Heaven's Gate offers a scenic woodland walk with a stunning viewpoint at the end, overlooking Lord Bath's Longleat Estate. The one-kilometer approach to the viewpoint is a must for nature or gardening lovers, as it is a beautifully maintained scenic walk full of unusual trees and rhododendrons. It is also a magical world of exploration for families with children, as the woods are full of improvised dens and shelters, built up against fallen tree trunks and log piles.
Due to the variety of tree and plant life, the colours of this place are wonderful. We visited when there was a fine drizzly rain, and it gave the place a glowing, bright quality. The forest path is well covered and very atmospheric on a cloudy day. The path is well maintained, but wellies or walking boots are a good idea, due to the many muddy puddles that form.
Heaven's Gate is the perfect location for dog walkers and dog families, and we saw many there on our last trip. The area is a working part of the estate however, and sheep do roam freely through the area, so there are sturdy fences to negotiate at the approach to the viewpoint. This part really is like approaching a heavenly doorway, as the visitor is greeted by an impressive stone sculpture in celebration of the Millenium, and a view to die for.
There are perfectly positioned benches to take in the view, which looks over the Longleat Estate and Safari Park. It is possible to see a great distance, although I also enjoy watching the cars drive through the park. Once, I even heard the park's resident Timber Wolves howling together, which was an eerie but beautiful experience. Wolves or not, t is the perfect spot for some quiet contemplation.
After all that serenity, why not blow out the cobwebs by zooming around on what HAS to be one of the UK's best rope swings? It is sturdily set up high in a gigantic tree and swings out over the edge of the hill. Facing the view, it can be found by walking a little down the hill to the left (or just follow the squeals of delight). The trees are clearly a very special place for many visitors, as there are mementoes and loving messages left on the trunk of one of the other trees in remembrance of lost ones.
On a dry day, the open grassy area with the benches would be a perfect picnic place. There is plenty of room for little ones and canines to run around and the sculptures provide endless fun for young explorers.
Beautiful all year round, this place offers a gentle escape from the city and allows me to reconnect with nature a little. Only 18 miles from Bath, it is very accessible and going here is always a memorable experience.