A spotlight on Jurassic Swindon - The prehistoric nature trail next door

By Staff Reporter - 17 August 2017

Heritage

The schools are out for the summer holidays, so for families and child carers looking for exciting things to do with the kids, they should look no further than Jurassic Swindon. It’ll be especially exciting for the boys and girls obsessed with dinosaurs and the Jurassic age and it will also excite those who simply like going on a little adventure in the sunshine!

What is Jurassic Swindon?

Hidden away in the picturesque Town Gardens in Old Town is Swindon’s Quarry Wildlife Park. It’s a fascinating walk for parents who fancy themselves as amateur historians or geographers, with the chance to feast your eyes on Jurassic sandstone rock that is said to be more than 150 million years old.

It’s not an area that you are likely to easily find; you certainly won’t stumble upon it by walking through Swindon town centre, but it’s certainly well worth discovering.

The walk itself along the Old Town Rail Path takes you on a journey through Swindon’s Jurassic history, lasting just over a mile, demonstrating the geology that the town’s industry and prosperity has to thank. Even the Romans benefitted from the area’s Kimmeridge Clay, while more recently, Swindon’s 17th century industry relied heavily on the Portland Stone and Purbeck Limestone that is visible along the walk today. In fact, it was also in great demand from the capital, helping to rebuild London’s streets following the Great Fire.

How to find Jurassic Swindon’s nature trail

A regular bus route operates across Swindon and Wiltshire through Swindon Old Town. If you’re travelling by car, there is also a public car park nearby that you can use.

Bear in mind that although the Old Town Rail Path is pretty flat and expansive it can become somewhat boggy after prolonged rain, so it’s certainly a walk we would recommend only in the warmer, drier weather!

It’s worth the trip though, as the view from the top of Victoria Road in the Old Town across the new town centre and beyond is mightily impressive.

The popularity of the Jurassic age

The Jurassic age enchants generations both young and old. There is no doubt that people are fascinated by life on Earth before human civilisation and films like Jurassic Park and Jurassic World have become franchises that only serve to increase that interest in dinosaurs and the geology of the world pre-humans.

The franchise has extended the Jurassic age into popular culture in more ways the one, with iGaming action now dedicated to the films including Jurassic World 3D slot games for grown-ups, as well as the plethora of kids’ merchandise available to decorate bedrooms and playrooms. Dinosaurs are talked about more than ever in the 21st century as a result.

"Jurassic World Exhibit" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by tr.robinson

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is set to come to our cinema screens in 2018 as the sequel to the 2015 hit film, Jurassic World. It is currently scheduled for release on 22nd June 2018, so there’s plenty of time to avail yourselves of the whereabouts of Swindon’s Jurassic walking trail before your children get interested.

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