Situated at the extreme north-east edge of Salisbury Plain on a chalk plateau, the remaining 2300 acres (929 hectares) are just a fraction of the forest which existed prior to the Conquest, when it was an area of sport for kings.
The main visitor areas are off the A4 Marlborough to Hungerford road and south-east on the A346. You will find oaks and avenues of beech planted by Capability Brown, also the 3 mile (5 km) Grand Avenue and there are the Eight Walks radiating from the centre.
There is only one authorized footpath running north from Cadley church but a network of others exists, as well as minor roads and rides. These give access to glades, verges and areas of the forest where visitors, giving due consideration for flora and fauna can go on foot. In the denser parts there are unusual plants and wild birds, as well as roe and fallow deer. The monument which stands at the north-east corner of the forest was erected by Thomas Bruce, Earl of Ailesbury. It is said that it celebrates the recovery from madness of King George III.
Big Belly Oak, Savernake Forest
Alongside the A346 road, on the western edge of Savernake Forest, the Big Belly Oak is one of the named great trees in the forest. The Tree Council designated this oak as one of fifty great British trees to celebrate the golden anniversary of the Queen in 2002. It has a metal band around its trunk to help support it.
The northern gate into the Grand Avenue of the forest.