Dry Sandford Pit

Kids running through meadow in front of cliffs

Dry Sandford Pit is a nature reserve just outside Abingdon. It’s an area of national geological importance owing to its fossilised cliffs. When I say cliffs I don’t mean huge cliffs like you get at the seaside. I’m talking 2-3 metres high. There are some information boards that explain how the cliff is full of fossilised corals and marine creatures.

It’s a fascinating place to explore. I’ve never seen cliffs like this, especially so far inland. There are lots of little holes in them where solitary bees and wasps have burrowed.

I wouldn’t recommend letting the kids climb around on these as they are very crumbly. There are warning signs in some areas. It’s fun to play in the sand at the bottom though. My 2 had great fun drawing pictures in the sand and writing their names.

There is a wildlife trail to follow through the woods. This is signposted although there are lots of little tracks going off in various directions. We just explored rather staying on a fixed route. It’s not a huge place so you can’t really get too lost. I think the whole site is 8 hectares.

There are lots of plants and insects to see. Butterflies particularly like the meadow areas.

The highlight for my kids was an area in the woods where a wooden plank goes across a stream and then some narrow logs go across it further along. They had a brilliant time crossing back and forth and could have happily played there for hours.

There is lots of open water around the site so you will need to keep an eye on little ones. It’s not overly deep but you’ll still need to be carful. Welly boots are highly recommended as it does get muddy.

Another highlight was this amazing tree. It was stunning to look at and perfect for climbing too. The photos really don’t do this justice at all.

Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a lead and you’ll need to pick up poo and take it with you. There are no bins on site.

I wouldn’t recommend taking a pushchair with you as you won’t be able to get it through the narrow kissing gates or along a lot of the paths in the woods. I’d suggest using a baby carrier instead. I put Baby Bear in our new backpack carrier from Little Life and it was brilliant. He loved being up high and it meant we were able to access all areas.

Baby in backpack carrier reaching for leaf

The Verdict

Dry Sandford Pit is a really fun place to explore. There aren’t any facilities as such but it’s a great natural playground. Take your wellies and let the kids roam. Perfect for an interesting dog walk too.

Facilities Checklist

  • Toilets / Disabled Toilet No
  • Pushchair / Wheelchair Friendly No
  • Disabled Access No
  • Dog Friendly Yes on a lead. Take poo with you as no bins.
  • Refreshments available No
  • Car Park Yes free parking on site for up to 8 cars
  • Gift Shop No
  • Baby facilities No

Address: Cothill Road, Dry Sandford, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX13 6JW

Price Band: FREE

Website: https://www.bbowt.org.uk/nature-reserves/dry-sandford-pit

Thank you to Red Kite Days for letting us know about this place.

You can find more great places to visit in Oxfordshire here: https://mumsfamilyfun.com/category/days-out/oxfordshire/

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