe and boasts over 300 years of history to discover.
Explore this World Heritage Site set in more than 2000 acres of ‘Capability’ Brown landscaped Parkland and tour the array of Formal Gardens, or take the miniature train to the family-friendly Pleasure Gardens.
Blenheim Palace is not only a part of history, but also a living, changing experience with a wealth of events, themed tours and exhibitions throughout the year.
Blenheim Palace is Britain’s Greatest Palace and offers visitors a precious time, every time.
Address: Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire OX20 1PP.
We strongly advise you do not use a Sat Nav system, as they do not take into consideration our traffic management system. As you approach the estate please follow the AA event signage marked: Countryfile Live Public. These will guide you into the parking areas and our Traffic Marshalls will direct you.
A special offer to experience beautiful Blenheim Palace
Ever wanted to explore Oxfordshire’s World Heritage site? Well, you can at BBC Countryfile Live. Blenheim Palace is celebrating 30 years a World Heritage site in 2017 and is offering all visitors 50% off admission to the Palace, Park and Gardens during the event. You’ll also receive a free Annual Pass if you agree to donate your entrance fee.
To claim the discount*, simply show your Countryfile Live ticket to a member of staff at the Blenheim Palace entrance on the day.
Terms and conditions:
*Offer only valid during BBC Countryfile Live event and cannot be combined with any other offer. The free Annual Pass offer is not applicable unless upon entry the admission fee has been agreed by the visitor to be treated as a donation.
Blenheim Palace Heritage Foundation. Registered charity 1166164
What’s so special about Blenheim Park?
Ancient pasture woodland
Situated North West of Oxford, Blenheim Palace is a World Heritage Site surrounded by over 800 hectares of mixed grounds. Within these grounds is High Park, an area originally created by King Henry I as part of a royal deer park in the 12th century. The pasture woodland is dominated by oak trees, especially veteran oaks, at least 400 years old. As such, it is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Recent research has suggested that High Park is home to around 977 veteran trees, making it one of the greatest collections of ancient oak trees anywhere in Europe. Some of the ancient, stag-headed oak pollards of the park may be direct lineal descendants of those recorded in the Domesday Book.
A home for rare invertebrates
The veteran trees provide a haven for invertebrates including rare and threatened deadwood beetles that are dependent on trees such as the cardinal click beetle (Ampedus cardinalis), and the two spotted click beetle (Calambus bipustulatus). The Park is also a notable site for harmless, tiny pseudo-scorpions and supports one of the four known British populations of Dendrochemes cyrneus.
The lakes were excavated and landscaped in the early eighteenth century. Some of the largest areas of open water in Oxfordshire, they are of regional importance for breeding and wintering birds. Forty-two species of wildfowl have been recorded of which fourteen are regular visitors or breeding residents. The lakes have supported over 1% of the total British wintering population of gadwall since 1977 and have the largest breeding population of great crested grebe in Oxfordshire. Other waterfowl present in significant numbers are pochard, tufted duck, mallard, shoveler and teal. The lake margins and River Glyme are of interest for migrating (passage) waders.
Natural England at Blenheim
Natural England works with Blenheim to ensure the park is managed to maintain its rare wildlife. The site is split into four units. Three of these are in ‘favourable’ condition, but the lakes which make up Unit 4 are ‘unfavourable’.
The lakes are in unfavourable condition due to siltation and eutrophication which has built up gradually over time. Natural England is working with Blenheim and partners (Evenlode Catchment Partnership and Consultants) to address these issues. Work will involve a major de-siltation programme which Blenheim is working on currently.
Natural England works with Blenheim to produce a detailed Management Plan to maintain and enhance the ancient wood pasture and the rare deadwood invertebrates which depend on it. This involves annual surveys of the ancient trees. In 2016 a dead-wood invertebrate survey by a Natural England apprentice reviewed Blenheim’s national status as a home for deadwood beetles. Using vane traps, 30 new and rare species were discovered including Ischnodes sanguinicollis, which is vulnerable across the whole of Europe. The survey results placed Blenheim as the 15th best parkland in Britain for deadwood beetles.
Higher Level Stewardship (HLS)
The Blenheim Estate has been in an Agri-environment Scheme for over 20 years. They are currently working to a 10 year HLS grant scheme, which started in 2012. Through the scheme the Estate undertake habitat management including maintenance and restoration of woodland; beetle banks, enhanced wild bird seed mix plots; uncropped cultivated areas for ground-nesting birds; nectar mixes for insects; and the creation, maintenance and restoration of species-rich grassland.
Improving the historical environment
HLS money has also contributed to the restoration of a number of historical and archaeological features on the Blenheim Estate. This includes the Ha Ha, Ice House, Park Wall, Mapleton Pond,and Rosamund’s Well. Some of these restoration projects are still underway.